Suci 21

Study

           

1 Izraelovi se ljudi bijahu ovako zakleli u Mispi: "Nitko od nas neće dati svoju kćer za ženu Benjaminovu sinu."

2 I ode narod u Betel i ostade ondje pred Bogom do večeri, naričući i jecajući.

3 Govorili su: "Zašto se, o Jahve, Bože Izraelov, ova nesreća morala dogoditi da Izraelu danas nestane jednog plemena?"

4 Sutradan uraniše ljudi i sagradiše ondje žrtvenik; prinesoše paljenice i žrtve zahvalnice.

5 Tad zapitaše Izraelci: "Ima li koga među svim plemenima Izraelovim da nije došao na zbor Jahvi?" Jer su se svečano zakleli da će pogubiti onoga tko ne dođe u Mispu k Jahvi.

6 Izraelcima se sada sažalilo na brata Benjamina te rekoše: "Danas je otkinuto jedno pleme od Izraela.

7 Kako ćemo dati žene onima koji su preostali kad se zaklesmo Jahvom da im nećemo dati svojih kćeri za žene?"

8 Zato zapitaše: "Ima li koga među Izraelovim plemenima da nije došao k Jahvi u Mispu?" I pronađe se da nije došao u tabor, na zbor, nitko od žitelja Jabeša u Gileadu.

9 Jer kada se narod prebrojio, ondje ne bijaše nikoga od žitelja Jabeša u Gileadu.

10 Zato zajednica posla onamo dvanaest tisuća hrabrih ljudi i zapovjedi im: "Idite i posijecite oštrim mačem stanovnike Jabeša u Gileadu, zajedno sa ženama i djecom.

11 Evo što ćete učiniti: izručit ćete prokletstvu sve muškarce i sve žene što su dijelile postelju sa čovjekom, ali ćete sačuvati život djevicama." Tako i učiniše.

12 I našli su među stanovnicima Jabeša u Gileadu četiri stotine mladih djevojaka koje nisu dijelile postelje s čovjekom i doveli su ih u tabor u Šilu, koji je u Kanaanu.

13 Sva zajednica posla tada poslanike Benjaminovcima koji bijahu na Rimonskoj stijeni: objaviše im mir.

14 Tako se oporavi Benjamin. Dadoše im one među ženama iz Jabeša u Gileadu koje su ostavili na životu, ali ih ne bijaše dovoljno za sve.

15 Narodu se sažalio Benjamin što je Jahve načinio prazninu među Izraelovim plemenima.

16 "Kako ćemo naći žene onima što su ostali", rekoše starješine zbora, "kad su Benjaminu istrijebljene žene?"

17 Rekoše još: "Kako sačuvati ostatak Benjaminu da se ne zatre jedno pleme iz Izraela?

18 A ne možemo im dati svoje kćeri za žene." Jer se bijahu zakleli rekavši: "Proklet bio onaj koji dade ženu Benjaminu!"

19 "Ali", rekoše, "svake se godine slavi u Šilu Jahvina svetkovina." Grad se nalazi na sjeveru od Betela, istočno od ceste koja vodi iz Betela u Šekem i južno od Lebone.

20 I zato svjetovaše Benjaminovce: "Idite u zasjedu po vinogradima.

21 Pazite, pa kada djevojke iz Šila iziđu da plešu u kolu, vi iskočite iz vinograda, otmite svaki sebi ženu između šilskih kćeri pa otiđite u Benjaminovu zemlju.

22 A kad njihovi očevi ili njihova braća dođu da se prituže na vas, mi ćemo im reći: 'Oprostite im što je svaki uzeo po ženu kao u ratu; vi im ih niste dali, pa je tako krivnja na vama.'"

23 Benjaminovci učiniše tako i od djevojaka koje oteše uzeše onoliki broj žena koliko bijaše njih. Onda odoše svaki na svoju baštinu, sagradiše opet gradove i naseliše se u njima.

24 Izraelci se tada raziđoše, svaki u svoje pleme i u svoj rod, i svaki se odande vrati na svoju baštinu.

25 U to vrijeme ne bijaše kralja u Izraelu i svatko je živio kako mu se činilo da je pravo.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Suci 21      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Wives Provided for the Men of Benjamin

This final chapter of the book of Judges deals with the wish of Israel to provide the remaining men of Benjamin with wives so that the tribe would not die out, since it was one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Yet the men of Israel had made a vow at Mizpah not to give their daughters to any men of Benjamin.

Providing wives means to add either truth or good to a situation. “In the Word, when ‘husband’ is mentioned, then ‘wife’ stands for truth. But when the husband is called ‘the man’, then ‘wife’ stands for good. This is the way it gets continually used in the Word.” (Arcana Caelestia 1468) In this chapter the men are called ‘the men of Benjamin’ or the Benjamites, so wives stand for good being joined to truth.

The men of Israel wondered who had not come to the gathering at Mizpah and recalled that no one from Jabesh Gilead had come. This meant that they were not under the obligation of the vow. The men of Israel told men to go and kill every man in that city and also any woman who was not a virgin. They found four hundred young virgins and brought them up to the camp at Shiloh.

The name Jabesh-Gilead means ‘arid’ and its spiritual meaning is in this city’s non-participation in dealing with the problem of the tribe of Benjamin. It stands for our refusal and disinclination to act to progress the spiritual life of the Word and our obedience to it.
But in it are four hundred young virgins who are not part of this non-participation and they can be taken to be wives for the men of Benjamin, to provide a future and an offspring.

“Virgins stand for the Lord’s kingdom, for everyone who is a kingdom of the Lord or a ‘church’, those who love the Lord, those who are in the affection for good, in charity to their neighbour, and those who love what is true. All of this is from the conjugial love which is there in chaste virgins.” (Arcana Caelestia 3081)

But even so, this is not enough to provide sufficient wives for the men of Benjamin. They recall that there is a yearly feast at Shiloh at which the young daughters of Shiloh dance. They tell the men of Benjamin to go there at the time of the feast and when the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance, to each seize a girl and take her away to Benjamin. And if anyone complains about breaking the vow made at Mizpah, it will be told them that this does not apply to the men of Benjamin and to be kind to this taking of wives.

The spiritual meaning of this is that it is essential that the tribe of Benjamin who stand for the link or connection between internal and external states, should have a full complement of wives so that truth and good can be together in producing and preserving this connection for our spiritual wholeness and its life. (Arcana Caelestia 5411)

The final verse of the book of Judges, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in their own eyes”, very much describes the sequence of the stories in Judges to the point where good and truth, love for the Lord and obedience to the Word, are marginalised, and replaced by one wrong action after another, through to the very end.

The spiritual meaning in these wrong doings can be seen to show their purpose in terms of our spiritual life and regeneration. This is the purpose of them being included in the Word, and while the text is at times harrowing, it contains the basis for giving us the truths which lead to eternal life and the Lord.

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