Warning: This is a sensitive topic.
In the March/April 2006 edition of Biblical Archeology Review, Bible scholar Phyllis Tribble has an article called "Wrestling With Scripture." Tribble isn't afraid to ask hard questions, and yet she unflinchingly holds on to her faith. I admire that.
In the article, she shared an experience she had while teaching an Old Testament class. I was stunned when I read it because I consider Judges 19 a prime candidate for the most revolting story in the entire Old Testament. It is an account that horrified me, and if possible, I thought I could cheerfully delete those verses without a moment's concern.
But God's ways are not my ways. He hides blessings for his children in the unlikeliest of places.
"...a text can work both as a blessing and a curse.I was lecturing on that horrible story of the unnamed woman in Judges 19, gang-raped through the night, murdered and finally dismembered. Reading a story like that, how could anyone see it as a blessing?
After my lecture, a woman came up to me weeping. She said to me, "I didn't know the Bible had a story like that." I expected her to recoil in horror. But she did quite the opposite.
She said, "Physically, I have not been dismembered, but I have been raped, and I have been psychologically murdered. To know that the Bible is telling my story makes all the difference to me."
Right before me, she claimed that story as a blessing for herself, because it was a mirror of what she had experienced. I was startled by that. It helped me to see that you never throw away any part of the Bible. You never know when and in what situation it will relate to a reader."