The Judges In The Hebrew Bible English Literature Essay Free Essay

The book, so serves as a informant to the neglecting integrity of the chosen people of God. The concluding four chapters of the book repetition the chorus, “ in those yearss there was no male monarch in Israel ; all the people did what was right in their ain eyes ” ( californium. 17:6 ; 18:1 ; 21:25 ) . This phrasing is introduced to propose that without a male monarch, the society will disintegrate. The concluding saga of the Judges narrative, Judg.19:1-30, is the polar point in which any kind of virtuousness is gone from the society. The narration of the colza, anguish, and taking apart of the Levite ‘s courtesan reflect a deformation of virtuousness and usage in a society that lacked strong leading. Judges 19:1-30 is inserted at the terminal of the book in order to foreground the demand for stronger leading, which prompts the development of the monarchy.

Judges 19 nowadayss us with one of the most distressing and straitening narratives in the Hebrew Bible. A adult female is thrown to a rabble of work forces who gang rapes her and abuses her possibly to decease. Neither her hubby, her male parent, nor the adult male giving her cordial reception attempts to protect her. It is a narrative that depicts the horrors of male power and ferociousness while at the same clip picturing female weakness, maltreatment, and obliteration. All throughout the transition the courtesan is given no voice, and the characters of the narrative continually move against her. The force enacted against her is portrayed as the consequence of there being no male monarch in Israel. The writer is seeking to do an account for why there was demand of a male monarch. If the writer can do the environment of the states to be as shocking and appalling as possible, so the reader will be able to understand why there was a demand for some kind of strong cardinal leading. Basically, Judges acts as a span between conquering and monarchy. As I will discourse subsequently, this perverse state of Israel is personified in the beaten and lacerate organic structure of the courtesan in the transition.

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The transition begins by explicating that “ In those yearss there was no male monarch in Israel ( Judg. [ et. Al. ] 19:1 ) . This phrase insists that the history which will follow is the consequence of there being no male monarch in Israel. The author by and large uses the phrase ‘in those yearss ‘ to discourse what had one time been the status of Israel, but is no longer the instance. This sets up the transition to be a narrative that serves every bit grounds as to why there was demand for a male monarch. This is to state that the events that will follow exemplify the polar ground why there is so the demand for a male monarch, and thereby legalizing the monarchy which is likely present at the clip that the writer is composing.

R.A. Wilson comments that it was in fact YHWH who was to move as the male monarch over Israel and that this will be the push of the concluding chapters. Be it hence the deficiency of a human King that is able to unite and convey peace to the land that is missing in this transition? Or is it that YHWH, the male monarch, was non present and had fundamentally deserted Israel? While it is most likely mentioning to an earthly male monarch, this can be related to YHWH ‘s godly action in the narration of the histories continuing Judges with the hegira and conquering, of God ‘s action in Egypt and the wilderness and the hunt for a male monarch that occurs after with Samuel ‘s call and anointment of the male monarchs. It is, nevertheless, the deficiency of leading in Israel that gives rise to the panic that occurs in this transition.

The full narrative unfolds because “ a certain Levite, shacking in the distant parts of the hill state of Ephraim, took for himself a courtesan from Bethlehem in Judah.A But his courtesan became angry withA him, and she went off from him to her male parent ‘s house at Bethlehem in Judah ” ( vv. 1-2 ) . We are non told why she had become angry with the Levite, but she was angry plenty to return to her male parent. There was no jurisprudence set up for adult females to disassociate their hubbies at this clip ; divorce had to be initiated by the hubby. Therefore, her act of go forthing and returning place could be seen as her ain determination to disassociate her hubby, and this is the lone manner that she knew to do that separation. Other interlingual renditions suggest that instead than the courtesan going angry with the Levite and go forthing, she instead “ played the prostitute against him. ” Some bookmans have suggested that since divorce can merely be done by the hubby, her act of walking out was tantamount to perpetrating criminal conversation.

