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Old Test. Narratives 2

 

“Gibeah’s Crime” 

 

(Judges 19, 20, 21 )

 

 

A Levite, his concubine and his servant are traveling.   They stop to spend the night in Gibeah. No one but an old man offers them a place to stay.  While they were enjoying each other’s company some perverted men bang on the door demanding that he send the Levite out to them so that they can gang rape him.

 

“And the man, master of the house, went out to them and said to them, ‘No, my brothers, do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not do this vile thing.  Behold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine. Let me bring them out now. Violate them and do with them what seems good to you, but against this man do not do this outrageous thing’.  But the men would not listen to him.  So the man seized his concubine and made her go out to them. And they knew her and abused her all night until morning.  And as the dawn began to break, they let her go.  And as morning appeared, the woman came and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her master was, until it was light.” (vs. 23 - 26)

 

“And when her master rose up in the morning, and when he opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his way, behold, there was his concubine lying at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold.  He said to her, ‘Get up, let us be going’. But there was no answer.  Then he put her on the donkey, and the man rose up and went away to his home.  And when he entered his house, he took a knife, and taking hold of his concubine he divided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel.  And all who saw it said, ‘Such as thing has never happened or been seen from the day that the people of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt until this day; consider it, take counsel, and speak” (vs. 27 - 30)

 

 

 

Observations  A concubine is a woman in a polygamous society that lives with a man but at a lower status than his other wives. Indeed, in 19:3, it states, “Then her husband arose and went after her, to speak kindly to her and bring her back.”  The Levite had no intention of protecting her, but instead seized her and made her go out knowing what would happen.  The ESV commentary calls the Levite reaction to her the next morning as “callous”.  Is that an understatement?  Was he not indirectly responsible for her death (Judges 20: 4 - 5)? To this point, this story sounds very much like Gen. 19: 4 - 9.  Is that a coincidence?

 

He took her body back to his house with him?  How many days did that take - what was the corpse smelling like by then? The commentary states that his cutting her into 12 parts was to warn the 12 tribes about Gibeah and to “rally them” against the city. It works great as we are told that 400,000 men with swords marches against the tribe of Benjamin which has refused to give up the accused men.  How long did it take to assemble, to feed, to house, and what latrines did they use daily?  A civil war unfolds with tens of thousands killed and the tribe of Benjamin defeated.  They are ambushed in a method identical to what is written in Joshua during the battle for Ai - a coincidence?  For this defeat everything that was associated with the people of Benjamin was to be annihilated, just like the treatment of the Canaanites: “And the men of Israel turned back against the people of Benjamin and struck them with the edge of the sword, the city, men and beasts and all that they found. And all the towns that they found they set on fire”. (Judges 20:48).  This was attempted genocide against a single tribe by the other tribes. But 600 men of Benjamin managed to survive and the other tribes sent them 600 wives, 400 from a punitive action against Jabesh-gilead for not joining in the battle, and 200 more from the daughters of Shiloh who were  snatched while they were dancing in a feast to honor the LORD.  No one noticed 200 young women disappearing?  What about the women? Did not they have a vote, any desires for a different life? How does the bible view women?  Think of your daughters or single women that you know just innocently participating in a social function dedicated to the Lord and instead finding themselves abducted like pirate booty -  and this ordered by the elders of the other tribes?  And what about their fathers and brothers? Too bad, it states in Judges 21: 22. 

 

Is this story believable? Does it make sense?  Or is it meant for teaching only and thus is allegorical or myth? What kind of practical lessons do we take away from this story? What message is presented about the worth of women? Is this the type of  morals we are to model from the word of God?

 

 

Samson, the foxes and the donkey's jawbone

 

Judges 15: 4 - 5 and 15 - 16

 

"So Samson went and caught 300 foxes and took torches. And he turned them tail to tail and put a torch between each pair of tails.  And when he had set fire to the torches, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines and set fire to the stacked grain and to the standing grain, as well as the olive orchards".

 

Observations:    Samson found 300 foxes in the area? It doesn't say Samson and his friends. Who held them while he tied up 150 pairs of hyperactive, non-cooperative foxes with torches?  One commentary says that the Hebrew word is the same as jackal, and since jackals travel in packs it would be easier for Samson to catch that many.  Does this sound believable? This is another example of just throwing a possibility out that does not fit realty.  Critical thinking? If the bible meant jackals, why do the translations state foxes?  The reason foxes are used is due to their long bushy tails and that would make it more believable to the listening audience - as long as they didn't picture how 300 of the same animals just happened to be around and not question what it would look like to try and control 300 at one time.

 

"And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men.  And Samson said, 'With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey have I struck down a thousand men".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biomed 6/10

 

Observations:  the donkey jaw continued to hold together during the battle where he killed 1,000 soldiers with it? I guess the freshness meant it would not break after it was used to strike 3,000 - 5,000 times? (only in Hollywood does someone fall with one blow) The men kept coming after hundreds were slain?  How did they climb over all the bodies to get to Samson so they could be killed also? Is this believable?  If not , is it allegory or myth?

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