Benjamin almost destroyed for gross wickedness
A concubine was a woman having a lower standing than a legal wife, usually an maidservant. In cases of infidelity a concubine was considered as belonging to a man, in the same sense as a wife.
Judges 19:1 And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the side of mount Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Bethlehemjudah.
This concubine was unfaithful to the man and went [perhaps out of fear of an angry master] back to her father’s house.
19:2 And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from him unto her father’s house to Bethlehemjudah, and was there four whole months.
After four months the man cooled down and went to take her back.
19:3 And her husband arose, and went after her, to speak friendly unto her, and to bring her again, having his servant with him, and a couple of asses: and she brought him into her father’s house: and when the father of the damsel saw him, he rejoiced to meet him.
The father in law rejoiced at the reconciliation.
19:4 And his father in law, the damsel’s father, retained him; and he abode with him three days: so they did eat and drink, and lodged there.
When the man desired to return to his home the father in law tried to delay their departure.
19:5 And it came to pass on the fourth day, when they arose early in the morning, that he rose up to depart: and the damsel’s father said unto his son in law, Comfort thine heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward go your way. 19:6 And they sat down, and did eat and drink both of them together: for the damsel’s father had said unto the man, Be content, I pray thee, and tarry all night, and let thine heart be merry. 19:7 And when the man rose up to depart, his father in law urged him: therefore he lodged there again.
19:8 And he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart; and the damsel’s father said, Comfort thine heart, I pray thee. And they tarried until afternoon, and they did eat both of them. 19:9 And when the man rose up to depart, he, and his concubine, and his servant, his father in law, the damsel’s father, said unto him, Behold, now the day draweth toward evening, I pray you tarry all night: behold, the day groweth to an end, lodge here, that thine heart may be merry; and to morrow get you early on your way, that thou mayest go home.
Finally on the fifth day of this delaying; the man refused to delay any longer and took his servant and the lady, departing to go to his own home much too late in the day.
19:10 But the man would not tarry that night, but he rose up and departed, and came over against Jebus, which is Jerusalem; and there were with him two asses saddled, his concubine also was with him.
The man felt safer and more comfortable in a city of Israel.
19:11 And when they were by Jebus [Jerusalem], the day was far spent; and the servant said unto his master, Come, I pray thee, and let us turn in into this city of the Jebusites, and lodge in it. 19:12 And his master said unto him, We will not turn aside hither into the city of a stranger, that is not of the children of Israel; we will pass over to Gibeah.
They made it to Gibeah of Benjamin as the sun set.
19:13 And he said unto his servant, Come, and let us draw near to one of these places to lodge all night, in Gibeah, or in Ramah. 19:14 And they passed on and went their way; and the sun went down upon them when they were by Gibeah, which belongeth to Benjamin.
19:15 And they turned aside thither, to go in and to lodge in Gibeah: and when he went in, he sat him down in a street of the city: for there was no man that took them into his house to lodging.
19:16 And, behold, there came an old man from his work out of the field at even, which was also of mount Ephraim; and he sojourned in Gibeah: but the men of the place were Benjamites.
19:17 And when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw a wayfaring man in the street of the city: and the old man said, Whither goest thou? and whence comest thou? 19:18 And he said unto him, We are passing from Bethlehemjudah toward the side of mount Ephraim; from thence am I: and I went to Bethlehemjudah, but I am now going to
the house of the LORD [at Shiloh]; and there is no man that receiveth me to house.
The old man of Ephraim who dwelled among Benjamin was hospitable, while the Benjamites were not.
19:19 Yet there is both straw and provender for our asses; and there is bread and wine also for me, and for thy handmaid, and for the young man which is with thy servants: there is no want of any thing. 19:20 And the old man said, Peace be with thee; howsoever let all thy wants lie upon me; only lodge not in the street. 19:21 So he brought him into his house, and gave provender unto the asses: and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink.
As they were eating and drinking wicked men came to the door and demanded sexual satisfaction from the man.
19:22 Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial [wickedness], beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.
19:23 And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly.
This Levite then protested but then instead of trusting in God he tried to deal with the situation on his own by offering his own daughter to these despicable people.
