“What evil is this that has taken place among you?” (20:12). Without a king or temple, the Israelites had descended into violence and anarchy. When a Levite and his wife/concubine were traveling, they avoided foreign towns and spent the night with a kind man in the Israelite city of Gibeah. But there, in the land of Benjamin, the woman was raped to death by village leaders. Her murder was an “outrage and abomination” (20:6) and sparked a civil war.
Israel’s miraculous origins, its heroes, and its wonderful Law could not prevent it from collapsing into violence. Only the sincere worship of God can bring order to our personal and collective human chaos.