I’m spending this summer on an island in the Pacific, trying to learn and document a language with less than 50 active speakers. I will publish my results (word list, grammar, and audio/video recordings) openly to a blog created for the purpose – where I will also report on the process and my experience in general. So have a look if you like this sort of thing 🙂
I will be taking a rather long trip this summer, and for the duration of it I won’t easily be able to update this blog. Instead of building up a three month cache of posts, I’ve decided to take a break for a while. I just finished Judges, so it seems to me as good a time as any.
I have updated this Bible study daily for almost eight months, and I’m 25% through the Old Testament – almost 20% through the entire Bible. It’s turned out to be a little more labor intensive than I’d initially intended, but on the other hand I’m really happy with my output. It would be really cool to have the whole Bible summarized in this format, so hopefully I’ll return to the project this fall. I might also go back to earlier entries that lack quotes, chapter titles and pictures, and “update” them to the current format. (I also just noticed that both Numbers 26 and Numbers 27 are titled “Bible study 143”, and all subsequent titles have the wrong number. Sigh.)
Anyway, thanks to everyone who read this far. I hope you’ll be back.
The Israelites feel bad for having more or less annihilated the entire tribe of Benjamin — all they did was rape one woman, after all. The Israelites want to repopulate Benjamin, but since all 600 survivors are male, they need to find them wives first. They manage to supply 400 virgins from Jabesh-gilead, a city which conveniently did not participate in the slaughter of Benjamin, and which is therefore a legitimate target for slaughter itself (everyone apart from the kidnapped virgins are murdered). For the last 200 brides, all pretenses of legitimacy are thrown away, and the Israelites straight out tell the Benjaminite soldiers to kidnap women from a random city in the north (Shiloh) which hasn’t done anything wrong.
At the start of Judges, Israel was a newly conquered and prosperous land divided between 12 vibrant tribes. A few generations later, though, the land is mess of apostasy and violence. As Judges ends, the reader can’t help but feel that the country might have been better off with a unified monarchy under one king — preferably from the valiant tribe of Judah, and certainly not from the Sodomite tribe of Benjamin.
“… when the young women of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come out of the vineyards and each of you carry off a wife for himself from the young women of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. (…)”
The body parts of the dead concubine stirs up sentiments among the Israelites so much that 400,000 Israelite warriors immediately gather to wage war on the entire tribe of Benjamin. The Benjaminites defend the rapists of Gibeah, and at first cause huge casualties on the Israelite army. In the end, however, the Israelites crush the Benjaminite army, and slaughter every single civilian (including women and children) in the entire tribe of Benjamin. The only remnants of the tribe are 600 warriors who fled from the battle.
Meanwhile, the Israelites turned back against the Benjaminites, and put them to the sword — the city, the people, the animals, and all that remained. Also the remaining towns they set on fire.
A Levite on his way from Bethlehem to Ephraim with his concubine, is given room and board by an Ephraimite in Gibeah, a city in the territory of Benjamin. Unfortunately, the population of Gibeah has decided to reenact the scene from Sodom in the book of Genesis: They demand to get to rape the Levite traveler, but the Ephraimite instead offers them his virgin daughter — and the Levite’s concubine (the Levite himself apparently does not resist this suggestion). The angry mob apparently ignores the virgin daughter, and instead rapes the Levite’s concubine to death. The next morning, the Levite throws her body onto his donkey, travels home, cuts her up into twelve pieces, and sends one piece to each tribe in Israel.
… They said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came into your house, so that we have have intercourse with him.”
The first verse, which says that the tribe of Dan has not been allotted lands yet, directly contradicts Joshua 19 (although it has been suggested before that Dan lost their lands). Either way, they are looking for a place to live, and find some “quiet and unsuspecting” people in Laish. So they mount a war party and set off. On the way they find Micah and his shrine, and they steal his idol. Then they murder all the Philistines in Laish, and rename the place Dan.
Again, I’m not really sure what this story is about. Micah is certainly no saint, and neither is Dan (or they would have destroyed the idol). But nothing really bad happens to either party. Possibly, the story just serves to show how rotten to the core the Israelites were at this points (we are near the end of Judges).
… “You take my gods that I made, and the priest, and go away, and what have I left?”
This and the next chapter is a strange story about a guy called Micah (no, not that Micah), and the tribe of Dan getting new lands. I don’t really understand the point or the moral of the story.
Micah steals silver from his mother, but returns it. She has an idol made out of the silver, which Micah puts in his house. He also has his own personal shrine, complete with priests (his son and a wandering Levite) wearing priestly clothing. Needless to say, this guy is breaking every rule in the Book.
This man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and teraphim, and installed one of his sons, who became his priest.