Tuesday, May 26, 2009
THE LEVITE AND HIS CONCUBINE
If you ever have read through Judges 19, and 20, and 21, you know that these are not easy chapters to explain. But before we begin I should first tell you what the ground rules are that I will be using. I will not dwell on the historical aspects of these passages; you can find these in all the commentaries that I could lay my hands on. I will also not dwell on the moral principles of the events that we are reading about, for all the moral aspects have also been worked out extensively in the commentaries. But I will spend my time to work on the spiritual aspects of these events that we are reading about. The spiritual aspects usually refer to representations, or parables. The Bible is a spiritual Book. You only have to go trough the Prophecy of Isaiah to realize that the Bible is a spiritual Book.
However, in analyzing these parables we must abide by the rule that we are not going to develop new doctrines which are going to overthrow established doctrines of the covenant of grace. We are not going to contradict doctrines which the church has extracted from other parts of Scripture, for we do not want to call God a liar. If we do find contradictions, then we must examine our interpretations, for our interpretations are then in error. Since God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19), neither does He tempt anyone to sin (James 1:13), whenever we find contradictions in the Bible, it is due to our mistake, but never a mistake made by God.
We are obligated to harmonize everything we find in the Bible, for this is our duty as the kings who search it out (Proverbs 25:2).
Today we want to arrive at Judges 19 where we are going to read about “the Levite and his concubine”. But Judges 19 is closely tied to Genesis 19, and Genesis 19 is closely tied to Luke 17. That is why today I would like to start with Luke 17:26.
From Luke to Genesis 19 and to Judges 19 (Luke 17:26-37, Numbers 23:19, James 1:13, Proverbs 25:2)
Luke 17 contains a prophecy about end time events, specifically about events that will take place before the Lord Jesus returns. We read here in Luke 17:26-37,
And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.
Remember Lot’s wife.
Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
What are the principles of the end of the world that the Lord is telling us about here in this passage?
1) Verses 26 and 27 teach us that the end of the world will come at a time when no one expects the Lord’s return. It will be business as usual. It will not be a time of nuclear war, and it will not be a time when Christians all over the world will be slaughtered, but it will be a time of relative calm, and it will be a time of business as usual. Much of the eschatology that is taught these days is nothing else but sensationalism.
2) From verses 26-30 we learn that the flood of Noah’s days and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah are pictures of the conditions before the end comes. In other words, very few people shall be saved; most shall be killed before they will reappear before the Judgment throne to be tried and judgment will be meted out.
3) From verses 26-30 we learn that the rapture of the saints occurs just before the end of the world comes. Noah and all who are his are taken into the ark just before the rains came down. Lot and all who are his are rescued out of Sodom just before the Lord rains down fire and brimstone upon the people of His wrath.
4) Verses 34-36 teach us that the analogy of the rescue of Lot is given in the context of the rapture on the last day. And thus, when we read Genesis 19 we should remember that this was a true historical event, but God wrote it in such a way that we should find the spiritual aspects of Genesis 19 in terms of conditions and events of the world near the end of time. And thus Genesis 19 should be understood as a historical parable; it was historically true, but it reveals to us principles of eschatology as if it was a parable.
5) Verse 12, “Remember Lot’s wife”, is given in the context of covetousness, which is idolatry. The worship of material things is a worship of other gods, and is a condemnable idolatry. 21st Century man prides himself of not being stupid like the Old Testament people who worshipped idols of wood and stone. But they do not realize that their turning away from God and His Word, and chasing after earthly pleasures is just as much idolatry as the Old Testament people did by making idols of wood and stone.
And so, since Luke 17:28-30 points us to the events described in Genesis 19, we should turn to Genesis 19 and consider the spiritual aspects that are hidden in this chapter. However, since most of us are somewhat familiar with Genesis 19, and since Judges 19 goes hand in hand with Genesis 19, I think it is profitable at this point that we first turn our attention to Judges 19.
The Levite and His Concubine (Judges 19:1-30)
The period of the Judges spans exactly 360 years. It was a time when the nation of Israel failed to drive out the heathen out of the land of Canaan, and it was a time that can be characterized by the following phrase that we find repeatedly throughout this prophecy of the Judges: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
When we analyze what that means spiritually, we come to the conclusion that this entire prophecy of the Judges shows us pictures of the last days at the end of the New Testament time period. Near the end of time “there is no king in the New Testament church; every man does that which is right in his own eyes”, which typifies the apostacy that is so prevalent today in the church. Many of the battles in this prophecy of the Judges are pictures of the last battle between Christ and Satan. And since we have found from Luke that Genesis 19 refers to the last days, we are confronted in Judges 19 also with events that have to do with the last days.
Let us read Judges 19:1-30,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. And when the man rose up to depart, his father in law urged him: therefore he lodged there again.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And they passed on and went their way; and the sun went down upon them when they were by Gibeah, which belongeth to Benjamin.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
And the old man said, Peace be with thee; howsoever let all thy wants lie upon me; only lodge not in the street.
