A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible

A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible
Hunc tu caveto.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Tribe of Benjamin's emblem.
Image from S.S. Teacher Edition: Holy Bible, 1896

Keeping up the Benjamins (Judges, Chapter 21) - Prior to Chapter 20, the Israelites had formed a loose confederation of 12 tribes which were ruled by a council of judges.  After the events of Chapter 20 at the Battle of Gibeah, the tribe of Benjamin was decimated because they had tried to either kill, or gangrape, one of the other Israelite men, a Levite.   It's not clear whether they wanted to kill or gangrape him, but it sounds similar to the story of Noah and I'm leaning toward gangrape.

Instead, the Benjamite men gangraped the man's concubine.  After the gangrape, the Israelite man cut his wife up into pieces and sent the pieces to different parts of the confederation of tribes, and the tribes responded by basically destroying the Benjamins.  If you look at a map of the 12 tribes of Israel, the Benjamins (Benjaminites?) were a little smudge right smack in the middle of all the other tribes!  Though, they did have the city of Jerusalem within their boundaries.

After the civil war, the remnants of the Benjamites were allowed to live on, but all their women and children had been exterminated.  Since none of the Israelites wanted to give their daughters to be wives to the Benjamites, the judges  decided to give the Benjamites a parting gift -which was to essentially invade neighboring tribes, annihilate their entire population save for women "who had not lain with man".

And that's what Chapter 21 is all about - the decision and the carrying out of a mission.  Invade nearby Jabeshgilead, destroy the population, and take their virgin daughters as wives for the Benjamites.

Again, we are confronted with a stark contrast to what modern day religionists try to portray their God to be - the origin of morality.  By far, what we are witnessing in the Old Testament is merely the record-keeping of an ancient culture - a primary source.  The OT is valuable in that sense, as it preserves the odd behaviors, superstitions, and hangups of at least one group of our ancient ancestors - those men who lived long ago in the arid lands which we now associate with Israel.

Now, on to the Book of Ruth, which promises to be a mercifully short book.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011



Israelites Respond to Women's Dismemberment with Civil War (Judges, Chapter 20) - After the parts of the concubine reach the various regions of Israel, the Israelites gather up and ask the man responsible, "What the hell did you do this for?!?"

They actually said something a little mild, recorded in the King James Bible as "How was this wickedness?"

The man who carved up his concubine responded that while he was staying in Gibeah (a Benjamite town), the house was surrounded by the men of the town who apparently wanted to kill him (or rape him).  Instead, he gave up his concubine to be raped by the Benjamites. After the ordeal, he naturally carved her up and sent her pieces to all of Israel to let everyone know about what happened.

The Israelites gathered a 400,000 man army.  The Benjamites only had a 26,000 man army, plus 700 left-handed slingers.  These slingers apparently could aim at a hair and hit it.  That's right - sniper slingers.

On the first charge against the Benjamites, the Israelites lost 22,000 men.  The second time they lost 18,000 men, despite the okay by God Himself.  It wasn't until a hard-fought third charge that the Israelites managed to rout the Benjamites and when that happened, they went into the Benjamite cities and slaughtered everyone, including their livestock.

And that's how an entire tribe of people were slaughtered because: 1) an Israelite man almost got murdered or raped by a mob people; 2) the Israelite man offered his concubine to be raped by the mob; and 3)after the gangrape, the Israelite man carved up the woman and sent her body parts to various sections of Israelite territory.

Any questions?

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


The Rape at Bethlehemjudah (Judges 19)By far, this story is probably the most grotesque chapter I've read yet.  It doesn't involve the slaughter of thousands, but involves the gangrape of [almost] two women.  As Joseph Stalin said, "You kill one man (or gangrape one women), it is a tragedy.  You kill 10 million, it is a statistic."
What is even worse is the implication at the end of the chapter that what happens is moral.  Verse 19:30 says, "... consider it, take advice, and speak your minds."  I invite you to speak your mind as well.

Essentially, this is what happens in Judges 19.  A Levite man and his concubine seek shelter at the house of an old man and his virgin daughter.  In a story almost eerily similar to that of Lot, a group of horny dudes surround their home and demand to have sex with the old man's guest.  Instead, the old man offers his virgin daughter and the Levite's concubine.

To quote him, he says, " Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly.  Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing."

While the gang of men refused the daughter, they took the concubine and abused the poor woman throughout the night and morning.  During the concubine's night of terror, the Levite apparently had a blast hanging out with the old man.

The next day, she laid in front of the door of the house - presumably a ragged mess.  The Levite picked her up, put her on their donkey, and went home.  At home, he took out a knife and then carved the concubine into 12 pieces, which he had sent to "all the coasts of Israel."