July 29, 2019


Judges 19:11-30

“You are welcome at my house,” the old man said. . . . “Don’t spend the night in the square.”

—  Judges 19:20

The old man in Gibeah showed hospitality to the visitors—a Levite, his concubine, and his servant—by taking them into his home. And when wicked men surrounded the house at night and wanted to rape the Levite, the old man defended his guest—but then offered them his daughter and the concubine! The outlaws still wanted the Levite, so, to save himself, he handed them his concubine. The men abused her all night, and she died on the doorstep.

Then, when the Levite found his concubine dead in the morning, he took her body home, cut the body in pieces, and sent them throughout the land. What?! We learn later that this became a call for punishment against the wicked men of Gibeah (Judges 20).

What are we to think of all this? When people do only what is right in their own eyes, things go from bad to worse—and even worse. Eventually this mayhem leads to a civil war in which the people of God fight and kill one another.

The old man mixed hospitality with an utter lack of respect for his daughter and the concubine. And the Levite sent his concubine to her death. Women were treated horribly in those days, and wild gangs did as they pleased. God’s Word, however, called everyone to love their neighbor. No one should treat others so cruelly.

Let us thank God today for our good King, Jesus Christ, who rules compassionately and firmly through the Holy Spirit.

Lord and King, help us to love all our neighbors as you have loved us. Save us from inhospitality. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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