A dark time for Israel

I realise that my summary of Judges 19 is a pretty unpleasant addition to your Twitter stream.

In a way the summary sounds worse than the chapter itself - much colder - but it actually misses one of the worst details: the Levite voluntarily offered his concubine to the men of Gibeah because they initially wanted to rape him.

It's hard to see anything praiseworthy in the whole story. Perhaps there isn't.

We're at a key turning point for Israel. After successive bouts of apostasy and repentance under the judges we're now moving towards the time of the kings.

The repeated phrase in these chapters of Judges is, "In those days there was no king and everyone did what was right in their own eyes." The book is deliberately presenting the problems in Israel, and suggesting that having a king would be the answer.

Although the context in no way lessens the awfulness of the events in Judges 19, it's a relief to realise that we're supposed to find it awful.

It's a dark time for Israel. Things can't stay as they are.

Tags: themes



thanks for not shying away from how horrific this chapter is! i hadn't read it before so was shocked to see the summary, but as you said, even more shocked to read the rest of the passage in full. i think it's important we don't just try and forget about bits of the bible like this - yes it's horrible, yes it's hard to see why it's in there or why god would let it happen, but at the same time, it's better to remember things like this and the people that suffered so horribly than to try and brush it under the carpet and pretend it never happened right? and i agree, i think we're supposed to be shocked and appalled at how horrendously people behaved so that (hopefully) people would know how wrong things can go, and avoid going there themselves.

i also find it interesting how pro-monarchist this book is, considering how anti- God was to this idea all along, it makes you think about the whole authorship issue with a different slant, but that's a whole different post...


Thanks for your comment @spugmeistress! I think that's a good take on it.

The different perspectives of the various books are really interesting. But as you say, that's another post...


I've always found Judges 19 to be the most unpleasant chapter in the bible...so gruesome and so personal, somehow.

I agree with your take on it; it seems to be crescendoing throughout Judges with that repetitive line 'in those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit'. And the author seems to be pointing and saying: look how bad it got! You can feel the narrator's disapproval...


Yes, absolutely!

I wish I'd spotted the NIV's "did as they saw fit" before I summarised Judges 17 - that's a much more economical way of phrasing it!

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Chris Juby

I summarised all 1,189 chapters of the Bible on Twitter - one tweet per chapter, one chapter per day for over three years.

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