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Dismemberment and Power

45 “Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked slave says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and he begins to beat his fellow slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. 51 He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Any decent CEO will demand that supervisors treat their teams well.

The problem comes when supervisors behave selfishly.

The middle manager–like Jephthah (whose unnamed concubine was brutally attacked by the Benjamites)–responds to violence by cutting up the body.

In this case, the middle manager at fault is dismembered. Jephthah cut up his concubine, the victim.

This feels so horrifying and unjust.

But just two days ago, reports of a journalist’s assassination was released.

Khashoggi’s Dismemberment

Even today, cutting up a body is used as a warning by people in power against those who would oppose them.

In Matthew 24, the parable of dismemberment warns people in power to treat the powerless well.

Jephthah’s concubine was dismembered to work the Israelites into a frenzy of war against the guilty Benjamites. However, as Phyllis Trible notes in her 1984 book Texts of Terror, Jephthah is at fault for throwing his concubine outside to the rapacious horde. He then used this violence to stir up more violence.

Sadly, the United States President has prioritized Saudi Arabia’s multi-billion dollar arms deals above the life of a human being. The Senate has rejected this perspective.

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