士師記 19

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1 利未和他的妾在以色列中沒有的日子,有一個利未寄居在以法蓮地的偏遠地區;他從猶大伯利恆給自己娶了一個女子作妾。

2 他的妾背夫行淫,離開丈夫,回到猶大伯利恆父親的家那裡去了,在那裡住了的日子。

3 她的丈夫起來著一個僕和兩頭去追她,用話打動她的,叫她回來。她把丈夫到自己父家,那少女父親見了那,就歡歡喜喜迎接他。

4 那人的岳父,就是女子的父親,強留那人,那人就與他同;他們一起,在那裡宿。

5 到了第四,他們清起來,那人起身要走;那女子的父親對女婿:“請吃點餅增添力,然再走。”

6 於是下,一起;女子的父親對那:“請你答應再過一夜,暢快你的。”

7 起來要走,他的岳父強留他,他又在那裡過了一夜。

8 到了第五,他清起來要走;那女子的父親:“請點餅增添心力,等到日頭西斜再走吧。”於是他們耽延,直到日頭西斜;人一同飯。

9 和他的妾,以及他的僕起來要走的時候,他的岳父,就是那女子的父親,對他:“看哪,快晚了!請再住一夜。看哪,日頭西斜了!請在這裡再住一夜,暢快你的心;明天可以清起來,上回家去。”

10 不願再住一夜,就著自己的妾和兩頭備好了的起來走了,到耶布斯對面;耶布斯就是耶路撒冷

11 基比亞之行程他們走近耶布斯的時候,日頭快要落了;僕人對:“來,讓我們到這耶布斯人的城去,好在那裡住宿。”

12 人對他:“我們不可到這座不是以色列人居住的外族人的城裡去,我們過到基比亞去吧。”

13 又對他的僕人:“來吧,我們可以到這些地方其中個去投宿,或在基比亞或在拉瑪。”

14 於是他們走過去;他們走近便雅憫人的基比亞的時候,日頭已經落了。

15 他們從那裡轉身,要進基比亞去宿;他們進去,在城裡的廣場上,因為沒有接待他們到裡去宿。

16 晚上,有一個老年從田間工作;那原是以法蓮地的,寄居在基比亞;那地方卻是便雅憫

17 那老年舉目,見那個旅客在城裡的廣場上,就問他:“你要到哪裡去?你從哪裡?”

18 利未回答他:“我們是從猶大伯利恆過來的,要到以法蓮地的偏遠地區去,我原是那地方的;我去過猶大伯利恆,現在我要到我的家去(“到我的家去”原文作“到耶和華的殿去”),但沒有接待我到家裡去。

19 其實我有糧、有飼料,可以餵;我和我的妾,以及與你的僕人在一起的那個青年人,都有餅和酒吃喝,一無所缺。”

20 那老年:“願你平安,你所缺乏的,由我負責好了;只是不可在廣場上過夜。”

21 於是把他領到自己的家裡,用飼料餵了,他們,就

22 基比亞匪徒的罪行他們裡正暢快的時候,忽然城裡有些無賴之徒,圍繞房子,不住地敲,對老房主:“把進入你家的那個,我們要與他交合。”

23 那房主出見他們,對他們:“我的眾兄弟啊,不可這樣,請你們不要作惡;這既然進了我的家,你們就不要作這羞恥的事。

24 這裡有我的女兒,還是處女,並且有這的妾,我把她們領出來,讓你們污辱她們;你們看怎樣,就怎樣待她們吧。只是對這個,你們卻不要作這羞恥的事。”

25 那些卻不肯從他的話,那就抓住自己的妾,拉出外邊去交給他們,他們就與她交合,整夜污辱她;直到早晨,天色破曉的時候,才放她走。

26 天快亮的時候,那女子回到留她住宿的那的房子口,就仆倒在那裡,直到天亮。

27 早晨,她的起來開了,出去要上的時候,就看見那婦人,就是他的妾,仆倒在口,她的雙搭在檻上。

28 他對那婦:“起來我們走吧!”可是卻沒有回答。那就把她馱在上,起程回自己的地方去了。

29 他到了家裡,就拿起,抓住自己的妾,把她的肢體切成十塊,叫人送到以色列的全境去。

30 見的人都:“自從以色列人埃及地上來的日子,直到今日,這樣的事並沒有發生過,也沒有見過;你們要思想,要商議,要討論。”

