Judges 20:4-5 So the Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, said, “I and my concubine came to Gibeah in Benjamin to spend the night. During the night the men of Gibeah came after me and surrounded the house, intending to kill me. They raped my concubine, and she died.
We have here a good (ie BAD!) example of the sinful human heart that leads to sinful, deceitful behaviour. The whole big picture that is the context for this event is horrendously awful enough, but the deceit of the Levite makes it even worse.
The information the Levite gave to the Israelites who had come to his aid is ALL TRUE – but it is what he omitted to tell them that condemns him! This is a stark reminder to me of how prone I am to ‘adjust the data’ to put myself in the best light.
The Levite failed to mention a number of significant details: firstly, there was the FACT that the men of Gibeah KNEW there was a vulnerable stranger in the house because he had spent some time in the town square, and that had happened because he arrived late, which in turn was the result of his irresponsible binge drinking with his father-in-law instead of setting off with his wife at a reasonable hour (19:4-10); secondly, there was the FACT that, to save his OWN life, he had allowed his poor wife/concubine to be handed OVER to his attackers so that they could satisfy their lust by raping her (19:21b-25); thirdly, it might have been helpful for him to mention the FACT that while she was being viciously abused all night he was sleeping soundly in his bed in the safety of the house (19:26-27); fourthly, there was the FACT that, when he had prepared to proceed on his journey the next morning as if nothing had happened and just stumbled over her lying on the doorstep, abused to death, he showed no repentance, or even remorse, for what had happened to her (19:27-29). Later, chopping her dead body up into small pieces as a means of gaining support for his vengeance (19:19-30) demonstrates clearly his totally wrong, ungodly attitude to women in general, and his wife in particular.
All of this ‘missing’ information might have been helpful for the Israelites to have before they decided to align themselves with his complaint and cause further bloodshed and distress among God’s people.
Why am I writing all this? I find just reading these closing five chapters of the book of Judges (17-21) distressing enough, but while I do so in the context of the increasing domestic violence today, even among ‘God’s people’, I feel something needs to be said. Men, are we treating women in general, and our wives in particular, in the way God has set out in his inspired Word (see, eg, Ephesians 5:25-33a; 1 Peter 3:7). More importantly, are we ‘leaving out’ some of the ‘details’ of our behaviour in order to JUSTIFY it and put ourselves and our actions in a better light?
On the other hand, are the rest of us failing to look into the whole truth about domestic violence and giving offenders our support in the light of their truncated/sterilised evidence, instead of calling them out and giving the victims the support they need and deserve?