19:24 Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing.
Then the husband of the concubine brought her out himself.
There is no excuse for trying to save ourselves by ethical and moral compromise; for when we face such severe tests we are to RUN TO OUR GOD for his help and we are not to sin against our Mighty One!
19:25 But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go.
The woman was finally let go and she sought out her lord, dying on his door step.
19:26 Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord was, till it was light. 19:27 And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold.
The woman died at his threshold
19:28 And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going. But none answered.
The Levite then took her to his home and cut her into twelve pieces to send one piece to every tribe in Israel, calling on them to take action against this wicked city.
Then the man took her up upon an ass, and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place. 19:29 And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel.
The Levite managed to shock Israel into action.
19:30 And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds.
All Israel gathered before God at the place of the covenant between Laban and Jacob; the pillar in Mizpeh.
Judges 20:1 Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was gathered together as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, unto the LORD in Mizpeh.
400,000 men gathered themselves at Mizpeh.
20:2 And the chief of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen that drew sword.
Israel then demanded an explanation for the actions of the Levite in cutting up the woman and calling them together.
20:3 (Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel were gone up to Mizpeh.) Then said the children of Israel, Tell us, how was this wickedness?
20:4 And the Levite, the husband of the woman that was slain, answered and said, I came into Gibeah that belongeth to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to lodge. 20:5 And the men of Gibeah rose against me, and beset the house round about upon me by night, and thought to have slain me: and my concubine have they forced, that she is dead. 20:6 And I took my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel: for they have committed lewdness and folly in Israel.
The Levite then pleads his case and asks for a decision of the people.
20:7 Behold, ye are all children of Israel; give here your advice and counsel.
The people decided to take 10% of the men as workers to supply the rest; and the remainder would go up to destroy Gibeah.
20:8 And all the people arose as one man, saying, We will not any of us go to his tent, neither will we any of us turn into his house. 20:9 But now this shall be the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up by lot against it; 20:10 And we will take ten men of an hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and an hundred of a thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to fetch victual for the people, that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly that they have wrought in Israel.
20:11 So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one man.
Then Israel demanded that Benjamin deliver up the wicked men, but Benjamin would not deliver them.
This is a lesson for us that today’s Ekklesia will also be sternly corrected and almost destroyed for not rejecting wickedness from among us.
20:12 And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, What wickedness is this that is done among you? 20:13 Now therefore deliver us the men, the children of Belial, which are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel. But the children of Benjamin would not hearken to the voice of their brethren the children of Israel.
Benjamin sought to join battle in defense of the wicked.
20:14 But the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities unto Gibeah, to go out to battle against the children of Israel. 20:15 And the children of Benjamin were numbered at that time out of the cities twenty and six thousand men that drew sword, beside the inhabitants of Gibeah, which were numbered seven hundred chosen men. 20:16 Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss.
Benjamin with 26,700, sought to defend the wicked against the 400,000 of Israel
20:17 And the men of Israel, beside Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men that drew sword: all these were men of war.
God commanded that Judah go up to the battle first.
20:18 And the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God [at Shiloh], and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the LORD said, Judah shall go up first.
Benjamin wins the day’s battle, killing 22,000 of Israel; most would have been from Judah who led the attack. God seems to be trying to teach Israel a lesson with these defeats by the obviously wicked.
20:19 And the children of Israel rose up in the morning, and encamped against Gibeah. 20:20 And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin; and the men of Israel put themselves in array to fight against them at Gibeah. 20:21 And the children of Benjamin came forth out of Gibeah, and destroyed down to the ground of the Israelites that day twenty and two thousand men.
Israel seeks to encourage themselves and asks God if they should go up to battle or leave off; and God said “go up and fight.”
20:22 And the people the men of Israel encouraged themselves, and set their battle again in array in the place where they put themselves in array the first day. 20:23 (And the children of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until even, and asked counsel of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up again to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother? And the LORD said, Go up against him.) 20:24 And the children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day.
Benjamin again wins the day’s battle, killing 18,000 of Israel with no mention of casualties in Benjamin.
