士師記 19

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1 以色列中沒有的時候,有住以法蓮地那邊的一個利未,娶了一個猶大伯利恆的女子為妾。

2 妾行淫離開丈夫,回猶大伯利恆,到了父家,在那裡住了

3 丈夫起來著一個僕、兩匹去見他,用好話勸他回來。女子就引丈夫進入父家。他父見了那,便歡歡喜喜地迎接。

4 那人的岳父,就是女子的父親,將那人留下。於是二人一同宿。

5 第四,利未人清起來要走,女子的父親對女婿:請你吃點飯,加添力,然可以行

6 於是下一同。女子的父親對那:請你再一夜,暢快你的

7 起來要走,他岳父強留他,他又住了一宿。

8 到第五,他清起來要走,女子的父親:請你點飯,加添心力,等到日頭偏西再走。於是人一同飯。

9 同他的妾和僕起來要走,他岳父,就是女子的父親,對他:看哪,日頭偏西了,請你再住一夜;快晚了,可以在這裡住宿,暢快你的心。明天起行回家去。

10 不願再住一夜,就備上那兩匹著妾起身走了,到耶布斯的對面(耶布斯就是耶路撒冷。)

11 臨近耶布斯的時候,日頭快要落了,僕人對我們不如進這耶布斯人的城裡住宿。

12 人回答我們不可進不是以色列人住的外邦城,不如過到基比亞去;

13 又對僕人我們可以到地方,或住在基比亞,或住在拉瑪

14 他們就往前走。將到便雅憫的基比亞,日頭已經落了;

15 他們進入基比亞要在那裡宿,就在城裡的街上,因為無接他們進宿。

16 晚上,有一個老年從田間做工回。他原是以法蓮地的,住在基比亞;那地方卻是便雅憫

17 老年舉目見客坐在城裡的街上,就問他:你從哪裡?要往哪裡去?

18 他回答我們猶大伯利恆來,要往以法蓮地那邊去。我原是那裡的,到過猶大伯利恆,現在我往耶和華的殿去,在這裡無接我進他的家。

19 其實我有糧可以餵,我與我的妾,並我的僕人,有餅有酒,並不缺少甚麼。

20 老年:願你平安!你所需用的我都給你,只是不可在街上過夜。

21 於是領他們到家裡,餵上,他們就

22 他們裡正歡暢的時候,城中的匪徒圍住房子,連連叩,對房主老:你把那進你家的,我們要與他交合。

23 那房主出對他們弟兄們哪,不要這樣作惡;這既然進了我的家,你們就不要行這醜事。

24 我有個女兒,還是處女,並有這的妾,我將他們領出來任憑你們玷辱他們,只是向這不可行這樣的醜事。

25 那些卻不從他的話。那就把他的妾拉出去交給他們,他們便與他交合,終夜凌辱他,直到天色快亮才放他去。

26 天快亮的時候,婦回到他住宿的房前,就仆倒在地,直到天亮。

27 早晨,他的起來開了,出去要行,不料那婦人仆倒在房前,兩搭在檻上;

28 就對婦起來我們走罷!婦卻不回答。那便將他馱在上,起身回本處去了。

29 到了家裡,用將妾的屍身切成十塊,使人拿著傳送以色列的四境。

30 見的人都:從以色列人埃及地,直到今日,這樣的事沒有行過,也沒有見過。現在應當思想,大家商議當怎樣辦理。

  

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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