“And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also.” Genesis 35:17
Like most, I just hate picking up in the middle of a situation, given that this was the last of twelve sons born to Jacob and the last of two born of Rachel. One has to read/listen to the whole story of Jacob (click on: Genesis 25:24-35:29). However, the second birth would be the last one for Rachel since she died during the birthing process. (That proves what the LORD said to Eve that all women would be subject to the LORD, and the LORD would greatly multiply thy sorrow in conception and in sorrow thy shalt bring forth children * click on Genesis 3:16a)
On the road between Bethel and Bethlehem is when excruciating pains of giving birth happened for (click on) Rachel. Indeed, she was suffering to the point of death, but before she died, she had time to name him — Ben-oni. And Rachel named him (click on) Ben-oni which means “man of sorrows,” only later to be renamed by his father Jacob (click on) Benjamin which means “son of the right hand.”
Obviously, one wishes they would have more on the life of Benjamin, but we can’t trust anything beyond the Bible — the truest source for all things that are true. And it mentions little of him except when Joseph (now second in command over Egypt) asks of Benjamin. Joseph’s ten older brothers must have recoiled because they knew that their youngest brother was back with their father, Jacob. and further. You can look it up for yourself: (click on) Genesis 34-46.
Indeed, there is not much mention of Benjamin throughout the rest of Genesis, but his tribe, well, that’s a different story. Just at a glance, we don’t know how many hundreds of years passed by: (click on) Judges. But it is near the time when the period of the Judges and Israel’s sinful request for their first king, King Saul came from the commonwealth of Israel.
Let us go to (click on) Judge’s 19-21 in which I have provided for you. It’s some extensive reading but you can listen to it through your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. The reason why I choose this route is because I want you to get the full story of what happened during this time of Israel. So here we go:
“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 Beth-lehem-judah. And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from him unto her father’s house to Beth-lehem-judah, 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 Beth-lehem-judah toward the side of mount Ephraim; from thence am I: and I went to Beth-lehem-judah, 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.
“Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was gathered together as one man, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, with the land of Gilead, unto the LORD in Mizpeh. And the chief of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen that drew sword. (Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel were gone up to Mizpeh.) Then said the children of Israel, Tell us, how was this wickedness? And the Levite, the husband of the woman that was slain, answered and said, I came into Gibeah that belongeth to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to lodge. And the men of Gibeah rose against me, and beset the house round about upon me by night, and thought to have slain me: and my concubine have they forced, that she is dead. And I took my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel: for they have committed lewdness and folly in Israel. Behold, ye are all children of Israel; give here your advice and counsel. And all the people arose as one man, saying, We will not any of us go to his tent, neither will we any of us turn into his house. But now this shall be the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up by lot against it; and we will take ten men of an hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and an hundred of a thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to fetch victual for the people, that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly that they have wrought in Israel. So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one man. And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, What wickedness is this that is done among you? Now therefore deliver us the men, the children of Belial, which are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel. But the children of Benjamin would not hearken to the voice of their brethren the children of Israel: but the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities unto Gibeah, to go out to battle against the children of Israel. And the children of Benjamin were numbered at that time out of the cities twenty and six thousand men that drew sword, beside the inhabitants of Gibeah, which were numbered seven hundred chosen men. Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss. And the men of Israel, beside Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men that drew sword: all these were men of war. And the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the LORD said, Judah shall go up first. And the children of Israel rose up in the morning, and encamped against Gibeah. And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin; and the men of Israel put themselves in array to fight against them at Gibeah. And the children of Benjamin came forth out of Gibeah, and destroyed down to the ground of the Israelites that day twenty and two thousand men. And the people the men of Israel encouraged themselves, and set their battle again in array in the place where they put themselves in array the first day. (And the children of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until even, and asked counsel of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up again to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother? And the LORD said, Go up against him.) And the children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day. And Benjamin went forth against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men; all these drew the sword. Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. And the children of Israel enquired of the LORD, (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, and Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And the LORD said, Go up; for to morrow I will deliver them into thine hand. And Israel set liers in wait round about Gibeah. And the children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and put themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times. And the children of Benjamin went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city; and they began to smite of the people, and kill, as at other times, in the highways, of which one goeth up to the house of God, and the other to Gibeah in the field, about thirty men of Israel. And the children of Benjamin said, They are smitten down before us, as at the first. But the children of Israel said, Let us flee, and draw them from the city unto the highways. And all the men of Israel rose up out of their place, and put themselves in array at Baal-tamar: and the liers in wait of Israel came forth out of their places, even out of the meadows of Gibeah. And there came against Gibeah ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was sore: but they knew not that evil was near them. And the LORD smote Benjamin before Israel: and the children of Israel destroyed of the Benjamites that day twenty and five thousand and an hundred men: all these drew the sword. So the children of Benjamin saw that they were smitten: for the men of Israel gave place to the Benjamites, because they trusted unto the liers in wait which they had set beside Gibeah. And the liers in wait hasted, and rushed upon Gibeah; and the liers in wait drew themselves along, and smote all the city with the edge of the sword. Now there was an appointed sign between the men of Israel and the liers in wait, that they should make a great flame with smoke rise up out of the city. And when the men of Israel retired in the battle, Benjamin began to smite and kill of the men of Israel about thirty persons: for they said, Surely they are smitten down before us, as in the first battle. But when the flame began to arise up out of the city with a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them, and, behold, the flame of the city ascended up to heaven. And when the men of Israel turned again, the men of Benjamin were amazed: for they saw that evil was come upon them. Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel unto the way of the wilderness; but the battle overtook them; and them which came out of the cities they destroyed in the midst of them. Thus they inclosed the Benjamites round about, and chased them, and trode them down with ease over against Gibeah toward the sunrising. And there fell of Benjamin eighteen thousand men; all these were men of valour. And they turned and fled toward the wilderness unto the rock of Rimmon: and they gleaned of them in the highways five thousand men; and pursued hard after them unto Gidom, and slew two thousand men of them. So that all which fell that day of Benjamin were twenty and five thousand men that drew the sword; all these were men of valour. But six hundred men turned and fled to the wilderness unto the rock Rimmon, and abode in the rock Rimmon four months. And the men of Israel turned again upon the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword, as well the men of every city, as the beast, and all that came to hand: also they set on fire all the cities that they came to.”
“Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife. And the people came to the house of God, and abode there till even before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore; and said, O LORD God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be to day one tribe lacking in Israel? And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And the children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up with the congregation unto the LORD? For they had made a great oath concerning him that came not up to the LORD to Mizpeh, saying, He shall surely be put to death. And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day. How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing we have sworn by the LORD that we will not give them of our daughters to wives? And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up to Mizpeh to the LORD? And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly. For the people were numbered, and, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead there. And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children. And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man. And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan. And the whole congregation sent some to speak to the children of Benjamin that were in the rock Rimmon, and to call peaceably unto them. And Benjamin came again at that time; and they gave them wives which they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-gilead: and yet so they sufficed them not. And the people repented them for Benjamin, because that the LORD had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin? And they said, There must be an inheritance for them that be escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not destroyed out of Israel. Howbeit we may not give them wives of our daughters: for the children of Israel have sworn, saying, Cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin. Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Beth-el, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Beth-el to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah. Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards; and see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come unto us to complain, that we will say unto them, Be favourable unto them for our sakes: because we reserved not to each man his wife in the war: for ye did not give unto them at this time, that ye should be guilty. And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught: and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them. And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance. In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
Does one remember this, where Lot were visited by two angels while they were staying in Sodom. Just before the burning, the situation arose in which men wanted to commit lewd acts with the angels they thought were men who were staying with Lot (click on: Genesis 19). And Lot decided to offer up his two daughters instead. Who would offer up the daughters just because men wanted to “know” angels? Wouldn’t you think that the angels could take care of themselves? Instead, Lot interferes offering his two daughters up for angels disguised as men. In fact, the LORD gave them power to cause blindness of the perverted men who barge in Lot’s door. As a father of two grown girls, this touches my emotional heart, ever to remember that was a different culture and time. But still. . . .
Yet, the difference was the people from Sodom were mainly Gentiles, whereas the men from the land of Gibeah were not. Actually, it was the land in which they committed these lewd acts was under the tribe of Benjamin. After the father-in-law of the second class wife (a.k.a concubine) delayed the Levite from leaving his house, the servant of the Levite suggested to stay in the city of the Jebusites. However, the Levite (which if you recall the Lord is their inheritance not a land in which they can call their own * click on: Deuteronomy 10:9) had favoritism for the 12 tribes of Israel against anyone outside of the 12 tribal lands, and the city of the Jebusites was definitely not part of the 12 tribal lands. So, they traveled to the city of Gibeah which was part of the Benjamite Clan.
