(Warning: If you’re squeamish, or dealing with issues of sexual abuse, it might be good to sit this week out.)
This week, we’re working through the truly horrible story found in Judges 19 (if you’re just joining us, you’ll need to read it further to catch up). The Levite and his concubine are travelling back to their home and have chosen to stay the night in Gibeah. Yesterday, we saw how the town wasn’t initially all that hospitable, but eventually an old man took them in for the night. But this only caused a gang of locals to surround the house demanding to have sex with the man. And we were left wondering – what kind of crazy custom is this? Why would they do this.
Now before we go any further, I’ll warn you that we’re going to hear some pretty offensive things. About a pretty messed-up worldview. These views are in the Bible, but let’s be clear that the Bible doesn’t condone them. Some people have issues with the fact that the Biblical narrator doesn’t seem to explicitly condemn some aspects of it – particularly the way this culture treated women. Now firstly let’s realise that the narrator is not God. And the narrator is a member of this patriarchal, chauvinistic society. But as we’ll see in a minute, the way the story is constructed is more condemning of what’s going on than is immediately apparent.