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Read the First5 study on Judges 19
There are so many lessons in this chapter. First, the concubine/wife was unfaithful to her husband. Other translations say she played the "harlot." Second, she ran to her father, its suggested that he had been allowing her wild ways for a long time because she knew she could run back to him and he would accept her instead of urging her to make things work with her husband, back at home.
The fact that her husband traveled to her to forgive her and woo her back shows that he's at least a decent man and that he doesn't intend for her to be punished over her marital transgressions like the law would allow.
The Levite was at first, trying to do the decent thing. At first, he chose to forgive his wife and keep her from an adulteress' punishment of death but in Gibeah, he went forth with her punishment not because he wanted her to be punished, but he valued his life and safety more than hers. The Levite fell short in being a just man. The lesson I got from him is that most people want to be just - only when it's easy. When it takes personal sacrifice, most people won't fight for the right thing to do. The Levite should have kept his wife hidden away in the house and called out to the Lord to ask for safety - all while preparing to fight evil.
The father in law wanted his daughter and son in law to stay longer and longer, which is understandable, but we should allow our guests to depart when they feel it's time because the father in law messed things up for the Levite. In that the Levite, his wife, and his servant had limited options when it came time to lodge. I think he was trying to delay their departure because he wanted to make sure everything was reconciled with his son in law and that the Levite wasn't going to pursue the adulteress' punishment for his daughter. Also, I think the father in law had kind of selfish intentions and wasn't trusting that the Lord was inspiring this reconciliation. As a host, he should have allowed his guests to leave when they felt inclined to leave.
The Levite wanted to lodge amongst brethren, but this was a bad choice in that a lot of the men in Gibeah had debased minds. The Levite probably would have been safer in the heathen town in which the servant suggested they stay. Honestly, sometimes I've felt safer around unbelievers because I've found that some of the believers that I was around to be harsh, judgmental, and legalistic. As Christians, we need to make it a point to be the people who love with a godly love.
The old man of Ephriam had a place in Gibeah, most likely because he did lots of business there on account of having nearby fields. He was godly - he wished safety on these travelers and was the only one to offer them a place to stay. Also, Sodom and Gomorrah met their demise nearby and within this old man's lifetime so we know that he knows what happened there. This old man looked up to Lot as a godly man. But as Matthew Henry points out, oftentimes when we try to emulate godly people, we tend to emulate their good choices as well as bad (in this case, offering up the women in his house to the evil men just like Lot did). We must look up to God, alone and only try to emulate Jesus. He's the only perfect one.
An interesting point of Matthew Henry's, is that the evil men chose to defile the concubine but didn't want the virgin daughter. It's likely the daughter was rejected for defilement because she had a reputation within this town of being kind to everyone and/or she was always modestly dressed. Henry also points out that it's likely the concubine was still dressing like a harlot at this time and perhaps this is why the townsmen accepted her for defilement and didn't want anything to do with the old man's daughter. As women, we must always consider that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and that modest dress is very important for many reasons. A rapist is totally at fault, but let's do our best not to attract/entice these evil types with our clothing choices.
Phew! I could go on and on about this chapter, but I have to stop here. Would you like to add or discuss? Please leave a comment!
So many lessons in this sad story. Let's press close to the Lord today and be thankful for His love, wisdom, and protection.
Thank you for reading. Jesus loves YOU.
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