Thoughts and Reflection
Today in the readings we read some of the darkest stories to date. A Levite priest takes a concubine. This goes against what God told us in Genesis 2. The men of Gibeah kill the concubine. Her body is then cut up into twelve pieces and sent to the twelve tribes of Israel. As a consequence, the other tribes fight against the tribe of Benjamin and kill them. they then go to Jabesh-gilead and kill many. There was no king in Israel and every man did what was right in their own eyes.
This does parallel today’s society in many ways. Everyone has their own truth and does what is right in their eyes. But we need to look at a higher power for truth – God.
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!
3 Her husband then set out after her, to appeal to her affections and fetch her back; he had his servant and two donkeys with him. As he was arriving at the house of the girl’s father, the father saw him and came happily to meet him.
7 And when the man got up to leave, the father-in-law pressed him again, and he spent another night there.
8 On the fifth day, the Levite got up early to leave, but the girl’s father said to him, ‘Please gather strength first!’ So they stayed on until the sun began to go down, and the two men had a meal together.
9 The husband was getting up to leave with his concubine and his servant when his father-in-law, the girl’s father, said, ‘Look, day is fading into evening. Please spend the night here. Look, the day is nearly over. Spend the night here and enjoy yourself. Then, early tomorrow, you can leave on your journey and go back home.’
10 But the man, refusing to stay the night, got up and went on his way, until he arrived within sight of Jebus — that is, Jerusalem. He had with him two donkeys saddled, his concubine and his servant.
11 By the time they were near Jebus, the light was going fast. The servant said to his master, ‘Come on, please, let us turn off into this Jebusite town and spend the night there.’
16 Eventually, an old man came along at nightfall from his work in the fields. He too was from the highlands of Ephraim, although he was living in Gibeah; the people of the place, however, were Benjaminites.
18 ‘We are on our way’, the other replied, ‘from Bethlehem in Judah to a place deep in the highlands of Ephraim. That is where I come from. I have been to Bethlehem in Judah and now I am going home, but no one has offered to take me into his house,
19 although we have straw and provender for our donkeys, and I also have bread and wine for myself, and this maidservant and the young man who is travelling with your servant; we are short of nothing.’
22 While they were enjoying themselves, some townsmen, scoundrels, came crowding round the house; they battered on the door and said to the old man, master of the house, ‘Send out the man who went into your house, we should like to have intercourse with him!’
23 The master of the house went out to them and said, ‘No, brothers, please, do not be so wicked. Since this man is now under my roof, do not commit such an infamy.
24 Here is my daughter; she is a virgin; I shall bring her out to you. Ill-treat her, do what you please with her, but do not commit such an infamy against this man.’
25 But the men would not listen to him. So the Levite took hold of his concubine and brought her out to them. They had intercourse with her and ill-treated her all night till morning; when dawn was breaking they let her go.
27 In the morning her husband got up and, opening the door of the house, was going out to continue his journey when he saw the woman, his concubine, lying at the door of the house with her hands on the threshold.
30 He gave instructions to his messengers, ‘This is what you are to say to all the Israelites, “Has anything like this been done since the day when the Israelites came out of Egypt until today? Take this to heart, discuss it; then give your verdict.” ‘ And all who saw it declared, ‘Never has such a thing been done or been seen since the Israelites came out of Egypt until today.’
5 ‘The men of Gibeah ganged up against me and, during the night, surrounded the house where I was lodging. They intended to murderme. They raped my concubine to death.
7 Now, all you Israelites, discuss the matter and give your decision here and now.’
10 and, throughout the tribes of Israel, select ten men out of a hundred, a hundred out of a thousand and a thousand out of ten thousand to collect food for the people, so that, on their arrival, the latter may treat Gibeah in Benjamin as this infamy perpetrated in Israel deserves.’
12 The tribes of Israel sent messengers throughout the tribe of Benjamin to say, ‘What is this crime which has been committed in your territory?
13 Now, give up these men, these scoundrels, living in Gibeah, so that we can put them to death and wipe out this evil from Israel.’ The Benjaminites, however, would not listen to their brother Israelites.
16 In this great army there were seven hundred first-rate left-handers, every man of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss it.
19 In the morning, the Israelites moved off and pitched their camp over against Gibeah.
23 The Israelites went and wept before Yahweh until evening; they then consulted Yahweh; they asked, ‘Shall we join battle again with the sons of our brother Benjamin?’ Yahweh replied, ‘March against him!’
