April 3

Judges 19–21

1 In those days, when there was no king in Israel, there was a certain Levite living as resident foreigner in a remote part of the hill country of Ephraim. He took a concubine for himself from Bethlehem in Judah. 2 Yet his concubine became angry with him and went away from him to her father’s house at Bethlehem in Judah. She was there for four months. 3 Her husband got up and went after her in order to speak tenderly to her and bring her back. His servant and two donkeys were with him. When he came to her father’s house, the girl’s father saw him and was happy to meet with him. 4 His father-in-law, the girl’s father, prevailed upon him to stay with him for three days. So they ate and drank and spent the night there.

5 On the fourth day they woke up early in the morning. He got ready to go, but the girl’s father said to his son-in-law, “Strengthen yourself with a little food, and then you can go.” 6 So the two of them sat down to eat and drink together. Then the girl’s father said to the man, “Please spend the night and let your heart be merry.” 7 The man got up to go, but his father-in-law urged him until he turned back and spent the night there. 8 He got up early in the morning on the fifth day to go. The girl’s father said, “Please, strengthen yourself and wait until later in the day.” So the two of them ate.

9 Then the man got up to go: he, his concubine, and his servant. His father-in-law, the girl’s father, said to him, “Look! It is getting dark. Spend the night! Settle in and spend the night here, let your heart be merry. You can get up early tomorrow and go home.” 10 Yet the man did not want to spend the night, so he got up and left and approached Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). Two saddled donkeys and his concubine were with him.

11 When they were near Jebus, it was getting very late. The servant said to his master, “Come, let us turn aside to this Jebusite city and spend the night in it.”

12 His master said to him, “We must not turn aside to a city of foreigners, who are not children of Israel. We will continue on to Gibeah.” 13 He said to his servant, “Come, let us go to one of these places. We will spend the night in Gibeah or Ramah.” 14 They continued and went on. The sun went down when they were near Gibeah in Benjamin. 15 So they turned aside there to go and spend the night in Gibeah. They went in and sat in the city square, but no one took them in to spend the night.

16 Just then, an old man came in at evening time from his work in the field. The man was from the hill country of Ephraim and lived as a resident foreigner in Gibeah, but the townspeople were Benjamites. 17 He looked up and saw the traveler in the city square. The old man said, “Where are you going, and where do you come from?”

18 He said to him, “We are traveling from Bethlehem in Judah to a remote part of the hill country of Ephraim. I am from there. I went to Bethlehem in Judah, and now I am going to the house of the Lord. No one has taken me into his home. 19 Yet there is enough straw and fodder for our donkeys, with bread and wine for me, your maidservant, and the young man who is with your servant. We do not lack anything.”

20 The old man said, “Do not worry. I will take care of whatever you need. Just do not spend the night in the city square.” 21 So he brought him into his house and gave food to his donkeys. They washed their feet, ate, and drank.

22 While they were enjoying themselves, the men of the city, who were wicked men, surrounded the house and pounded on the door. They said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house, so we can have relations with him.”

23 The master of the house went out to them and said, “No, my brothers, do not commit this evil act, not after this man has come into my house. Do not commit this disgrace. 24 Here are my virgin daughter and the man’s concubine. Let me bring them out to you. Ravish them and do to them what you please. But do not commit this vile act against this man.”

25 The men were unwilling to listen to him, so the man seized his concubine and brought her out to them in the street. They knew her and abused her all night until morning. As the dawn began to break, they let her go. 26 The woman came back at daybreak and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her master was, lying there until it was light.

27 Her master got up in the morning and opened the doors of the house. He went out to go on his way, but there was the woman, his concubine, fallen at the door of the house with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, “Get up, let us be going,” but there was no answer. So the man put her on a donkey and went home.

29 When he got home, he took a knife and seized his concubine, then cut her body into twelve pieces. Then he sent her throughout all the territory of Israel. 30 Everyone who saw this said, “Nothing like this has been done or seen since the day the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt until today. Consider it, take counsel, and speak up!”

Chapter 20

1 All the children of Israel from Dan to Beersheba, and also from the land of Gilead, went out and gathered together in an assembly as one man before the Lord at Mizpah. 2 The leaders of all the people from all the tribes of Israel presented themselves in an assembly of the people of God, who numbered four hundred thousand infantrymen bearing swords. 3 (The Benjamites heard that the children of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) The children of Israel said, “Tell how this evil happened!”

