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Tuesday, March 11 2014
Judges 19: The Bethlehem Concubine
"It came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the side of mount Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Bethlehemjudah"
Many regard the era of the Judges (see the entire Israel history series from Israel In History and Prophecy: The Judges) to be a time of extreme violence and savagery, but there is nothing recorded in that historical record that can't be found in the modern-day news. Both are the inevitable result of what happens when people claim the "rights" to do whatever seems right in their own eyes - regardless of the Word of God (see Deuteronomy 12: They Aren't Rights If The LORD Says They're Wrongs and the Fact Finder question below).
The barbaric incident at Gibeah was a prime object lesson of "freedom" taken to a lawless, psychotic extreme. It resulted in the near-total destruction of the tribe of Benjamin (see Joshua 18: The Land Of Benjamin) during that time.
The incident began in "Bethlehemjudah" i.e. Bethlehem in Judea (see also Bethlehem In History And Prophecy).
"19:1 And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the side of mount Ephraim [see Mount Ephraim], who took to him a concubine out of Bethlehemjudah. 19:2 And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from him unto her father's house to Bethlehemjudah, and was there four whole months. 19:3 And her husband arose, and went after her, to speak friendly unto her, and to bring her again, having his servant with him, and a couple of asses: and she brought him into her father's house: and when the father of the damsel saw him, he rejoiced to meet him." (Judges 19:1-3 KJV)
The Levite (see Numbers 3: When Were The Levites Set Apart? and Numbers 18: The Inheritance Of The Levites) traveled down from the tribal territory of Ephraim, north of Jerusalem, to Bethlehem, which is south of Jerusalem. After a few days spent with her father, he managed to convince his concubine to return with him. The journey could not be done in a day, so they stopped for the night at Gibeah, north of Jerusalem (note that Jerusalem, at that time called Jebus, the "city of the Jebusites," was still regarded as a foreign city to the Israelites; see A History Of Jerusalem: Jebus Of Canaan).
"19:10 But the man would not tarry that night, but he rose up and departed, and came over against Jebus, which is Jerusalem; and there were with him two asses saddled, his concubine also was with him. 19:11 And when they were by Jebus, the day was far spent; and the servant said unto his master, Come, I pray thee, and let us turn in into this city of the Jebusites, and lodge in it. 19:12 And his master said unto him, We will not turn aside hither into the city of a stranger, that is not of the children of Israel; we will pass over to Gibeah." (Judges 19:10-12 KJV)
Gibeah was a lawless, perverted town, very similar to Sodom at the time that it was destroyed. When the wildmen of the town surrounded the house, rather than defending his concubine and himself from them, the cowardly Levite surrendered her to them.
"19:25 But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go. 19:26 Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man's house where her lord was, till it was light." (Judges 19:25-26 KJV)
The next morning, they left. Upon arriving home, another atrocity - the Levite cut the woman into pieces and sent them throughout Israel (it doesn't say that she died back in Gibeah; the Levite may well have killed her himself).
"19:28 And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going. But none answered. Then the man took her up upon an ass, and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place. 19:29 And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel.
This Day In History, March 11
222: Roman Emperor Elagabalus was assassinated, along with his mother, Julia Soaemias, by the Praetorian Guard (their palace guards) during a revolt. Their mutilated bodies are dragged through the streets of Rome before being thrown into the Tiber River (see also Whatever Happened To Those Romans?).
537: The Goths besieged Rome. The Goths were one of the tribes of Teutonic/Germanic people who invaded the Roman Empire in the 3rd to 5th centuries, eventually conquering and succeeding it. Thereafter, the Roman Empire became officially known as Sacrum Romanum Imperium Nationis Germanica i.e. the "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).
1708: Queen Anne withheld Royal Assent from the Scottish Militia Bill, the last time a British monarch vetoed legislation.
1810: Napoleon was married by proxy to Archduchess Marie Louise.
1812: An edict emancipated the Jews in Prussia (not to be confused with Russia; Prussia is in Germany). In reality however, the edict was evaded e.g. Jews could study law but not practice it.
1824: Amidst the ongoing genocide and homeland seizure of the Native Americans, the United States Department of War created the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
1900: British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury rejected the peace overtures offered from Boer leader Paul Kruger.
1917: General Maude with 50,000 British and Indian troops marched into Baghdad, capturing 9,000 Ottoman/Turkish prisoners (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1931: The communist Soviet Union banned the sale or importation of The Holy Bible.
1935: Hermann Goering established the German Air Force, the Luftwaffe.
1949: Israel's application for membership in the United Nations was approved by the Security Council (membership itself came the following May).
1953: A U.S. bomber accidentally dropped a nuclear bomb on South Carolina, however the weapon of mass destruction did not explode due to 6 "safety" catches.
1985: Mikhail Gorbachev became head of the Soviet Union following the death of Konstantin Chernenko. At 54, he was the youngest member of the ruling Politburo.
1990: The Lithuanian Parliament proclaimed the restoration of the Baltic Republic's pre-World War Two independence from the Soviet Union. Lithuania was the first Soviet Republic to break away from Communist control.
2011: A magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck 130 kilometers east of Sendai, Japan, triggering a tsunami that killed thousands of people. The event also caused the second-worst nuclear power plant disaster in history.