Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about…
Now and again the world is horrified by the news of some frightful atrocity before which ordinary sin looks almost virtuous. How is such wickedness possible?
I. MONSTROUS WICKEDNESS IS A FRUIT OF SELFISHNESS. The men of Gibeah were abandoned to gross self-indulgence till they utterly ignored the rights and sufferings of others. Nothing is so cruelly selfish as the degradation of that most unselfish affection love. When selfish pleasure is the one motive of conduct, men are blinded in conscience more than by any other influence.
II. MONSTROUS WICKEDNESS IS ATTAINED THROUGH SUCCESSIVE DEGREES OF DEPRAVITY. NO man suddenly falls from innocence to gross licentiousness and heartless cruelty. The first step is slight; each following step seems but a small increase of sin, till the bottom of the very pit of iniquity is reached almost unconsciously. If the wicked man could have foreseen the depth of his fall from the first he would not have believed it possible. Men should beware of the first step downward.
III. MONSTROUS WICKEDNESS IS MOST ADVANCED IN THE SOCIETY OF MANY BAD MEN. As fire burns most when drawn together, vice is most inflamed when men are companions in wickedness. Each tempts the rest by his example. Guilt appears to be lessened by being shared. Men excuse their conduct by comparing it with that of their neighbours. Thus the greatest depravity is most often seen in cities - in the concourse of many men. In the excitement of a mob men will commit excesses from which they would shrink in solitary action. Yet responsibility is still individual, and each man must ultimately answer for his own sins.
IV. MONSTROUS WICKEDNESS IS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE VERY GREATNESS OF MAN'S NATURE. Human nature has a wide range of capacities. Man can rise infinitely above the brute, and he can fall infinitely below the brute. He can rise to the angelic, he can fall to the devilish. His originality of imagination, power of inventiveness, and freedom of will open to him avenues of evil as well as pathways of good which are closed to the more dull life of the animal world. The greater the capacity of the instrument, the more horrible is the discord which results from its getting out of tune. Those men who have the highest genius have the faculty for the worst sin. So tremendous is the capacity of the soul both for good and for evil, that the wise and humble man, fearing to trust it alone to the temptations of life, will learn to "commit it to the keeping of a faithful Creator" (1 Peter 4:19). - A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.
WEB: As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain base fellows, surrounded the house, beating at the door; and they spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, "Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may have sex with him!"