1 IN THOSE days, when there was no king in Israel, a certain Levite was living temporarily in the most remote part of the hill district of Ephraim, who took to himself a concubine [of inferior status than a wife] from Bethlehem in Judah.
2 And his concubine was untrue to him and went away from him to her father's house at Bethlehem of Judah and stayed there the space of four months.
3 Then her husband arose and went after her to speak kindly to her [to her heart] and to bring her back, having with him his servant and a couple of donkeys. And she brought him into her father's house, and when her father saw him, he rejoiced to meet him.
4 And his father-in-law, the girl's father, [insistently] detained him, and he remained with him three days. So they ate and drank, and he lodged there.
5 On the fourth day they arose early in the morning, and the [Levite] prepared to leave, but the girl's father said to his son-in-law, Strengthen your heart with a morsel of bread and afterward go your way.
6 So both men sat down and ate and drank together, and the girl's father said to the man, Consent to stay all night and let your heart be merry.
7 And when the man rose up to depart, his father-in-law urged him; so he lodged there again.
8 And he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart, but the girl's father said, Strengthen your heart and tarry until toward evening. So they ate, both of them.
9 And when the man and his concubine and his servant rose up to leave, his father-in-law, the girl's father, said to him, Behold, now the day draws toward evening, I pray you stay all night. Behold, now the day grows to an end, lodge here and let your heart be merry, and tomorrow get early on your way and go home.
10 But the man would not stay that night; so he rose up and departed and came opposite to Jebus, which is Jerusalem. With him were two saddled donkeys [and his servant] and his concubine.
11 When they were near Jebus, it was late, and the servant said to his master, Come I pray, and let us turn into this Jebusite city and lodge in it.
12 His master said to him, We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners where there are no Israelites. We will go on to Gibeah.
13 And he said to his servant, Come and let us go to one of these places and spend the night in Gibeah or in Ramah.
14 So they passed on and went their way, and the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin,
15 And they turned aside there to go in and lodge at Gibeah. And the Levite went in and sat down in the open square of the city, for no man took them into his house to spend the night.
16 And behold, an old man was coming from his work in the field at evening. He was from the hill country of Ephraim but was living temporarily in Gibeah, but the men of the place were Benjamites.
17 And when he looked up, he saw the wayfarer in the city square, and the old man said, Where are you going? And from where did you come?
18 The Levite replied, We are passing from Bethlehem of Judah to the rear side of the hill country of Ephraim; I am from there. I went to Bethlehem of Judah, but I am [now] going [home] to the house of the Lord [where I serve], and there is no man who receives me into his house.
19 Yet we have both straw and provender for our donkeys and bread and wine also for me, your handmaid, and the young man who is with your servants; there is no lack of anything.
20 And the old man said, Peace be to you, but leave all your wants to me; only do not lodge in the street.
21 So he brought him into his house and gave provender to the donkeys. And the guests washed their feet and ate and drank.
22 Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain worthless fellows, beset the house round about, beat on the door, and said to the master of the house, the old man, Bring forth the man who came to your house, that we may have intercourse with him.
23 And the man, the master of the house, went out and said to them, No, my kinsmen, I pray you, do not act so wickedly; seeing that this man is my guest, do not do this [wicked] folly.
24 Behold, here are my virgin daughter and this man's concubine; them I will bring out now; debase them and do with them what seems good to you, but to this man do not so vile a thing.
25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and forced her forth to them, and they had intercourse with her and abused her all the night until morning. And when the dawn began to break, they let her go.
26 At daybreak the woman came and fell down and lay at the door of the man's house where her master was, till it was light.
27 And her master rose up in the morning and opened the doors of the house and went out to go his way; and behold, his concubine had fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold.
28 And he said to her, Up, and let us be going. But there was no answer [for she was dead]. Then he put her [body] upon the donkey, and the man rose up and went home.
29 And when he came into his house, he took a knife, and took hold of his dead concubine and divided her [body] limb by limb into twelve pieces and sent her [body] throughout all the territory of Israel.
30 And all who saw it said, There was no such deed done or seen from the day that the Israelites came up out of the land of Egypt to this day; consider it, take counsel, and speak [your minds].