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Jdg 19:1 And it came to pass in those days, when [there was] no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the side of mount Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Bethlehemjudah.
Ver. 1. And it came to pass in those days. ] Not long after Joshua’s death, and before Othniel was judge. See Judges 17:6 .
Who took to him a concubine. ] Heb., A wife, a concubine; a not a harlot concubine, such as are the priests’ lemans One who is loved unlawfully; an unlawful lover or mistress among the Papists. The Helvetians had an old use and custom in their towns and villages, that when they received any new priest into their churches, they used to prewarn him to take his harlot concubine, lest he should attempt any misuse of their wives and daughters. If comparison should be made, said Cardinal Campeius, much greater offence it is for a priest to have a wife, than to have and keep at home many harlots; for they that keep harlots, said he, as it is naught that they do, so do they acknowledge their sin; the other persuade themselves to do well, and so continue without repentance or conscience of their fact. b A fit reason for a carnal cardinal.
a ημιγαμος : Vero-coniux.
b Act. and Mon., 790, 791.
Jdg 19:2 And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from him unto her father’s house to Bethlehemjudah, and was there four whole months.
Ver. 2. And his concubine played the whore against. ] Which she could not have done had she not been a kind of secondary wife, according to the corrupt custom of those times. Josephus saith a that she was a fair woman, and not affecting her husband as she ought, but lingering after other lovers, great strife grew between them, whereupon she went away to her parents within four months after marriage. Varium et mutable semper femina.
And went away from him. ] An odious woman she was, which is one of those four things that disquiet the earth. Pro 30:20
Unto her father’s house.] Who, as a fond father, received her, whenas he should rather have rated or punished her, and sent her home again.
a Antiq, lib. iii. cap. 2.
Jdg 19:3 And her husband arose, and went after her, to speak friendly unto her, [and] to bring her again, having his servant with him, and a couple of asses: and she brought him into her father’s house: and when the father of the damsel saw him, he rejoiced to meet him.
Ver. 3. And her husband arose, and went after her. ] Either out of pity to her, or want of her company. She should have sought to him first, as being the peccant party; but she could not bring her heart to it.
“ Fastus inest pulchris, &c. ”
Having his servant with him. ] This Levite had one servant. Balaam the false prophet rode with two. Num 22:22 Oh, let not Christ’s true ministers be slaves to others, servants to themselves.
He rejoiced to meet him. ] The father and daughter made no means for reconciliation; but when remission came home to them, none could entertain it more thankfully. The nature of many men is forward to accept, and negligent to sue for; they can spend secret wishes upon that which shall cost them no endeavour.
Jdg 19:4 And his father in law, the damsel’s father, retained him; and he abode with him three days: so they did eat and drink, and lodged there.
Ver. 4. Retained him. ] Or, as others render it, Embraced him.
So they did eat and drink. ] In token of hearty reconciliation. Gen 26:30 Exo 32:6
Jdg 19:5 And it came to pass on the fourth day, when they arose early in the morning, that he rose up to depart: and the damsel’s father said unto his son in law, Comfort thine heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward go your way.
Ver. 5. That he rose up to depart. ] It is good hearing, saith a reverend man, a when the Levite maketh haste home. An honest man’s heart is the place of his calling. Such a one, when he is abroad, is like a fish in the air; whereinto if it leap for recreation or necessity, yet it soon returneth to to its own element. This charge by how much more sacred it is, so much the more attendance it expecteth. Even a day breaketh square with the conscionable.
a Bp. Hall.
Jdg 19:6 And they sat down, and did eat and drink both of them together: for the damsel’s father had said unto the man, Be content, I pray thee, and tarry all night, and let thine heart be merry.
Ver. 6. And did eat and drink both of them together. ] The Levite and his concubine, that their hearts might the better reunite, and their loves be renewed: as a bone once broken is stronger after setting; and as boards well glued will not easily be dissevered.
Jdg 19:7 And when the man rose up to depart, his father in law urged him: therefore he lodged there again.
Ver. 7. His father-in-law urged him. ] Compelled him - as Lot did the angels, to lodge in his house; Gen 19:1-3 as the two disciples did our Saviour, to stay longer with them - not by force, but by friendly entreaties.