This interlingual rendition of the transition has been used by some bookmans to propose that the destiny of the courtesan was so a penalty for this act. This does non look to be the instance for several grounds. First, if the courtesan had prostituted herself, she would most probably non hold returned to her male parent ‘s house. The attitude of the courtesan ‘s male parent, or deficiency thereof, suggests that nil serious was involved in her running to him. The Concubine would cognize that her male parent ‘s house would non be the safe topographic point to fly to if she had played the prostitute. Second, if the courtesan had in fact prostituted herself, the punishment in Levitical jurisprudence was decease ( e.g. , Lev. 10:20 ) . The Levite would most probably have enacted the penalty for this kind of behaviour instead than seeking her out at her male parent ‘s house. This is particularly the instance since in the following line it says that the Levite went to Bethlehem to “ talk kindly to her ” . In Hebrew, this would intend to “ talk to her bosom ” which is a widely used and connoted reassurance, comfort, trueness, and love. His journey to happen her, though, suggests that they had an statement and he was going to accommodate their relationship, instead than her playing the prostitute, after which the Levite would likely non seek rapprochement. Therefore, the reading that she became angry with him seems more plausible. Regardless of the ground for her fleeing, without the fleeing there would be no demand for the Levite to seek for her and convey her dorsum. This would hold prevented the full transition to hold non happened.

The Levite is welcomed into the Father ‘s house and is referred to as the father-in-law for the remainder of the narrative. The cordial reception experienced at the Father-in-law ‘s house sets the model for what is virtuous and what is distorted in the narrative. The events described while the Levite was at the father-in-law ‘s house are an illustration of what cordial reception was to look like in the antediluvian Near East ( vv.3-9 ) . This is subsequently put into position by the deficiency of cordial reception offered at Gibeah ( v.15 ) . The leisureliness of gay occasions in the Middle East shows itself in the event of the male parent and the Levite. The male parent ‘s attempt to acquire the Levite to remain another twenty-four hours over and over was common etiquette of the twenty-four hours. Further, the adult male alludes to the cordial reception given to the Hebrewss when they were rolling in the wilderness. He begs his invitee to remain because “ the twenty-four hours draws to its stopping point, ” which would intend that the clip has come to halt travelling and to flip a collapsible shelter for the dark. When the father-in-law says that in the forenoon the Levite can go on to his place, the word translated as ‘home ‘ truly means ‘tent. ‘ Such vocabulary remains long after the clip period of rolling in the wilderness is gone. Possibly the writer of this history is seeking to juxtapose this event of cordial reception with the cordial reception that they will have subsequently. This cordial reception that they are having at the father-in jurisprudence ‘s house is the normative illustration of what cordial reception was supposed to look like ; such as when the Israelites had strong leaders such as Moses and Aaron. The cordial reception that will be shown subsequently is what happens when Israel is non unified under a strong leader.

Once the Levite, the Concubine, and the Levite ‘s retainer leave the father-in-law ‘s house it is already reasonably tardily in the twenty-four hours ( v. 9 ) . The journey will hence hold to be broken up and finished the undermentioned twenty-four hours. The servant suggests that they take safety in the metropolis of Jerusalem, which was inhabited by the Jebusites at that clip ( v. 11 ) . The Levite replies by stating “ We will non turn aside into a metropolis of aliens, who do non belong to the people of Israel ; but we will go on on to Gibeah ” ( v.12 ) . The Levite wants to happen cordial reception and welcome in a metropolis occupied by Israelites. Merely subsequently do we larn that in fact there is no safety in a metropolis occupied by Israelites. The travellers probably would hold been safer and left in a better status if they had gone to the metropolis of the Jubusites. This scene merely strengthens the claim that the universe of the Israelites has gone amiss. The metropolis of Jerusalem will one twenty-four hours be the metropolis of safety and integrity under King David, a strong leader ( 2 Sam. 5-6 ) . For now it is seen as a metropolis of danger, whereas Gibeah will be seen as the metropolis of safety. This could be boding to the thought of Jerusalem as a oasis for the Israelites under a incorporate leader. In the terminal, nevertheless, it is in the metropolis of Gibeah that cordial reception is sought.

Once in the metropolis of Gibeah, the Levite, courtesan, and retainer, “ sat down in the unfastened square of the metropolis, but no 1 took them in to pass the dark ” ( v. 15 ) . Most likely they were waiting in the metropolis gate, which was typical usage for a traveller seeking for cordial reception for the dark. The two loaded donkeys that the travellers had with them would be an confidence to any that there would be no liability for taking them in ; they were self-sufficing. Therefore, the failure for any to offer cordial reception was highly coarse on the portion of the Benjaminites. Such a breach in proper Near East etiquette was indictment plenty against the work forces of Gibeah. The writer of the transition nevertheless, seems to be constructing the tenseness to the ultimate offense that is to take topographic point. This is the first measure in the deformation within Israel of basic usage. Again, the author high spots this in order to demo the province of the folks with no leader nowadays. The writer wants to portray that things have gotten so bad that even a Levite travelling through the country necessitating nil but a topographic point to kip is non taken attention of by the Benjamin folk. The manners and virtuousnesss one time found within Israel are easy vanishing. Just at eventide, though, a adult male, besides from the hill states of Ephriam, invites the travellers in to his place for the eventide ( v. 16 ) . The writer takes great strivings in informing the reader that it was in fact non a Benjaminite that offered the cordial reception. Alternatively, it was a alien, merely like the travellers. The occupation of cordial reception, which would traditionally hold been done by the work forces of Gibeah, has to be done by a alien.

