In order to understand the events of Chapter 20 one needs to read Chapter 19 first, so I would encourage you to read both of these chapters. This is one of the saddest stories in the history of God’s earthly people, Israel. It illustrates quite graphically the truth of Jeremiah 17:9, which says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it.” We will trace the sinful events that led up to the civil war recorded in Chapter 20.

In 19-1-2 we read, “…a certain Levite…took for himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah…but his concubine PLAYED THE HARLOT, and went away from him to her father’s house” (NKJV). Here we see the awful sin of PROSTITUTION.

In verses 3-20 we learn that the Levite went to her father’s house and convinced her to return home with him. On their way home they stayed in the city of Gibeah in the home of an old man and his virgin daughter and in verse 22 we read, “As they were enjoying themselves…perverted men surrounded the house and beat on the door…saying, ‘Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally’.” Like the scene in Genesis 19:4-6, these men were “militant HOMOSEXUALS” who wanted to force the Levite to have sex with them.

In verse 23-24 the old man offered them his virgin daughter and the Levite’s concubine instead, which displays the heartless attitude he had toward these woman. They refused his offer which led the Levite to send his concubine out to them and verse 25 tells us, “And they knew here and abused her all night until the morning.” What a wretched case of RAPE we have before us in these words!

In the morning the Levite found his concubine dead at the door of the house. He took her body home and in verse 29 we read, “When he entered his house he took a knife, laid hold of his concubine, and divided her into twelve pieces, limb by limb, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel.” The man’s heart was so outraged that he committed the gross act of MUTILATION.

The reaction of the 11 tribes to the sin committed by the perverted men from the tribe of Benjamin is recorded in Chapter 12. Verses 1-2 state, “Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was assembled as one man….four hundred thousand footmen that drew the sword.” They were ready to avenge the death of the Levite’s concubine, especially after hearing the gruesome account of her rape and subsequent death (see verses 3-11). But they did give the tribe of Benjamin the opportunity to “deliver up the men, the perverted men who are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and remove the evil from Israel” (verse 13), but “the children of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brethren” (verse 14). The rest of the chapter gives the details of the civil war which resulted in a great loss of life, not only from the tribe of Benjamin, but also from the other tribes. Why did God allow lives to be lost from all of Israel? Because even though their cause was just and they desired to “remove the evil from Israel,” their hearts were not right before the Lord. So, they Lord judged their sin as well and eventually they humbled themselves before the Lord, as we see in verse 23, “Then the children of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until evening” (see also verses 26-28).

These chapters are painful to read, for as I said they show us what man’s (our) wicked heart is capable of. It also displays to us God’s holiness and how He must judge sin. When people have asked me to prove that the Bible is the Word of God I often point them to portions like this and I say, “If men had written the Bible, they would NOT have described how corrupt and wicked the human race really is.” (246.9) (DO)