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The Concubine and Levite

The Concubine and Levite

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Published by Andrew Noble
This essay will leave you with the problem of Israel. The answer can only be found in Jesus, as He is the only one perfect enough and humble enough to judge the people of Israel.
This essay will leave you with the problem of Israel. The answer can only be found in Jesus, as He is the only one perfect enough and humble enough to judge the people of Israel.

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Published by: Andrew Noble on Apr 26, 2010
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08/27/2010

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 1
Israel, A Problem Pleadingfor a King
 By Andrew Noble
February 25, 2010RS 112/JS 130Student Number -
 
 2
Introduction
The Concubine at Gibeah narrative in Judges 19 through 21 is not your typical story. There is nounderdog win, no moral victory, and no compelling protagonist. A people group with no clear leaderlacks direction, and is shown as a mess. This narrative demonstrates that Israel has social, gender, moral,and religious problems. These problems are shown through the characters of the story. The issues stemfrom the central problem of the lack of political structure and function. The narrative is in need of asaviour, a ruler, and ultimately a king.In this narrative, we see a Levite and his concubine. The concubine is unfaithful and goes hometo her father. After 4 months, the Levite misses her and goes to get her back but ends up just sleepingover at her fathers house instead. After an extended stay, he leaves with the concubine late one nightand an old man welcomes him into his house. The story goes from bad to ugly at this point. The towndemands to know the man who went into the old mans house. The old man refuses that wickedsuggestion, yet offers up his own virgin daughter as well as the concubine. After further negotiations,the men of the town take the concubine and they knew her and abused her all night until the morning(Judges 19:24). The Levite finds the concubine but she does not answer his voice. The Levite goes on tostart a civil war by sending pieces of the concubines body around to the tribes of Israel. A lot of peopledie. Eventually the town, which is part of the tribe of Benjamin, is destroyed. Israel is disappointedabout their lack of Benjaminite brothers, and Israel decides to marry their daughters despite theirprevious vows against it.The entire text is wrapped up in the consequences of political ruin. In Judges 17:6, 18:1, 19:1,and 21:25 there is the repeated refrain: In those days there was no king in Israel. Considering howmany details are left out in the narratives, it is a significant phrase that outlines how we are to interpretthe characters. With no king, everyone did what was right in his own eyes. This leads to unfaithfulness,
 
 3selfish ambition, degradation of women, rape, and death. Judges 19-21 makes the argument for a kingthrough the characters and people groups; I will simply point out how the author of Judges makes thatargument.
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A certain Levite is a corrupt man because of what he says and what he doesnt say. Theconcubine likely left the Levite with good intention. The reasons for the concubine leaving are notmentioned in the text, because there is nothing significant that he said to her. This does not dismiss thegirl of doing anything wrong, but notes the moral state of the Levite man. Aschkenasy notes thatbecause the Levite seems grieved, it can be implied that he was the one in the wrong (pg 67). After fourmonths, the Levite does appear kind and wants to speak to her. The Levite seems to have a change of heart and may be approaching the concubine for forgiveness. However, the four months of silence aremore significant than the one moment of affection. The time spent waiting shows how little the Levitecared for the girl. Furthermore, when he finally meets his concubine he never says a word to her.Rather, he infatuates himself with her fathers gifts. Upon leaving, the Levite consults his servant andnot his concubine (Judges 19:11-13). In this dismissal of morality, the Levite treats the women as a toyinstead of someone who bears the image of God (see Genesis 1:27). The man is supposed to hold fastto his wife (Genesis 2:24) instead of letting her leave for four months without saying a word. The Leviteignores the concubine instead of talking with her. Perhaps the concubine is deaf or cannot speak. Shecould have had a mental illness that does not allow her to communicate. In either case, the Levite treatsher maliciously when he does speak to her.The only recorded time the Levite speaks to the concubine is when he heartlessly says Get up,let us be going after she is raped and abused. Again, the lack of morality is obvious. He doesnt careabout her and is more concerned about going back to his home than caring about her. This lack of 

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