Jdg 19:8 And he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart: and the damsel’s father said, Comfort thine heart, I pray thee. And they tarried until afternoon, and they did eat both of them.
Ver. 8. And he arose early in the morning. ] See Judges 18:5 .
And they tarried until afternoon. ] Heb., Till the day declined; whereas else, haply, they might have got home that night, and the following mischiefs have been prevented. Delays are many times very dangerous.
“ Semper nocuit differre paratis. ”
The devil usually courteth and cozeneth defrauds those that have a mind to look toward heaven, as this old man did the Levite, with, Be content, I pray thee, &c. What haste? In space cometh grace; and, Hereafter may be time enough. But we must be resolute and peremptory, or worse will come of it, sure enough.
Jdg 19:9 And when the man rose up to depart, he, and his concubine, and his servant, his father in law, the damsel’s father, said unto him, Behold, now the day draweth toward evening, I pray you tarry all night: behold, the day groweth to an end, lodge here, that thine heart may be merry; and to morrow get you early on your way, that thou mayest go home.
Ver. 9. And when the man rose up to depart. ] As home is homely; neither is there any perfume so sweet to a traveller as his own smoke.
The day draweth toward evening. ] Heb., Is weak and remiss.
The day groweth to an end. ] Mansio diei, the sun is hastening to his lodging; for so it seemeth to do when it setteth.
Lodge here, that thine heart may be merry. ] This importunity was an incivility. Homer’s rule in this case is very good:
“ Cρη ξεινον παρεοντα φιλειν, εθελοντα δε πεμπειν .”
Show your stranger all courtesy while he is willing to stay, but send him away timeously, when desirous to be gone.
Jdg 19:10 But the man would not tarry that night, but he rose up and departed, and came over against Jebus, which [is] Jerusalem; and [there were] with him two asses saddled, his concubine also [was] with him.
Ver. 10. But he rose up and departed. ] Such contentment doth sincere affection find in the presence of those we love, that death itself hath no other name than Departing.
Judges 19:11 [And] when they [were] by Jebus, the day was far spent; and the servant said unto his master, Come, I pray thee, and let us turn in into this city of the Jebusites, and lodge in it.
Ver. 11. Come, I pray thee, and let us turn, &c. ] This was not the worst counsel that ever the Levite had given him.
“ Saepe etiam est holitor valde opportuna locutus. ”
But he thought to have done otherwise for the better, though it fell out for the worse. Counsels are not to be valued by events, but by the reasons whereupon they are grounded; and God’s direction, above all, is to be implored.
Jdg 19:12 And his master said unto him, We will not turn aside hither into the city of a stranger, that [is] not of the children of Israel; we will pass over to Gibeah.
Ver. 12. We will pass over to Gibeah. ] But where can a man be safe from the devil and his imps? And what place but hell itself can yield a worse creature than a depraved Israelite, than a profligate professor? We used to say that an Englishman Italianate is a devil incarnate. In Mexico and other parts of America, whoredom and sodomy - those Spanish virtues - are common without reproof among the pseudo-Catholics; whereas the Indians abhor this most loathsome living; showing themselves in respect of the Spaniards, as the Scythians did in respect of the Grecians, whom they so far excelled in life and behaviour, as they were short of them in learning and knowledge.
Jdg 19:13 And he said unto his servant, Come, and let us draw near to one of these places to lodge all night, in Gibeah, or in Ramah.
Ver. 13. In Gibeah, or in Ramah. ] They took up at Gibeah, which is held to be the same with either Gibeon, or Geba, cities given to the Levites out of Benjamin’s lot, Jos 21:17 but detained from them, belike, by the Benjamites; or if enjoyed by the Levites, the following wickedness there committed was so much the worse. Isa 26:10
Jdg 19:14 And they passed on and went their way; and the sun went down upon them [when they were] by Gibeah, which [belongeth] to Benjamin.
Ver. 14. Gibeah, which belongeth to Benjamin. ] Called elsewhere Gibeah of Saul, 1Sa 11:4 at this time a very Poneropolis, a place where Satan’s throne was.
Jdg 19:15 And they turned aside thither, to go in [and] to lodge in Gibeah: and when he went in, he sat him down in a street of the city: for [there was] no man that took them into his house to lodging.
