THIS STORY PROBABLY TOOK PLACE EVEN EARLIER THAN THE STORY OF MIKAH, THE SILVER IMAGE OF YAHUSHA, AND THE LEVITE WHO MASQUERADED AS A PRIEST. IT REPRESENTS ONE OF THE MOST INFAMOUS OUTRAGES AGAINST YAHUSHA THAT IS RECORDED IN SET-APART SCRIPTURE, ONE THAT AUTHORS OF SCRIPTURAL WRITINGS OF MUCH LATER ERAS REFERRED TO (SO WELL KNOWN AND REPEATED WAS THIS SAD EPISODE).
THE THEME OF THE BOOK OF JUDGES BEGINS THE STORY: “THERE WAS NO KING IN YISHARAL”. THERE WAS NO LAW AND ORDER BECAUSE THERE WAS NO CENTRAL AUTHORITY. ALTHOUGH THIS TRAVELLING LEVITE (WHO WE’RE ABOUT TO MEET) LIVING IN THE HILLS OF EPHRAIM SOUNDS AN AWFUL LOT LIKE OUR PREVIOUS STORY, IT IS NOT THE SAME FELLOW BUT IT DOES ILLUSTRATE THAT MIKAH’S LEVITE PRIEST WAS NOT AN ISOLATED INSTANCE AT ALL; IT HAD BECOME QUITE COMMON FOR LEVITES TO SEEK POSITION AND ADVANCEMENT WHEREVER IT COULD BE FOUND.
Before Kings ruled Yisharal, a Levite (who had no tribal land of his own) was living deep in the hill country of the Ephraim Tribe. And he took for himself a concubine from Bethlehem (in Judah), but they had massive drama and she buggered off back to her family’s home in Bethlehem.
THE SET-UP IS THAT THIS ANONYMOUS LEVITE LIVING IN THE MORE NORTHERN AREA OF EPHRAIM HAD TAKEN ON A CONCUBINE WHOSE FAMILY HOME WAS IN BEIT-LECHEM OF JUDAH, MEANING THAT SHE WAS NOT A LEVITE BUT A JUDAHITE. BUT AT SOME POINT THERE WAS A SERIOUS PROBLEM AND THE WOMAN LEFT HIM AND WENT BACK TO HER FATHER. THE CJB ALONG WITH THE KJV AND MANY OTHERS SAY THAT THE CONCUBINE CHEATED ON HER LEVITE HUSBAND OR SOME SAY OUTRIGHT THAT SHE PLAYED THE HARLOT OR ACTED LIKE A WHORE. NOW IN THE HEBREW THE LATTER TRANSLATION IS ABSOLUTELY THE CORRECT ONE BECAUSE THE HEBREW WORD USED TO DESCRIBE HER WAS THAT SHE WAS A ZONAH, MEANING A PROSTITUTE, OR (IN SOME MANUSCRIPTS) THAT SHE BEHAVED ZANAH, WHICH MEANS SHE ACTED IN AN WHORISH MANNER.
HOWEVER OTHER TRANSLATIONS WILL SAY SHE WAS ANGRY WITH HER HUSBAND AND LEFT HIM. AND, THOSE ARE EQUALLY GOOD TRANSLATIONS BECAUSE THEY ARE DRAWN FROM ANCIENT ARAMAIC TEXTS WHICH SPEAK OF ANGER AND NOT CHEATING SEXUAL IMMORALITY. THE GENERAL CONSENSUS OF ANCIENT SAGES IS THAT THE LEVITE AND HIS CONCUBINE HAD AN ARGUMENT OF SOME KIND AND SHE HAD NOT BEEN UNFAITHFUL TO HIM (AT LEAST NOT SEXUALLY SPEAKING). THE REASON IS THAT BY BOTH THE INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN TO MOSES AND ALSO THE CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS OF THAT ERA, A CONCUBINE OR WIFE WHO HAD AN ADULTEROUS AFFAIR WAS TO BE EXECUTED. AND THERE IS NO HINT IN THIS STORY THAT SHE WAS IN ANY DANGER OF BEING HARMED.
REMEMBER THAT A CONCUBINE (PILEGESH IN HEBREW) WAS LIKE A 2ND CLASS WIFE. SO IT WAS COMMON FOR THE SCRIPTURE TO REFER TO THE MAN AS HER HUSBAND. SIMPLY SPEAKING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CONCUBINE AND WIFE WAS THAT THE WIFE HAD MORE RIGHTS, AND HAD A MARRIAGE CONTRACT. BUT CONCUBINES WERE NOT SLAVES, COULD NOT BE MISTREATED ANY MORE THAN COULD A LEGAL WIFE, AND THEY WERE NOT ACQUIRED AS PLAYFUL SEX OBJECTS OR MISTRESSES AS IS SOMETIMES WRONGLY DEPICTED.
