Judges 19-21

Judges 19-21…A Levite and his concubine, and Israel’s war with the tribe of Benjamin.

The horrific treatment of the Levite’s wife casts its shadow across the whole book; the crimes of Gideon, Jephthah and Samson, serious as they are, seem mere preparation for the moment when the Sodom of Genesis 19 is no longer somewhere out there but is to be found within the very people of God. In those days Israel had no king; she had functionally rejected God’s rules; and the result was a picture of God’s people which is far worse than anything the New Atheists have ever dreamed up. Atheism is not a polite option; just read Nietzsche’s Parable of the Madman to see a more intelligent account of the matter than you will ever find in Hitchens, Dawkins or Harris (they are more akin to those standing around in Nietzsche’s marketplace, whom he mocks as naive and smug). Yet the Bible, in Judges 19, puts it even more dramatically than does Nietzsche.

The Levite, by calling, was meant to represent the character of God to the people. Yet he was capable both of sacrificing his wife for himself and presumably sitting indoors as he heard her screams for help on that long, dark night, without ever moving to the door to help her. His callous `Get up, we need to be going’ to her as she lay blood stained and broken in the morning light, is merely the icing on the nauseating cake. So very different to the God who sacrificed himself for his bride and whose marriage is the archetype of all other marriages.