For the first time since I started participating in NaNoWriMo, I have “cheated.” I wrote 50,000 words, but only about 20,000 of them have anything to do with my story. In spite of the fact that I did not win NaNo in regards to writing a story with 50,000 words, I have won because I finally wrote the story that has been swirling around in my head for more than 30 years!
As I share the plot of my story and the fact that it’s based on Judges 19 with others, I am extremely fascinated with their responses. Almost to a one, everyone tells me s/he does not remember reading this particular story in the Bible, everyone tells me s/he does not remember a pastor ever preaching on this passage, and everyone tells me s/he agrees that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to figure out why this story is in the Bible at all.
What makes the writing of this story that much more interesting than the typical story authors often write (even those based on other stories) is the fact that with every single person I have talked to regarding this story, we have had some absolutely fascinating and super interesting conversations. I cannot tell you how very much I love the fact that not only are people talking about Judges 19, but they are reading their Bibles!!!
How cool is THAT?!
Even more awesome is the fact that I know I am not finished with my own study of Judges 19. I want to find a definitive answer regarding WHY this story of gang rape and the cutting of a woman into 12 pieces is in the Bible. What is the purpose of this story? What exactly is God telling us?
Is it a complete mistake that this story is in the Bible at all?! I honestly don’t believe that it’s a mistake, but why don’t people talk about it?
Why don’t pastors preach on it?
Why do yearly Bible readers gloss over it and forget about it as soon as they’ve read it?
Why does the Levite treat this woman so callously?
Why does the Levite wait 4 months to go get her?
If, as many translations state, the woman/concubine had actually had an affair, then according to Biblical law, she would have been taken into the center of town and stoned. So then why wasn’t she stoned?
Or are other translations that refer to her as having become angry with her husband more of an accurate description of why she left him in the first place?
Why does a Levite, a man set apart as holy unto God as a result of his work for the Temple of God, have a concubine, to begin with?
What significance is it that we are told, several times, throughout the course of this story that there was no king in the land?
And, for heavens’ sake, why in the world does the Levite not only throw his concubine out to the men of Gibeah, but then he sits in the house with the door shut throughout the night?! Why doesn’t he DO something?!
And what in the world does he mean when he so casually says to her dead body at the doorstep, “Get up. Let’s go.”?
Am I the only person who reads Judges 19 and desperately wants to punch the Levite in the throat???? His concubine–wife–is GANG-RAPED all NIGHT by the men of Gibeah while he sits in the house with the old man, doing only God-knows-what!!! Of course it matters that the men of Gibeah wanted the Levite instead of the concubine, but the fact remains that it wasn’t the Levite they raped!!
And what about that old man?! He offers his virgin daughter and the Levite’s wife to the men of Gibeah because it’s such a shameful thing for them to want the Levite!!!!
There isn’t a single innocent person in the whole story, but yet, somehow, according to the fact that a war breaks out after the Levite sends the 12 parts of his concubine’s body to the 12 tribes of Israel, he (the Levite) comes off smelling like roses and the old man and his virgin daughter are completely forgotten–never to be mentioned again!!!
Do you begin to understand my fascination with Judges 19???