The Sex-Slave’s Name is Jesus


In preparation for my upcoming Guatemala blogging trip next month, I’ve been reading the wonderful book Geography of Grace by Kris Rocke and Joel Van Dyke. It opens by talking about the horrific story of Judges 19, where a nameless woman who is no more than a sex-slave, is given to a gang of men who gang rape her all night. She is then dismembered while still alive and the parts of her body are mailed to the twelve tribes of Israel. I found these lines so beautiful and redemptive in the just of such darkness.

When reading Judges 19 with a sanctified imagination, it is as if we become the disciples of Jesus on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24. This passage tells of the disciples’ long walk with the stranger who is suddenly revealed as Jesus when he reenacts that meal on the night that he was betrayed. Just as the stranger is revealed to be Jesus in the breaking of the bread, so too is the unnamed woman revealed to be Jesus in the breaking of her body.

“Just as you have done it to the least of these . . . ”

lf we reflect long enough on the heart of the unnamed Woman [of Judges 19], We will come to know not only her heart, but her name as well. We will dare to give her the dignity of a name that she has been denied for more than three thousand years. We will even dare to name her the name above all others.

As grace flows downhill and pools up in Judges 19, We are confronted with what looks like a cesspool. It is offensive and scandalous beyond words, but if we can hold our gaze long enough and reflect on the Woman, she teaches us a hard but liberating truth-that she was not alone in her abandonment. She was not alone when she was handed over to the mob. She was not alone when she was gang-raped and beaten that night. She alone was not cut into twelve pieces and handed out to Israel. God was with her that night. God too was abused, beaten, raped, and dismembered. Where is God? God is with us, particularly among the least. Immanuel.


2 thoughts on “The Sex-Slave’s Name is Jesus

  1. So does this mean that we don’t read Judges 19 as a true story, or that the woman was not a real woman, but an angel or some other representative being of Christ? Because if it was a flesh and blood woman we’re talking about here, the whole thing falls apart in two ways:

    1. Choice in that Jesus chose to allow himself to go through the offense, while this woman did not.

    2. Jesus was pierced and beaten, but not raped nor dismembered.

    I appreciate what these writers are trying to do in some odd way, but, to use a friend’s expression, “it doesn’t preach”, and even the most faithful would walk out of the service if someone tried.


    • And we don’t know when Jesus was ever a welcomed stranger, naked, sick, or in prison, and yet in Matthew 25 he says that when he is the one we are welcoming, clothing, taking care of, and visiting when we do that. They do not say that this is a theophany of Christ, but rather he is present with her in her suffering. He says (and they quote), “just as you have done to the least of these, you have done to me.” That doesn’t mean the “least of these” are angelic apparitions.

      Further, in our union with Christ, we take on the name of Christ as our own as well. Just because there is some “sacramental” way in which Christ is present in material and bodily things, people, and pains, it does not minimize the reality, physicality, or significance of that pain. What sort of inherent Gnosticism leads someone to think that if Christ is present and joins us in our sufferings, those sufferings are not “flesh and blood”?

      Also, it was not Jesus’ “choice” to go to the cross so much as it was his choice to obey his Father. “Not MY will, but YOURS be done.” In some mysterious way, there seems to have been a difference between the will of the Son and the Father.

      As you say above, I appreciate what you’re trying to do in some odd way, but your comment “doesn’t preach.” Thanks for writing.


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