O.M.G. Don't terrorize me, just let me be, please!
The Journey to Home
Judge Me Not
In the book, “Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings” in the chapter entitled, “An Unnamed Woman The Extravagance of Violence” it focuses on Judges chapter 19:1-30. In the examination of the texts, I tend to lean towards the Newsom interpretation of the text which says, “The Levite in question, a resident of Ephraim, takes for himself a wife. “Concubine” is an unsatisfactory translation of the woman’s status. She is neither simply a mistress nor a servant, since the man is called “her husband” and her father his father-in-law.”
I tend to agree with this translation and also I agree with the translation that says that the woman left, because she was angry or upset with her husband. I think it makes more sense, because when he goes after her at her father’s home, tries to woo her back appealing to her heart, it was as if she left out of anger. If someone has cheated as other translations have argued and simply left to avoid the brunt of his anger, why would he being wooing someone who is an adulterer. As I stated I do not agree with the translation of the MS text, if that had been the case I do not think he was have tried to appeal to her heart and would have not have been, so cordial with her father.
I think this text also comes of under the texts of the betrayal and even torture. She is betrayed by her husband in that when the men come for him, he tosses her to them, as a sacrificial lamb. That is something that is often done in the Old Testament women are sacrificial lambs to protect the men. Then, he does not even bother to show any concern for her. When he sees her brutally attacked body hanging by the door, he shows no remorse and tells her to come on. In the next chapter, he presents his case to the angry tribes and rearranges the events to fashion it that the tribes of Israel thought they were defining their honor. What a horrible lie he told to suit his purpose, but also, what a horrid way to dispose of your wife or concubine, now back to the story.
When there is no response he then, places her limp body on the donkey. He shows no concern for his dead or nearly dead wife and takes her lifeless or nearly dead body upon the donkey. To show his premeditation or possible plan to kill her along, he takes out the knife and cuts her into twelve pieces. We do not know if she was already dead or hanging on just barely, when he cuts her up into twelve pieces to be sent to the twelve tribes.
From a Womanist theological standpoint, one must first examine the patriarchal society, by which she is actively involved in. The entire texts gives voices to so many of the male characters, yet the main character of the texts remains silent during the duration of the texts. She remains voiceless, brutalized, and forever her story misconstrued as were many of the women in her time.
However as I reflect upon this particular story for me, the essence of the roles of women comes back to me in such a profound way. How her story is told by her abuser and I reflect on some of the stories of the encounters of the women I have come in contact with as chaplain and how they too remained silent as their stories were articulated by their abusers.
What I mean by this is that the encounter with their abuser had just a great impact on even how they told their stories, how they shaped themselves in the story as victim or guilty party. It even impacted what they shared, how they shared it, and limited their role or function in the telling of their own story.
I encountered women who saw their own fault in their brutal rapes, brutal beatings, and mental and verbal assassinations. Their feelings on the encounters buried by guilt, shame, their own blame and realization of their horrors. Although, their abusers had not killed them, they left them in such a state that the normal person, they encountered saw the wound, whether visible or invisible to the eye, they wore them in the essence of who they were.
This for me was a parallel within the pericope in Judges and the modernized woman that enters a place of refuge where she can receive some relief for her pain, whatever it may be. This rang true to me, the more things change, the more they stay the same. We live in a society where this story in Judges happens everyday and due to the globalization of mass media, it could be something we watch when we tune into our usual networks. This story was unfortunate and for me is classified as a text of terror, but for me the story is a necessary evil that gives voice to an issue that we face in 2012.Maybe her/his abuser didn’t cut them up and send them to twelve tribes, but they may have left their victim in such a horrific matter, society had to take notice. This story brings that awareness. Whether you believe it or not some, redactor, collector, copyist, or writer felt this story was too important to be wrote of the text and I must agree. Sometimes you do not know the horrors someone is experiencing until someone else is brave enough to step into the fold and bring awareness. In order for some to be set free, one voice must be heard. I will provide below 3 translations for the texts, if you want to read further is goes on into Judges 20. I will provide for you the Greek, Latin, and Hebrew translations, first five verses. For the remaining 25 in that chapter, I will provide you also below the chart with websites where you can follow the remainder of the story in chapter 19 verses 5-30 and chapter 20. Feel free to use those sites for further study. I will assume everyone has the KJV, if not I will provide a link for that as well. Happy Text Hunting~!
Translations: Vulgate, Septuagint, Tanakh
1. There was a certain Levite, who dwelt on the side of mount Ephraim, who took a wife of Bethlehem Juda:
1. And there was a Levite sojourning in the sides of mount Ephraim, and he took to himself a concubine from Bethleem Juda. to Bethleem Juda, .
1. And it was in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a Levite man dwelling by the edge of the mountain of Ephraim, who took for himself a concubine from Beth- lehem to Judah.
2. And she left him, and returned to her father's house in Bethlehem, and abode with him four months.
2 And his concubine departed from him, and went away from him to the house of her father and she was there four months.
2. And his concubine turned away from him, and went from him to her father's house, to Beth-lehem of Judah. And she was there for a period, (of) four months.
3. And her husband followed her, willing to be reconciled with her, and to speak kindly to her, and to bring her back with him, having with him a servant and two asses: and she received him, and brought him into her father's house. And when his father in law had heard this, and had seen him, he met him with joy,
3 And her husband rose up, and went after her to speak kindly to her, to recover her to himself; and he had his young man with him, and a pair of asses; and she brought him into the house of her father; and the father of the damsel saw him, and was well pleased to meet him.
3. And her husband arose and went after her, to persuade her to return, and his servant was with him, and a team of donkeys. And she brought him into her father's house, and (when) the father of the girl saw him, he rejoiced to meet him.
4. And embraced the man. And the son in law tarried in the house of his father in law three days, eating with him and drinking familiarly.
4 And his father-in-law, the father of the damsel, constrained him, and he stayed with him for three days; and they ate and drank, and lodged there.
4. And his father-in-law, the girl's father, kept him, and he abode with him for three days. And they ate and drank and lodged there.
The Greek Translation Website
The Book of Judges, from the English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible Online. Lancelot C. L. Brenton 1851
The Hebrew Translation Website
The Latin Translation Website
- Latin Vulgate Bible with Douay-Rheims and King James Version Side-by-Side+Complete Sayings of Jesus
Parallel Latin Vulgate Bible and Douay-Rheims Bible and King James Bible; The Complete Sayings of Jesus Christ
King James Version Website
- KING JAMES BIBLE ONLINE - KING JAMES VERSION OF THE BIBLE
King James Bible Online: Read the original 1611 and 1769 King James Version of the Bible. The King James Bible is also called the Authorized Version, as it was authorized to be read in churches by King James I of England.