While banqueting and basking the cordial reception of the old adult male, we are introduced to a portion of the narrative reminiscent of one we may already cognize. The work forces of the Gibeah get down thumping on the door of the old adult male with the petition that he “ Bring out the adult male who came into your house, so that we may hold intercourse with him ” ( v.22 ) . We are non told why the work forces of the metropolis have made this petition, but some claim a motivation being that their pride was offended that a sojourner in their metropolis should set them to dishonor by offering the cordial reception that they had withheld. Whether this would intend that they were worsening cordial reception deliberately, or if they are ashamed for their ain deficiency of action we do non cognize. The old adult male responds by inquiring the work forces non to make this evil thing since the adult male is a invitee ( v. 23 ) . If he were to give up his invitee this would be a considerable breach in cordial reception. There is an ancient Ugaric text which makes mention to the ideal boy ‘who may drive away any who would molest his night-guest. ‘ In the codification for cordial reception in the Near East so, it was expected for a host to drive off those who would seek to molest invitees that stay for the dark. Alternatively of giving over his invitees, the adult male offers his ain virgin girl and the invitee ‘s courtesan for the work forces to “ Rape them and make whatever you want to them ” ( v.24 ) . The old adult male was willing to shatter a different codification of behavior in order non to interrupt the recognized conventions of cordial reception. Rather than give his guest to the work forces he was willing to give up the attention and protection of the weak, that is, the adult females. The adult male was willing to give up his ain virgin girl and the Levite ‘s courtesan instead than give up his primary invitee to mistreat.

There are analogues between this narrative and the 1 that takes topographic point in Gen. 19. The writer of Judges 19 presupposes that the reader is cognizant of Gen. 19, and depends on that consciousness in order for this episode to be decently understood. The reader must be familiar with Lot ‘s narrative in Genesis 19 in order to understand the extent to which Israel has gone astray from order and attention. While the narrative about Lot may non look to be a ‘normal ‘ narrative for modern readers, it is the normative cordial reception narrative to be juxtaposed following to this ‘distorted ‘ cordial reception narrative in Judges 19. First, it is one thing for Lot to offer his two virgin girls to the rabble in Sodom in order to carry through his responsibilities as a host. It is rather another thing to offer one ‘s virgin girl along with the invitee ‘s courtesan to be ravished. While the adult male ‘s chief concern is to protect his primary invitee, the Levite, it is still a breach in cordial reception to give up the invitee ‘s ownerships, which in this instance is the Concubine. The host fails to see that offering the courtesan is in fact inhospitable. Both of the narratives, that of Genesis 19 and Judges 19, illustrate that the regulations of cordial reception in Israel merely protected males.

The author seems to be traveling measure by measure in following Lot ‘s illustration from Genesis 19. First, the demand of the work forces of the metropolis to cognize the invitees ties the narratives together ( Gen. 19:5 ; Judg. 19:22 ) . Second, the invitees in Genesis had planned on remaining the dark in square and had to be urged non to pass the dark in the square ( Gen. 19:2-3 ; Judg. 19:20 ) . Lot, much like the old adult male in Judges, is a sojourner in the town ( Gen. 11:27 ; Judg. 19:16 ) Lot says to the work forces of Sodom “ do non move so wickedly.A Look, I have two girls who have non known a adult male ; allow me convey them out to you, and do to them as you please ; merely do nil to these work forces for they have come under the shelter of my roof ” ( Gen 19:7-8 ) . The old host in Judges says “ do non move so evilly. Since this adult male is my invitee, do non make this vile thing.A Here are my virgin girl and his courtesan ; allow me convey them out now. Rape them and make whatever you want to them ; but against this adult male make non make such a despicable thing ” ( Jud 19:23-24 ) . Lot asks the work forces non to make this wicked thing, and the host asks the work forces non to make this wicked thing. Lot offered two adult females to the rabble, but the host has merely one virgin girl, and hence has to improvize. Therefore, he adds the Levite ‘s courtesan to the offer so that there are two entire adult females, merely as in the Genesis narrative. It is in the offering of the courtesan that the Judges narrative begins to demo itself as the ‘distorted ‘ version of the narrative. The host is non being every bit hospitable as Lot since he is offering the Levite ‘s courtesan. The host besides goes one measure further than Lot in stating that the work forces can “ Rape them and make whatever you want to them ” ( Jud 19:24 ) whereas Lot says merely to “ make to them as you please ” ( Gen 19:8 ) . The normative narrative of Genesis becomes distorted in the universe of Judges by traveling one measure further to demo the downhill incline that Israel has found itself in without a cardinal leader. Judges 19 utilizations Genesis 19 to demo how cordial reception is turned upside down when 1 ‘s invitees are non angels, and one lives in an age governed by human selfishness instead than a strong, incorporate cardinal leader. This is besides an illustration of what happens when the Godhead is inactive or at least when the angels working on behalf of the Godhead are absent.