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士師記 19      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

The Levite’s Concubine and the Crime of Gibeah

In many ways the events in this chapter show the further deterioration of the spiritual condition of the people of Israel. It's a terrible story, much like the story of Sodom, much earlier in the Book of Genesis. It ends with some men of Gibeah – a town of Israel – seeking to have sex with a man who is a guest of one of the men of the city. This does not happen; they are instead diverted into an all-night rape of the man’s concubine, so that she is lifeless when he retrieves her body in the morning. He then cuts her up into twelve pieces and sends these throughout the whole territory of Israel.

As we have been saying, these last few chapters of the Book of Judges show clearly that once evil takes hold of a person – even a community or a country – and goes unchecked, and there is no indication of any desire to stop it or to turn from it, it will expand and poison the whole ‘body’. Then there is no distinction between what is good and evil, or between what is true and what is false, and there is no longer any active conscience left to check thoughts, desires and actions. (Arcana Caelestia 977)

The story begins… A Levite, a priest of Israel, takes a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah, but she takes part in prostitution and leaves the priest and goes to her father’s house in Bethlehem. The Levite goes to talk kindly with her, and she takes him into her father’s house where he is made welcome by her father.

The spiritual meaning of this is about a fairly mild situation of disorder and wrong which will form the beginning of all that is to happen. The Levite has a concubine. The concubine takes part in prostitution. The father’s fault seems to be that he keeps delaying the Levite’s departure. Every person lives with their own natures which produce mild disorders which can in fact become useful to us during regeneration. But allowed or left to stay unchecked, these disorders can begin to take hold. (Arcana Caelestia 8407)

The Levite keeps intending to leave, but several times the father of the concubine begs him to stay another night and detains him. Three days there becomes four, another night is spent, and on the fifth day the father urges the Levite to stay and eat and spend another night and go away early the next day. This time the Levite refuses and they leave and get to the town of Jebus, a Canaanite town which will eventually become Jerusalem.

The spiritual meaning of these delays before leaving lies in the danger of not turning away from something which is beginning to hold us and become our new normality. The father is very persuasive, but he is the father of a concubine who prostitutes herself. The Levite senses something is not right, and he insists he will leave. (Divine Providence 329)

The Levite’s servant asks for them to stay in Jebus, but the Levite refuses to stay in a foreign city and says they will go on to Gibeah or Ramah. They come to Gibeah and stay in the square as no one will take them in. An old man passes by and offers to take them into his house, and they go with him.

The spiritual point of this refusal to stay in the foreign city of Jebus but to go on to Gibeah, a city in Israel, is to bring out for us a sense of the abhorrence of what is about to happen there, and the extent of the wrong in Israel. (Apocalypse Revealed 158)

Some men of Gibeah beat on the door demanding that the man staying there come out so that they can sexually abuse him. The old man refuses but offers them his virgin daughter and the visitor’s concubine, but the men refuse. The Levite takes the concubine out of the house to the men and they rape her all night until morning.

The spiritual meaning for us of this story of the men of Gibeah and the concubine stems from the fact that no one in the entire story is blameless, apart from the virgin daughter of the old man. Everyone else is culpable. Spiritually, this reminds us that we are potentially capable of thinking about and even wanting to commit every evil and that regeneration – shunning all evils as sins against God and living in careful obedience to the Word – is the guard against this. (Divine Providence 296)

Abused and left, the concubine falls at the door of the house. In the morning the Levite sees her, bids her get ready to leave, then realises she is dead. He puts her on his donkey and goes to his house. He takes a knife and cuts the concubine into twelve pieces and sends these throughout the whole of Israel. And all who see say that no such thing has been seen since Israel came out of Egypt and end saying, ‘Consider it. Confer. Speak up!’

The spiritual meaning for us in dividing the concubine’s body in twelve parts and distributing them throughout all Israel is to do with our need to examine ourselves and see where our evils lie within us, often hidden and unknown. This is to be done in view of our actions, words, thoughts, intentions and what we might do if there were no penalty. (Divine Providence 149, 152, 278)

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