Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Levites Violence

Violence Against Women

I came across the story below on a web site titled, All True Bible Studies for Children.  What do you think?

The Story of the Levite's Concubine

Judges 19:10 - 20:48
Just before midnight one night, Beth heard someone pounding on the front door of their house. "Hello in there! Hello! Let me in," shouted a man. "Give me a bunch of money!"
This frightened Beth and she hid under the covers.
A minute later, Beth heard her father come into the room. "Beth," said her father, "would you please go to the front door and see what the man wants?"
Beth was scared, but she knew that it would be a sin to disobey her father. She got up, put on her bunny slippers and her robe, and went to the front door while her father returned to bed.
By the time Beth got to the front door, the man wasn't there any more. She peeked out through the curtains and saw him peeing on the lawn. Then he just walked away.
Even when she was back in bed Beth felt very upset. She started to cry and her sobs brought her mother into her room.
"What's the matter, Dear One?" her mother asked.
"Daddy asked me to go see the strange man at the door," sobbed Beth. "But the man scared me. Why didn't Daddy just go himself and see who it was?"
Beth's mother sat at the side of the bed and ran a hand across Beth's hair comfortingly. "There's a story in the Bible that explains it all, Dear One," said her mother.

And this is the story she told:

One day a Levite and his concubine were traveling through Jebus. It was late and the servant said, "Let's find a place to stay and turn in for the night."
"I don't want to stop in a town unless Israelites live there," said the Levite. "Let's go to Gibeah or Ramah."
So they kept going and didn't reach Gibeah -- one of Benjamin's cities -- until after it was dark.
They couldn't find anyplace to stay in Gibeah so they sat in the street.
While they were sitting, an old man on his way home from work came up to them and said, "Where are you going? Where do you come from?"
The Levite answered, "We're going from Bethlehemjudah to the side of mount Ephraim, where I'm from, and I went to Bethlehemjudah, but now we're on our way to God's place, but there's nobody to take me into his house. We've got straw and food for our donkeys and bread and wine for me and my companions so we don't want anything."
"Peace," said the old man. "I'll take care of you, just don't spend the night in the street." Then he brought them to his house, fed their donkeys, washed their feet, and gave them something to eat.
While they were partying, some men from the city, Belial's sons, surrounded the house and pounded on the door. "Send out the man who's visiting you so we can put our penises in him," they yelled.
The old man went to them and said, "No, brothers, no. Please, don't be so naughty. This guy is my guest, don't be so silly. Look, here's my daughter who's never had a penis put in her and the guy's concubine. I'll bring them out for you to dominate. You can do with them what ever you think is a good idea. Just leave the man alone."
The men weren't really listening. They took the concubine and put their penises in her and beat her all night. The next morning, they let her go.
When the sun was just starting to come up, the concubine fell down in front of the old man's house and lay there.
When it was full light, the Levite got up and opened the door of the house and started to leave. On his way out, he found his concubine lying just at the edge of the door.
The Levite picked up his concubine and said, "Get up, let's get going." But she didn't say anything.
Seeing that she was dead, the man put her on his donkey and took her home. At home, he got a knife and cut her into twelve pieces which he sent all over Israel.
When people saw the pieces they said, "This is the worst thing that has happened since we left Egypt." In fact, the Israelites got so mad that a bunch of them went to Gibeah, killed everyone they could find (including the animals) and burned down all the cities in the area.

"So you see," said Beth's mother, "the strange man might have hurt your father. That's why he sent you to the door instead."
Beth thought about this for a moment. "But in the story the girl who goes outside gets beat up until she is dead."
"That's true, Dear One," said her mother. "But she was only a girl. It's not a great loss. And people from other towns made sure that the people who did the bad thing were punished along with their wives, children, and pets."
"But why do the animals have to die? They didn't do anything bad and they don't even know what's going on."
Her mother smiled. "It's because God is a just God, Dear One, and animals are just animals. Now go to sleep; pleasant dreams." And with that, she kissed Beth on the cheek and went back to her own room.
Then Beth pulled the covers over her head and lay awake all night, hoping that the strange man would not come back with a bunch of drunken friends and demand to put their penises in her. All her questions had been answered.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

A Woman Prophet in Israel

Isaiah's Wife a Prophet in Israel

All we know is that Isaiah calls her a prophet, she was his wife, they had sex and she gave birth to a son.  Unlike the wife of Moses we do not know her name.  She is not credited with any of the prophecies in Isaiah.  Her entire story is Isaiah 8:3.  

The Prophet Uses Female Imagery 

 Is it possible that there are hints of her prophesies in the book of Isaiah?  In Isaiah 42:14b the prophet credits God with saying, "now I will cry out like a woman in labor, I will gasp and pant."  In 49:15 God is represented as a nursing mother.  "Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb?"  In 66:7-9 the image of a woman giving birth is used as a metaphor for Zion and God is personified as the mid-wife.  In 66:13 God is said to compare God's self to a comforting mother.        

