This dark story of sexual violence has been twisted to blame gay men… Yet it has nothing to do with consensual same-sex relationships. Spanning three chapters in the Book of Judges, the Murder of the Levite’s Concubine foreshadows the treatment of minorities around the world.
Elton: in this episode, we discuss the second “clobber verse” that has been used to condemn gay men. Despite the absence of any gay men in this story.
This is Episode two, The Murder of The Levite's Concubine. I'm Elton Sherwin, your host for this series. I am delighted that you have joined us.
The Murder of The Levite's Concubine: The Story Begins…
This story has parallels to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Levite has retrieved his runaway concubine—some Bible commentators say second wife—on the way home. He enters the city of Gibeah in Benjamin and in the town square an old man invites the Levite and the concubine to stay at his house. The Levite excepts.
Later, at the Old Man's Home…
And here we pick up the story in the Book of Judges.
Scripture Reader: “While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, ‘Bring out the man who came to your house [the Levite] so we can have sex with him.’”
Judges 19: 22.
Attempted Gang Rape
Elton: In both stories, this one and the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, travelers are offered hospitality. Then, gangs of men pound on the door, demanding to have sex with the strangers. The gangs are then offered the homeowners, virgin daughters to rape instead. From chapter 19 in the Book of Judges:
Scripture Reader: “The owner of the house went outside and said to them, ‘No, my friends, don't be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don't do this outrageous thing. Look, here is my virgin daughter and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now and you can use them and do to them, whatever you wish.’
“But the men would not listen to him. So, the Levite took his concubine and sent her outside to them and they raped her and abused her throughout the night. Then the concubine fell down at the door and lay there until daylight. From the Book of Judges chapter 19: 24-26.”
The Concubine Dies
Elton: And the Levite returns home. Then the Levite…
Scripture Reader: “…he took a knife and cuts up his concubine limb-by-limb into 12 parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel.” Judges 19: 29.
Elton: This starts a civil war between the tribes of Israel. The story takes many dark twists and turns and consumes two more chapters in the Book of Judges. Thousands die in this dark story of: mob violence; gang rape; murder; tribal warfare; genocide; and the enslavement and forced marriage of 400 young women.
Foreshadows Evils Still Present in The Modern World
The Murder of The Levite’s Concubine foreshadows many of the evils still present in the modern world:
- The vicious treatment of women;
- Gang rape;
- Mob violence;
- Revenge killings.
Many elements of this story have striking parallels to the maltreatment of other minorities, the maltreatment of indigenous peoples, and the maltreatment of black Americans.
In This Story, We Learn God Dislikes:
In this story, we learn God dislikes:
- The abuse of women;
- The maltreatment of travelers and foreigners;
- Gang rape;
- Revenge killings,
- Tribal warfare;
- Indiscriminate killing;
- And mass murder.
As in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, we see the unbelievably low status of women. The homeowners in both stories offer their own virgin daughters in an attempt to deflect the mob and protect the visiting men.
We see neither story is about gay men and neither story is about consensual sex.
Why has this story with no gay men in it—like the story of Sodom and Gomorra—been used to condemn gay men?
Next time: Blame the Gay Guys
We will explore that more in our next installment, coming up, episode three, Blame The Gay Guys. Then in episodes four and five, we will look at the two “clobber verses” in Leviticus that give young men and many pastors so much grief.
Then in episode six and seven, we will see what Jesus actually said about sexual minorities.
A lot more coming up. This is Elton Sherwin, and I am excited that you have found this series.
An older version of this episode is available on YouTube: (although the audio is not quite as good as the podcast).
References and URLs for this podcast on The Murder of the Levite’s Concubine:
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