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
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

19 And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the side of mount Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Bethlehemjudah.

And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from him unto her father's house to Bethlehemjudah, and was there four whole months.

And her husband arose, and went after her, to speak friendly unto her, and to bring her again, having his servant with him, and a couple of asses: and she brought him into her father's house: and when the father of the damsel saw him, he rejoiced to meet him.

And his father in law, the damsel's father, retained him; and he abode with him three days: so they did eat and drink, and lodged there.

And it came to pass on the fourth day, when they arose early in the morning, that he rose up to depart: and the damsel's father said unto his son in law, Comfort thine heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward go your way.

And they sat down, and did eat and drink both of them together: for the damsel's father had said unto the man, Be content, I pray thee, and tarry all night, and let thine heart be merry.

And when the man rose up to depart, his father in law urged him: therefore he lodged there again.

And he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart; and the damsel's father said, Comfort thine heart, I pray thee. And they tarried until afternoon, and they did eat both of them.

And when the man rose up to depart, he, and his concubine, and his servant, his father in law, the damsel's father, said unto him, Behold, now the day draweth toward evening, I pray you tarry all night: behold, the day groweth to an end, lodge here, that thine heart may be merry; and to morrow get you early on your way, that thou mayest go home.

10 But the man would not tarry that night, but he rose up and departed, and came over against Jebus, which is Jerusalem; and there were with him two asses saddled, his concubine also was with him.

11 And when they were by Jebus, the day was far spent; and the servant said unto his master, Come, I pray thee, and let us turn in into this city of the Jebusites, and lodge in it.

12 And his master said unto him, We will not turn aside hither into the city of a stranger, that is not of the children of Israel; we will pass over to Gibeah.

13 And he said unto his servant, Come, and let us draw near to one of these places to lodge all night, in Gibeah, or in Ramah.

14 And they passed on and went their way; and the sun went down upon them when they were by Gibeah, which belongeth to Benjamin.

15 And they turned aside thither, to go in and to lodge in Gibeah: and when he went in, he sat him down in a street of the city: for there was no man that took them into his house to lodging.

16 And, behold, there came an old man from his work out of the field at even, which was also of mount Ephraim; and he sojourned in Gibeah: but the men of the place were Benjamites.

17 And when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw a wayfaring man in the street of the city: and the old man said, Whither goest thou? and whence comest thou?

18 And he said unto him, We are passing from Bethlehemjudah toward the side of mount Ephraim; from thence am I: and I went to Bethlehemjudah, but I am now going to the house of the Lord; and there is no man that receiveth me to house.

19 Yet there is both straw and provender for our asses; and there is bread and wine also for me, and for thy handmaid, and for the young man which is with thy servants: there is no want of any thing.

20 And the old man said, Peace be with thee; howsoever let all thy wants lie upon me; only lodge not in the street.

21 So he brought him into his house, and gave provender unto the asses: and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink.

22 Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.

23 And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly.

24 Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing.

25 But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go.

26 Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man's house where her lord was, till it was light.

27 And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold.

28 And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going. But none answered. Then the man took her up upon an ass, and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place.

29 And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel.

30 And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds.

The Levite’s Concubine

19 And it came to pass in those days, (A)when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite staying in the remote mountains of Ephraim. He took for himself a concubine from (B)Bethlehem in Judah. But his concubine played the harlot against him, and went away from him to her father’s house at Bethlehem in Judah, and was there four whole months. Then her husband arose and went after her, to (C)speak [a]kindly to her and bring her back, having his servant and a couple of donkeys with him. So she brought him into her father’s house; and when the father of the young woman saw him, he was glad to meet him. Now his father-in-law, the young woman’s father, detained him; and he stayed with him three days. So they ate and drank and lodged there.

Then it came to pass on the fourth day that they arose early in the morning, and he stood to depart; but the young woman’s father said to his son-in-law, (D)“Refresh your heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward go your way.”

So they sat down, and the two of them ate and drank together. Then the young woman’s father said to the man, “Please be content to stay all night, and let your heart be merry.” And when the man stood to depart, his father-in-law urged him; so he lodged there again. Then he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart, but the young woman’s father said, “Please refresh your heart.” So they delayed until afternoon; and both of them ate.

And when the man stood to depart—he and his concubine and his servant—his father-in-law, the young woman’s father, said to him, “Look, the day is now drawing toward evening; please spend the night. See, the day is coming to an end; lodge here, that your heart may be merry. Tomorrow go your way early, so that you may get [b]home.”

10 However, the man was not willing to spend that night; so he rose and departed, and came opposite (E)Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). With him were the two saddled donkeys; his concubine was also with him. 11 They were near Jebus, and the day was far spent; and the servant said to his master, “Come, please, and let us turn aside into this city (F)of the Jebusites and lodge in it.”

12 But his master said to him, “We will not turn aside here into a city of foreigners, who are not of the children of Israel; we will go on (G)to Gibeah.” 13 So he said to his servant, “Come, let us draw near to one of these places, and spend the night in Gibeah or in (H)Ramah.” 14 And they passed by and went their way; and the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin. 15 They turned aside there to go in to lodge in Gibeah. And when he went in, he sat down in the open square of the city, for no one would (I)take them into his house to spend the night.

16 Just then an old man came in from (J)his work in the field at evening, who also was from the mountains of Ephraim; he was staying in Gibeah, whereas the men of the place were Benjamites. 17 And when he raised his eyes, he saw the traveler in the open square of the city; and the old man said, “Where are you going, and where do you come from?”

18 So he said to him, “We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah toward the remote mountains of Ephraim; I am from there. I went to Bethlehem in Judah; now I am going to (K)the house of the Lord. But there is no one who will take me into his house, 19 although we have both straw and fodder for our donkeys, and bread and wine for myself, for your female servant, and for the young man who is with your servant; there is no lack of anything.”

20 And the old man said, (L)“Peace be with you! However, let all your needs be my responsibility; (M)only do not spend the night in the open square.” 21 (N)So he brought him into his house, and gave fodder to the donkeys. (O)And they washed their feet, and ate and drank.

Gibeah’s Crime

22 As they were (P)enjoying themselves, suddenly (Q)certain men of the city, (R)perverted[c] men, surrounded the house and beat on the door. They spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, (S)“Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally!

23 But (T)the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brethren! I beg you, do not act so wickedly! Seeing this man has come into my house, (U)do not commit this outrage. 24 (V)Look, here is my virgin daughter and [d]the man’s concubine; let me bring them out now. (W)Humble them, and do with them as you please; but to this man do not do such a vile thing!” 25 But the men would not heed him. So the man took his concubine and brought her out to them. And they (X)knew her and abused her all night until morning; and when the day began to break, they let her go.

26 Then the woman came as the day was dawning, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her master was, till it was light.

27 When her master arose in the morning, and opened the doors of the house and went out to go his way, there was his concubine, fallen at the door of the house with her hands on the threshold. 28 And he said to her, “Get up and let us be going.” But (Y)there was no answer. So the man lifted her onto the donkey; and the man got up and went to his place.

29 When he entered his house he took a knife, laid hold of his concubine, and (Z)divided her into twelve pieces, [e]limb by limb, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel. 30 And so it was that all who saw it said, “No such deed has been done or seen from the day that the children of Israel came up from the land of Egypt until this day. Consider it, (AA)confer, and speak up!”

Footnotes

  1. Judges 19:3 Lit. to her heart
  2. Judges 19:9 Lit. to your tent
  3. Judges 19:22 Lit. sons of Belial
  4. Judges 19:24 Lit. his
  5. Judges 19:29 Lit. with her bones
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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