Ver. 15. He sat him down in a street of the city. ] There were not inns and houses of receipt for strangers in those days, as are now: but if no man took them in, they lay in the streets. Gen 19:2
For there was no man that took them into his house. ] This their inhospitality and inhumanity was a forerunner of their destruction. The Jews at this day are very hospitable to their own. So were the ancient Protestants the Waldenses. And surely if God had been in any of these Benjamites’ houses, his servant had not been excluded.
Jdg 19:16 And, behold, there came an old man from his work out of the field at even, which [was] also of mount Ephraim; and he sojourned in Gibeah: but the men of the place [were] Benjamites.
Ver. 16. There came an old man from his work out of the field. ] Though an "old man," yet a "workman," and at "field work," and "till the evening." It was wonder that this honest man had not been banished out of Gibeah, as once Hermodorus was out of Ephesus, merely for his honesty and frugality. a At which time also this law was made there, ουδεις ημων ονηιστος εστω . Let there be none honest amongst us: let no man excel others in any point of good husbandry; or if he do, let him be packing. Which law of theirs, when Heraclitus heard of, he said, it was pity they were not all hanged for public pests and botches of mankind.
a Strabo., l. 14. c. 1. s. 25. 6:231
Jdg 19:17 And when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw a wayfaring man in the street of the city: and the old man said, Whither goest thou? and whence comest thou?
Ver. 17. Whither goest thou? and whence comest thou? ] Necessary questions to be asked of such as shall be entertained by us, lest we take a snake into our bosoms. Abundans cautela non nocet. It is good to be hospitable, but with it to be cautious.
Jdg 19:18 And he said unto him, We [are] passing from Bethlehemjudah toward the side of mount Ephraim; from thence [am] I: and I went to Bethlehemjudah, but I [am now] going to the house of the LORD; and there [is] no man that receiveth me to house.
Ver. 18. , But I am now going to the house of the Lord, ] viz., at Shiloh, there to wait upon mine office as a Levite, which is my chief care. Verbi Minister es, hoc age, was Mr Perkins’s motto. Thou art a minister, mind thy work.
And there is no man that receiveth me to house. ] Heb., That gathereth me. A sure sign of gasping devotion, of a settled godlessness, when a Levite is suffered to lie without doors. Hesiod reckoneth it one of the greatest wickednesses that can be, not to show kindness to a stranger.
Jdg 19:19 Yet there is both straw and provender for our asses; and there is bread and wine also for me, and for thy handmaid, and for the young man [which is] with thy servants: [there is] no want of any thing.
Ver. 19. Yet there is both straw and provender, &c. ] So that we shall be no way chargeable or troublesome, but only for houseroom. Job had this to say for himself, "The stranger did not lodge in the street, but I opened my doors to the traveller." Job 31:32 But now, alas (as one not without cause complaineth), Eliajah lacketh his hostess of Sarepta; Elisha, the Shunamite; Paul cannot find the Purpuriss, nor Peter, the tanner. Job we have not, nor Lot we find not. Captain Cornelius is a black swan in this generation, &c.
Jdg 19:20 And the old man said, Peace [be] with thee; howsoever [let] all thy wants [lie] upon me; only lodge not in the street.
Ver. 20. Only lodge not in the street. ] He maketh it his suit to the Levite that he may lodge him, &c. This is to pursue hospitality. This good old man was a sojourner there himself; and, as she said, Non iguara mali, &c., he could the more pity and provide for strangers. Queen Elizabeth’s speech to the children of Christ’s Hospital as she rode through Fleet Street, was, "We are orphans all: let me enjoy your prayers, and ye shall be sure of mine assistance." a
a England’s Elizeb.
Jdg 19:21 So he brought him into his house, and gave provender unto the asses: and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink.
Ver. 21. And they washed their feet. ] So they usually did in those hot countries before they sat down to eat; Genesis 18:4 ; Gen 19:2 Luke 7:44 2 Samuel 11:8 1Ti 5:10 for men used, because of the great heat there, to go barefooted.
Judges 19:22 [Now] as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, [and] beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.
Ver. 22. Certain sons of Belial. ] Yokeless, lawless, masterless monsters; breathing devils, 2Co 6:15 and such as differed from beasts, non ratione sed oratione tantum, by speech only, not by reason; men compact of mere incongruities and absurdities a 2Th 3:2 unreasonable wicked men; flagitious fellows.