So he brought him into his house, and gave provender unto the asses: and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here we can see in rough outlines the similarity with the story in Genesis 19. The inhabitants of Sodom as well as the inhabitants of Gibeah were sodomites. There were two men who visited the old man Lot in Sodom, and here were two men who visited the old man in Gibeah. In both places the visitors planned to lodge in the street, but the old man Lot, and the old man from Ephraim convinced the visitors that they should come in their house. The sodomites in Sodom as well as the sodomites in Gibeah were pounding at the door wanting to molest the male visitors. Lot offered his two daughters to the sodomites, and the old man in Gibeah offered his daughter and the Levite’s concubine to the men of Gibeah.
And if all this has eschatological meaning in Genesis 19 then how shall it also have eschatological meaning in Judges 19?
Actually, the analogy between the two chapters starts a little earlier, for in Judges 19 the Levite had a three day visit with the father of his bride. And so, we must actually begin with Genesis 18.
After Three Dinners (Genesis 18:1-8, Genesis 18:20-26, Micah 7:18)
Certain events came to pass after three dinners were served, and this came to pass in Genesis as well as in Judges. The first meeting in Genesis 18 was with Abraham, and the first meeting in Judg 19 was with the father of the bride. Let us find out if these two events are related. We begin to read Genesis 18:1-8,
And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,
And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:
Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:
And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant.
And they said, So do, as thou hast said. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.
And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.
And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.
Abraham sat in the tent door in the heat of the day. It must be around noon. Then the three visitors appeared. But God recorded for us that the LORD appeared to Abraham. And thus we conclude that God in three persons appeared unto Abraham; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We cannot say that it was the LORD and two angels who appeared to Abraham, for we find in Genesis 19 that these two were not angels but God Himself. Abraham recognized them as one God, Jehovah, and this is how God recorded it for us. Then Abraham arranged to prepare a dinner for these three visitors. But this was a dinner prepared from scratch. And it was a huge dinner. Not a lamb, not a sheep, but a calf was selected to be served. And not just a little fine meal, but Sarah had to make cakes of three measures of meal.
Another place where three measures of meal were used was in Matthew 13:33, where we know that it was a huge amount. And so, it took some time before this dinner was prepared and served. And then it took some time to eat it. And thus it was late in the afternoon when the three finally got up and set out to walk to the city of Sodom.
Can we see the similarity with the story in Judges 19?
It was late in the afternoon that the Levite arrived in Gibeah.
Back in Genesis 18, what was God’s purpose in appearing first to Abraham?
It was to announce a mission of mercy. First mercy to Abraham and Sarah, for Sarah shall have a son. Then a mission of mercy to those in Sodom who need to get out before the fire and brimstone start raining on Sodom. And then a plea for mercy on Sodom by Abraham who pleaded with God to spare Sodom if there were only ten righteous found there. What Abraham did not know is that God would spare the city if only one righteous person could be found there. That is why God arranged to have a rapture of the saints occur at the end of the world, so that none of the saints will suffer the fire and brimstone that will be raining on the wicked.
And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.
And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.
And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
Then Abraham bargained with God and brought the number of righteous down to only ten. Only ten out of a city of perhaps 10,000 people would certainly be sufficient. That is what Abraham thought. But No; the real ratio was more like 1 in 10,000. This is the real ratio we should expect to find at the end of the world; and perhaps it will be even smaller than that. But by the mercy of God none of the saints shall suffer when God brings down His wrath upon the wicked. This is what Abraham got to know after three dinners were served. The number three is intensely tied to the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, by which we can also see that it was God’s purpose to be merciful, for He is a God who delights in mercy (Micah 7:18).
How can we relate these things to the story of the Levite in Bethlehem?
The Levite in Bethlehem (Judges 19:1-10, Ephesians 2:3, Genesis 49:5-7, Hosea 3:1-2)
Who does the concubine represent?
What does a woman usually represent in the Bible?
Yes, an unnamed woman in a historical parable is most likely a picture of the church.
This woman was from Bethlehemjudah, meaning she was from Bethlehem in the land of Judah. Bethlehem means House of Bread, and the House of Bread is usually the church, for there is where the Bread of Life is preached. Judah means “praise”.
It is the praise that comes from God. And so, this woman was from the House of Bread in the land that is praised by God.
Can it be any clearer that this meant the church?
But this woman plays the harlot; how can that be?
What is God’s opinion of us before we were saved?
God says in Ephesians 2:3 that we, before we were made alive, were dead in trespasses and sins, and “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
We were by nature the children of the wrath of God, even as others who never become saved.
And thus before we were saved the title “harlot” is a very fitting title, for we committed spiritual harlotry every day. We were unfaithful to Christ every day.