24 This second day, the Israelites advanced against the Benjaminites,
25 and, this second day, Benjamin sallied out from Gibeah to meet them and massacred another eighteen thousand Israelites, all experienced swordsmen.
26 Then all the Israelites and the whole people went off to Bethel; they wept and sat in Yahweh’s presence; they fasted all day till the evening and presented burnt offerings and communion sacrifices before Yahweh.
28 and Phinehas son of Eleazer, son of Aaron was its minister at the time. They said, ‘Ought I to go into battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin again, or should I stop?’ Yahweh replied, ‘March! For tomorrow I shall deliver him into your hands.’
30 On the third day the Israelites marched against the Benjaminites and, as before, drew up their line in front of Gibeah.
31 The Benjaminites sallied out to engage the people and let themselves be drawn away from the town. As before, they began by killing those of the people who were on the roads, one of which runs up to Bethel, and the other to Gibeah through open country: some thirty men of Israel.
32 The Benjaminites thought, ‘We have beaten them, as we did the first time,’ but the Israelites had decided, ‘We shall run away and draw them away from the town along the roads.’
33 All the Israelites then retreated and reformed at Baal-Tamar, while the Israelite troops in ambush surged from their positions to the west of Gibeah.
36 The Benjaminites saw that they were beaten. The Israelites had given ground to Benjamin, since they were relying on the ambush which they had positioned close to Gibeah.
38 Now it had been agreed between the Israelites and those of the ambush that the latter should raise a smoke signal from the town,
39 whereupon the Israelites in the thick of the battle would turn about. Benjamin began by killing some of the Israelites, about thirty men, and thought, ‘We have certainly beaten them, as we did in the first battle.’
40 But the signal, a column of smoke, began to rise from the town, and the Benjaminites looking back saw the whole town going up in flames to the sky.
41 The Israelites then turned about, and the Benjaminites were seized with terror, for they saw that disaster had struck them.
45 They then turned tail and fled into the desert, towards the Rock of Rimmon. Five thousand of them were picked off on the roads, and the rest were relentlessly pursued as far as Gideon, two thousand of them being killed.
1 The men of Israel had sworn this oath at Mizpah, ‘None of us is to give his daughter in marriage to Benjamin.’
3 and exclaiming, ‘Yahweh, God of Israel, why has this happened in Israel that a tribe should be missing from Israel today?
4 The next day the people got up early and built an altar there; they presented burnt offerings and communion sacrifices.
5 The Israelites then said, ‘Out of all the tribes of Israel, who has not come to Yahweh, to the assembly?’ — for they had sworn a solemn oath that anyone who did not come to Yahweh at Mizpah would certainly die.
7 What shall we do to provide wives for those who are left, since we have sworn by Yahweh not to give them any of our own daughters in marriage?’
8 They then asked, ‘Out of the tribes of Israel, who is it that has not come to Yahweh at Mizpah?’ It was discovered that no one from Jabesh in Gilead had come to the camp for the assembly;
9 for, a muster having been called of the people, none of the inhabitants of Jabesh in Gilead was present.
11 This is what you are to do. All males and all those women who have ever slept with a man, you will put under the curse of destruction, but the lives of the virgins you will spare.’ And this they did.
15 The people felt sorry about Benjamin, Yahweh having made a breach in the tribes of Israel.
16 And the elders of the community said, ‘What shall we do to provide wives for the survivors, since the women of Benjamin have been wiped out?’
17 They went on, ‘How can we preserve a remnant for Benjamin so that a tribe may not be lost to Israel?
19 ‘However,’ they said, ‘there is the feast of Yahweh, held every year at Shiloh.’ (The town lies north of Bethel, east of the highway that runs from Bethel up to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.)
22 If their fathers or brothers come and complain to us, we shall say, “Let us have them, since we could not take wives for everyone in the battle; and you could not give them to them, or you would then have been guilty.” ‘
23 The Benjaminites did this and, from the dancers whom they caught, took as many wives as there were men and then, setting off, went back to their heritage, rebuilt the towns and settled down in them.
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh from the heavens, praise him in the heights.
5 Let them praise the name of Yahweh at whose command they were made;
7 Praise Yahweh from the earth, sea-monsters and all the depths,
11 kings of the earth and all nations, princes and all judges on earth,
12 young men and girls, old people and children together.