士师记 19

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1 以色列中没有的时候,有住以法莲地那边的一个利未,娶了一个犹大伯利恒的女子为妾。

2 妾行淫离开丈夫,回犹大伯利恒,到了父家,在那里住了

3 丈夫起来着一个仆、两匹去见他,用好话劝他回来。女子就引丈夫进入父家。他父见了那,便欢欢喜喜地迎接。

4 那人的岳父,就是女子的父亲,将那人留下。於是二人一同宿。

5 第四,利未人清起来要走,女子的父亲对女婿:请你吃点饭,加添力,然可以行

6 於是下一同。女子的父亲对那:请你再一夜,畅快你的

7 起来要走,他岳父强留他,他又住了一宿。

8 到第五,他清起来要走,女子的父亲:请你点饭,加添心力,等到日头偏西再走。於是人一同饭。

9 同他的妾和仆起来要走,他岳父,就是女子的父亲,对他:看哪,日头偏西了,请你再住一夜;快晚了,可以在这里住宿,畅快你的心。明天起行回家去。

10 不愿再住一夜,就备上那两匹着妾起身走了,到耶布斯的对面(耶布斯就是耶路撒冷。)

11 临近耶布斯的时候,日头快要落了,仆人对我们不如进这耶布斯人的城里住宿。

12 人回答我们不可进不是以色列人住的外邦城,不如过到基比亚去;

13 又对仆人我们可以到地方,或住在基比亚,或住在拉玛

14 他们就往前走。将到便雅悯的基比亚,日头已经落了;

15 他们进入基比亚要在那里宿,就在城里的街上,因为无接他们进宿。

16 晚上,有一个老年从田间做工回。他原是以法莲地的,住在基比亚;那地方却是便雅悯

17 老年举目见客坐在城里的街上,就问他:你从哪里?要往哪里去?

18 他回答我们犹大伯利恒来,要往以法莲地那边去。我原是那里的,到过犹大伯利恒,现在我往耶和华的殿去,在这里无接我进他的家。

19 其实我有粮可以喂,我与我的妾,并我的仆人,有饼有酒,并不缺少甚麽。

20 老年:愿你平安!你所需用的我都给你,只是不可在街上过夜。

21 於是领他们到家里,喂上,他们就

22 他们里正欢畅的时候,城中的匪徒围住房子,连连叩,对房主老:你把那进你家的,我们要与他交合。

23 那房主出对他们弟兄们哪,不要这样作恶;这既然进了我的家,你们就不要行这丑事。

24 我有个女儿,还是处女,并有这的妾,我将他们领出来任凭你们玷辱他们,只是向这不可行这样的丑事。

25 那些却不从他的话。那就把他的妾拉出去交给他们,他们便与他交合,终夜凌辱他,直到天色快亮才放他去。

26 天快亮的时候,妇人回到他住宿的房前,就仆倒在地,直到天亮。

27 早晨,他的起来开了,出去要行,不料那妇人仆倒在房前,两搭在槛上;

28 就对妇起来我们走罢!妇却不回答。那便将他驮在上,起身回本处去了。

29 到了家里,用将妾的尸身切成十块,使人拿着传送以色列的四境。

30 见的人都:从以色列人埃及地,直到今日,这样的事没有行过,也没有见过。现在应当思想,大家商议当怎样办理。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士师记 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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