Sunday, January 12, 2014

A horrific biblical tale!

The Bible is chock full of stories that are referred to by scholars as doublets. often a story is told more than once but with slight variations such as the story of creation, Noah's ark, etc. Other times the story is told in an entirely different way, in a different setting, with different results. This is one of those stories.

Everyone knows the story of Lot. God had dispatched angels to Sodom and Gomorrah disguised in human form. They were met by a man named Lot who God thought was a just man and worthy of being saved from his plans of destroying the two cities. There is a similar story found in Judges 19 about a man and his concubine. I will compare both accounts since  you will see that they are almost identical not just in the telling but even in a word for word comparison although the end results were very different.

So let's start by looking at the similarities of these two tales. I will cite portions of the story of Lot followed by portions of the story of the man and his concubine. Note that the story in Judges never gives us the name of this anonymous man. We are only told that he is a Levite.

1The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2“My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square." Genesis 19:1-2

Note that when they arrived Lot immediately intercepted them and offered to allow them to stay the night at his house. They had originally intended to stay in the square.

16That evening an old man from the hill country of Ephraim, who was living in Gibeah (the inhabitants of the place were Benjamites), came in from his work in the fields. 17When he looked and saw the traveler in the city square, the old man asked, “Where are you going? Where did you come from?”18He answered, “We are on our way from Bethlehem in Judah to a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim where I live. I have been to Bethlehem in Judah and now I am going to the house of the Lord. No one has taken me in for the night.Judges 19:16-16

In this tale the man sits in the square and is spotted by an inhabitant of the city who subsequently offers to take him in for the night. So in both of our tales our travelers have been taken into a household for the night.

3But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Genesis 19:3

21So he took him into his house and fed his donkeys. After they had washed their feet, they had something to eat and drink. Judges 19:21

Both house guests were fed and well taken care of. 

4Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” Genesis 19:4-5

22While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.” Judges 19:22

So far these two different tales are very similar in content and circumstance. 

6Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.” Genesis 19:6-8

23The owner of the house went outside and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this outrageous thing. 24Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But as for this man, don’t do such an outrageous thing.” Judges 19:23-24

Notice that in both tales they offer up their daughters in the second he offers up the man concubine as well. The reason for this was because they felt an obligation to protect the men who were guests at their home. The other reason is that women in the Bible were considered property like cattle and in so in these two tales their safety and well being was not as important as that of the men. Another great demonstration of misogyny in the Bible! It's not a misguided unfounded accusation; it's a fact! 

Here is where the two stories diverge from one another and the similarities I have highlighted end. In the case of Lot when the men try to force themselves into the home the angels strike them all with blindness and gather Lot and his daughters and wife and allow them to flee the city before its coming destruction. In the second tale there were no angels to defend the home owner nor his guests and it took a turn for the worse.

25But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. 26At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight. Judges 19:25-26

27When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28He said to her, “Get up; let’s go.” But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.29When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel.  Judges 19:27-29

Christians claim that the Bible is a good book about morality and God's love etc. but its full of tales like this one. When you read this story you have to ask what is the meaning of this? Where is the moral lesson here? The fact of the matter is that there simply isn't one. Also, the similarities of these tales indicate to me that they were most likely not even historical events but rather works of fiction. There is so much unjustified murders and deaths in the Bible some of which are committed by the good Lord himself that it is ridiculous to call God good. There is nothing good about a deity as barbaric as Yahweh.

The so called claim that God is the source of objective morality sickens me. I think that my moral standards far exceed those of this allegedly good and supreme deity. I can honestly say that I have never murdered or killed anyone for any reason, I have never stolen from anyone, I have never purposely deceived anyone. The biblical God is guilty of all these things and more. 

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures.


  1. I suppose that tales of this nature are high among the reasons so many xian denominations insist on having "bible study" sessions--so that someone "in the know" can explain to the poor uninformed parishioners what all of these horror stories "really" mean.

    1. More like add an apologetic spin to the story that would be accepted by the gullible.

  2. Another even worse part is that some apologist will say it was gods way of teaching the "bad" Benjamites a lesson in the next chapter when 25,000 of them get killed by the Israelites. However even if you can look past that massacre the fact is God allowed 40,000 of the "good" Israelites to die first.

    Even then why did he have to cut up his concubine and allow her to be raped. So many questions and so many reasons to not believe.