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No Justice For Her

***Abuse trigger warning****

A few months ago I had the pleasure of teaching bible study, and we studied the story of the Levite and the Concubine (Judges 19:1-30). If you have not read the story, I must warn you that is extremely sad and may potentially make you angry. It will definitely bring out different emotions within you. For any person that has experienced the ups and downs of abuse, you may see yourself, your situation, your loved ones, or your friends somewhere in this story. I am praying that like any story you read in the Bible, you ask yourself what does God want me to do, want me to feel, or want me to change given this information I’m receiving.

The story is about a concubine who leaves her husband, a Levite, and returns to her father’s house. After a little time goes by, the Levite journeys to her father’s home to bring her back to their home. On their journey back home, they stop in a town for the evening to rest, hoping that someone would take them in for the night. An old man is kind enough to take them in. That same evening, a group of men come to the old man’s home requesting for him to send out the Levite so that they can have sex with him. Yup, you read that right. They wanted to have sex with him. The old man being ever so hospitable (meaning that with every bit of sarcasm I can muster), does not offer up the Levite, but offers up his Virgin daughter and the Levite’s concubine to the men to do whatever they so please to do with them. Either annoyed by the situation or fearful that the men will take him (the scriptures don’t say specifically) the Levite takes his concubine and gives her to the men. They rape and abuse her all… night… long…well into daybreak.

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BREATHE…. ok…. one more breath…… Alright, let’s continue.

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A little further down in the story, she dies. After her death, the Levite does something unimaginable….he cuts her up into 12 pieces, and sends each piece to each of the 12 tribes of Israel.

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TAKE ANOTHER BREATH….. Pause….. Breathe again…..

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Her name is never mentioned. She’s only known by her position in society – a concubine. Which is a lowly position. We do know that she has a father, but there is no mention of a mother or siblings. No friends or other distant relatives mentioned. She has been reduced to only how society sees her.

Now, depending on which translation you read, it states that she had been “unfaithful” to her husband (NIV uses the word “unfaithful”). She was not unfaithful in the sense that we would think – sexually. As if being unfaithful, especially in a sexual manner, would justify her husband’s actions. In reality she left him and had gone back home to her father. Basically she abandoned him. In that time, the act of her leaving him or doing anything that was not with his wishes is what made her disloyal or unfaithful.

Did you notice that in the story she never utters a word? She’s silenced. Not only is she silenced, she is alone. There is no one there to physically save her from the violent acts that take place. And given the cultural norms at that time, she is more than likely a teenaged girl.

Where is her justice? “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” (Proverbs 29:7)

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As sad and depressing as this story is, it’s in the Word of God. We may not like it, but it’s in there. And it’s in there for a reason. Verse 30 says, “‘….Just imagine! We must do something! So speak up!'” We have to stop hiding abuse! We have to talk about it! We can’t allow the shame and guilt to win and take over our lives. Both men and women suffer from every form of abuse (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial). Talking about it and sharing our stories with others, starts the healing process. Not just for ourselves but for others as well. Doctors can mend the body, therapists can ease the mind, but only God can heal the soul.

In reading the story, I felt so many things. What I felt initially was frustration and anger. I wanted the group of men and her husband to pay for what they had done to her. I wanted justice! She deserves justice! What happened to her was not right, she did not deserve that! No one does! …..But like so many others in our society there was no justice for her.

We all have an understanding that bad things happen in this crazy world, but we expect some form of people “getting their comeuppance”. When we feel like no form of justice has been served, our hearts and minds can’t comprehend that. What do we do when what we define as “justice” is not served?

This is what Paul says about justice in Romans 12:19,

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

We have to get in our hearts and heads that God’s idea of justice is different from our own. We have to trust that any type of justice that we can imagine will not compare to the justice that the Lord will deliver. All of the pint up anger and frustration that we hold inside, we must give it over to Him. Because if we don’t it can lead to us doing evil. And God says, “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.” Psalm 37:8-9 NIV

So when justice is not served how we see fit, we must put our HOPE and TRUST in the LORD! Vengeance is His and His alone!

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