Four months later her husband decided to try and talk her into coming back home. He went to Bethlehem, taking along a servant and two donkeys and he talked with his wife, and she invited him into her family’s home. Her father was glad to see him and didn’t want him to leave, so the man stayed three days, eating and drinking with his father-in-law.
THE FACT THAT SHE BROUGHT HER HUSBAND INTO HER FATHER’S HOUSE SHOWS THAT WHATEVER CAUSED THE SPLIT-UP WAS RESTORABLE; AND IT ALSO SAYS THAT HER FATHER WAS GLAD TO MEET HIM. TRANSLATION: THE FATHER WAS VERY RELIEVED THAT HIS DAUGHTER WOULD BE GOING BACK WITH HER HUSBAND. I SAY THAT NOT IN THE SENSE IT PROBABLY SOUNDS TO US TODAY (AS THOUGH HE WANTED TO GET RID OF HIS DAUGHTER) BUT RATHER IN THE SENSE THAT IT WAS VERY DISHONOURABLE FOR A FAMILY TO HAVE A GIRL GET MARRIED (OR BECOME A CONCUBINE) AND THEN BECOME SEPARATED FROM HER HUSBAND. IF (YAHUSHA FORBID) THE SEPARATION GREW TO AN OUTRIGHT DIVORCE IT BROUGHT GREAT SHAME UPON THE WHOLE FAMILY REGARDLESS OF THE REASON OR WHO MIGHT BE TO BLAME. SO DEAR OL’DAD HAD BEEN SWEATING IT OUT OBVIOUSLY.
And when everyone got up in the morning on the fourth day, the Levite started getting ready to go home, but his father-in-law said, “Don’t leave yet son, stay and have a bite to eat first. You’ll need the strength for your journey.”
So the two men sat down together and ate a big meal. “Come on,”the father-in-law said, “Stay tonight and have a good time.”
And the Levite tried to leave, but his father-in-law insisted, and he spent one more night. Then on the fifth day, the man got up early to leave, but his wife’s father said, “You need to keep up your strength! Why don’t you leave right after lunch?”
So the two of them started eating. Finally, the Levite got up from the meal so that he and his wife and servant could leave. “Look,” his father-in-law said, “It’s already late afternoon, and if you leave now, you won’t get very far before dark so stay with us one more night and enjoy yourself. Then you can get up early tomorrow morning and start home.”
But the Levite decided not to spend the night there again. He had the saddles put on his two donkeys, and he and his wife and servant traveled as far as Jebus, which is now called Jerusalem.
It was beginning to get dark, and the man’s servant said, “Let’s stop and spend the night in this town where the Jebusites live.”
“No,” the Levite answered. “They aren’t Yisharalites, so I don’t want to stay there. We can make to Gibeah before dark, so we’ll stop there for the night, we might even make it to Ramah.”
So they walked on and reached Gibeah (in the territory of Benjamin) just after sunset, but they couldn’t find a house where anyone would let them spend the night, and they sat down in the open area just inside the town gates.
THIS WAS A SACRED DUTY IN THAT ERA AND THE FAILURE OF THE LOCAL RESIDENTS TO OFFER REST AND SUSTENANCE TO A TRAVELER (ESPECIALLY ONE WHO OBVIOUSLY HAD THE MEANS TO FEED HIMSELF AND HIS ANIMALS IF NEEDS BE) WAS A SIGN THAT THESE PEOPLE WERE OF POOR CHARACTER.
Soon an old man came in through the gates on his way home from working in the fields. Most of the people who lived in Gibeah belonged to the Tribe of Benjamin, but this man was originally from the hill country of Ephraim. He noticed that the Levite was just in town to spend the night. “Where are you going?” the old man asked, “Where did you come from?”
“We’ve come from Bethlehem in Judah,” the Levite answered. “We went there on a visit. Now we’re going to the place where Yahuah is worshiped, and later we will return to our home in the hill country of Ephraim. But no one here will let us spend the night in their home. We brought food for our donkeys and bread and wine for ourselves, so we don’t need anything except a place to sleep.”
The old man said, “You guys are more than welcome to spend the night in my home and to be my guest, but quickly come inside, don’t stay out here!”
The old man brought them into his house and fed their donkeys. Then he and his guests washed their feet and began eating and drinking. They were having a good time, when some wicked men of that town surrounded the house and started banging on the door and shouting, “A MAN CAME TO YOUR HOUSE TONIGHT. SEND HIM OUT, SO WE CAN HAVE SEX WITH HIM!”
TALK ABOUT DE’JA’VU - REMEMBER LOT HAVING THIS SAME EXPERIENCE IN SODOM?