The Genesis narrative ends with the angel guests striking the work forces of the metropolis blind and the invitees and Lot ‘s girl ‘s staying in safety. The Judges narrative nevertheless does non stop so merrily. Rather, the text says that “ the adult male seized his courtesan, and put her out to them. They wantonly raped her, and abused her all through the dark until the forenoon ” ( v.25 ) . Alternatively of there being some kind of Godhead intercession on portion of the invitees, the courtesan is thrust out into the multitude of the work forces and raped and attacked. The Levite is traditionally the 1 who thrust the courtesan out to the work forces. This seems to belie the thought that this adult female was person that he loved since he pursued her at her male parent ‘s house. Some bookmans propose that possibly he was merely seeking to salvage himself by forcing her out to the work forces. Others offer the thought that possibly the Levite was ‘punishing ‘ his courtesan for “ playing the prostitute ” as mentioned at the beginning of the transition. It seems, nevertheless, after seeing how the narrative turns out, that the Levite is merely a really indurate person who cares nil about his courtesan. This is a difficult world to understand, though, in visible radiation of his venture to recover the courtesan in the first topographic point.

The courtesan ‘s predicament comes to a stopping point when morning began to interrupt and she fell down at the threshold of the house in which her maestro was remaining ( vv. 25-26 ) . At this point we do non cognize if the courtesan is dead or alive. When the Levite wakes up he makes ready to go on place, with no respect to how his courtesan fared the dark before. It is perchance that he and the old adult male continued “ feeding ” and “ basking themselves ” while the adult female was being abused ( vv. 21-22 ) . As he leaves to put out back place he merely happens to come upon the courtesan lying on the land outside the door. It is about as if he came upon her on accident ( v. 27 ) . Possibly he had non even planned on happening out the destiny of his courtesan after he had gone to bed the dark before. Either manner, all of the actions the Levite takes since forcing the courtesan out the door to work forces are indurate and vulgar. The fact that he threw her out to the rabble and besides seems unmindful to her decease contradicts what appears to be his desire for her at the beginning of the narrative. Besides, his behaviour is in violent dissension with what we must presume most readers would see being the appropriate response to such a state of affairs. The Levite tells his courtesan to acquire up because they are traveling, to which he gets no response ( v. 28 ) . He so puts her on his donkey and returns place ( v. 28 ) . There are no words of concern ; nil to connote that the Levite is upset at the destiny of his courtesan, there is merely the action of taking her, or at least what is left of her, place.

Once the Levite gets place another panic occurs. The Levite grasps his courtesan and “ cut her into 12 pieces, limb by limb, and sent her throughout all the district of Israel ” ( v.29 ) . At this point in the narrative we are still non certain if the courtesan is dead or alive. Therefore we do non cognize if her decease resulted in the maltreatment she received in Gibeah, or from the taking apart done by the Levite. The verb to split is used of ritual dissection and the figure of pieces corresponds to the 12 folk. Once the courtesan is dismembered, she is sent out with the message “ Has such a thing of all time happened since the twenty-four hours that the Israelites came up from the land of Egypt until this twenty-four hours? See it, take advocate, and talk out ” ( v.30 ) .

