In the year 1406 BC in the Judean hillside of Ephraim, a local priest took a young woman to be his bride. After a while the young woman, bored with her life, decided to take a lover, and left the priest to return to her father’s house. The priest eventually went to the home of his father in-law and retrieved his bride.
While en route home they passed through a small village called Gibeah [Their first and largest mistake.] During the night the men of the city, consumed by lust, demanded that the priest come and have sex with him. The host of the home where the man and his wife were staying begged the men not do this evil thing, but instead offered his virgin daughter and the man's wife to the men instead. [I guess being a woman didn't hold much value.]
Eventually the men of the city settled for the wife of the traveler and as a group they raped the woman for the duration of the night. At morning's light the priest found his wife near death lying on the steps of the house. After her death, which followed shortly thereafter, the priest took his knife, cut her body into twelve pieces and sent the varied portions to the tribes of Israel and told them of the evil that had been done in hopes that they would rise up and do justice and claim revenge for his ravished and murdered wife.
A pair of weary travelers, a lust filled mob, a gang rape and murder. And the bloody delivery of the woman’s remains sent out to the inhabitants of the land as a message and call to arms. And all of this happening within the borders of a civilized city with walls locks and coded laws.
When we stop and think of the evil and darkness that rule in our headlines and occupies the corridors of our dreams, we can have the misguided delusion that ours is the worst of times. We see ours as an age where the rule of law has been set aside for the pursuit of pleasure and vice. But as you can see from the story above, a story which is recorded in the 19th and 20th chapters of the Old Testament book of Judges in the Bible, we have been raping and killing each other from the beginning. And once again we are able to say like the ancient philosopher King Solomon, “The thing that hath been, is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”