But the men would not listen to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth to 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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Genesis 19:8. Both cases betray painfully the low place in the social scale occupied by woman in the old world, from which it is one of the glories of Christianity to have raised her.
22-24. certain sons of Belial beset the house—The narrative of the horrid outrage that was committed; of the proposal of the old man; the unfeeling, careless, and in many respects, inexplicable conduct of the Levite towards his wife, disclose a state of morality that would have appeared incredible, did it not rest on the testimony of the sacred historian. Both men ought to have protected the women in the house, even though at the expense of their lives, or thrown themselves on God's providence. It should be noted, however, that the guilt of such a foul outrage is not fastened on the general population of Gibeah.The man took his concubine; being willing to expose her rather than the daughter of his host, who had expressed such a singular care and affection for him.
so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; that is, not the old man, but the Levite took his own wife or concubine, and put her forth to them, very probably with her consent, to try if that would pacify them, she being a fair and beautiful woman, as Ben Gersom and Abarbinel suggest; and Josephus (u) intimates, that some young men of the city had seen her in the street, and were captivated with her beauty, and came on purpose for her, and would not be satisfied unless she was delivered to them; and upon which her husband, perceiving this, laid hold on her by main strength, as the word signifies, and brought her out whether she would or not, as Kimchi notes:
and they knew her, and abused her all night until the morning; had carnal knowledge of her, and used her in a most shocking manner one after another, all the night long, until the morning appeared:
and when the day began to spring; at break of day, when the light dawned: they let her go; their works being works of darkness, and would not bear the light.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)25. If the offer of the host strikes us as immoral, the conduct of the Levite makes an even worse impression: he sacrifices his concubine-wife to save himself. The same despicable behaviour appears in the stories of Abraham and Isaac, Genesis 12:10 ff. J, Genesis 12:20 E, Genesis 26:6-11 J; no blame or condemnation is attached to any one; we must not expect to find even the elements of chivalry in the ancient Hebrew estimate of womanhood. Our standards of morality are inapplicable.Verse 25. - The man took his concubine, etc. One's blood boils at such selfish baseness and such cowardly cruelty. It is not quite clear whether the man means the Levite or the old Ephraimite. Judges 19:18), "and I walk at the house of Jehovah, and no one receives me into his house" (Seb. Schm., etc.); not "I am going to the house of Jehovah" (Ros., Berth., etc.), for את הלך does not signify to go to a place, for which the simple accusative is used either with or without ה local. It either means "to go through a place" (Deuteronomy 1:19, etc.), or "to go with a person," or, when applied to things, "to go about with anything" (see Job 31:5, and Ges. Thes. p. 378). Moreover, in this instance the Levite was not going to the house of Jehovah (i.e., the tabernacle), but, as he expressly told the old man, from Bethlehem to the outermost sides of the mountains of Ephraim. The words in question explain the reason why he was staying in the market-place. Because he served at the house of Jehovah, no one in Gibeah would receive him into his house,
(Note: As Seb. Schmidt correctly observes, "the argument is taken from the indignity shown him: the Lord thinks me worthy to minister to Him, as a Levite, in His house, and there is not one of the people of the Lord who thinks me worthy to receive his hospitality.")
although, as he adds in Judges 19:19, he had everything with him that was requisite for his wants. "We have both straw and fodder for our asses, and bread and wine for me and thy maid, and for the young man with thy servants. No want of anything at all," so as to cause him to be burdensome to his host. By the words "thy maid" and "thy servants" he means himself and his concubine, describing himself and his wife, according to the obsequious style of the East in olden times, as servants of the man from whom he was expecting a welcome.
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