20:25 And Benjamin went forth against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men; all these drew the sword.
Israel did not lose faith but fasted and gave offerings to the Eternal. This should be a lesson for us that even if we have many trials we must still trust in God and persevere in godliness.
20:26 Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
At this point the Eternal said; go up to the battle and promised Israel victory.
20:27 And the children of Israel enquired of the LORD, (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 20:28 And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And the LORD said, Go up; for to morrow I will deliver them into thine hand.
Israel now uses a strategy, drawing the now over confident Benjamin out into an ambush.
20:29 And Israel set liers in wait round about Gibeah. 20:30 And the children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and put themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times.
Israel drew Benjamin out of their place and fell back before them.
20:31 And the children of Benjamin went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city; and they began to smite of the people, and kill, as at other times, in the highways, of which one goeth up to the house of God, and the other to Gibeah in the field, about thirty men of Israel. 20:32 And the children of Benjamin said, They are smitten down before us, as at the first. But the children of Israel said, Let us flee, and draw them from the city unto the highways.
Israel fled only so far and then turned back upon Benjamin; while others of Israel rose up out of their hiding place and sacked the city of Gibeon.
20:33 And all the men of Israel rose up out of their place, and put themselves in array at Baaltamar: and the liers in wait of Israel came forth out of their places, even out of the meadows of Gibeah. 20:34 And there came against Gibeah ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was sore: but they knew not that evil was near them.
Then the God Being who later gave up his God-hood to become flesh as Jesus Christ, went out before Israel and Israel destroyed 25,100 men of Benjamin that day.
20:35 And the LORD smote Benjamin before Israel: and the children of Israel destroyed of the Benjamites that day twenty and five thousand and an hundred men: all these drew the sword.
Israel trusted in the ambush and fled drawing Benjamin away from the city.
20:36 So the children of Benjamin saw that they were smitten: for the men of Israel gave place to the Benjamites, because they trusted unto the liers in wait which they had set beside Gibeah.
After Israel fell back drawing Benjamin after them, the hidden 10,000 of Israel were able to rise up and take the city.
20:37 And the liers in wait hasted, and rushed upon Gibeah; and the liers in wait drew themselves along, and smote all the city with the edge of the sword.
When the flames began to rise from the city; it was the appointed sign for those fleeing to turn back on their pursuers.
20:38 Now there was an appointed sign between the men of Israel and the liers in wait, that they should make a great flame with smoke rise up out of the city. 20:39 And when the men of Israel retired [were fleeing] in the battle, Benjamin began to smite and kill of the men of Israel about thirty persons: for they said, Surely they are smitten down before us, as in the first battle.
Then when Benjamin looked back and saw their city in flames Benjamin was taken by surprise and Israel turned back to fight them; in shock they were overwhelmed by Israel.
20:40 But when the flame began to arise up out of the city with a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them, and, behold, the flame of the city ascended up to heaven. 20:41 And when the men of Israel turned again, the men of Benjamin were amazed: for they saw that evil was come upon them. 20:42 Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel unto the way of the wilderness; but the battle overtook them; and them which came out of the cities they destroyed in the midst of them. 20:43 Thus they inclosed the Benjamites round about, and chased them, and trode them down with ease over against Gibeah toward the sunrising.
Thus was Benjamin destroyed almost to the loss of a whole tribe of Israel.
20:44 And there fell of Benjamin eighteen thousand men; all these were men of valour. 20:45 And they turned and fled toward the wilderness unto the rock of Rimmon: and they gleaned of them in the highways five thousand men [Israel killed 5,000 more of Benjamin in the highways]; and pursued hard after them unto Gidom, and slew [another] two thousand men of them.
20:46 So that all which fell that day of Benjamin were twenty and five thousand men that drew the sword; all these were men of valour.
Israel then went and destroyed all Benjamin, but 600 men escaped and hid in the wilderness.
20:47 But six hundred men turned and fled to the wilderness unto the rock Rimmon, and abode in the rock Rimmon four months. 20:48 And the men of Israel turned again upon the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword, as well the men of every city, as the beast, and all that came to hand: also they set on fire all the cities that they came to.