(Warning: If you’re squeamish, or dealing with issues of sexual abuse, it might be good to sit this week out.)
Yesterday, we read the disturbing, stomach-turning story found Judges 19. We noticed how it was part of a section of the book of Judges describing a people who had essentially abandoned God as their king: a picture of a world without God. Today and tomorrow, we’ll be looking more closely at the details of the story – in the hope of finding some kind of relevance for us today. In particular, we’re going to take note of how this story fits into this wider, “godless” picture, pointing out everything that’s not as it should be.
It starts off in verse 1 introducing a Levite living ‘in a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim’. Already something’s wrong. He’s a Levite, the tribe of priests. He’s not living where he should be, in one of the cities allotted to the Levite, doing what priests should do. It may well be that he was trying to sell his services as a priest-for-hire like the young Levite in the previous chapter. (You can read that story later if you like.)