The old man went outside and said, “My friends, please don’t commit such a horrible crime against a man who is a guest in my house. Let me send out my virgin daughter or this man’s concubine instead. Have your way with them and do whatever else you want, but please don’t do such a horrible thing to this man for he’s a guest under my roof.”
#ME TOO . . . GUEST’S LIVES MATTER !
LET’S FIRST LOOK AT WHY THE OLD MAN OFFERED THE WOMEN TO THESE DEPRAVED ARSEHOLES. REMEMBER THE ORIENTAL (MIDDLE-EASTERN AT THIS POINT) MINDSET CONCERNING HOSPITALITY. AMONG THE SEVERAL THINGS THAT HOSPITALITY INCLUDED IN THIS ERA WAS PROTECTION OF THE HOUSEGUESTS NO MATTER WHAT - IT WAS PARAMOUNT. THERE WAS NO GREATER SHAME THAN FOR A HOST TO ALLOW SOMETHING TERRIBLE TO HAPPEN TO HIS GUEST WHILE IN HIS HOME. HOSTS WERE OBLIGATED (BY CUSTOM) TO DEFEND THEIR GUESTS WITH THE COST OF THEIR OWN LIVES OR THEIR FAMILY’S LIVES IF NECESSARY. JUST AS FAMILIES TODAY HAVE SET UP AN UNSPOKEN HIERARCHY WHEREBY THE CHILDREN ARE PROTECTED AT ALL COSTS BY THE ADULT FAMILY MEMBERS (AND EVEN THE YOUNGER CHILDREN ARE PROTECTED ALMOST OUT OF INSTINCT BY THE OLDER), IT WAS THE SAME SORT OF THING WITH FAMILIES THAT TOOK IN TRAVELLERS WHOM THEY HAD NEVER BEFORE MET.
SO THE OLD MAN OFFERS TO SEND OUT HIS OWN UNMARRIED DAUGHTER (A VIRGIN/MAIDEN) AS WELL AS THE LEVITE’S CONCUBINE FOR THEM TO GANG-RAPE, IN TRADE FOR KEEPING THE MALES SAFE. WHY THOUGH? NOT VERY #ME TOO IS IT? IN ANCIENT TIMES, AND STILL IN MANY EASTERN SOCIETIES TODAY (INCLUDING THE MORE FUNDAMENTAL SECTS OF ISLAM) WOMEN ARE CHATTEL. WOMEN HAVE FAR LESS VALUE THAN MEN, AND VERY OFTEN (SADLY) LESS VALUE THAN THE FARM ANIMALS. THE DIVINE INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN TO MOSES WERE THE FIRST TO VALUE WOMEN EQUALLY WITH MEN, AND TO INSIST ON THE HUMANE TREATMENT OF WOMEN, AND TO GIVE WOMEN FAR MORE RIGHTS THAN THEY HAD EVER BEFORE KNOWN. DON’T GET ME WRONG: THE SCRIPTURE STILL PRESENTS A HIERARCHY WHEREBY MEN ARE TO BE THE AUTHORITY. BUT MEN ARE TO BE AN AUTHORITY OVER WOMEN IN LOVE, AND FOR THE PURPOSE OF CARING FOR WOMEN, NOT FOR THE PURPOSE OF USING THEM HARSHLY OR VIRTUALLY ENSLAVING THEM.
HOWEVER WORLDWIDE CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS INFILTRATE EVERYTHING. AND THE HEBREW SOCIETY REMAINED A MALE-DOMINATED SOCIETY. WHAT WE SEE HAPPENING IN THIS REGARD TO THE WOMEN IN THIS STORY IS NOT ACCEPTABLE AT ALL TO YAHUSHA.
WHAT MAKES THIS STORY SO EXTRAORDINARILY SHOCKING IS CERTAINLY THAT SODOMY/HOMOSEXUALITY IS AT THE CENTER OF IT, WHICH IS UNDENIABLY AT THE TOP OF THE LIST OF ABOMINABLE BEHAVIOUR TO YAHUSHA. BUT WHAT WE MUST ALSO SEE IS THAT WHILE WE’VE WITNESSED THIS ALL BEFORE IN THE STORY OF SODOM AND GOMORRAH, AT LEAST THE RESIDENTS OF THOSE CITIES WERE PAGANS; THEY DIDN’T KNOW YAHUSHA. BUT THE MEN OF GIBEAH WHO ARE DEMANDING HOMOSEXUAL SEX WITH THE OLD MAN’S MALE GUESTS HERE IN THE BOOK OF JUDGES ARE HEBREWS; THEY ARE BENJAMITES. THEY HAD THE LIVING INSTRUCTIONS IN THEM. THEIR PARENTS WERE PART OF THE EXODUS. JOSHUA HAD ONLY RECENTLY DIED. THIS MOB CONSISTED OF YAHUSHA’S SET-APART PEOPLE WHO WERE NO MORE THAN 1-2 GENERATIONS REMOVED FROM MOSES.