  Prophecies of the Woman Prophet

Is it possible that the prophecies in Isaiah, which use female experience are the words of the voiceless, woman prophet?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Zipporah, the Wife of Moses

 Zipporah, Moses' Wife

What was life like for Zipporah?  She was not a Hebrew.  She practiced another religion.  At some point she was sent out of Egypt back to her father and only returned to her husband after he had led the Hebrews out of Egypt.
Her story can be found in Exodus 2:15-22; 4:18-20, 24-26 and 18:1-7

 Zipporah tells her story.

My father gave me to the Egyptian after he came to live with us.  He had helped us at the well when the shepherds would not let us water our father's flocks and my father was grateful. We had two sons.  
My husband was always concerned about the lives of the people he had left in Egypt.  When I met him I thought he was an Egyptian but he was a Hebrew by birth. He took me and the children with him on his return to Egypt.  On the way he became very ill.  He felt like God wanted him dead because he and his sons were not circumcised.  In his religion circumcision of the male is a sign of their covenant with God.  I circumcised my sons and told my husband, "Truly you are a bridegroom of blood to me!"
We did not stay in Egypt.  We were sent back to my father.  It was many years before I saw my husband.

Observations on Zippora

Unlike many biblical wives, Zippora has a name.  She also has a voice.  When I read her story I am reminded of the many military wives who endure long separations from their husbands.  Women who raise their children with the help of other family members and undergo difficult times that many of us cannot imagine.  I know that there are men who experience these separations as well, but this is Zippora's story.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Sacrifice of Jephthah's Daughter

Jephthah's Daughter is Sacrificed

The story of Jephthah's daughter can be found in Judges 11:1-11 and 29-40.  It is a shocking story.

Jephthah's Daughter Tells Her Story

I was overjoyed that he was home safe.  My father had been away fighting the Ammonites and now he was home.  I ran out to greet him and he began yelling at me. He was tearing his clothes asking me why I had brought this terrible disaster on him.  "You have brought me very low.  You are the cause of great trouble for me!" he wailed.  He was blaming me for a vow he had made.  A vow I knew nothing about.  There is no escaping the sacrifice.  I begged for two more months but I must return to the home of my father to be killed at his hands.  Oh, daughters of Israel remember my sacrifice.

Observations on the Sacrifice of Jephthah's Daughter

Sister Mariam Theresa Winter has written a beautiful psalm for Jephthah's daughter.  It can be found in her book Woman Witness.  I include it here with gratitude for all she has taught me.

His daughter ran to greet him, like an innocent lamb to the slaughter.  She slid into the arms of death, like an innocent lamb to the slaughter.  The abused little girl goes home at night, like an innocent lamb to  the the slaughter.  The runaway runs in search of herself, like an innocent lamb to the slaughter.  There is no balm in Gilead.  There is no comfort in Eden or Oz.  For we have lost a daughter.  The daughters of Eve went out from her, like innocent lambs to the slaughter.  Our daughters step out to face the world, like innocent lambs to the slaughter.  The women went to Buchenwald, like innocent lambs to the slaughter. African women were dragged into ships, like innocent lambs to the slaughter.  There is no balm in Gilead.  There is no comfort in Eden or Oz.  For we have lost a daughter.  The baby girl comes out of the womb, like an innocent lamb to the slaughter.  The little girl hidden within us comes out, like an innocent lamb to the slaughter.  Woe to the one who leads the child, like an innocent lamb to the slaughter.  Woe to us when we lead ourselves, like an innocent lamb to the slaughter.  There is no balm in Gilead.  There is no comfort in Eden or Oz.  For we have lost a daughter.

Where is the grace, the inspiration, the hand of God in the story of the sacrifice of Jephthan's voiceless daughter?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Destruction of Samson's Wife



Samson's Wife

Much attention is given to Samson's mistress, Delilah.  Very little attention is given to his wife.  Her story can be found in Judges 14; 15:1-8.   What if she told her own story. 

Samson's Wife Tells Her Story

Such a horrible man and he wanted to marry me.  He demanded that his father get me for him and my father agreed.  The wedding lasted seven drunken days and he asked that stupid riddle.  His thirty drunken companions couldn't figure it out.  They told me they would burn me alive if I didn't find out the answer.  I cried for seven days before he would tell me.  When he found out I had told his friends he was furious.  He said, "If you had not plowed with my heifer you would not have found out my riddle."  He left in a murderous rage and killed thirty men.  I was spoiled goods so I was given to one of his companions. 

When he finally came back and wanted to have sex with me, my father tried to give him my little  sister.  The cruelty of this man  knew no limits. He captured three hundred foxes, tied them together and set them on fire.  He released them into the grain fields, vineyards and olive groves.  All were destroyed.    

I was burned alive as punishment for his crime.

