Why in the world is this story in the Bible?
And why are we reading it in a worship service?
A man taking a concubine, angering her then trying to win her back, schmoozing with the girl’s father and regaining the girl, needing a place to stay and being given no hospitality, taken in by an old man who at first appears to be a god-send. A mob pounding on the door demanding a body to abuse, the old man now only concerned with protecting one of his guests, and himself. The girl being seized and thrown out to pacify the mob, which unleashes its brutality against her. And finally, a breaking apart of the abused body, each part sent out as a gruesome message to the different tribes of Israel.
Let me ask again: Why in the world is this story in the Bible? Of all the stories Israel could have told about its history, its identity, its coming to be as a people, why include this one? And dare we remember it and contemplate it in church?
Let me ask the question another way: What if this story wasn’t in the Bible? What if something like...