This is where it gets difficult to understand especially in the modern Westernized culture in the land of the free and the home of the brave, America, in 2022 where women have, just about, the same rights as men. But, you have to understand, the freedoms that women enjoy were not always like that. Women got treated like trash for most of creation. This breaks my heart. Although it isn’t right for the men of Belial to have sex with the Levite man, it isn’t right for the old man to offer up his daughter and the Levite man’s concubine or secondary wife to take the Levite man’s place. However, it seems like the old man and the Levite were “ok” with it because it was going to save the Levite from being “violated, and thus the men of Belial chose the secondary wife. It just repulses me.
It seems like the old man and the Levite just slept through the night all the while not concerned for the secondary wife until morning. After all, the Levite left his house to go get her when she was originally gone four months. Remember, we have no idea how their culture was. Much later, although, God the Father had so much of the sin that He sent His only begotten Son to be a sacrificial lamb for the entire human race (past, present, and future) would have a chance to accept what Jesus Christ — the Son of God — did for us so that we could be forever with Him in heaven (click on: John 3:14-21).
Now back to the end of this gruesome chapter. The Levite, being skilled in dissecting animals since he was of a priestly tribe, decided to cut up his secondary wife because she was dead. I am guessing that it would have been cold enough to dispel the dead concubine’s unpleasant smell for a number of hours to get back to Bethlehem. Using his priestly background, he was so outraged that he cut the woman up into twelve pieces, one for each tribe. Even the tribe of Benjamin where the homosexual perverts came from. Yet, the elders of that tribe declined to have these perverted men be held accountable, instead trusting in their own might.
The eleven tribes tried to reason with the tribe of Benjamin, asking for the homosexual perverts to come forth, yet the elders of the tribe of Benjamin said no. And after the elders of the tribe of Benjamin declined, a justification came over the other eleven tribes, to make the tribe of Benjamin pay. So, all eleven tribes of fighting soldiers gathered up, and the LORD said to have the tribe of Judah go up first. With confidence that the Lord was with them, the Judah’s fighting soldiers went up first. Yet, the outcome isn’t what they expected — instead of coming back in victory, they came back defeated. “How could we lose?” must have been going through their minds as they lost in defeat to the tribe of Benjamin.
Then the rest of the eleven tribes fasted until evening as they asked counsel of the LORD. And the Lord answered them with a positive answer, “Go up against him.” However, the results at the end of the day were similar. They lost 18,000 men.
When all of the eleven tribes of soldiers went up the third day, they had the LORD’s promise that they would come back in victory as the Benjamites lost almost all of their fighting men, all except six hundred which fled into the mountains. It took two days for the Israelite soldiers to get to that number of 40,000 versus only one day for the Benjamite soldiers losing 25,000 all on behalf a “little” fib told by the Levite man.
That is 40,000 Israelite troops dead over two days just with in-fighting against the tribe of Benjamin. The Israelite soldiers plead with the LORD. And again, the LORD answered saying that He would deliver the Benjamites into their hands. Therefore, the eleven tribes of Israeli soldiers employed a new strategy — getting the fighting Benjamites to chase the soldiers of Israel, making it look like they were retreating. Instead of retreating, the Israelite soldiers turned and, once again started to fight the Benjamite soldiers, and they were effectively to punish and humiliate the Benjamites on the (click on: )“highways.”
However, it was all started by the Levite man by telling a little fib when recounting the story during the overnight stay in Gibeah. According to the commentary on Judges 20 (click on: ) Bible Track, the Levite told a lie in recounting the story of what happened to them — the Levite man and his concubine. “If you pay close attention to verse 5, here, and compare it to 19:25, it would appear that the Levite didn’t tell the story quite like it happened. In fact, the Levite gave his concubine to them. She wasn’t taken by force as he related the story to all of Israel” (click on: Judges 19-21 and Commentary).
There are only 600 Benjamite soldiers left after the overkill of that little “white” lie told by the Levite which he should have known better since the Levites had a special promise given by the LORD — that they would be His own possession (click on: Deuteronomy 10:8-9). However, prideful revenge got in the way, causing the Levite man to sin when he recounted what happened. It turned out that all of the other eleven tribes had sworn not to give the 600 Benjamite men a wife (click on: Judges 21:1); however, this presents a problem of getting the tribe of Benjamin to replenish itself. Through the use of clever means, all of these 600 men got new wives which brings to remembrance (click on) Romans 8:28, which says:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Simply, it’s just the evilness of sin. Sin is no respecter of persons as it can effect the Gentiles (those who are not Israelites) as well as the seed of Abraham (those that actively believe in Jesus Christ). “Fear not . . . for your sin will find you out.”
~ Darren L Beattie, The Soul Blogger of TrueLifeChristianity.com ~