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The Bible In A Year: Day 110

Judges 19
Psalm 110
Luke 22:1-46

Judges 19

The Levite from this story is most likely not the same one from the previous couple of chapters, but this story is to share the same point of the religious and social unrest and chaos in a pre monarchical Israel.

A concubine could be several different things, but often was a wife with secondary legal rights. This usually took the form of her children not having the same inheritance rights as the children of the primary wife. This seems to be the case in this story, rather than just being a woman of this man’s harem or a servant of some kind. When he goes to find her after she returns to her father’s house, her father is called the Levite’s “father-in-law” and he is repeatedly referred to as her husband.

It’s also not clear why she ran away, with some biblical scholars speculating that she had been unfaithful to her husband and so had then been downgraded from primary wife to a secondary concubine as a consequence. This is all just speculation though.

When they finally leave her fathers house and set off back to their own hometown, after being delayed for days, it’s late in the afternoon and they can’t make it all the way home. The Levite refuses to go into Jerusalem to spend the night, because it hadn’t yet been conquered and still belonged to the Jebusites and he refused to stay outside of Israelite territory. This would prove to be a grave mistake.

When he arrives in the next town, a town of the tribe of Benjamin, the set up an overnight camp in the town square because nobody has offered them hospitality. The old man coming home sees them in the square and offers them to come inside his house, between his immediate offer of hospitality and the fact that there’s no indication of him being surprised at the visitors that come looking for the Levite, he probably has an idea about what happens after dark in this town. Remember that the theme is “the was no king in Israel, it was a lawless and Godless place”

The men of the town demand that the Levite be sent out to them so that they may rape him, just like the sodomites had demanded that Lot turn over his visitors to them. Also like the story of Lot, the man of the house offers his own daughter and the Levite’s concubine in place of the man himself.

These men from the tribe of Benjamin have become no better than the men of Sodom and Gomorrah, demanding that visitors be subjected to a bout of homosexual rape. The Israelites were meant to be set apart and a holy people as a witness to the nations of the holiness of the God of Abraham, and here they are looking to violate this man in a shameful way.

Someone in the house, presumably the Levite, throws the concubine out the door and she is raped all night until daybreak when they finally let her go. She comes back to the house and collapses at the threshold of the door. When the Levite arises and is ready to leave he opens the door and finds her laying there. It’s unclear at this point if she’s already dead or merely unconscious, but the Levite shows how cold his heart is towards this woman, when he just says “get up it’s time to go.” He’s speaking to her as if she had overslept or maybe had a bit too much to drink the night before, there’s no concern and no love here.

You can’t even accuse him of treating her like an animal, because if your animal was injured and laying there after such a horrific trauma you’d have at least some compassion because after all, it is a living creature. No, he looks down at her and coldly tells her to get up, like she was just a broken piece of equipment. Nobody gets emotionally attached to a weedwacker like you do a dog, and that’s what this Levite is doing.

He gets her on the donkey, and takes her back to their home. At some point between her crawling back to the door and arriving at their home she has passed away. And so he takes her body and carves it into 12 pieces to send around to all the tribes to show what a shameful thing has happened to his piece of property. The whole thing is extremely disturbing and disgusting, and leaves you almost cheering for what happens to the tribe of Benjamin as a result of this evil and reprehensible act.

Luke 22:1-46

Judas is inspired by satan according to Saint Luke, and he goes to the chief priests, who’ve been looking to get rid of Jesus for a while, and they set a time and place for him to be betrayed.

At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet ‘in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.

CCC 1323

Now we get into the heart of the gospel with the beginning of the passion narrative. It all starts with the institution of the Eucharist at the last supper when Jesus and the apostles are celebrating the Passover, and Jesus flips the script of the usual Passover meal by declaring that He is the new Lamb of the New Covenant.

Jesus takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it and distributes it. This is much like how he did when he fed the 5000 and the 4000. When he said “this is my body” he doesn’t say it represents his body, or symbolizes his body, he says it IS his body. This is very important for us to remember when receiving communion, because unfortunately many Catholics don’t understand or believe that they are receiving the true body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus in the Eucharist. (See The Truth of the Eucharist Changed My Life)

He calls the chalice “my blood of the covenant” which will be “poured out” for the forgiveness of sins. The blood of the covenant is a term from exodus that relates to the sealing of the Mosaic covenant that was given to the people at Mount Sinai, it was the blood of the sacrifice which sealed the people to the old covenant. Just like the blood of the new covenant seals us in this bond and relationship with Jesus under the new covenant. And to say it is “poured out” envisions the way the priests in the Old Testament would pour out the blood of the sacrifices on the altar. This is Jesus telling us he is both the priest in this sacrifice, and he is also the sacrifice itself.

Because it is the memorial of Christ’s Passover, the Eucharist is also a sacrifice. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist is manifested in the very words of institution: “This is my body which is given for you” and “This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood.” In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which he “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

CCC 1365

After their meal Jesus gives them a quick lesson on humility and what it truly means to be great, he then turns to Peter and foretells his denial. Peter seems to be offended at this notion, and says he’ll go to prison and even to death with Jesus, but Jesus assures him that he will deny him three times.

During this conversation with Peter he tells him that satan desires to sift them all like wheat. He says “sift you” but the word used there is a plural “you” so something like the equivalent of y’all in Aramaic, but when he tells Peter that “I prayed for you… and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren” those instances are all singular. Peter is being told that the apostles will all be tested and tempted by satan, but he has a special role as the rock to strengthen them and to not sway from his role.

Tomorrow’s Readings:
Judges 20-21
Psalm 111
Luke 22:47-71

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