“When you see the young women of Shiloh dancing in the vineyard,” they were advised, “each of you should seize one of them for a spouse, and come back to the land of Benjamin…”So this is what the Benjaminites did. They carried off as many young women as they needed by abducting them from the vineyard during their dance.Judges 21:21, 23
The book of Judges is replete with female characters. While some play minor parts, others are major figures who contribute in significant ways to the progression of Israelite history. The whole of Judges begins and ends with the place of women in society. Achsah, at the beginning demands her inheritance, land where she can make a home for herself. At the end un-named “young women” (13, 14, 15 year olds) are kidnapped from their land and homes.
Females in the book of Judges provide a barometer for the health of the community. As the narrative of Judges unfolds society spins out of control: injustices increase, chaotic confusion envelops the community, and the abuse of women escalates. Just a few versus from the ones sighted the book concludes with “all the people acted as they pleased” (21:25).
Ancient wisdom speaks truth here: if you want to know the health of a society look toward those who are most vulnerable. If you want to measure the wealth of a community take notice of how it supports those deemed “lesser citizens.”
-full reflection at The Bible in Drag