… and then I got the sock shoved down my throat. And then I got prayerful, and I think I’ve at least partially learned a lesson.
One of the seedier stories in the OT, Judges 19 opens with a man and his concubine. Well, sort of it does. She’d run off with someone else, then gone back to daddy’s house, and he’d come to get her. They’d partied with dad too long, and then got back on the road. When they got to an unfamiliar city, we get a replay of Sodom and Gomorrah… a host takes them in, and the men in the city demand to “know” them up and personal. The men stay inside, the concubine gets tossed outside.
This is where my cultural misappropriation gets in the way. Why was this so common? Is this some weird cultural thing? This seems like it would really discourage visitors… ? But Sodom was a thriving city, so was this city. What gives?
Anyway. She’s dead when the dude comes out, and he doesn’t really notice until after he tells her to get up and get going. I get all ranty at this point, because … well, you’d think that would be pretty messy, being raped to death. Is this how you tell your concubine from your wife, that you offer her up for rape and poke her with your sandal in the morning? (I have no way of knowing that he wouldn’t have done this to a wife though).
But he must have cared about her – he went after her. She was a defiled concubine. You know what David did to his concubines after they were defiled?* Absolutely nothing – for the rest of their lives. So… he does like her. And then he cuts her up and mails her off and tens of thousands die and the tribe of Benjamin is nearly completely wiped out and then more women get force-married and… yikes.
And all *I* can think of is “wtf, dude? You let a woman die a horrible death in your place?” But no chivalry back then, you know? Revenge, yes. Chivalry, no.
Did he not think they would kill her? How did he not know that she was seriously damaged before he told her to get ready to leave, when the Bible describes her as reaching towards the threshold of the door that was barred to her. Didn’t she scream? Wasn’t there blood? But I guess “let’s get out of here” isn’t unreasonable, considering the night that went before.
Something is going on here. And while I have every right to be seriously disturbed (it’s in the Bible to show us what humans will get up to when we all do what is right in our own eyes) I don’t think I have the right to plug in as much as I have been all these years. There were TOTALLY different cultural definitions of right and wrong… and I am *missing* something.
It’s still a terrible, terrible thing.
Then again, so is most of what’s on the news today. -sighs-
*I likewise don’t read about any babies from David’s first two wives after they got carried off by the invaders and then rescued. Babies before that happened, but no babies after. But this is the rule in many places – you get raped, you are defiled for life. I always liked Abigail, and it bummed me out when I did the math. I guess it’s cool to take another man’s wife, but not to take your own back after someone else comes in? (That is actually Biblical – you’re not supposed to remarry after you’re divorced if she remarried in the interim).
** I notice that she’s his concubine, but he’s her husband. What’s that about? Anyone?