Human Rights Badasses

What does judgesnineteen mean?

Well, actually, I’m a nineteen year old judge.

No. But I am a fan of the woman described in Judges chapter 19 of the Hebrew Bible/Christian Old Testament. She was a concubine – like a wife, but with a lower status – of a man who took her on a journey by donkey. They spent the night in someone’s house on the way, that’s what people did back then. Some men came to the house and demanded that the owner of the house let them have sex with (rape) the traveling man. This would have been a serious breach of the code of hospitality. But women were worth less than men, and concubines even less, so they threw her out to the men, and they gang-raped her. She collapsed by the door of the house afterwards. The traveling man came out the next morning and told her to get up, but she didn’t. So he threw her on the donkey and kept traveling. At some point during all of this she died. The man cut her body into twelve pieces and sent one piece to each of the twelve tribes of Israel as war propaganda.

There is no sorrow over this woman expressed in the text. The people who received the pieces of her body were shocked and angry, but no one was said to mourn her, and the narrator never implied that the man was wrong for throwing her out to be gang-raped. God did not smite the man for doing so.

I don’t think people cared about her enough, but I do. And even nowadays, people never talk about her and her story. I had literally never heard anyone talk about her in 20 years of being a Christian. So I will. I wish I knew her name, but it isn’t given in the text. So I just use the name judgesnineteen, as a little way to vindicate her.


Maggie says:

You need to get into biblical studies. Judges 19 is a fairly big deal, particuarly in its similarity to the story of Lot’s daughters in Genesis. Unfortunately my field is New Testament, so I can’t think of anyone off the top of my head. But you should definitely look into it. 🙂

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