Questions to Consider
1. Go back to lesson 3 (link above) and review your answer to the first part of question 5, Israel’s pattern of sin and repentance in 2:16-23. How does today’s passage fit this pattern? How does today’s passage fit the theme verse of Judges (21:25), “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”?
2. Read 19:1. (You may wish to briefly review lesson 14 for these questions, link above.) Which “days” does “in those days” refer to? What is a concubine? What is the position of the man in this verse? Why is it significant to the theme of Judges that this man was a Levite? Where else have we recently seen a Levite as a central character in a story in Judges?
Notice the repetition (see lesson 14, link above) of the phrase and the concept “when there was no king in Israel”. Who is traditionally considered the author of Judges (see lesson 1, link above)? How does this phrase explain to the author’s contemporaries a) that the events in Judges took place prior to the monarchy (the period of the kings of Israel – Saul, David, etc.) they were currently living in, b) that the anarchy of Judges necessitated the monarchy, and c) the contrast between the anarchy during the time of Judges and the law and order during the monarchy? For us as readers, how does this phrase and concept lay the groundwork, and introduce us to the need for the monarchy?
3. Read 19:2-30. Compare and contrast the genuine hospitality of the Levite’s father-in-law (3-9) with the hypocritical hospitality of the old man (20-21, 22-24) with the anti-hospitality of the worthless fellows (22,25). In what ways does this display of various degrees of hospitality inform your view of what Christian hospitality should look like in your life? Which man/men best points us to the way God welcomes us strangers in? Why?
How does the concubine’s unfaithfulness, and the husband going to bring her back, paint a picture of Israel’s unfaithfulness and God as Redeemer? How does it point us to our own sin and straying and God sending Christ to pursue us, redeem us, and restore us to Himself? Continuing this line of thought, how does the fact that the unfaithful woman in this story is a concubine impact or reflect on the fact that the church – Believers – are the bride of Christ? What is the difference in status, rights, and privileges between a concubine and a wife as it relates to our standing in Christ?
How does this passage move from the Levite (recall from lesson 14, link above, the duties of the Levites) being a picture of God as Redeemer of His Bride in 1-21 to a picture of what God would never do to His Bride in 22-30?
How are the actions of the Levite, the old man, and the worthless fellows in 22-30 reflective of the theme of Judges and the opening concept of this chapter “there was no king in Israel”?
God reveals throughout Scripture a special love, care, and compassion for the most vulnerable, such as women and children, widows and orphans, the sojourner, and the poor. He teaches us that the strong are to protect and provide for the weak. Explain how the Levite’s (especially as a “man of God”) (25), the old man’s (24), and the worthless fellows’ (22,25) behavior toward a sojourner (22) and women (24,25) demonstrates just how far their hearts were from the heart of God. Did they protect and provide for these vulnerable people, or did they sacrifice the vulnerable to protect and provide for themselves?
Think about how “there was no king in Israel” allowed for the behavior of these men, and how there was, functionally, “no King of Kings in Israel,” which led to the heart attitude of these men (which resulted in their behavior). How does what we believe inform what we do?
What are some modern day examples – inside and outside the visible church – of the strong sacrificing the weak and vulnerable to protect or provide for themselves, and how does this demonstrate just how far the heart of the “strong” is from the heart of God? How would these passages apply? How does what we believe inform what we do?
What do you think was the Levite’s purpose in dismembering and disseminating his concubine? (29-30) (Check your answer in lesson 16 next week, or peek ahead to chapter 20.)
4. In most passages of Scripture, God is present with His people. He’s giving a command, speaking through a prophet, the passage describes His thoughts and actions, etc. We’ve even seen God present in this way in previous passages in Judges. Where is God in Judges 19? Do you feel the weight of His absence in this passage? Are the false beliefs and sinful actions we see in this passage the cause or the result of God taking a step back from these people?
5. Think about the motif of light versus darkness in the Bible. How does the depth of sin and darkness in today’s passage starkly contrast the brilliance of the light of Christ?
Who established the system of judges over Israel? Was the system of judges successful (i.e. Israel flourished in her faith in God, her economy, victory over her enemies, agricultural bounty, etc.)? Whose fault was it that the system of judges failed and needed to be replaced? Think of some other systems and scenarios throughout the Bible that God set up as good, but were ruined by man’s sin. (Hint to get you started.) Does the failure of these systems mean that God was a failure or that He did not foresee what would happen when He established these systems? How do you know this? How do all of these failed systems point to the one system that has not failed and will not fail? What is that system and why will it not fail? How does the infallibility of this system help us understand that those who are genuinely saved cannot lose their salvation?