This is part 2 of a series. You can find part 1 here – “Consider, Take Counsel, and Speak: A Narrative of Judges 19“.
…She crawled towards the old man’s house, fearful that the mob would change their minds and come back for her. As she reached the threshold, she outstretched her arms, and lay her head down, too broken to cry out for help. She recalled the form of her father, standing on the threshold of the home where she grew up, wishing she were at his feet now…
Her breathing was labored and filled with the dust of the ground. Her body so broken it was numb to feel any of the pain that it should have felt. She waited for the death she knew and felt was eminent and she closed her eyes.
A beautiful aroma wafted overcame her. She smelled something. What is that…? Is…is that frankincense? Myrrh? It’s so beautiful… With beleaguered breathing she tried to take in the fullness of the pleasing and soothing scent. She recalled her own oils she used to wear and how beautiful she felt when she wore them.
She opened her eyes to look around to see if she could locate the wonderful aroma. No one. She was still alone. She closed her eyes again. Vivid colors of crimson and scarlet danced in her minds eye. So rich, so luxurious…so royal, so special…
Then she heard something. What was that? Footsteps? She opened her eyes, barely. She saw something. Someone. Someone was walking toward her. Who is that? She wondered. Is that a woman? She closed her eyes; again, it was too exhausting to keep them open.
And then she felt a presence by her side and a hand softly moving hair back from her swollen and bruised face. She cautiously opened her eyes and they made contact with the eyes of a beautiful woman who was kneeling beside her. The woman’s eyes were confident, the type of eyes that were confident with laughter.
The concubine inhaled…the aroma! The aroma she had smelled earlier was stronger now. It was her… She felt the crimson and scarlet linen the woman wore brush against her beaten and dirty frame as she knelt beside her. It was her I was seeing.
The woman continued to caress the concubines face, and the concubine kept staring into the now tear filled eyes of the woman: this strong woman, this capable woman, this…this…woman worth far more than any ruby or pearl. The concubine closed her eyes again; again, she was too exhausted to keep them open.
Then she felt the woman lean in, close; she felt her lips nearly touch her ear. And the woman spoke:
You, beloved daughter, are worth far more than you know. You, beloved sister, are not forgotten or forsaken. I’ve come to tell you: it will not always be so. For He comes, and He will rise with healing in His wings to mend all that has been broken, to right all that is wrong, to give life abundant where there is nothing but death. He is the good portion that can never be taken away from you. You will be called blessed. You will be loved. You will, once again, be adored.
The concubine gathered up all her remaining strength and opened her eyes one more time to see the woman. She was gone. The concubine closed her eyes for the last time.
…As the tears [of hope] began falling slowly from her eyes and then rolled down her blood stained cheeks, she took her final breath.