A horrible crime had occurred in Gibeah, a city of the tribe of Benjamin. It was a crime which reminds one of Sodom (Genesis 19:1-11 cf. Judges 19:11-30).
A Levite and his concubine were traveling from Bethlehem of Judah for the mountains of Ephraim. They decided to lodge for the night, not in Jebus (which was still controlled by Canaanites), but in Gibeah (an Israelite city). At first, they found no hospitality in Gibeah. They were going to spend the night in the city’s open square. Finally, they found hospitality. An old man, also from the mountains of Ephraim, offered for them to stay at his house. He fed their animals, and then he fed them.
The night turned horrible. Some perverted men surrounded the house. They wanted to rape the Levite man. The cowardly Levite made his concubine go out the men as a substitute for himself. She was brutally gang-raped all night.
Morning came. The rapists left. The Levite found his concubine lying at the door of the house. He callously said to her, “Get up and let us be going.” There was no response. She apparently was dead (cf. Judges 20:5).
The Levite took the woman home and cut her body into twelve pieces. He sent pieces throughout Israel (likely one piece for each tribal territory). This was designed to bring great attention to what had happened at Gibeah.
It worked. The other tribes of Israel demanded justice. The tribe of Benjamin resisted. War ensued. The Benjamites were almost completely destroyed from the land. Only a small remnant of men remained, and evidently even less women (Judges 20-21).
The other tribes swore an oath not to give their daughters to Bemjamite men. However, they later became concerned that the tribe of Benjamin could not survive if they could not find wives for the remaining men. What they decided was to have a two-fold approach. First, they had war with another city, Jabesh-Gilead. Virgins from this city were to be spared for Benjamin (Judges 21:10-12). Second, the elders of Israel consented to have some of the Israelite daughters abducted by the men of Benjamin (Judges 21:16-24). This plan allowed them to supply daughters without technically breaking their oath. They conspired with Benjamin in this. Moreover, if a father complained that his daughter had been taken other Israelites would excuse themselves we did not do it. The NIV Study Bible commented, “The other tribes were not actually ‘giving’ their daughters to them.”
This same crafty way of thinking still exists. Some people suggest, encourage, and enable others to sin. They excuse themselves by saying that they did not do it. Some profit from the sins of others, but declare their innocence saying that they did not do it.
We need to be very careful with this type of thinking. Consider:
- Leviticus 20:1-5. Hiding one’s eyes in this case did not please God.
- 2 Samuel 11:14-17 cf. 12:9. David killed Uriah, even though he did not personally do the violent deed.
- Psalm 50:18. Giving consent to sin does not please God.
- Proverbs 2:14. Delighting in the perversity of the wicked is wrong.
- Proverbs 17:15. Justifying the wicked is an abomination to the LORD.
- Matthew 18:6-7. It is a serious thing to cause others to stumble.
- Romans 1:28-32. Approving of those who practice unrighteousness does not please God.
- Romans 14:19-21. We should be concerned about how our words and actions affect others.
- 1 Corinthians 8:9-13; 10:31-33. We are to be concerned about others, and how our actions affect them, even willing to give up our own wants for their well-being. We are to seek to bring glory to God.
- 2 John 10-11. It is possible to share in others evil by encouraging and supporting such.
Each day let us seek to be a light to others. Let us not be a stumbling block. May God use us to His glory.