March 29

Read Judges 18 -- 19

Israel continued to ignore God's Word, and continued to fall into lawlessness and moral perversion, resulting in numerous national disasters. Consequently, we read: In those days there was no king in Israel. . . . every man did that which was right in his own eyes (Judges 18:1; 19:1; 21:25). This means doing whatever seemed most gratifying.

To illustrate the deplorable moral condition that existed, a Levite, representing spiritual leadership, and his concubine are introduced to us. We are disappointed to read of the violation of the Law by his relationship with his concubine who played the whore against him (19:2; Leviticus 21:7). Perhaps there was an exchange of strong words after the Levite discovered that she was unfaithful to him and he told her to return home. But, after four months, the Levite decided that he wanted her back, so he went to her father's house to speak friendly to her . . . when her father . . . saw him, he rejoiced to meet him (Judges 19:2-3).

When the Levite decided to return home several days later, it was too late to complete their journey before nightfall, so they stopped in Gibeah, a city belonging to the tribe of Benjamin (19:14). An old man offered them hospitality in his house, which they accepted. But, certain sons of Belial (Satan-controlled sinners -- comp. II Corinthians 6:15) . . . beat on the door, and spoke to the . . . old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into your house, that we may know (rape) him (Judges 19:22). After much pleading by the old man not to do so wickedly (19:23), in order to satisfy their evil lust, the Levite took his concubine, and brought her to them; and they knew (raped) her, and abused her all night (19:25).

After the violent rape that resulted in her death, the Levite dismembered her body and circulated the parts among the 12 tribes to impress upon the nation the vile moral corruption that existed in Gibeah. The tribes called a solemn assembly to gather the facts about this wickedness (20:3).

God's Word was clear: There shall be no whore (prostitute) of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite (homosexual) of the sons of Israel (Deuteronomy 23:17). Yet the leaders of the tribe of Benjamin refused to allow the guilty ones to be prosecuted, even though the Law called for the death of all homosexuals (Leviticus 18:22,29; 20:13) and rapists and sexual perverts (18: 20,29; Deuteronomy 22:25).

The fact that the old man offered his own virgin daughter as well as the Levite's concubine to the demanding crowd shows that, although to do so was a sinful act, homosexuality was far more wicked by comparison -- a vile thing (Judges 19:24). The vileness of this sin is confirmed in the New Testament where we read: For this cause God gave them up to vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman (natural sexual relations), burned in their lust one toward another; men with men committing shameful acts, and receiving in themselves the consequences of their sin (Romans 1:26-27).

Christ Portrayed: In those days there was no king in Israel (Judges 18:1). Christ was the rejected King of Israel (John 19:14-15).

Word Studies: 18:21 carriage means baggage; 19:17 wayfaring means traveler; 19:19 provender means fodder; 19:22 sons of Belial means evildoers, sons of hell (Deut. 13:13), and sodomites, as in this situation; may know him means may have homosexual relations with him.

Prayer:

BPM Staff: Barbara Ann Bivens · Pray for all Bible Reading Marathon Coordinators · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in honor of Rick Hash · Country: Burkina Faso (11 million) in western Africa · Major languages: French and Sudanic tribal languages · Religious freedom · 48% Muslim; 33% belief in false gods, idolatry, and heathenism; 14% Roman Catholic; 5% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Your prayer should always be to please the Lord (Psalms 73:25).

Optional Reading: John 20

Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 2:11