But the savage men refused to listen and became violently hostile, so the Levite grabbed his concubine and took her outside to them. And the wicked men gang-raped her and abused her all night long. Finally, they let her go just before sunrise, and it was almost daybreak when she went back to the house where they’d been staying. And she collapsed at the front door and lay there until sunrise. About that time, her husband woke up and got ready to leave. But when he opened the front door and went outside, he found his concubine lying at the door with her hands on the doorstep.
“Get up!” he said, “It’s time to leave.”
But she didn’t move for she’d died from the injuries she’d sustained. So he lifted her body onto his donkey and left.
IT IS NOT ONLY THE HORRIFIC ACTION OF THE MEN OF GIBEAH THAT ARE ON DISPLAY HERE, BUT THE CALLOUS AND COLD HEART OF THE LEVITE WHO IS UTTERLY INDIFFERENT TO HIS CONCUBINE’S SUFFERING. INFACT THE ENTIRE REASON FOR THE LEVITE GOING AFTER HIS CONCUBINE, AFTER SHE ANGRILY LEFT HIM AND WENT HOME TO HER FATHER, WAS PROBABLY SELFISH. HE PREFERRED TO HAVE HER COMPANY THAN NOT, BUT THAT’S ABOUT AS FAR AS IT WENT. PERHAPS HE THOUGHT HER LEAVING HIM WOULD BE AN EMBARRASSMENT. THAT HE WENT TO BETHLEHEM TO FETCH HER BACK WITH GIFTS AND A DONKEY FOR HER TO RIDE HOME WAS SIMPLY THE PRICE NEEDED FOR HIM TO GET HER BACK; A PRICE HE COULD AFFORD WITH LITTLE DISCOMFORT. BUT THAT PRICE CERTAINLY DIDN’T INCLUDE ANY RISK-TAKING OR REPENTANCE ON HIS PART, NOR DID IT MEAN THAT HE WOULD LOVE HER AND PROTECT HER.
THIS WICKEDNESS IN GIBEAH WOULD LONG BE REMEMBERED AND MENTIONED MANY CENTURIES LATER IN HOSEA 9 AND 10, SO GREAT WAS THE SHAME IT BROUGHT UPON ALL YISHARAL.
And when he got home, he took a very sharp knife and cut her body into twelve pieces. Then he told his messengers, “Take one of her piece to each Tribe of Yisharal and ask everyone if anything so utterly disgusting like this has ever happened since Yisharal left Egypt. Tell them to damn well think about it, talk it over, and speak up" (DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS SORT OF BEHAVIOUR!) And everyone who saw a piece of the body said, “How horrible! Nothing so abominable as this has ever happened since the day Yisharal left Egypt.”
THE LEVITE OBVIOUSLY HAD NO REGARD FOR HIS CONCUBINE BEFORE OR AFTER HER DEATH. THE FACT THAT HE WOULD CUT-UP HER BODY IS A TERRIBLE DESECRATION THAT IS SIMPLY NOT ALLOWED BY TURAH STANDARDS. SHE WAS TO BE PROPERLY BURIED, NOT USED AS A MEANS FOR THIS LEVITE TO DISPLAY HIS ANGER. BUT THE HEBREW WORD USED FOR “CUTTING-UP” OR (BETTER) “DIVIDING” HER BODY INTO PIECES IS A WORD THAT IS NORMALLY RESERVED FOR TABERNACLE RITUAL; THE WORD IS NATHACH, MEANING TO DIVIDE UP THE SACRIFICIAL ANIMAL INTO PIECES FOR PUTTING ONTO THE ALTAR OF ASCENDING-NEAR OFFERINGS. THE FACT THAT IT IS USED HERE IS OUT OF PLACE AND SO SEEMS TO INDICATE THAT THE LEVITE HAD SOME DELUSIONAL SENSE OF PIETY OR RIGHTEOUS ANGER OR TWISTED BELIEF THAT IF HE WAS THE ONE DOING THE CUTTING UP (BECAUSE HE WAS A LEVITE) THAT IT MADE IT A PROPER CEREMONIAL ACT.
TAKEN TOGETHER WITH THE OTHER YOUNG LEVITE OF OUR PREVIOUS STORY WHO ALLOWED HIMSELF TO BECOME A PRIEST (WHEN HE WAS NOT OF THE PROPER LINEAGE), AND EVEN TO WORSHIP TERAPHIM (YAHUSHA IDOLS); AND THEN THAT HE WOULD LEAVE MIKAH FOR A BETTER OFFER, TO GO BE A PRIEST FOR THE TRIBE OF DAN AND SET UP CULT WORSHIP IN LAISH, PAINTS A PRETTY BAD PICTURE OF THE HEBREW PRIESTLY LEADERS IN THE ERA OF THE JUDGES.
