A Levite and His Concubine
1#Jdg 18:1; 17:8In those days, when there was no king in Israel, there was a certain Levite living as resident foreigner in a remote part of the hill country of Ephraim. He took a concubine for himself from Bethlehem in Judah. 2Yet his concubine became angry with him and went away from him to her father’s house at Bethlehem in Judah. She was there for four months. 3#Ge 34:3; 50:21Her husband got up and went after her in order to speak tenderly to her and bring her back. His servant and two donkeys were with him. When he came to her father’s house, the girl’s father saw him and was happy to meet with him. 4His father-in-law, the girl’s father, prevailed upon him to stay with him for three days. So they ate and drank and spent the night there.
5#Ge 18:5; Jdg 19:8On the fourth day they woke up early in the morning. He got ready to go, but the girl’s father said to his son-in-law, “Strengthen yourself with a little food, and then you can go.” 6#Jdg 16:25; 19:9So the two of them sat down to eat and drink together. Then the girl’s father said to the man, “Please spend the night and let your heart be merry.” 7The man got up to go, but his father-in-law urged him until he turned back and spent the night there. 8He got up early in the morning on the fifth day to go. The girl’s father said, “Please, strengthen yourself and wait until later in the day.” So the two of them ate.
9Then the man got up to go: he, his concubine, and his servant. His father-in-law, the girl’s father, said to him, “Look! It is getting dark. Spend the night! Settle in and spend the night here, let your heart be merry. You can get up early tomorrow and go home.” 10#Jos 15:8; 15:63Yet the man did not want to spend the night, so he got up and left and approached Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). Two saddled donkeys and his concubine were with him.
11When they were near Jebus, it was getting very late. The servant said to his master, “Come, let us turn aside to this Jebusite city and spend the night in it.”
12His master said to him, “We must not turn aside to a city of foreigners, who are not children of Israel. We will continue on to Gibeah.” 13He said to his servant, “Come, let us go to one of these places. We will spend the night in Gibeah or Ramah.” 14They continued and went on. The sun went down when they were near Gibeah in Benjamin. 15#Jdg 19:18So they turned aside there to go and spend the night in Gibeah. They went in and sat in the city square, but no one took them in to spend the night.
16#Jdg 19:1; Ps 104:23Just then, an old man came in at evening time from his work in the field. The man was from the hill country of Ephraim and lived as a resident foreigner in Gibeah, but the townspeople were Benjamites. 17He looked up and saw the traveler in the city square. The old man said, “Where are you going, and where do you come from?”
18#Jdg 18:31He said to him, “We are traveling from Bethlehem in Judah to a remote part of the hill country of Ephraim. I am from there. I went to Bethlehem in Judah, and now I am going to the house of the Lord. No one has taken me into his home. 19Yet there is enough straw and fodder for our donkeys, with bread and wine for me, your maidservant, and the young man who is with your servant. We do not lack anything.”
20#Jdg 6:23The old man said, “Do not worry. I will take care of whatever you need. Just do not spend the night in the city square.” 21#Ge 18:4; 43:24So he brought him into his house and gave food to his donkeys. They washed their feet, ate, and drank.
22#Ge 19:4–5; Dt 13:13While they were enjoying themselves, the men of the city, who were wicked men, surrounded the house and pounded on the door. They said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house, so we can have relations with him.”
23#Ge 34:7; Jdg 20:6The master of the house went out to them and said, “No, my brothers, do not commit this evil act, not after this man has come into my house. Do not commit this disgrace. 24#Ge 19:8; Dt 21:14Here are my virgin daughter and the man’s concubine. Let me bring them out to you. Ravish them and do to them what you please. But do not commit this vile act against this man.”
25The men were unwilling to listen to him, so the man seized his concubine and brought her out to them in the street. They knew her and abused her all night until morning. As the dawn began to break, they let her go. 26The woman came back at daybreak and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her master was, lying there until it was light.
27Her master got up in the morning and opened the doors of the house. He went out to go on his way, but there was the woman, his concubine, fallen at the door of the house with her hands on the threshold. 28#Jdg 20:5He said to her, “Get up, let us be going,” but there was no answer. So the man put her on a donkey and went home.
29#1Sa 11:7When he got home, he took a knife and seized his concubine, then cut her body into twelve pieces. Then he sent her throughout all the territory of Israel. 30#Jdg 20:7; Pr 13:10Everyone who saw this said, “Nothing like this has been done or seen since the day the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt until today. Consider it, take counsel, and speak up!”