The Levite is beat uping Israel together in order to take retaliation on the Benjaminites of Gibeah. This rallying of the folks of Israel has merely happened elsewhere with Saul, when the yoke of Oxen were dismembered and distributed throughout Israel ( 1 Sam. 11:1-8 ) . When the two cases are compared, it becomes strikingly evident the intensely monstrous nature of the Levite ‘s actions. The 1 Samuel transition so becomes the ‘normative ‘ narrative juxtaposed to the ‘distorted ‘ narrative of Judges 19. While Saul ‘s act may hold been considered the ‘ritual ‘ thing to make when beat uping the state, the Levite ‘s actions are nowhere near a faithful application of such a ritual.

One major difference between the two narrations is in the significance of the message. Saul cut up the cattle as a symbol of what would go on to the state ‘s cattle if the states did non beat up together ; hence he says “ Whoever does non come out after Saul and Samuel, so shall it be done to his cattle! ” ( 1 Sam 11:7 ) . The Levite does non cite the exact significance of the message he intends to direct by the cut off organic structure. Are we to believe that this will be the destiny of Israel ‘s courtesans if they do non beat up together? Besides, Saul ‘s action of spliting the cattle is done when the “ spirit of the Lord ” ( 1 Sam 11:6 ) comes upon him. There is no indicant that the spirit of YHWH prompts this spliting up the organic structure of a adult female whose decease the Levite himself has caused. Therefore, when comparing the narratives of Saul spliting the cattle to beat up the state and the Levite dismembering his courtesan, it can be said that the Judges history is a ‘distorted ‘ position of the ‘normative ‘ narrative.

The metropolis of Gibeah was founded around the clip of the Israelite invasion. Subsequently, this metropolis becomes celebrated as the place of birth and subsequent capital of Saul. It is important that this event happens in Saul ‘s town of Gibeah, because it is where he subsequently performs his ain act of dismembering the cattle. Besides, the catastrophe prevented by Saul through this taking apart concerned the metropolis of Jabesh-Gilead which is the same town that ulterior garbages to piece for the rebellion against Gibeah in Judges ( Judg. 21:8-9 ) . Some bookmans believe that Judges 19-21 so serves as a kind of abhorrence of Saul. His hometown is the 1 that committed the flagitious act of ravishing and mistreating the courtesan, so Saul must besides be of this head. However, if one compares the two histories, it seems as if alternatively it functions as an abhorrence of the Levite, every bit good as the Benjaminites, and the whole state of Israel during this kingless period in their history. Again, this type of statement sets up Saul ‘s actions as the ‘normative ‘ narrative, while presenting the episode in Judges as a ‘distorted ‘ version of the normative narrative that consequences from the deficiency of a male monarch in Israel.

This narrative in Judges is one of the most in writing and terrorising narratives in the Hebrew Bible. Its intent is to demo merely how out of manus Israel has become with no male monarch. The writer begins the transition by stating that “ there was no male monarch in Israel, ” and so explains the effects that the deficiency of a male monarch poses to Israel. The state has continued to merely make “ what was right in their eyes ” to the point that they have raped and abused an guiltless courtesan, dismembered her, sent her to the states, and subsequently had a civil war ( Judges 20-21 ) . Without a male monarch, the state is in a province of lawlessness. While this narrative of open force against a adult female gives the premise that a strong leader or royal authorization is needed to guarantee Israel ‘s community coherency, this integrity is depicted in the image of the adult female ‘s organic structure. The misdemeanor of the adult female ‘s organic structure is similar to the misdemeanor of the state. The images of brokenness through sexual force service as a figure of brokenness in the life of the state. The image of Israel as reflected in the intervention of their adult females is overriding to the episode. The fact that it is a adult female who is portraying this brokenness, though, merely adds to the symbolism of the clip that work forces are entrusted with the power and control in the state.

The state of Israel wanted a male monarch, and the book of Judges Acts of the Apostless as the warrant for why that male monarch is needed. The deficiency of a cardinal leader has caused the state to fall into a province of lawlessness and confusion where that which would be considered ‘normal ‘ has turned in that which is ‘distorted. ‘ The comparing with the narrative of Lot in Sodom and Saul dismembering the Oxen display the normative behaviour that is badly distorted in the behavior of the Levite. The character of the courtesan, is merely the portraiture of how bad the things have gotten. She is non named in the narrative nor is she given a voice. Her single character, nevertheless, was non the writer ‘s concern so much as the violent and indurate actions acted upon her. The writer ‘s hope is to demo that with the kind of behaviour that was go oning in the state, it was imperative that Israel rally together under the leading of a male monarch.

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