Add parallel Print Page Options

Sexual Immorality

19 In those days when Israel didn’t have a king, there was a Levite who lived in a remote area in the mountains of Ephraim. He took a woman from Bethlehem in Judah to be his concubine. [a] But she was unfaithful to him. She left him and went to her father’s home, to Bethlehem in Judah. When she had been there four months, her husband went to persuade her to come back home. He took along his servant and two donkeys.

She took her husband into her father’s house. Her father was thrilled to see him. He made the Levite stay there with him, celebrating for three days.

On the fourth day they got up early in the morning to leave, but the woman’s father told his son-in-law, “Eat something to keep up your strength and then you can go.” So they both sat down and ate and drank together. The woman’s father said to his son-in-law, “Why don’t you spend the night and enjoy yourself?” When the Levite started to leave, his father-in-law urged him to stay another night, so he did.

On the morning of the fifth day, the Levite got up early to leave. The woman’s father said, “Eat something to keep up your strength!” So they spent the time eating until late afternoon. The Levite started to leave with his concubine and his servant. But his father-in-law said to him, “It’s already evening. Please stay another night. It’s too late to leave now. Stay here, and enjoy yourself. Tomorrow you can start out early to go home.” 10 But the Levite refused to spend another night.

He left and traveled as far as Jebus (now called Jerusalem). He had with him two saddled donkeys and his concubine. 11 By the time they were near Jebus, it was very late in the day. The Levite’s servant said to him, “Let’s go spend the night in Jebus.”

12 The Levite told him, “We’ll never go into a city of foreigners. They’re not Israelites. We’ll go on to Gibeah.” 13 He told his servant, “Let’s go someplace else. We’ll spend the night either at Gibeah or Ramah.”

14 So they went on. It was sunset by the time they arrived at Gibeah. (Gibeah belonged to the tribe of Benjamin.) 15 They went to spend the night there. The Levite entered Gibeah and sat down in the city square, because no one offered to take them home for the night.

16 That evening an old man came into the city from his work in the fields. He was from the mountain region of Ephraim but lived in Gibeah. The other people who lived there were from the tribe of Benjamin. 17 He saw the traveler in the city square. So the old man asked, “Where do you come from? And where are you going?”

18 The Levite replied, “We’re on our way from Bethlehem in Judah to a remote area in the mountains of Ephraim. That’s where I’m from. I had gone to Bethlehem in Judah. Now I’m going to the Lord’s house, but no one has offered to take me into his home. 19 We have straw and fodder for our donkeys. I even have bread and wine for myself, the woman, and my servant. We have everything we need.”

20 Then the old man said, “Welcome! Let me take care of your needs. Just don’t spend the night in the city square.” 21 So he took the Levite to his house and fed the donkeys. After they washed, they ate and drank.

22 While they were enjoying themselves, some worthless men from the city surrounded the house and pounded on the door. They told the old man, the owner of the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so that we can have sex with him.”

23 The owner went out to them. He told them, “No, my friends! Please don’t do anything so evil! This man is a guest in my home. Don’t do such a godless thing! 24 Here, let me bring out my virgin daughter and this man’s concubine. Rape them, and do with them whatever you want. Just don’t do such a godless thing to this man.”

25 But the men refused to listen to him. So the Levite grabbed his concubine and forced her outside. They had sex with her and abused her all night until morning. They let her go when the sun was coming up. 26 At daybreak, the woman came to the door of the house where her husband was and collapsed. She was still there when it became light.

27 Her husband got up in the morning, opened the doors of the house, and was about to leave. His wife (that is, his concubine) was lying at the door of the house with her hands on the doorstep. 28 The Levite said to her, “Get up! Let’s go!” But she did not answer. So he put her on the donkey and left for home.

29 When he arrived home, he got a knife. He took his concubine and cut her limb from limb into 12 pieces. Then he sent the pieces throughout the territories of Israel.

30 Everyone who saw it said, “Never has such a thing happened or been seen from the time the people of Israel came out of Egypt until today. Think about it! Form a plan, and speak out!”

Footnotes

  1. Judges 19:2 A concubine is considered a wife except she has fewer rights under the law.

A Levite and His Concubine

19 In those days Israel had no king.

Now a Levite who lived in a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim(A) took a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah.(B) But she was unfaithful to him. She left him and went back to her parents’ home in Bethlehem, Judah. After she had been there four months, her husband went to her to persuade her to return. He had with him his servant and two donkeys. She took him into her parents’ home, and when her father saw him, he gladly welcomed him. His father-in-law, the woman’s father, prevailed on him to stay; so he remained with him three days, eating and drinking,(C) and sleeping there.

On the fourth day they got up early and he prepared to leave, but the woman’s father said to his son-in-law, “Refresh yourself(D) with something to eat; then you can go.” So the two of them sat down to eat and drink together. Afterward the woman’s father said, “Please stay tonight and enjoy yourself.(E) And when the man got up to go, his father-in-law persuaded him, so he stayed there that night. On the morning of the fifth day, when he rose to go, the woman’s father said, “Refresh yourself. Wait till afternoon!” So the two of them ate together.

Then when the man, with his concubine and his servant, got up to leave, his father-in-law, the woman’s father, said, “Now look, it’s almost evening. Spend the night here; the day is nearly over. Stay and enjoy yourself. Early tomorrow morning you can get up and be on your way home.” 10 But, unwilling to stay another night, the man left and went toward Jebus(F) (that is, Jerusalem), with his two saddled donkeys and his concubine.

11 When they were near Jebus and the day was almost gone, the servant said to his master, “Come, let’s stop at this city of the Jebusites(G) and spend the night.”

12 His master replied, “No. We won’t go into any city whose people are not Israelites. We will go on to Gibeah.” 13 He added, “Come, let’s try to reach Gibeah or Ramah(H) and spend the night in one of those places.” 14 So they went on, and the sun set as they neared Gibeah in Benjamin.(I) 15 There they stopped to spend the night.(J) They went and sat in the city square,(K) but no one took them in for the night.

16 That evening(L) an old man from the hill country of Ephraim,(M) who was living in Gibeah (the inhabitants of the place were Benjamites), came in from his work in the fields. 17 When he looked and saw the traveler in the city square, the old man asked, “Where are you going? Where did you come from?”(N)

18 He answered, “We are on our way from Bethlehem in Judah to a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim where I live. I have been to Bethlehem in Judah and now I am going to the house of the Lord.[a](O) No one has taken me in for the night. 19 We have both straw and fodder(P) for our donkeys(Q) and bread and wine(R) for ourselves your servants—me, the woman and the young man with us. We don’t need anything.”

20 “You are welcome at my house,” the old man said. “Let me supply whatever you need. Only don’t spend the night in the square.” 21 So he took him into his house and fed his donkeys. After they had washed their feet, they had something to eat and drink.(S)

22 While they were enjoying themselves,(T) some of the wicked men(U) of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.(V)

23 The owner of the house went outside(W) and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this outrageous thing.(X) 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter,(Y) and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But as for this man, don’t do such an outrageous thing.”

25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her(Z) and abused her(AA) throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. 26 At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.

27 When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, “Get up; let’s go.” But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.

29 When he reached home, he took a knife(AB) and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel.(AC) 30 Everyone who saw it was saying to one another, “Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt.(AD) Just imagine! We must do something! So speak up!(AE)

Footnotes

  1. Judges 19:18 Hebrew, Vulgate, Syriac and Targum; Septuagint going home

Bible Gateway Sponsors