This Is Her Body: Judges 19 as Call to Discernment

Nik Ansell. “This Is Her Body . . . : Judges 19 as Call to Discernment” in Tamar’s Tears: Evangelical Engagements with Feminist Old Testament Hermeneutics, ed. Andrew Sloane (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2011), chapter 5, 112–70

This study responds to Phyllis Trible’s claim that Judges 19 is a “Text of Terror” in a double sense because it not only portrays events that are truly horrifying, but does so in a way that adds to the betrayal of the unnamed woman. Consequently, in her view, God’s call to compassion comes to us by means of a text that is itself in need of redemption. Building on one of Trible’s underdeveloped insights, this essay explores the intra-textual relationship between Judg 19 and the Achsah-Caleb-Othniel paradigm of Judg 1 to see how Old Testament “wisdom thinking”––in which patriarchal gender symbolism is subtly yet powerfully undermined––can help us discern the redemptive-historical potential of this unnerving narrative.