A husband finds his concubine dead on the doorstep after sending her out to be gang-raped instead of himself. The Benjamite rapists parallel the city of Sodom.
Just as earlier stories were used to fashion the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, a later story in the Old Testament borrowed the Sodom story as a template – using sexuality to shame a group of people. The story in Judges 19 tells of a Levite, his unfaithful concubine, and their unfortunate stay in a Benjamite city. The story follows the motif of the two earlier stories of visitors hosted by Abraham & Sarah – and then hosted by Lot in Sodom. Touched on are the same themes of hospitality, travelers receiving shelter from a foreigner, bargaining over sexuality though a door, marring or exalting the character of a group of people, and the near total destruction – or genesis of a group of people.
In Sodom the rape of angels, Lot’s daughters and Lot are averted. But in the Levite-Concubine story the author took the Sodom story further and had the rape actually occur. In addition, the victim is dismembered – not by the rapists, but by her husband – and her body parts are used to incite Israel to destroy nearly all of the tribe of the rapists. The author of this story follows earlier established patterns to demonize the Benjamites, making them appear as bad as the inhabitants of Sodom.
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