SEE, THE LEVITES WERE THE BUTCHERS OF THAT ERA. THEY WERE HIGHLY TRAINED IN JUST HOW TO DISSECT AN ANIMAL FOR SACRIFICIAL PURPOSES, AND THEN LATER ON HOW TO PREPARE AN ANIMAL FOR FOOD ACCORDING TO CLEAN/UNCLEAN TRADITIONS THAT SLOWLY DEVELOPED. EVEN TODAY IT IS USUALLY LEVITES WHO WILL RUN KOSHER BUTCHER SHOPS. THIS LEVITE MAN SIMPLY APPLIED HIS BUTCHERING SKILL TO HIS DEAD CONCUBINE FOR PERSONAL REASONS.
THINGS LIKE THIS DON’T GO UNNOTICED AND THE QUESTION ON EVERYONE’S MIND WAS WHAT TO DO ABOUT ALL THIS? WHAT SHOULD BE DONE ABOUT THE HOMOSEXUAL MEN IN GIBEAH WHO LITERALLY GANG-RAPED THIS CONCUBINE TO DEATH?
BUT ALSO, WHAT SHOULD BE DONE ABOUT THE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN IN GENERAL WHO APPARENTLY DIDN’T SHOW ENOUGH INTEREST IN THE MATTER TO BRING THOSE MEN TO JUSTICE? THAT’S WHAT’S DEALT WITH NEXT . . .
So the Yisharalites called a meeting of the nation, and since they were all Yahusha’s people, the meeting was held at the place of worship in Mizpah. Men who could serve as soldiers came from everywhere in Yisharal, from Dan in the North, Beersheba in the South, and Gilead, East of the Jordan River. 400,000 of them came to Mizpah, and they all felt the same about what those disgusting men from the Tribe of Benjamin had done.
LET’S REPEAT THE FACT THAT IT WAS HEBREWS FROM THE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN WHO WANTED TO HOMOSEXUALLY GANG-RAPE THE LEVITE MAN, BUT THEN ACCEPTED HIS CONCUBINE TO SOMEWHAT ASSUAGE THEIR PERVERTED SEXUAL APPETITES. AND THEY WEREN’T SATISFIED UNTIL THEY KILLED HER IN THE PROCESS. BUT IT’S EQUALLY AS APPALLING THAT THE LEVITE’S RESPONSE TO ALL THIS (WHICH WAS TO BUTCHER HIS CONCUBINE’S CORPSE) WAS APPARENTLY CONSIDERED JUSTIFIABLE WHEN IN FACT THE LEVITE OUGHT TO HAVE BEEN PROSECUTED FOR SUCH A GHOULISH DISMEMBERING OF HER. BUT SUCH WAS THE CONDITION OF YISHARAL AT THAT TIME AND GENERALLY THROUGHOUT THE PERIOD OF THE JUDGES, THAT THERE IS NO HINT OF OBJECTION TO HIS ACTIONS.
Then news about the meeting at Mizpah reached the Tribe of Benjamin.
THE TRIBAL PRINCE OF BENJAMIN WOULD HAVE ALSO RECEIVED A PORTION OF THE CONCUBINE’S BODY IN EXPECTATION THAT HE AND HIS TRIBE WOULD WANT TO JOIN THEIR BRETHREN IN PUNISHING THE MEN OF GIBEAH; BUT THE LEADERSHIP OF BENJAMIN CHOSE TO HARBOUR THE MURDERERS INSTEAD; SO OF COURSE THEY KNEW WHAT WAS GOING ON AND THAT THE OTHER TRIBES WERE GATHERING FOR WAR.
And as soon as the leaders of the Tribes of Yisharal took their places, the Yisharalites said, “Someone explain this hideous cock-up immediately!! How could such a horrific thing happen?”
And the husband of the murdered woman answered: “My concubine and I went into the town of Gibeah in Benjamin to spend the night. Later that night, the men of Gibeah surrounded the house. They wanted to kill me, but instead they gang-raped and killed my concubine. And these were Yisharalites, my brothers! How vile and disgraceful! So I cut up her body and sent pieces everywhere in Yisharal. So what are you all going to do about it? You’re the people of Yisharal aren’t you? So bloody-well make up your damn minds what should be done about those barbaric turds in Gibeah".
NOT SURPRISINGLY HE LIED; THE LEVITE TOLD THEM THAT THE MEN OF GIBEAH WANTED TO KILL HIM, WHICH WAS NOT THE CASE AT ALL, SO THINGS STARTED OFF ON BAD FOOTING.