4 So the Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, answered, “My concubine and I came to Gibeah, in Benjamin, to spend the night. 5 Then the leaders of Gibeah rose up against me. At night they surrounded the house where I was staying. They wanted to kill me; instead they ravished my concubine so that she died. 6 I seized my concubine, cut her into pieces, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel, because they committed an infamous and disgraceful act in Israel. 7 Now, all of you are children of Israel. Give your advice and counsel here.”

8 All the people arose as one man and said, “Not a man among us will go to his tent, and no one will turn aside to his house. 9 Now this is what we will do to Gibeah. We will go against it by lot. 10 We will take ten men out of every hundred, from every tribe of Israel, a hundred from every thousand, and a thousand from every ten thousand, to bring provisions for the troops. Then when they come to Gibeah in Benjamin, they may repay them for all the evil that they committed in Israel.” 11 So all the men of Israel gathered at the city, united like one man.

12 The tribes of Israel sent men throughout the whole tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What is this evil that has been committed among you? 13 Now hand over the wicked men in Gibeah, so that we can kill them and purge the evil from Israel.”

Yet the Benjamites were not willing to listen to their fellow children of Israel. 14 The Benjamites gathered from their cities at Gibeah in order to go out and wage war against the children of Israel. 15 That day, the Benjamites mustered twenty-six thousand armed men from the cities and seven hundred specially chosen men from Gibeah. 16 Out of all these people there were seven hundred specially chosen men who were left-handed, all of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

17 The men of Israel, apart from Benjamin, gathered four hundred thousand armed men who drew the sword; all of them were men of war.

18 The children of Israel arose, went up to Bethel, and asked God, “Who should go up first to wage war against the Benjamites?”

The Lord said, “Judah first.”

19 The children of Israel got up in the morning and camped against Gibeah. 20 The men of Israel went out for battle with Benjamin, and the men of Israel lined up for battle at Gibeah. 21 Then the Benjamites came out from Gibeah and struck twenty-two thousand Israelite men down to the ground. 22 The people, the men of Israel, rallied and lined up for battle again in the place where they had lined up on the first day. 23 Then the children of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until evening. They asked the Lord, “Should we advance and fight our brother-tribesmen the Benjamites again?”

The Lord said, “Advance against them.”

24 So the children of Israel advanced against the Benjamites for the second day. 25 And on the second day, the Benjamites went out from Gibeah to meet them and again struck eighteen thousand men down to the ground, every one of them armed.

26 Then all the children of Israel, all the people, went up to Bethel where they wept and sat before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. 27 The children of Israel asked the Lord (because the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28 and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it then), “Should we go out again to wage war with our brother-tribesmen the Benjamites, or should we not?”

The Lord said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.”

29 So Israel set an ambushing force around Gibeah. 30 The children of Israel went up against the Benjamites on the third day and lined up at Gibeah as before. 31 The Benjamites went out to engage the people and were drawn away from the city. They began to strike the people down as before. On the main roads that go up to Bethel and Gibeah and in the field, they struck down about thirty children of Israel. 32 The Benjamites said, “They are struck down before us like at the beginning.” But the children of Israel said, “Let us retreat and draw them away from the city toward the main roads.”

33 So all the men of Israel rose up out of their place and assumed their battle positions at Baal Tamar. Then the men of Israel in ambush charged out of their places, out of the meadows of Gibeah. 34 Ten thousand specially chosen men from all of Israel came against Gibeah. The battle was fierce, and the Benjamites did not know that disaster was upon them. 35 The Lord defeated Benjamin before Israel, and that day the children of Israel struck down twenty-five thousand one hundred Benjamites, every one of them armed. 36 The Benjamites saw that they were defeated.

Now the men of Israel had withdrawn from Benjamin, because they relied on the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah. 37 So the ambushing force rushed on and attacked Gibeah. They struck down the whole city with the edge of the sword. 38 The men of Israel had made an agreement with the ambushing force that when they sent up a large amount of smoke from the city, 39 the children of Israel would turn around in battle.

When the Benjamites had begun to strike the children of Israel down, about thirty men, they said, “Surely they are struck down before us like at the beginning.” 40 Yet when the smoke began to rise up from the city in a column, the Benjamites looked behind them and suddenly noticed the whole city going up in smoke to the sky. 41 Then the men of Israel turned around, and the men of Benjamin were horrified because they saw that disaster had come on them. 42 So they fled from the men of Israel toward the direction of the wilderness, but the battle overtook them. Whoever came out of the cities destroyed them in their midst. 43 They surrounded the Benjamites, chased them without rest, and trampled them down near Gibeah toward the east. 44 Eighteen thousand men from Benjamin fell; all these were men of valor. 45 The rest turned and fled toward the wilderness to Rimmon Rock, and they cut down five thousand men on the main roads. They pursued them relentlessly until they reached Gidom and killed two thousand of them.

