Suci 19

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1 U ono vrijeme kad u Izraelu još ne bijaše kralja, živio neki čovjek, levit, kao došljak na kraju Efrajimove gore. Uzeo on za inoču ženu iz Judina Betlehema.

2 Rasrdivši se jednom, njegova ga inoča ostavi i vrati se u očevu kuću u Judin Betlehem i bila je ondje neko vrijeme, kakva četiri mjeseca.

3 Njen muž ode k njoj da je urazumi i dovede natrag; imao je sa sobom slugu i dva magarca. Dok je prilazio kući oca mlade žene, opazi ga tast i veselo mu iziđe u susret.

4 Tast, otac mlade žene, zadrži ga tri dana kod sebe te su jeli, pili i noćivali.

5 Četvrtoga dana uraniše; levit se spremao da ide, kad otac mlade žene reče zetu: "Okrijepi se zalogajem kruha, pa onda idite."

6 I tako sjedoše te su obojica jela i pila, a onda otac mlade žene reče čovjeku: "Hajde, ostani još noćas i proveseli se!"

7 A kad čovjek ustade da pođe, tast uze navaljivati na njega te on još jednom ondje prenoći.

8 Petoga dana levit urani da krene, ali mu otac mlade žene reče: "Okrijepi se najprije!" Tako su proveli vrijeme jedući zajedno dok se nije nagnuo dan.

9 Muž ustade da ide, s inočom i slugom, kad mu tast, otac mlade žene, reče: "Evo se dan nagnuo k večeru. Prenoći još ovdje i proveseli se, pa sutra uranite na put i vratite se svom šatoru."

10 Ali čovjek ne htjede prenoćiti nego ustade i krenu. Tako je došao do pred Jebus, to jest Jeruzalem. S njim su bila dva osamarena magarca, inoča i sluga.

11 Kad su bili blizu Jeruzalema, dan se već jako nagnuo, pa sluga reče svome gospodaru: "Hajde da se svratimo u taj jebusejski grad da tu prenoćimo."

12 Ali mu gospodar odgovori: "Nećemo se svraćati u grad tuđinaca koji nisu Izraelci, nego ćemo ići do Gibee."

13 Još reče sluzi: "Hajde, požurimo se da stignemo u koje od tih mjesta gdje ćemo prenoćiti, u Gibeu ili Ramu."

14 I prođoše, nastavljajući put. Kad su stigli pred Benjaminovu Gibeu, sunce je zapadalo.

15 Oni skrenuše onamo da prenoće u Gibei. Ušavši, levit sjede na gradskom trgu, ali ne bijaše nikoga da ih primi u kuću da prenoće.

16 I dođe neki starac koji se predvečer vraćao s posla u polju. Bijaše to čovjek iz Efrajimove gore; življaše u Gibei kao došljak, a svi žitelji toga mjesta bijahu Benjaminovci.

17 Podigavši oči, ugleda putnika na gradskom trgu: "Odakle dolaziš i kamo ćeš?" - upita ga starac.

18 A on mu odgovori: "Idemo od Judina Betlehema, na kraj Efrajimove gore. Ja sam odande. Išao sam u Judin Betlehem i vraćam se kući, ali nema nikoga da me primi k sebi u kuću.

19 Imam i slame i krme za svoje magarce, a i kruha i vina za sebe, za svoju ženu i za momka koji prati mene, tvoga slugu. Imamo svega dosta."

20 "Mir s tobom i dobro mi došao", odgovori starac. "Moja je briga što ti je potrebno, samo nemoj noćiti na trgu."

21 I uvede ga u svoju kuću i baci krme magarcima. Putnici su oprali noge, a onda jeli i pili.

22 Dok su se oni krijepili, gle, neki građani, opaki ljudi, okružiše kuću i, lupajući svom snagom o vrata, rekoše starcu, gospodaru kuće: "Izvedi toga čovjeka što je ušao u tvoju kuću da ga se namilujemo."

23 Tad iziđe domaćin iz kuće i reče im: "Ne, braćo moja, ne činite zla. Taj je čovjek ušao u moju kuću, zato ne činite bezakonja.

24 Evo, moja je kći djevica, prepustit ću vam je. Činite od nje što vam drago, ali ovom čovjeku ne činite bezakonja."

25 Ljudi ga ne htjedoše poslušati. Tad onaj čovjek uze inoču te im je izvede. Oni su je silovali i zlostavljali svu noć do jutra, a kad je zora zabijeljela, pustiše je.

26 Pred zoru žena dođe i pade na ulaz kuće onog čovjeka gdje je bio njen gospodar i ležala je ondje dok se nije razdanilo.

27 Njen je gospodar ujutro ustao, otvorio kućna vrata te izišao da nastavi put, kad spazi ženu, svoju inoču, kako leži na kućnim vratima s rukama na pragu.

28 "Ustani, idemo!" - reče joj. Ali ne bijaše odgovora. Onda je uze, natovari na magarca i krenu na put da se vrati kući.

29 Kada je došao kući, trže nož i uze mrtvo tijelo inočino, rasiječe ga, ud po ud, na dvanaest dijelova te ih razasla u sve krajeve Izraela.

30 I tko god vidje reče: "Ovakvo što se nije dogodilo od dana kada su Izraelci izašli iz Egipta do današnjeg dana. Valja o tome promisliti, vijećati i govoriti."

  

Exploring the Meaning of Suci 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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