And everyone was in complete agreement, and made an oath, “None of us will go back to our tents or back home. We’ll send one tenth of the men from each Tribe to get food for the army. And we’ll ask Yahuah who should attack Gibeah, because those vile creatures deserve to be punished for committing such a horrible crime in Yisharal.”
And everyone agreed that Gibeah had to be punished. The Tribes of Yisharal sent messengers to every town and village in Benjamin, and wherever the messengers went, they said, “How could those worthless men in Gibeah do such a disgusting thing? We can’t allow such a terrible crime to go unpunished in Yisharal! Hand the men over to us, so we can put them to death.”
But the people of Benjamin refused to listen to the other Yisharalites and men from towns all over Benjamin’s territory went to Gibeah and got ready to fight Yisharal. The Benjamin Tribe had 26,000 soldiers, not counting the 700 who were Gibeah’s best warriors. In this army there were 700 left-handed experts who could sling a rock at a target the size of a hair and hit it every time.
THIS IS NO SMALL THING: THOSE 700 STONE SLINGERS WERE DEADLY ACCURATE AND THE STRONGER MEN COULD SLING STONES THAT WEIGHED UP TO A POUND EACH AT 90 M.P.H. SPEEDS!
The other Yisharalite Tribes organised their army and found they had 400,000 experienced soldiers.
IT’S HELPFUL TO NOTICE THAT THE 400,000 SOLDIERS OF THE COMBINED YISHARALITE ARMY ONLY REPRESENTED 2/3RDS OF THE SIZE OF THE AVAILABLE ARMY UNDER JOSHUA SO THERE WERE RESERVES IF NEEDED. HOWEVER BENJAMIN WAS OUTNUMBERED ALMOST 20 TO 1 SO I IMAGINE SUCH A NEED WAS NOT EVEN REMOTELY CONTEMPLATED. WITH THE BATTLE LINES AND FORCES SET AND DESCRIBED THE ASSAULT BEGAN, BUT NOT BEFORE THE ARMY OF YISHARAL WENT UP TO BETHAL TO CONSULT WITH YAHUSHA.
So they went to the place of worship at Bethel and asked Yahusha, “Which Tribe should be the first to attack the people of Benjamin?” “Judah,” Yahusha answered.
YAHUSHA’S RESPONSE WAS NOT AN AUDIBLE VOICE BUT THROUGH THE URIM AND THE THUMMIN STONES IN THE HIGH-PRIESTS EPHOD. WE DON’T KNOW EXACTLY HOW THE STONES INDICATED THE DIVINE ANSWER (POSSIBLY BY LOT OR MAYBE BY ONE OR THE OTHER OF THE 2 STONES GLOWING) BUT IN NO WAY DID THEY SPEAK YAHUSHA’S VOICE OR WAS ANY OTHER AUDIBLE MEANS EMPLOYED THAT IS RECORDED.
So the next morning the Yisharalite army moved its camp to a place near Gibeah, then they left their camp and got into position to attack the army of Benjamin. Benjamin’s soldiers came out of Gibeah and attacked, and when the day was over, 22,000 Yisharalite soldiers lay dead on the ground. Then the people of Yisharal went to the Tabernacle and cried until sunset, then they asked Yahusha, “Should we attack the people of Benjamin again, even though they are our relatives?”“Yes,” Yahusha replied, “attack them again!”
So the Yisharalite soldiers encouraged each other to be brave and to fight hard. Then the next day they went back to Gibeah and took up the same positions as they had before. And that same day, Benjamin’s soldiers came out of Gibeah and attacked, leaving another 18,000 Yisharalite soldiers dead on the battlefield.
So the people of Yisharal went to the Tabernacle at Bethel where the Ark of the Blood-Covenant Witness was being kept. They sat on the ground, crying and not eating for the rest of the day. Then about sunset, they offered sacrifices to please Yahusha and to ask His blessing.
Phinehas the High-Priest then spoke to Yahusha, “O’ Yahuah, the people of Benjamin are our relatives. Should we stop fighting or attack them again?”
“Attack!” Yahusha answered. “Tomorrow I will let you defeat them.”
HERE WE FIND THAT THE WAR-PRIEST FOR YISHARAL WAS NONE OTHER THAN PHINEHAS, THE GRANDSON OF AARON WHOSE RESOLUTE ACTION OF USING A SPEAR TO RUN THROUGH THE MIDIANITE WOMAN AND HEBREW MAN WHO WERE HAVING INTERCOURSE INSIDE THE CAMP OF YISHARAL, KILLING THEM BOTH, SAVED YISHARAL FROM YAHUSHA’S WRATH. PHINEHAS’ BOLD ACTION (WHEN EVERYONE ELSE WAS PARALYSED OR UTTERLY DISINTERESTED) ATONED FOR YISHARAL’S REBELLION BEFORE YAHUSHA AND ENDED A DIVINE PLAGUE THAT HAD ALREADY KILLED 24,000 YISHARALITES. THIS PHINEHAS IS ONE OF THE MORE UNRECOGNISED OF SCRIPTURE HEROES. HE HAD TAKEN A LEAD ROLE IN THE WAR AGAINST MIDIAN AND ACTED AS A MEDIATOR DURING A TIME WHEN THE 2 ½ TRIBES EAST OF THE JORDAN WERE SUSPECTED OF DISUNITY AND APOSTASY DUE TO THE ERECTION OF A MEMORIAL ALTAR.
