A few years ago, as we prepared to focus our preaching on Judges, I thought about calling the series “Breaking Bad: Israel in the Time of Judges”. Like in the famous TV show about a chemist gone bad, Israel grows increasingly evil from beginning to end. So many failures found in Judges are repeated in what we read today. Yesterday we read about a Levite abdicating responsibility as God’s priest, and today we encounter another evil Levite. Today a father fails his daughter like Jephthah failed his daughter. There is no sign of a judge to rule and save Israel at this juncture. Male-female relationships have become extremely complicated. Our story reflects Israel’s battle of the sexes as God’s chosen people reach new depths of evil. In an event that hearkens back to those which preceded the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, men in Gibeah desire sex with the Levite, but willingly and brutally rape a woman instead. On top of this horrific act, the murdered woman’s husband treats her with contempt. As the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah has come to Israel, we must ask: what will the judgment be for God’s chosen people? Tomorrow’s reading will answer that question and close out the time of the judges.