May 10, 2015

The Bible and Homosexuality VIII: The Levite and His Concubine

Due to a Levite's horrendous treatment of his concubine and the war that ensues, the base nature of the sexual abuse in the following passage is often overlooked and it shouldn't be. In another episode of complete moral failure in the Bible, we enter the time of chaos and near anarchy of the Judges. It was a time when everyone did what was right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6, 21:25)...not unlike today when the God of the Bible couldn't be farther from people's minds. The scene that unfolds in Judges 19 is disturbing and sickening even by today's sexually depraved and immoral standards.

There are blatant parallels of Sodom and Gomorrah littered all over this passage and the most unfortunate thing is that it is the people of Israel. It is God’s chosen committing the heinous acts of sin here. We have an unnamed Levite (a priest of Israel) essentially partying constantly. He then treats his concubine like dirt. Having been unfaithful to her husband she flees to her father in Bethlehem. They later reconcile and again party for five days. They end up leaving and going to Jebus (Jerusalem). In route to Jerusalem they encounter a group of wicked men while staying at an old man’s house...

Judges 19:22 ~ While they were enjoying themselves [the Levite his concubine and the old man], some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.”

It is at this point we see a complete breakdown of rational moral thought on everyone’s behalf. These men of Gibeah wished to indulge in immoral sexuality/homosexuality which was contrary to the laws of God which are mentioned in the Pentateuch. In the Hebrew we again see the word yada/to know a euphemism in this context for sexual relations. It is men demanding another man for sex. So like a replay of Sodom (Gagnon-Homosexual Practice 91) we see the host offer his virgin daughter and the visiting man’s concubine instead which shows a complete lack of moral sense but preserves the old man’s obligation to protect his male guest which is paramount in his culture. It seems heterosexual misogynistic rape is preferable to homosexual rape according to this man's flawed thinking (Block 537). This is painfully reminiscent of Lot offering his daughters in Sodom.

The Levite’s concubine is then unceremonious dumped on the front step and serially gang raped throughout the night. The insensitivity of the Levite towards his concubine is breathtaking in its depravity, as is her homicide by rape. The idea that this man can do this to a woman, a human made in the image of God is revolting but there is even more going on here.

What is particularly noteworthy for this series of posts is that the men of Gibeah (like Sodom before them) would initially demand a man for homosexual relations only to accept a woman for heterosexual relations in his place. So I sense we see not necessarily a case of homosexuality here but a case of bisexuality or a sexual attraction to both male and/or female. 

It seems that the overriding desire of the Gibeahites is homosexual because the male Levite is their primary or preferred sexual target yet they compromise and serial rape a woman instead. Regardless, the willingness for men to commit a sexual act with another man is still considered a homosexual act. So that we do not overtly malign the homosexual aspect of this passage we must also see the immoral heterosexual relations between a Levite man and a concubine outside of proper marriage (Block 536-537). Regardless, this entire episode is extremely sick and depraved by any one's standards.

All of the people except the victim in this passage show complete lack of morality to some level. Instead of doing what God has commanded in the Scripture, they all act in disregard of God’s statutes. In other words, they have rejected God (Romans 1). So reprobate are these hosts that they treat the concubine like a scrap of meat thrown to the dogs. The men of Gibeah are worse in that they are totally given over to their sexual lust that they will rape a man or a woman to death.  All involved to a greater or lesser extent have done what Judges ends up reiterating within it pages multiple times.

Judges 21:25 ~ “…everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

They are wickedly selfish and self-serving and could care less about what God wants (similar to our own day and the days of Sodom and Gomorrah). They only cared about satisfying their own selfish needs. We see human sinful desires have trump God’s word and commands here. Sadly, the same unsettling parallels to our own day can be seen in this passage that revolves around homosexuality.

In the broad scope of geo-cultural and geo-societal contexts it is most likely that the Canaanites (non-believers) that were not driven out of the land negatively influenced God’s people along with their own sinful proclivities. By Israel not fully eradicating Canaanites from the land (yes, genocide), the sinful influences of the Canaanites people would eventually re-infect God’s holy people with their wicked culture and practices until they ended up deteriorating to the point that we see here in Judges 19. If there is any biblical argument against the mixing of God’s holy people with a godless culture (Romans 12:2), it resides here in Judges 19. God was clear on this when he stated in Judges 2:1-3 about Israel’s failure to remove the Canaanite contamination:

“… you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done? Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.’”

The immoralities and wickedness of the Canaanites that included homosexuality in this former passage from Judges 2 came back to haunt the Israelite peoples. In the end it led to a civil war between the Tribe of Benjamin and Israel in Judges 20 (Wolf 493). I fear we see the same in modern culture as the same types of sin continues to negatively affect modern nations and negate the Godly influence in a once great, but now failing nation. We can clearly see the division it is causing in the churches that are not firmly rooted in the word of God. Those churches are now chasing the culture which approves of homosexuality and turns a blind-eye to adultery...and it is to their ultimate detriment. 

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