So the Yisharalites surrounded Gibeah, but stayed where they could not be seen. Then the next day, they took the same positions as twice before, but this time they had a different plan. They said, “When the men of Benjamin attack, we will run off and let them chase us away from the town and into the country roads.”
So the soldiers of Benjamin attacked the Yisharalite army and started pushing it back from the town. They killed about 30 Yisharalites in the fields and along the road between Gibeah and Bethel. The men of Benjamin were thinking, “We’re mowing them down just like we did before.”
The Yisharalites were running away, but they headed for Baal-Tamar, where they regrouped. They had set an ambush, and they were sure it would work. 10,000 of Yisharal’s best soldiers had been hiding West of Gibeah, and as soon as the men of Benjamin chased the Yisharalites into the countryside, these 10,000 soldiers made a surprise attack on the town gates. They dashed in and captured Gibeah, killing everyone there. Then they set the town on fire, because the smoke would be the signal for the other Yisharalite soldiers to turn and attack the soldiers of Benjamin.
The fighting had been so heavy around the soldiers of Benjamin, that they did not know the trouble they were in. But then they looked back and saw clouds of smoke rising from the town. They looked in front and saw the soldiers of Yisharal turning to attack. This terrified them, because they realised that something horrible was happening. And it was horrible, over 25,000 soldiers of Benjamin died that day, and those who were left alive knew that Yahusha had given Yisharal the victory.
The men of Benjamin headed down the road toward the desert, trying to escape from the Yisharalites. But the Yisharalites stayed right behind them, keeping up their attack. Men even came out of the nearby towns to help kill the men of Benjamin, who were having to fight on all sides. The Yisharalite soldiers never let up their attack. They chased and killed the warriors of Benjamin as far as a place directly East of Gibeah, until 18,000 of these warriors lay dead.
Some other warriors of Benjamin turned and ran down the road toward Rimmon Rock in the desert. The Yisharalites killed 5,000 of them on the road, then chased the rest until they had killed 2,000 more. 25,000 soldiers of Benjamin died that day, all of them experienced warriors, and only 600 of them finally made it into the desert to Rimmon Rock, where they stayed for four months.
Then the Yisharalites turned back and went to every town in Benjamin’s territory, killing all the people and animals, and setting the towns on fire.
When the Yisharalites had met at Mizpah before the war with Benjamin, they had made this promise: “None of us will ever let our daughters marry any man from Benjamin.”
After the war with Benjamin, the Yisharalites went to the Tabernacle at Bethel and sat there until sunset. They cried loudly and bitterly to Yahusha, “O’ Yahuah, you are the Alahim of Yisharal. Why did you let this happen? Now one of our Tribes is almost gone.”
SOME TIME PASSED, THE HEAT OF THE BATTLE WAS OVER, AND THE VICTORIOUS YISHARALITES HAD TIME TO THINK OVER WHAT HAD TRANSPIRED; AND THEY FELL INTO GRIEF OVER IT. THEY REFLECTED ON WHAT THE RESULTS OF THEIR ACTIONS MEANT FOR THE FUTURE OF YISHARAL AND THEY REPENTED. EVEN THOUGH IT WAS BENJAMIN WHO NECESSITATED THIS WAR BY THEIR OUTRAGEOUS POSITION OF DEFENDING THE DERANGED MEN OF GIBEAH WHO TURNED TO HOMOSEXUALITY AND BEHAVED EXACTLY AS THE HEATHEN OF SODOM (AND AT THE TIME IT MUST HAVE SEEMED REASONABLE THAT JUST AS YAHUSHA ANNIHILATED SODOM THAT THE SAME JUSTICE UPON GIBEAH WAS IN ORDER), PERHAPS YISHARAL HAD GONE TOO FAR.
Early the next morning, the Yisharalites built an altar and offered sacrifices to please Yahusha and to ask His blessing. Then they asked each other, “Did any of the Tribes of Yisharal fail to come to the Tabernacle? We made a special promise that anyone who didn’t come to the meeting at Mizpah would be put to death.”
The Yisharalites were sad about what had happened to the Benjamin Tribe, and they said, “One of our Tribes was almost wiped out and only a few men of Benjamin weren’t killed in the war. We need to get wives for them, so the Tribe won’t completely disappear. But how can we do that, after promising in Yahuah’s name that we wouldn’t let them marry any of our daughters?”
