A ‘good man’ NO LONGER! We return to the story of the Levite and his actions no longer fit the description of yesterday. In today’s story not only the men of the city but he commits despicable acts.
Our story left off with the Levite and his company being welcomed into the home of an old man. The group of travelers were on their way home and came into the city of Gibeah for the night. Only one man offered them hospitality. A simple man who was coming in from his fields when he saw the group sitting in the town square.
As our group is enjoying themselves at dinner another group enters into our story. This is NOT a welcome group. They are a group of depraved men intent on evil. They are just like the men who approached Lot’s house in the city of Sodom the night before God struck it. They want our Levite so they can “know” him in the physical sense.
I am appalled at the response of the old man AND the Levite! I grew up in a world where a man would protect his family with his own life, not offer them up to save himself. Yet this is exactly what happens. The old man offers his virgin daughter and the Levite’s concubine to the men to “Violate them and do to them what seems good to you” (verse 24b). When the men don’t take him up on his offer the Levite shoves his concubine out the door and bars it behind her.
We heard earlier that she was unfaithful to him but NO ONE deserves this kind of abandonment and depravity! She is gang raped and abused ALL NIGHT LONG while the men are safe inside the house. I have NO DOUBT that her screams and her abuser’s laughter could be heard inside the house. HOW can one human being do that to another? How can ANYONE stand by and allow it to go on without raising a finger to stop it? I am literally ILL just thinking about it!
She is finally released when dawn begins to break. After HOURS of torture she stumbles back to the place where her husband has been waiting in safety. She is alive, but barely. She stumbles and falls at the door of the house. The door is barred. No one is watching for her return to usher her into safety. Instead she is left on the doorstep as the life leaks from her body. Who knows if they might have been able to save her if they had acted when she first arrived; at least she would not have died alone.
“And her master rose up in the morning, and when he opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his way, behold, there was his concubine lying at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold” (verse 27). He DID NOT rush out to check on her in the early morning. He didn’t jump out of bed and immediately check on her. He took his time, having breakfast and preparing himself to leave. No rush. No worry. No concern. NOT EVER AN OFFER TO HELP HER UP! “He said to her, ‘Get up, let us be going’” (verse 28a).
She can’t answer him or rise to his call. She is beyond pain. Beyond care for what has befallen her. Beyond help. The Levite picks her up and puts her on a donkey and carries her body back to their home. We are lucky he even touched her because it made him ceremonially unclean in doing so. But he is angry and is going to make someone pay for their crimes!
As soon as the Levite gets home he takes the broken and beaten body of his concubine and cuts it into 12 pieces. He pays men to carry those 12 pieces of the woman he loved throughout all the territories of Israel. He has them tell the story of what happened that night. The woman’s body bore witness to the depravity of that night and ALL Israel heard of it.
Did his part in it enter into the story? It might have because the people would be told of the men’s original target; the Levite. Why was the Levite’s actions not questioned?
I’m SO GLAD I’m not living in that world!!! Did you notice the worth of the women? They were given up to protect the men. This woman didn’t VOLUNTEER to go out and divert the crowd’s attention. She didn’t offer to take his place. She was physically offered by her husband’s own hand to the crowd. She was not cared for or even attend to afterwards. She was expected to pick herself up in the morning and carry on with their journey. If she hadn’t died as a result of her treatment IN HIS STEAD would there even have been an outcry?
I would WILLINGLY give my life to protect my family. But I would expect that my family would welcome me back in once my ordeal was over and care for my broken body with love. She didn’t even receive this. She became an object of horror instead. I PRAY the Holy Spirit bent down and ministered to her that morning as her life slipped away. I PRAY Jesus welcomed her home with loving arms; unlike the arms that last hurled her out the door or the ones that inflicted pain and shame.
Father God, I am heartbroken for this woman! For what she endured, even at the hands of those who claimed to love and value her. I am disgusted with ALL of them! The men seeking to violate another man. The man who thought it acceptable to offer his partner in his place. The man who knew the intent of the mob’s hearts’ and offered his own daughter up instead. PRAISE GOD that at least her life was spared!
NEVER let me stand by and watch as evil unfolds. Give me the strength to stand up for those who are being abused! Show me how to make a difference in the anger and violence that rages around me. THANK YOU that I am not exposed to it up close and personal! Show me how I can give help to the hurting. Direct me to the places where I can lend my voice and have it matter in a POSITIVE way. I DON’T want to contribute to the problem and escalate the violence in any way. I PRAY for PEACE Father for my world. More than just my home, my neighborhood, my state, or my country. For MY WORLD Lord.
I know it is going to get worse before Jesus’ return. Come quickly Lord Jesus! If this is our only chance for peace, give me patients and protection until that day dawns.