46 So the Benjamites who fell that day numbered twenty-five thousand, every one of them armed, valorous men. 47 However, six hundred men turned and fled toward the wilderness, to Rimmon Rock. They dwelled at Rimmon Rock for four months. 48 Yet the men of Israel turned back against the Benjamites and struck them with the edge of the sword—city inhabitants, animals, and everything that could be found. Indeed, they set on fire every city that could be found.

Chapter 21

1 In Mizpah the men of Israel had taken an oath: “No one among us will give his daughter to a Benjamite as his wife.”

2 So the people came to Bethel and sat there before God until evening. They raised their voices and wept, sobbing loudly. 3 They said, “Why, Lord God of Israel, has this happened in Israel, that today a tribe is missing from Israel?”

4 In the morning the people got up early and built an altar there. They offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.

5 The children of Israel said, “Who from all the tribes of Israel did not go up with the assembly to the Lord?” For they vowed a solemn oath regarding whoever did not go up to the Lord at Mizpah stating, “He must be killed.”

6 The children of Israel lamented for Benjamin their brother, and said, “One tribe is cut off from Israel today. 7 What can we do to find wives for those who are left? For we swore by the Lord not to give them our daughters as wives.” 8 So they said, “Is there anyone from among the tribes of Israel who did not go up to the Lord at Mizpah?” Then they learned that no one from the camp of Jabesh Gilead had come to the assembly. 9 When the people were counted, indeed, there was not a man there from among the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead.

10 So the assembly sent twelve thousand valorous men there and commanded them, “Go and strike down the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead with the edge of the sword, including women and children. 11 This is what you will do: You will kill every man and every woman who has slept with a man.” 12 So among the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead they found four hundred young virgins who had never slept with a man, and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan.

13 Then the whole assembly sent someone to speak to the Benjamites who were at Rimmon Rock, and they declared peace. 14 So the Benjamites returned at that time, and they gave to them the women who were still alive from among the women of Jabesh Gilead. Yet they did not find enough for them.

15 The people felt sorry for Benjamin, for the Lord had made a gap among the tribes of Israel. 16 The elders of the assembly said, “What can we do to find wives for those who are left? The Benjamite women were destroyed.” 17 They said, “There must be an inheritance for the remnant of Benjamin, so that a tribe will not be wiped out from Israel. 18 Yet we cannot give them our daughters for wives, for the children of Israel swore, ‘Cursed be anyone who gives a wife to Benjamin.’” 19 They said, “Wait! There is an annual festival of the Lord in Shiloh, which is north of Bethel, east of the main road that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.”

20 So they commanded the Benjamites, “Go and hide in the vineyards. 21 Watch, and then when the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, come out from the vineyards and have every man grab a wife for himself from among the daughters of Shiloh. Then go to the land of Benjamin. 22 When their fathers or their brothers come to us to complain, we will say to them, ‘Be favorable to them for our sakes, because we did not take for each man a wife in the battle; for you have not given women to them at the time, thereby making yourselves guilty.’”

23 So the Benjamites did this. They carried away wives for each man from among the dancers that they caught. Then they returned to their inheritance, rebuilt the cities, and lived in them.

24 At that time, the children of Israel departed from there each man to his tribe and to his family. They went out from there to their own inheritance.

25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Luke 7:31–50

31 Then the Lord said, “To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace, calling to each other, saying:

‘We played the flute for you,

and you did not dance;

we mourned to you,

and you did not weep.’

33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine. But you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking. But you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35 But wisdom is justified by all her children.”

36 One of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. So He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down for supper. 37 There, a woman of the city who was a sinner, when she learned that Jesus was sitting for supper in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment, 38 and stood behind Him at His feet, weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw it, he said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet, He would have known who and what kind of woman she is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”

He said, “Teacher, say it.”

41 “A creditor had two debtors. The one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they had no money to pay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon answered, “I suppose he whom he forgave more.”

He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house. You gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 Those who sat at supper with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is He who even forgives sins?”

50 He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”