2 Pages

Between Men

Hosted other out

In Beth's case, the husband seems to end up winning: he manages to take Beth out of the house-of-bread, to the pasture land. But social changes produce dangerous situations, and the dangers in this case are very tough. In fact, the husband shows that he is not up to his newly acquired status. He is not able to see the daughter safely home. Hosted by another father, in other words, returning, out of weakness, to the father's house-again a house full of bread-he gives up his position. Beth is taken over by the father when the latter offers her, as well as his own nubile daughter, for sexual abuse. The gift has to be this double gift, not only in order to play the story off against Genesis 19 (Niditch calls it, ironically I would hope, more successful than the Lot storf4), but mainly, in order to signify the gift as a fatherly act; the father gives daughters, his own and somebody else's alike. The inhabitants of the city are not satisfied with the women. They want the man. It is the man who has to be punished for subverting the institution. They want to teach him a lesson-about sex, knowledge, and possession; about sex as knowledge and possession.