What does Judges 19:24 mean?
ESV: Behold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine. Let me bring them out now. Violate them and do with them what seems good to you, but against this man do not do this outrageous thing.”
NIV: Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But as for this man, don't do such an outrageous thing.'
NASB: Here is my virgin daughter and the man’s concubine. Please let me bring them out, then rape them and do to them whatever you wish. But do not commit this act of vile sin against this man.'
CSB: Here, let me bring out my virgin daughter and the man's concubine now. Abuse them and do whatever you want to them. But don't commit this outrageous thing against this man."
NLT: Here, take my virgin daughter and this man’s concubine. I will bring them out to you, and you can abuse them and do whatever you like. But don’t do such a shameful thing to this man.'
KJV: Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing.
Full context for this verse means piling outrage upon outrage. None of this should be happening among the people of God (Deuteronomy 12:29–32). Upon hearing there is a traveler in town, a throng of men in Gibeah storm the home where he is staying. They demand the stranger be sent out to be raped (Judges 19:18–22). The host has denounced their attempt as horribly evil (Judges 19:23), and now suggests something just as cruel.
Even small details of this situation add to its horrific moral failure. The event closely mirrors what happened in Sodom just before God annihilated the city for their evil (Genesis 19:2–7). The target is a stranger, whom ancient tradition demanded be protected. Further, the man is a Levite (Numbers 3:5–10), so the mob is targeting one of God's representatives to the people of Israel. The proposed solution is to trade innocence for innocence (Proverbs 6:16–19).
Commentators are split on how to judge this older worker (Judges 19:16–17). On one hand, he likely fears for his life, as well as the lives of everyone in the home. He might see this as the only way to avoid everyone in the house from being killed or attacked. On the other hand, he also seems to think it less depraved for the crowd of men to rape a virgin girl and a concubine, instead of a man. That said, disagreement over the man's actions are all shades of the same basic conclusion: every part of this story is repulsive. That is the very point of this story's inclusion in the book of Judges.
The men in this story demonstrate that their commitment to cultural hospitality and self-preservation is greater than their godly calling as fathers and protectors. Incredibly, the men outside the home are even worse; their actions will so shock Israel that it leads to a civil war (Judges 20:8–10).
Judges 19:22–30 finds a Levite traveler and his concubine spending the night in the home of an old man in the Israelite town of Gibeah. Suddenly, the house is surrounded by a mob of men demanding the Levite be handed over so they can rape him. In desperation, the Levite sends out his concubine to save himself. The mob violates and beats her until morning, after which she is found dead. The Levite carries her body home and sends a graphic message to all of Israel: cutting her into twelve pieces and sending them throughout the tribes. This sparks outrage against Gibeah leading to a civil war (Judges 20:8–10), and infamy (Hosea 9:9)
A Levite man travels to reconcile with his runaway concubine. On their way back home, they spend the night in the city of Gibeah, in the home of an old man. The wicked men of the town form a mob, demanding the Levite be handed over to be raped. Instead, the Levite forces his concubine outside; the mob rapes and beats her until sunrise. The Levite finds her body, carries it home, and cuts it into twelve pieces. He sends these pieces throughout Israel. This shocks the entire nation into demanding some action be taken against Gibeah.
This chapter's stomach-turning depravity provides another example of the great wickedness in Israel, in an era when everyone did whatever they wanted to without regard for law or God (Judges 21:25). A mob of rapists murders a Levite man's concubine. He sends pieces of her body throughout the nation. This shocks the people into demanding justice. In the following chapters, the tribe of Benjamin refuses to hand over their guilty members. Israel is plunged into civil war.
The Book of Judges describes Israel's history from the death of Joshua to shortly before Israel's first king, Saul. Israel fails to complete God's command to purge the wicked Canaanites from the land (Deuteronomy 7:1–5; 9:4). This results in a centuries-long cycle where Israel falls into sin and is oppressed by local enemies. After each oppression, God sends a civil-military leader, labeled using a Hebrew word loosely translated into English as "judge." These appointed rescuers would free Israel from enemy control and govern for a certain time. After each judge's death, the cycle of sin and oppression begins again. This continues until the people of Israel choose a king, during the ministry of the prophet-and-judge Samuel (1 Samuel 1—7).
Accessed 11/30/2023 6:22:27 AM
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