Read Judges 19:1-15
B. The Benjamite War (19:1-21:25). 1. The Reason for the War (19:1-20:13a). This chapter of Judges is thought to be an appendix about an early episode during the Judge ruled period. A Levite had a concubine (i.e., essentially an official girlfriend or secondary wife).
The concubine went back to live with her father. After four months, the Levite/her “husband” came to get her.
There is extended hospitality given by the father of the concubine. Because they left late, the Levite, concubine, and servant end up settling down to spend the night in the city square of Gibeah, in Benjamin.
- The concubine’s return to her father. Notice in vss. 1-2 that the unfaithful concubine went back to her father. First, just because God allows something doesn’t mean that God approves. This is the case with concubines. God’s expressed will is for one man to marry one woman. We should not allow the description of the text to be a prescription for our lives.
Second, it is sin to be unfaithful to anyone whom you have promised faithfulness. This is true in marriage, but it is also true in friendships, church covenant relationships, and even job duties. We should be known for keeping our word.
Third, the culture of the day was more structured for the woman to return home. However, today we should be careful about allowing grown children to come live in our homes, when things go wrong in their lives.
There is a difference between a month or two to get on your feet verses taking up permanent residency. At very least, adult children should contribute to the household (e.g., rent, etc.). Let’s support the ideas of marriage, keeping our word, and not being enmeshed in the lives of our adult children.
- Reconciliation. Notice in vss. 2-3 that the Levite comes to the father’s house to get his concubine. We may want to give the Levite credit for going to seek reconciliation with the woman. Some people could never go and seek reconciliation with someone who had been unfaithful to them.
The principle of the matter or their pride often stops them. If the relationship is worth saving, sometimes you have to be the bigger person who goes and seeks reconciliation.
On the other hand, there are times when you need to let people who have left you go on about their lives. Let’s seek God’s wisdom and spiritual courage about seeking reconciliation.
- Hospitality. Notice in vss. 3-9 the hospitality that is extended by the concubine’s father. Most of us would consider the father to have gone overboard with his hospitality.
However, there are many who claim to be Christians who have very little hospitality. Even though our church covenant talks about participating in each’s joys and bearing one another’s burdens, and passages like Romans 12:13 and I Peter 4:9 talks about our being hospitable, it is not always the case.
“No,” we cannot invite everyone into our house/apartment and have them
spend the night. However, we should find some ways to be hospitable to
especially other believers. Let’s work on
being hospitable. Being friendly is a step in the right direction. Being
open to building supportive relationships is another step in the right
- Timing. Notice in vs. 10 how important timing is. There is a time to stay and a time to go. We will read about how bad things happened because the Levite left too late. In like manner, if we start somethings too late bad things may happen to us. Let’s seek God’s wisdom and courage about what to do and when to do.
Think about how this application relates to your family, job, community, church, health, finances, and mental attitude. Sometimes we know what to do, but we procrastinate or don’t have the wherewithal to tell people “no.” As a result we can miss our window of opportunity.
- Going to Gibeah. Notice in vss. 11-15 that the Levite refused to stay among aliens, as advised by his servant, and journeyed to Gibeah, in Benjamin, but no one took him in. First, when we think about the Levite rejecting the servant’s advice, we need to seek God’s wisdom about when to say “yes” and when to say “no.”
And then we need to seek God’s courage to follow His wisdom. This will help to keep us from second guesting what we should have done on yesterday.
Second, when we think about the Levite rejecting the first town, so he could make it to a town of people closer to those he was used to, we should pause. Notice that the city of the Benjamites did not take him in.
In fact, we will learn about some terrible things that happened by the hands of the Benjamites. This should tell us that we should be careful about assuming that just because a person looks like us or is similar to us in some way that things will be better.
Sometimes, it is “our people” who hurt us the most. Let’s seek God’s wisdom and courage, as we make decisions along our life journeys.
Conclusion: Let’s work on being obedient, instead of disobedient. God has much for those who obey His will.