THAT ONE OF JACOB’S SONS WOULD LOSE HIS PLACE AMONG THE FAMILY OF HEBREWS WAS TOO AWFUL TO CONTEMPLATE. IN TRIBAL SOCIETY, IT IS ONE THING FOR INTER-RELATED TRIBES TO WAR AND KILL AMONGST THEMSELVES IN ORDER TO PUNISH OR ACHIEVE DOMINANCE; IT IS QUITE ANOTHER TO KILL OFF AN ENTIRE BLOODLINE AND THIS WAS USUALLY AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS.
Again the Yisharalites asked, “Did any of the Tribes stay away from the meeting at Mizpah?”
And after asking around, they discovered that no one had come from Jabesh in Gilead. So they sent 12,000 warriors with these orders: “Attack Jabesh in Gilead and kill everyone, except the women who have never been married.”
So the warriors attacked Jabesh in Gilead, and returned to their camp in Canaan with 400 young women. The Yisharalites met and sent messengers to the men of Benjamin at Rimmon Rock, telling them that the Yisharalites were willing to make peace with them. So the men of Benjamin came back from Rimmon Rock, and the Yisharalites let them marry the young women from Jabesh. But there weren’t enough women. So the Yisharalites were very sad, because Yahusha had almost wiped out one of their Tribes.
Then their national leaders said, “All the women of the Benjamin Tribe were killed. How can we get wives for the men of Benjamin who are left? If they don’t have children, one of the Yisharalite Tribes will die out. But we can’t let the men of Benjamin marry any of our daughters, because we made a special promise not to do that, and if we break our promise, we will be under our own curse".
Then someone suggested, “What about Yahuah’s Festival that takes place each year in Shiloh? It’s held North of Bethel, South of Lebonah, and just East of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem.”
So the leaders told the men of Benjamin who still did not have wives, “Go to Shiloh and hide in the vineyards near the festival. Wait there for the young women of Shiloh to come out and perform their dances. Then rush out and grab one of the young women, then take her home as your wife. If the fathers or brothers of these women complain about this, we’ll say, 'Be kind enough to let those men keep your daughter. After all, we couldn’t get enough wives for all the men of Benjamin in the battle at Jabesh. And because you didn’t give them permission to marry your daughters, you won’t be under the curse we earlier agreed on'”.
Then the men of Benjamin went to Shiloh and hid in the vineyards. The young women soon started dancing, and each man grabbed one of them and carried her off. Then the men of Benjamin went back to their own land and rebuilt their towns and started living in them again. And afterwards, the rest of the Yisharalites returned to their homes and families.
In those days Yisharal wasn’t ruled by a king, and everyone did what they thought was right in their own eyes.
THE CHILDREN BORN TO THE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN FROM HERE FORWARD WERE MIXED. IN THE TIME OF KING SAUL WE’RE GOING TO FIND AN INTERESTING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SAUL AND THE PEOPLE OF GILEAD. WHEN AMMON THREATENED THE PEOPLE OF GILEAD THEY TURNED TO SAUL FOR HELP. LATER IT WOULD BE THE MEN OF GILEAD WHO RECOVERED THE BODIES OF SAUL AND HIS SONS AS THEIR CORPSES HUNG ON THE WALLS OF BETH-SHAN. SAUL WAS OF THE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN, AND SO WE SEE HOW AND WHY THE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN HAD A SPECIAL BOND WITH THE PEOPLE OF GILEAD; IN POINT OF FACT THEY WERE CLOSELY RELATED BY BLOOD AND IT HAPPENED AS THE AFTERMATH OF THE WAR WITH BENJAMIN.
THE FINAL WORDS OF THE BOOK OF JUDGES ENDS MOST APPROPRIATELY WITH: “AT THAT TIME THERE WAS NO KING IN YISHARAL; A MAN SIMPLY DID WHATEVER HE THOUGHT WAS RIGHT”. WE NEED TO SEE THAT JUST AS YAHUSHA WAS SHOWING YISHARAL THAT THEY NEEDED A KING SO DO WE NEED A KING, AND HIS NAME IS YAHUSHA. UNFORTUNATELY WE ARE TODAY RELIVING THE TIME OF THE JUDGES; THE STATE OF THE WORLD (SECULAR AND RELIGIOUS) IS AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OTHNIEL, DEBRA, AND SAMSON WITH EVERYONE DOING WHATEVER IS RIGHT IN THEIR OWN HEARTS, DOING DEEDS THAT SEEM PIOUS AND RIGHTEOUS OUTWARDLY AND COMFORTABLE TO THEM INWARDLY, BUT PAYING NO ATTENTION TO THE ACTUAL LIVING WORDS OF YAHUSHA.