The Concubine and the Levite
1In those days there was no king in Israel; there was a man, a Levite, who dwelled as a foreigner#Or “alien” in the remote areas of the hill country of Ephraim. And he took for himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. 2But his concubine felt repugnance toward him,#Other modern translations read “his concubine played the harlot against him” and she left him and went to her father’s house, to Bethlehem in Judah; she was there some four months. 3So her husband set out, and he went after her to speak tenderly to her,#Literally “to her heart” to bring her back. He took with him his servant and a pair of donkeys. And she brought him to her father’s house, and the father of the young woman saw him and was glad to meet him. 4His father-in-law, the young woman’s father, urged him to stay with him three days; and they ate and drank, and they spent the night there. 5On the fourth day, they rose early in the morning, and he prepared to go, but the father of the young woman said to his son-in-law, “Refresh yourself#Literally “Refresh your heart” with a bit of food, and afterward you may go.” 6So the two of them sat and ate and drank together, and the father of the young woman said to the man, “Please, agree to spend the night and enjoy yourself.”#Literally “and let your heart be good” 7The man got up to go, but his father-in-law urged him, and he returned and spent the night there. 8On the fifth day he rose early in the morning to go, and the father of the young woman said, “Please, enjoy yourself,”#Literally “and let your heart be good” and they lingered until the day declined, and the two of them ate. 9And the man got up to go—he, his concubine, and his servant—but his father-in-law, the father of the young woman, said to him, “Please, the day has worn on to evening; please, spend the night, the day has drawn to a close. Spend the night here and enjoy yourself.#Literally “and let your heart be good” You can rise early tomorrow for your journey and go to your home.”#Literally “go to your tent”
10But the man was not willing to spend the night, and he got up and went; and he arrived opposite Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). He had with him a pair of saddled donkeys and his concubine. 11They were near Jebus, and the day was far spent,#Literally “the day went down very” and the servant said to his master, “Please, come, let us turn aside to this city of the Jebusites,#Hebrew “Jebusite” and let us spend the night in it.” 12But his master said to him, “We will not turn aside to the city of foreigners,#Hebrew “foreigner” who are not from the Israelites;#Literally “sons/children of Israel” we will cross over up to Gibeah.” 13And he said to his servant, “Come, let us approach one of these places; we will spend the night in Gibeah or in Ramah.” 14So they crossed over and went their way, and the sun went down on them beside Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin. 15And they turned aside there to enter and to spend the night at Gibeah. And they went and sat in the open square of the city, but no one took them in to spend the night.#Literally “was receiving them to their house to spend the night”
16Then behold, an old man was coming from his work from the field in the evening, and the man was from the hill country of Ephraim, and he was dwelling as a foreigner#Or “alien” in Gibeah. (The people of the place were descendants#Or “sons/children” of Benjamin.) 17And the old man raised his eyes and saw the traveler in the open square of the city, and he said, “Where are you going, and from where do you come?” 18And he said to him, “We are crossing over from Bethlehem in Judah up to the remote areas of the hill country of Ephraim, where I am from. I went to Bethlehem in Judah, but now I am going to Yahweh’s house,#Or “my house,” according to the LXX and some modern translations (NASB, NRSV) but no one took me in to spend the night.#Literally “was receiving me to their house” 19There is both straw and fodder for our donkeys, and also bread and wine for me, for your servant,#That is, the concubine and for the young man who is with your servant; there is no lack of anything.” 20And the old man said, “Peace to you. I will take care of your needs; however, you must not spend the night in the open square.” 21So he brought him to his house, and he fed the donkeys; they washed their feet, ate, and drank.
22While they were enjoying themselves,#Literally “their hearts were being good” behold, the men of the city, the perverse lot,#Literally “sons of uselessness” surrounded the house, pounding on the door. And they said to the old man, the owner of the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so that we may have sex with him.”#Literally “we may know him” 23So the man, the owner of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brothers, do not act wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not do this disgraceful thing. 24Here is my virgin daughter and his concubine. Please, let me bring them out; do violence to them,#Or “rape them” and do to them whatever you please.#Literally “the good in your eyes” Do not do this disgraceful thing to this man.” 25But the men were not willing to listen to him, and the man seized his concubine and brought her out to them; and they had intercourse with her, and they abused her all night until the morning; they let her go at the approach of dawn. 26And the woman came as the morning appeared, and she fell at the entrance of the man’s house where her master was, until daylight.#Hebrew “light”
27In the morning her master got up, and he opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his journey, and behold, his concubine was falling#Or “spread out” at the entrance of the house, with her hand on the threshold. 28And he said to her, “Get up, let us go,” but there was no answer. So he put her on the donkey, and the man got up and went to his place. 29When he entered his house he took a knife, and he grasped his concubine and cut her into twelve pieces; and he sent her throughout the whole territory of Israel. 30All who saw it said, “Nothing like this has ever been since the Israelites#Literally “sons/children of Israel” went up from the land of Egypt until this day. Take note of it, consider it, and speak up.”