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The Book of Judges contains a disturbing story known as the Levite's Concubine, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the story of Lot's daughters in Sodom.

As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, base fellows, beset the house round about, beating on the door; and they said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may know him.” And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brethren, do not act so wickedly; seeing that this man has come into my house, do not do this vile thing. Behold, here are my virgin daughter and his [[the Levite's]concubine; let me bring them out now. Ravish them and do with them what seems good to you; but against this man do not do so vile a thing.” But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine, and put her out to them; and they knew her, and abused her all night until the morning. (Judges 19:23-24)

The story in Genesis has a happier ending:

Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Behold, I have two daughters who have not known man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door. But the men put forth their hands and brought Lot into the house to them, and shut the door. And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves groping for the door. (Gen. 19:4-11)

Both stories involve travelers who are offered hospitality. Both involve a crowd, maddened with homosexual lust, demanding carnal knowledge of the male traveler/s. Both stories share the plea: "brethren, do not act so wickedly." In both stories the host's virgin daughter is offered as a replacement for the intended victim/s. (In one story it is two daughters; in the other a daughter and the Levite's concubine.) In both stories the mob declines the offer and threatens violence.

The main difference in the two is the ending: In Lot's case, the travelers (who are actually angels) strike the mob blind, and the daughters escape. In Judges, the concubine is forced out the door, where the mob gang-rapes her. She dies the next day from her injuries. The story in Judges is followed by intertribal warfare. In Genesis it is followed by the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Are these two stories related in the sense that they borrowed from each other? If so which came first? Could it be that Judges was written first, even though it appears later in the biblical text? Or is the similarity of the stories coincidental?

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    Are you suggesting that one or either story is fiction?
    – Dottard
    Oct 4, 2022 at 2:37
  • I don't know. I'm open to a variety of interpretations. But I'd guess that the story in Judges is more historical, on the basis God is not a major character in the drama and it became the cause of what must have been a well known tribal war. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah feels more mythic to me, with its angelic visitors, a miraculous of rescue of the virgin girls, and then the destruction of the entire region by God. Oct 4, 2022 at 4:22
  • I don't like the term "fictional," because I think that that stories told outside of history may be still be inspired. God may be telling us a kind of fable, in other words -- just as God, through Jesus, told us parables. Oct 4, 2022 at 4:43
  • There is very little comparison between the two historical accounts. (Apart from one detail.) This is opinion-based.
    – Nigel J
    Oct 4, 2022 at 8:18
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    Dan's question is familiar to me as some time ago I read an article from this link thetorah.com/article/…. Oct 4, 2022 at 13:47

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Someone did find amazing coincidence in the literary relation between the stories of the Levite's concubine and Sodom destruction. Anyone who is interested may search an article in thetorah.com - "The Story of the Concubine at Gibeah: A Satire on King Saul".

I do not intent to bring the details, for it is not my intention in my answer. The stories comparison is so amazing, that I had been once confused with excitement, then my sense recovered, that it did not answer anything but created more confusion.

Here what I know

  • The story of Sodom destruction led to the consequence of the origin of Moab and Ammon
  • The story of Levite's concubine led to the consequence of "The Days of Gibeah", which had been mentioned twice in the Book of Hosea

Both consequences were true, that the causes must be true. So both stories must be true.

If we took the literary comparison on these two stories, there is an impression that either one copied another, but set in different background. However, it was not possible that Moses copied the Judges, or else one had to prove that the Pentateuch was not written by Moses. Then it remains the last option, accept the Levite's concubine story is "A Satire on King Saul", and the question, "Why would God do that? What kind of lesson the Lord want us to know?"

Therefore in the mean time, I have no option but to admit that both stories were real, but with incredible similarities. This is perhaps fulfilling the proverb: "History, particular the evil things, always repeated themselves".

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  • +1... Thanks especially for alerting us to the "Satire on King Saul" hypothesis. My head is still swimming! Dec 22, 2023 at 18:52
  • @DanFefferman - thanks but I have to admit, the corelation is far from my comprehension. Dec 22, 2023 at 19:03
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Honestly I think they are simply both historical accounts happening hundreds of years from one another. I think it is dangerous for us to think that either of the two where not historical, and could lead to apostasy at some stage. I see no reason to believe that either account was fictional or made up to show some kind of message to us.

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