And so, if the concubine is a picture of the church before she was saved, who does the Levite represent?
The church is the Bride of Christ, and thus the Levite represents Christ.
Is this a fitting description of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Who or what is a Levite?
A Levite is a descendant of Levi, who came under the curse of his father Jacob for the cruelty he displayed to the inhabitants of Shechem. By the mouth of Jacob, God says in Genesis 49:5-7,
Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.
O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.
Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
And so, the tribe of Levi fell under a curse. It was the curse of poverty. Only Aaron was elevated to the function of high priest, but the remainder of the tribe of Levi were sojourners in the land of Canaan, without an inheritance, for the Lord alone was their inheritance.
And does this not describe perfectly the state in which the Lord Jesus Christ came?
He came as the Suffering Servant of Jehovah. For our sakes He came as the poorest of the poor, so that we might become rich like the sons of God.
And for what purpose did He come to Bethlehemjudah?
It was for a mission of mercy. We read in Judges 19:3 that He went after His concubine to speak friendly to her and to bring her back again. Our compassionate Lord has been described in many places of Scripture as a God who delights in mercy. God says in Hosea 3:1-2,
Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.
So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley: (He bought her back.)
This again is a picture of Hosea as God, and Gomer as the sinful people of God, when God has mercy on His people again and again and again. This is what the Levite came to do in Bethlehemjudah. Then the concubine brought Him into her father’s house, and when her father saw Him he rejoiced to meet Him.
Who does her father represent?
Well, if we remember the analogy between Genesis 19 and Judges 19, then the father of the concubine should be Abraham, for Abraham is called the father of all believers. Then we read in Judges 19:4 that the Levite abode with him three days. And thus he ate three dinners at the house of the father of His Bride. Again, the number three is pointing to the atonement of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ came on a mission of mercy. And after the three dinners Abraham was again in a negotiation mood, and he persuaded the Levite to stay one more night. But then the Levite really had to go back to his home town. It was late in the afternoon when the Levite rose up and departed, with his servant, and with the concubine, and with the two donkeys. And now we should compare side by side the words that were written in Genesis 19, beginning at verse 1, with Judges 19, beginning at verse 13, for here the two stories coincide.
Late in the Afternoon (Genesis 19:1-14, John 10:26-27, Judges 19:16,20)
There were two persons entering Sodom, and one of those two represented the Lord Jesus Christ. There were three people entering Gibeah in the land of Benjamin, and one of those three was the Levite who represented the Lord Jesus Christ. The number of individuals in Genesis 19 was six: Lot, his wife, two daughters, and two visitors. The number of individuals in Judges 19 is five: The Levite, his concubine, his servant, the old man, and his daughter. We read now in Genesis 19:1-14,
And there came two Angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways.
And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.
But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:
And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,
And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.
And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.
But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.
And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.
And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place:
For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.
And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.
From the words that are written it seems as if Lot recognized the two visitors, like Abraham recognized the three visitors in Gen 18. God is hereby letting us know that Lot recognized Christ since he was of the flock of Christ. The Lord Jesus said in John 10:26-27,
But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Instinctively we know Him, and we follow Him if we are of His flock. We read in Genesis 19:3 that Lot pressed upon the visitors greatly so that they entered his house and lodged there. Lot was already an old man, and Lot was of the family of Abraham.
We read in Judges 19:16 that an old man returned from the field, and the old man was also from the tribe of Ephraim.
We read in Judges 19:20 that the old man convinced the three visitors that they should lodge at his house, and he took all the responsibilities of providing for his three visitors.
In Genesis 19 as well as in Judg 19 they were eating and drinking and had a feast. But then, in both cases, their feast was interrupted by men who surrounded the house and who wanted to sodomize the visitors.
Why particularly the visitors?
It demonstrates the violent nature of these men. They are not the homosexuals who just have come out of the closet; they have emancipated to the state where the whole world should revolve around their lifestyle. And now we want to take a good look at the church and at society around us.
Are we close to the end?
Signs of the End
Both Genesis 19 and Judges 19 are dealing with the end of time. And in both cases the faithful church is surrounded by sodomites. God is hereby letting us know that when society around us accepts the homosexual lifestyle, we should rejoice, for it means that the Lord’s return is near.
But it also means that the church will be under siege. There will be great pressures on the church to conform to what is already acceptable in society. The old fashioned church has to go, and newer ideas should take hold of the church, such as: Gay is OK, women as elders and preachers, a newer translation of the Bible, 10 minute sermons and practical easy to understand topics, Saturday worship services, more 7-11 hymns, etc.
The dominant factor which indicates that we are close to the end is the adoption of the homosexual lifestyle outside the church.
But when the homosexual lifestyle is accepted within the church, such as we can see in a few denominations, then it is certainly time that we get prepared for the Lord’s return, for this is an abomination which the Lord does not take lightly.
By Alfred J. Chompff