Judges 19: The Levite’s Concubine

What do you say about a story like this?

A woman, given by her husband to an angry mob, raped all night, left for dead on the front porch, cut into pieces and sent to the tribes as a message.

What do you do?

Do you try to figure out what the point of the story is? Do you ask questions about why the writer of Judges included this particular story?

Do you share what you noticed as you read it? Do you wonder what it is about people from the Hill Country of Ephraim that makes them keep showing up in weird stories like this?

Do you feel terrible calling this a “weird story?”

Do you try to smooth out the horror by mentioning that most of the chapter is about people showing generous hospitality to total strangers?

Do you talk about how quickly the story switched from “pleasant enough” to “nightmarish?”

Do you share stories about girls all over the world who live in the exact same world as this woman? Do you give statistics? Do you direct people to the International Justice Mission website?

Do you try to make yourself feel better by saying you think she was dead before she got chopped up?

Do you try and rationalize how a man who chased after his missing bride to “speak tenderly to her,” something God does for Israel in Isaiah, ended up giving her over to be gang-raped?

I’m not sure.

I’m not sure you do anything other than let the horror wash over you. Let it seep into those places you don’t want to let it go.

Be shocked.

Be appalled.

Question your faith.

Get mad at God.

Scream.

Sob.

Whatever you need to do. Do it.

This story makes me feel things I don’t want to feel. It makes me ask questions I don’t want to ask. It makes me confront realities that I would rather pretend don’t exist.

So I am going to go sit, think, and pray.

I am going to remember this woman and be thankful that her story was told.

Because Lord knows how many women haven’t been that fortunate.

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5 responses

  1. Its a truly disgusting story, makes my stomach churn.. My brother has done some intensive study on this section of scripture..you can find some of his thoughts at hiddenwisdom.wordpress.com if you like.

  2. My stomach struggles to handle many of these OT stories, so I just think of it as tribal primal behaviour patterns many of which still exist among the Afghan tribes. It belongs in that time period along with concubine, chopping off people’s heads, dashing kids on stones, Gen 34 story, Japhthah, etc. All of these I think were not approved by God, just like the Golden calf worship by none other than Aaron himself (albeit he gives the excuse that the people asked him), but just human deviance found among the Israelites. When the adrenalin kicks in, people forget God and just act.

  3. Pingback: Stuff I’ve Been Reading

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