I am behind on my devotions this week. I decided to catch up this morning. I read Judges 19 and I had to stop. What just happened? I spent a few minutes looking for bible commentaries that would help me understand the passage better. For several more minutes I have just been sitting here trying to absorb the story.
Here is my version: man has a fight with his wife, she takes off for several months, man decides that he still loves her and goes after her, they decide to reconcile, hang out at the in-laws for a few days, they go off and get stuck in a bad city, stay at some guys house where they are threatened by some locals, man panics and throws his wife out to the locals, they rape her all night, she crawls back to the door where the man is staying, he opens the door and discovers she has died, he cuts her up into twelve pieces and sends her out to the tribes of Israel saying no worse crime has ever been committed.
What a sad and difficult story. In my research I determined that some translations say that she cheated on him. I agree with the commentaries that say it is unlikely given the culture. He would have just had her stoned. Yet I think that is part of what makes me sad. Did that make it easier for the translators to accept that this man just threw her to the wolves? Did calling her a concubine as opposed to a wife make it better? I imagine the agony of the woman and it fills me with grief. At the same time I am angry with the husband. What does the man have to complain about when he threw her out there? And who cuts up their wife into 12 pieces?
The raw yucky-ness of this story makes me think of the cross. For me, the fate of the concubine is on of the most horrible things I can think about. Just like the cross.