“Hello, Ma’am. I’m here to deliver the foot you ordered.”

This week, Ottawa–the clean, placid, charming capital of the planet’s second-largest nation–was plunged into the dark world of the macabre.

Someone sent an unusual parcel via the Unattached Parts Service (they drive the red trucks) to the headquarters of the Progressive Conservative Party on Albert Street. An employee there partially opened a bloody package containing a severed foot, and the police intercepted another parcel in the Canada Post distribution centre that featured a severed hand. It was addressed to the offices of the Liberal Party. In Montreal, officers discovered a dismembered torso in a suitcase next to some trash awaiting pick-up. Investigators said they were “seeking to ascertain whether or not the two were connected.” I don’t think I would have worded it quite that way, but I understand  what they meant.

My wife was on Albert Street when all the commotion was going on downtown. The area was taped off and crawling with police. (She does not recall seeing any red delivery truck.) Aside from being ghoulish and downright un-Canadian, this incident does remind me of one recorded in Judges 19.

Perhaps you remember it. A Levite, behaving in a decidedly un-Levitical fashion, took a trip into the hill country of Ephraim and found himself a concubine. She was unfaithful to him and returned home to Bethlehem, where she moved back into her father’s house. The Levite sought her out and tried to take her back. Her father, however, persuaded him to stay and eat and drink with him and spend the night. Five times he did this. At the end of the fifth day, when the Levite and his girl were ready to leave, her father tried to keep them there one more night. Impatient to be going, the Levite took the girl and his servants and went as far as Gibeah, a Benjamite city, where they planned to spend the night. They were warned by another expat from Ephraim not to sleep in the square. He took them to his house, but the perverted riff-raff from the town surrounded the place and demanded that he send out the Levite so they could commit immoral acts with him. The man refused, and when the violence outside escalated to a dangerous level, the Levite sent his concubine out to the men. They raped and abused her all night and left her for dead. In the morning she managed to crawl to the door of the Ephraimite’s house.

When the Levite found her there, he callously said, “Get up, let us be going.” (Jud 19.28) Not surprisingly, she was not quick to comply. He threw her over his donkey and trekked back to his home in the hills. She evidently died on the way. Once there, he got his cleaver–Levites were good with those–and hacked the poor girl’s body into twelve pieces “and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel.”

This outrageous and provocative act incited a civil war. The amassed armies of Israel, bent on revenge in Gibeah, were attacked by the people of Benjamin, who defended the Gibeonites. Thousands died in the bloody conflict, and Gibeon and Benjamin were decimated when God delivered them into the hands of their other countrymen.

We’ll see what outrage this crime generates here in Canada. It’s ghoulish, but it’s not new.  The heart of man has not changed at all. It is still “deceitful above all things and desperately sick. Who can understand it?” (Jer 17.9  ESV)

I don’t think I’ll be ordering fajitas for a while.


2 thoughts on ““Hello, Ma’am. I’m here to deliver the foot you ordered.””

    1. Winston, there are some other very interesting parallels between modern events and biblical narratives. Sometime I’ll have to tell the story about Rafael Trujillo, the dictator in the Dominican Republic for many years, who used the same tactic found in Judges 12.1-7 to massacre thousands of Haitians entering his country. Incredible story. It’s called, “The Parsley Massacre”–you can find it on the internet, I’m sure.

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