Seven Brides for Seven Israelites (Judges 20-21)

Not a whole heck of a lot happens in the final two chapters of Judges. The Israelites battle the Benjamites, whose people were responsible for raping that guy’s concubine to death (you’ll recall that that guy chopped up his concubine’s body into twelve pieces and placed them around the land… that’s not on the table for discussion because it was “symbolic,” I guess). The Irsaelites outnumber the Benjamites by a lot and predictably, win (but of course, the Bible attributes their win to God’s intervention). Out of twenty-six thousand Benjamites, the Israelites kill twenty-five thousand and one hundred. A pretty clean sweep.

Now – what to do with the rest of them? Solution: “Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword; also the women and the little ones” (Jud 21:10). There is literally a baby-killing directive in the Bible. I don’t care much for babies but this seems a tad harsh. The only people who are spared are virgins, naturally. Four hundred headband-wearing virgins to be precise.

Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough virgins to go around at this stage in the game. So the Israelites have to get creative. They head out to Shiloh, where they lay in wait in the vineyards until some women come out to “dance the dances”. Then they steal them. Problem solved. This reminds me of the plot to one of my all-time favourtie movie-musicals, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. The title pretty much says it all. It’s so antiquated and sexist that I’m just dying for a revival. It’s way more over-the-top than South Pacific. The lead character actually sings a plucky song about the rape of the Sabine women (from Roman times) and how the secretly enjoyed it. The exact lyric, if I remember correctly was…

Oh, they acted upset and annoyed

But secretly, they was overjoyed

Amazing. It’s exactly as I remembered.

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Published in: on May 28, 2011 at 5:54 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I am laughing mirthlessly at Seven Brides. Gosh darn, the things they got away with…and still are.


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