 Samson's Wife Destroyed   

  The writer of this story tells us it is God's idea for Samson to marry this foreign woman because God is looking for a' "pretext" to act against the Philistines.  God needs a pretext?  She and her sister are not asked if they want to marry Samson.  Samson simply says, "get her for me."  He calls her a  heifer, murders thirty men and abandons her for revealing the answer to a riddle.  Does this sound like a "hero" or a violent, selfish, cruel, criminal?        

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Noah's Wife

Noah's Nameless, Voiceless Wife

Noah's wife is nameless and voiceless.  How did she feel?  What did she think and believe about what Noah was doing?  Genesis 7:1 claims God said to Noah, "you alone are righteous before me."  Did Noah declare that to his wife?  What about her righteousness?  If she was not righteous why was she going along?  Are her reproductive abilities and those of her daughters-in-law the only reason they are included? Her story is found in Genesis 6:17 -9:21.     

Noah's wife tells her story

He says he and only he in the whole world has found favor with God.  He says God is going to destroy the world but I am to survive because he is righteous.  Do I want to survive in a world that has been destroyed?  What kind of a life will that be?  He says he is going to build a boat to hold two of every animal in the world.  He doesn't say who is going to care for all those animals.  I already know that.

He built it.  He says I  am to pack up our house hold and get on the boat.  Oh God.

I have never experienced anything so horrible. The water got deeper and deeper.  People were screaming and crying for help.  He would not let us save anyone or anything that had not entered the boat with us.  I was heart sick.

We are to leave the boat.  The water and everything else is gone.  He is going to kill some of the animals.  Animals I have tended he is going to slaughter.  How do I start over?

 He got drunk.  The first harvest from the vineyard and he got drunk.  After all I have been through and he got drunk.         

Observations on Noah's nameless, voiceless wife

Flood stories abound form all over the globe.  "Versions preserved in the ancient Mesopotamian traditions of Babylonia and Sumeria, in particular the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, come closets to the biblical account."(Miriam Theresa Winter)  The sons of Noah are named but the women mentioned in our story are not. They are on the margins and the concerns of their lives are inconsequential to the writer.          

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Gomer, an Abused Woman

  The verbal and physical abuse of Gomer and her children 

 Gomer, the wife of the prophet Hosea has no voice in the book of Hosea.  What would she say if she told her own story?  She can be found in Hosea1:2-9; 2; 3; 4:1, 5-6, 10.

Gomer tells her story.

I was a prostitute before we were married.  That's how we met.  I had no male family to protect me.  I had to survive any way I could.  I thought his abuse would end with the birth of our first child but it didn't.  As hard as I tried to leave my past behind the abuse continued. 
I was so worried about the children.  It was devastating for them to witness the abuse.  When he stripped me and refused to give me food and water I could see the anguish in their little faces.  He told our daughter that he didn't love her and our baby boy that he is not his father.  I finally had enough.  I collected the children and ran.  That got his attention.

He found us and bought us  from the people who had taken us in.  He spoke sweetly to me.  That was a pattern with him.  He would abuse me and then feel sorry until it happened again.  He told our daughter he loved her and our little boy that he was his father.  I had hope that things would be better.


Hosea's language of abuse can be problematic for abused women and children.  We do not know why Gomer was labeled a whore by her husband.  In a culture where men are privileged and women are valued for their reproductive abilities, women must be carefully controlled.  The young women who was beaten with an ax by her brother may have been labeled a whore.  We are naturally horrified by the abuse of this young woman.  Unfortunately, spousal and child abuse abounds.  Men are not god and women are not nations deserving of punishment.

Below is a link to an anti-human trafficking coalition.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

Religion As Justification to Abuse Women

 Justification to Abuse Women? 

I will strip her naked and expose her as in the day she was born, and make her like a wilderness, and turn her into a parched land and kill her with thirst.  Upon her children also I will have no pity, because they are children of whoredom.  No one shall rescue her out of my hand.  
Hosea 2:3-4; 10b

Woman  Abused

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force

I attended the anti-human trafficking task force meeting today.  On the day Sister Monesa announced her work with the task force I knew I had to be a part of that work. I felt scared!  She took both my hands in hers, looked at me with her piercing blue eyes and said, "you are strong enough."  I have been trained as a speaker to bring awareness to the horror that is modern day human trafficking.  I learned that the Super Bowl is the "main event" in sex slave trafficking.  I am horrified and sickened.  A short search of Amazon yielded more titles than I imagined would have been written on the subject.  On a search of YouTube I found an amazing assortment of of videos designed to raise awareness to the reality of human trafficking.  Yet, there is so much silence and denial that it is happening in our towns and neighborhoods.   I have included one of the videos I found in the hope of raising awareness.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013


I am sorry I have missed a couple of days.  I thought I had a computer problem but it was just something I didn't understand.  Along with my passion for understanding and conveying the importance of biblical women I am committed to the work of eliminating slavery.   I am currently affiliated with the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force.  As I was preparing this blog I came across a video about the selling of young girls and women.  Please watch the video and share your thoughts.
(Note: I have been told that the videos and pictures are not available on some devices.)