November 11th, 2015
The horrific account of Judges 19 indicates the depths to which Israel plunged without a king. At the center of this sordid story is a Levite, a man specifically set apart for God’s service. This Levite makes the Levite in the Good Samaritan parable (see Luke 10:32) look upstanding! The shameful behavior of the Benjamites of Gibeah is appalling, yet as the story unfolds, the Levite’s self-interest and indifference to his concubine (a wife of a lesser status) is even more shocking.
Certainly a response was required. However, the Levite’s method of calling fellow Israelites to punish the crime of Gibeah was yet another dreadful act. Nonetheless the call to gather at Mizpah was heeded, and “all the Israelites” gathered as (ironically) “one body” (Judges 20:1, NRSV). Civil war ensued, nearly annihilating the tribe of Benjamin.
Sin among the people of God must not be ignored. The ethic of the gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to a higher response than that demonstrated in the days of kingless Israel.
Author: Rhonda Carrim