Abagwebi 19

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1 Kwathi ngaloo mihla, kungekho kumkani kwaSirayeli, kwabakho indoda engumLevi ephambukele emathambekeni akwaEfrayim, yazeka umfazi olishweshwe eBhetelehem yakwaYuda.

2 Lahenyuza likuyo ishweshwe layo, lemka kuyo, laya endlwini yoyise walo eBhetelehem yakwaYuda, laba khona imihla eziinyanga ezine.

3 Yesuka indoda yalo yaliphuthuma, ukuba ithethe kakuhle nalo ilibuyise, inomfana namaesile amabini. Layingenisa endlwini yoyise walo. Wayibona uyise wentombazana leyo, wakuvuyela ukuhlangana nayo.

4 Wayigcina uyise womfazi, uyise wentombazana leyo; yahlala naye imihla yamithathu, badla, basela, balala khona.

5 Kwathi ngomhla wesine, bavuka kusasa; yesuka yona ukuba imke. Wathi uyise wentombazana kumyeni wayo, Khawuxhase intliziyo yakho ngeqhekeza lesonka, nandule ukuhamba.

6 Bahlala ke badla bobabini ndawonye, basela. Wathi uyise wentombazana kwindoda, Makhe kukholeke kuwe, ulale, ichwayithe intliziyo yakho.

7 Yesuka indoda leyo ukuba ihambe; wayijoka uyise womkayo, yabuya yalala khona.

8 Yavuka kusasa ngomhla wesihlanu ukuba ihambe. Wathi uyise wentombazana, Khawuxhase intliziyo yakho, nizilazile ide ijike imini; badla ke bobabini.

9 Yesuka indoda ukuba imke, yona neshweshwe layo nomfana wakuyo. Wathi kuyo uyise womkayo, uyise wentombazana, Khawukhangele, imini iyemka, kuyahlwa; khanilale; yabona, imini isangene; lala apha, ichwayithe intliziyo yakho, nivuke kusasa ngomso, nihambe ngendlela yenu, uye ententeni yakho.

10 Ayavuma ukulala indoda leyo, yesuka yemka; yafika malungana neYebhusi (yiYerusalem ke leyo), inamaesile amabini ebotshiwe, ineshweshwe layo.

11 Xa babengaseYebhusi, imini yayise ithambamile kakhulu. Wathi umfana kwinkosi yakhe, Khawuze siphambukele kulo mzi wamaYebhusi, silale kuwo.

12 Yathi kuye inkosi yakhe, Asiyi kuphambukela apha kumzi wolunye uhlanga, ongengowoonyana bakaSirayeli; sodlula siye eGibheha.

13 Yathi kumfana wakuyo, Yiza, sisondele kwenye indawo, silale; nokuba kuseGibheha, nokuba kuseRama.

14 Bagqitha, bahamba; batshonelwa lilanga ecaleni laseGibheha yakwaBhenjamin.

15 Baphambukela apho, baya kulala eGibheha; yafika yahlala endaweni yokubutha kwamadoda omzi; akwabakho mntu ubamkelela endlwini yakhe, ukuba balale.

16 Kwathi thu indoda enkulu ivela emsebenzini wayo emasimini, ngokuhlwa; iyindoda yelasezintabeni lakwaEfrayim, ingumphambukeli eGibheha. Ke amadoda aloo mzi abengamaBhenjamin.

17 Yawaphakamisa amehlo ayo, yabona ndoda ingumhambi endaweni yokubutha kwamadoda omzi, yathi indoda enkulu leyo, Uya ngaphi na? Uvela phi na?

18 Yathi kuyo, Siyagqitha, sivela eBhetelehem yakwaYuda; siya emathambekeni akwaEfrayim; endingowakhona. Ndibe ndihambele eBhetelehem yakwaYuda, ngoku ndihambela endlwini kaYehova. Akukho bani ke undamkelela endlwini yakhe apha;

19 kanti ke sinomququ kwaneendiza zamaesile ethu, nesonka newayini eyiyeyam, nomkhonzazana wakho, nomfana okubakhonzi bakho; akusweleke nto.

20 Yathi indoda enkulu, Uxolo malube nawe; ke ukuswela kwakho konke makube phezu kwam; kodwa musa ukulala endaweni yokubutha kwamadoda omzi.

21 Yayingenisa endlwini yayo, yawanika iindiza amaesile; bazihlamba iinyawo zabo, badla, basela.

22 Bakubon’ ukuba bayazichwayithisa iintliziyo zabo, nango amadoda aloo mzi, amadoda angamatshijolo, eyirhawula indlu leyo, emana enkqonkqoza elucangweni; atsho kwindoda enkulu engumninindlu ukuthi, Yikhuphe indoda engene endlwini yakho, siyazi.

23 Yaphuma indoda engumninindlu, yaya kuwo, yathi kuwo, Hayi, bazalwana bam, hayi, musani ukukha nenze into embi. Emveni kokuba le ndoda ingene endlwini yam, musani ukwenza obu budenge.

24 Nantsi intombi yam eyintombi, neshweshwe lale ndoda; makhe ndikhuphe bona, nibone, nenze kubo okulungileyo emehlweni enu; ke kule ndoda ze ningenzi nto yobu budenge.

25 Akavuma loo madoda ukumphulaphula. Yalibamba indoda ishweshwe layo, yalikhuphela phandle kuwo; alazi, afeketha ngalo bonke ubusuku kwada kwasa; alindulula ngesifingo.

26 Yafika inkazana leyo xa kusayo, yawa emnyango wendlu yendoda apho yayikhona inkosi yayo, kwada kwamhlophe.

27 Yavuka inkosi yayo kusasa, yazivula iingcango zendlu, yaphuma ukuba ihambe ngendlela yayo; nantso le nkazana ilishweshwe layo iwile emnyango waloo ndlu, nezandla zayo zisembundwini wawo.

28 Yathi kuyo, Vuka sihambe; ayaphendula. Yayithabatha yayibeka phezu kwe-esile; yesuka loo ndoda, yasinga endaweni yayo.

29 Yafika endlwini yayo, yathabatha isitshetshe, yalibamba ishweshwe layo, yalityatya ngokwamathambo alo laziinyama ezilishumi elinambini, yalithumela kuyo yonke imida yakwaSirayeli;

30 ukuze bonke ababona oko bathi, Okunje akuzanga kubekho; akuzanga kubonwe kususela kumhla abanyuka ngawo oonyana bakaSirayeli ezweni laseYiputa, unanamhla; kubekeleni iintliziyo zenu oku, nicebe, nithethe.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Abagwebi 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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