Judges 19-21: Thrown to the wolves

25In those days Israel wasn’t ruled by a king, and everyone did what they thought was right.

That about sums up these chapters.  They could have been pages torn out of a modern day novel of suspense and war.  A woman was raped and murdered (after her husband GAVE her to the thugs).  Then the people of that town refused to hand over the guilty parties, so all of Israel joined forces and attacked the tribe of Benjamin, killing so many people that the whole tribe was nearly wiped out.

If the husband hadn’t thrown his wife to the thugs…if the villagers had turned over the criminals for punishment…war would probably have been averted.

There is a large passage in Chapter 19 about the Levite man and his “wife.”  I put “wife” in quotation marks because she wasn’t a real wife.  She was legally bound to him without all the privileges of a wife.  I wonder about their relationship — she left him and went home to her parents.  He followed her and convinced her to go back with him.  In the process, her father kept persuading them to stay “just one more day…” until five more days had passed.  I’m not sure why this passage is included except perhaps to record affection between the father and the son-in-law.

I know what my husband would do if our daughter married and then her husband willingly gave her up to rapists in order to save his own life!  It’s curious that there is no further mention of the woman’s father.

And that about sums it up!

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