Looking Back

jg19_29aThe above image is from http://www.thebricktestament.com

The book of Judges is full of isolated stories that all fall under the common theme of the rebellion-oppression cycle:  Israel rebels, becomes oppressed, cries out to God, God raises up a deliverer to free the people, the people forget God and rebel, and on and on.

Amidst the repetition of this cycle are a few reflections of past events in the history of the people of the covenant.  As depicted in the picture above, Judges 19 details the story of a mob seeking to rape the Levite guest of a man of Gibeah, that man handing over the women in the house instead of the Levite guest, the resulting death of the Levite’s concubine, and his decision to cut her into twelve pieces to send to the tribal leaders of Israel.

This disturbing tale strongly resembles that found in Genesis 19 which is the story of Lot protecting his angel guests from the mob in Sodom.  Sodom ends up being destroyed by God through a rain of fire.  Gibeah is also destroyed by fire after Israel sans Benjamin puts the inhabitants of the city to death.

Furthermore, this unified retaliation of the sons of Israel against those who raped their kinswomen bears similarity to the response of the literal sons of Israel in Genesis 34 to the rape of their sister Dinah.

Gideon has a golden ephod forged from the golden earrings looted from the Midianites by the people of the covenant.  Not only does this reflect back upon the early chapters of Exodus and the people’s association with Midian, but more significantly, this resembles Exodus 32 and Aaron having the golden calf forged from the golden earrings looted from the Egyptians as the people of the covenant fled Egypt.

It should be no surprise, then, that the people worshiped the ephod much as their ancestors had worshiped the calf.  In fact, this account may be included specifically to communicate that the people, even now under the law, had made no progress in living out their destiny as the chosen people of God.

For more on Judges 8 and the ephod, see here.

For more on Judges 19 and the atrocities presented within, mosey on over here.

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