In Judges 19, we see a terrifying situation in Gibeah in Benjamin. The people of Gibeah call upon a Levite visitor to be handed over to them so they can rape him, reminiscent of what happened in Sodom in Genesis. The difference in this instance is that these people are not Gentiles, they are not far away from the Lord, these are Israelites who are supposed to be God’s chosen people – are supposed to know the Lord. The Levite hides and the Benjaminite keeping them company offers up the Levite’s concubine. The Levite allows it and they rape her all night. She dies and the Levite takes her body, travels home, and cuts her into pieces to be sent to the 12 tribes to tell them of the horror from Gibeah. This leads to the near annihilation of the tribe of Benjamin due to the outrage from the travesty.
Fast forward to the time of Samuel. The people of Israel call upon Samuel to appoint for them a King just like the people around them. They don’t want to stand out, they want to be like everyone else. As the Lord calls out to Samuel, this is a sin against Him, not Samuel. It was revealed that they were unwilling to allow God to serve as their king. The Lord then directs Samuel to pick for the people a King to help them be just like the people around them. Who does the Lord direct Samuel to pick? Saul.
Saul looks like a King and fits into the motif of a King like the other kingdoms in the area. He was tall. He was a warrior. He was also corrupt and focused on self-glory not glorifying the Lord. He eventually descends into madness over jealousy of how the people loved David. Where did Saul come from? The tribe of Benjamin. What was his home town? Gibeah.
Once again, we see Gibeah producing someone which eventually harms the people of Israel. First, a corrupt people brutally murders a women. Second, a corrupt king comes from this city and descends into madness and divides the kingdom with war. Gibeah’s story at this point in the Bible is one of evil. It’s later references by Hosea (examples 9:9, 10:9) to remind the people of Israel of how their sin matches that of Gibeah.
Gibeah has become synonymous with sin, evil. Gibeah was marred for its past sins. We all are marred as well for our past sins. We are all fallen, broken. We are like Gibeah and our old selves are synonymous with sin. Thankfully, with Christ – we are cleaned. We are forgiven. We are a new creation and no longer beholden to sin. We are also, no longer a symbol of sin – but a symbol of righteousness, a reflection of Christ. Let yourself be cleansed by the blood of the lamb.