Beset the house round about. ] Sodomite like. Gen 19:4 Domus tutissimum cuique refugium atque receptaculum, saith the civil law. A man’s house is his castle, say we. But this old man could not be quiet in his own house for these beastly ruffians, qui gyraverunt circa domum, who beset the house and beat at the door, as though they would have broken it down.
That we may know him. ] O faces hatched with impudence! "They declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not," Isa 3:9 they set it on the "cliff of a rock" to the view of all. Eze 24:7-8 But it may be that then at Gibeah, as now in the Levant, b sodomy was not held a vice.
a Aποποι .
b Sir H. Blunt’s Voyage, 79.
Jdg 19:23 And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, [nay], I pray you, do not [so] wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly.
Ver. 23. Nay, my brethren. ] Brethren they were by race and place: but these were unworthy of this compellation, as having put off the man, and become dogs, and worse, Deuteronomy 23:18 2Ti 3:8 scalded a in their own grease. Rom 1:27
a εξεκαυθησαν .
Jdg 19:24 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.
Ver. 24. Behold, here is my daughter. ] This was a rash and sinful offer, to prostitute his daughter and the concubine to their brutish and boundless lusts. God preserved the maiden from these impure petulant dogs. As for the concubine, one saith that she offered herself for the deciding of the controversy, and of her own accord, Messalina like, went forth to them. But that is not likely. See Judges 19:25 .
Jdg 19:25 But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go.
Ver. 25. But the men would not hearken ] Unruly lust hath no ears. Fertur equis aurigo, nec audit currus habenis: like heavy bodies down steep hills, which once in motion, move themselves, and know no ground but the bottom.
And abused her all the night. ] Factitarunt in ea; vel occuparunt sese in ea: opus abominabile fecerunt in ea in coitu. a This was a just hand of God upon her for her former filthiness and unfaithfulness. Lais, that notorious harlot, died in the act of uncleanness: so did Pope Paul IV, of whom the proverb went, Eum per eandum partem vitam profudisse per quam acceperat. b
a Piscat. Vatab.
b Jac. Revius, De Vit. Pontiff
Jdg 19:26 Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord [was], till it was light.
Ver. 26. Fell down. ] Dead. These villains had taken their lustful turns upon her, until they had turned her out of the world. And the like was done at Winchelsea in Sussex, by the French soldiers, upon a holiday, at the time of divine service, where a woman being of singular beauty, was, by their insatiable violations, murdered, and they got back to their ships before the country could rise upon them to take due vengeance. Hereupon King Edward III advanced toward Paris, and took it. a
a Speed, 714. Walsingham, 166.
Jdg 19:27 And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down [at] the door of the house, and her hands [were] upon the threshold.
Ver. 27. The woman his concubine was fallen down. ] As Judges 19:26 . Like as she sinned, so she suffered: Per quod quis peccat, &c. See Hebrews 13:4 . And let the guilty that go yet unpunished make an end of all in God’s privy chamber of mercy by repentance, that so his open judicial proceeding in court may be stopped.
Jdg 19:28 And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going. But none answered. Then the man took her [up] upon an ass, and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place.
Ver. 28. And he said unto her, Up. ] Little thinking she had been dead, but either asleep, or sick from ill-humour.
Jdg 19:29 And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, [together] with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel.
Ver. 29. Laid hold on his concubine, and divided her. ] Hoc Levitae factum singulare est, et illegitimum, saith Junius; this deed of the Levite was singular and unlawful, as being against the public and common rights of humanity and honesty, in a husband especially. Others think the Levite did well herein, being moved with a zeal for God’s glory, and for the promoting of justice, that such a horrible villany might be punished, and God’s heavy judgments prevented.
And sent her into all the coasts of Israel. ] Into Benjamin also. See a like practice of Saul in 1Sa 11:7
Jdg 19:30 And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider of it, take advice, and speak [your minds].
Ver. 30. There was no such deed done. ] So that it grew to a proverb, "They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah." Hos 9:9 And that this should be done so soon after Joshua’s death, is a just wonder.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Judges 19". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 22 / Ordinary 27