Judges 19:1–20:48

The Concubine and the Levite

19 In those days there was no king in Israel; there was a man, a Levite, who dwelled as a foreignera in the remote areas of the hill country of Ephraim. And he took for himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. But his concubine felt repugnance toward him,b and she left him and went to her father’s house, to Bethlehem in Judah; she was there some four months. So her husband set out, and he went after her to speak tenderly to her,c 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. His 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. On 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 yourselfd with a bit of food, and afterward you may go.” So 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.”e The man got up to go, but his father-in-law urged him, and he returned and spent the night there. On the fifth day he rose early in the morning to go, and the father of the young woman said, “Please, enjoy yourself,”f and they lingered until the day declined, and the two of them ate. And 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.g You can rise early tomorrow for your journey and go to your home.”h

10 But 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. 11 They were near Jebus, and the day was far spent,i and the servant said to his master, “Please, come, let us turn aside to this city of the Jebusites,j and let us spend the night in it.” 12 But his master said to him, “We will not turn aside to the city of foreigners,k who are not from the Israelites;l we will cross over up to Gibeah.” 13 And he said to his servant, “Come, let us approach one of these places; we will spend the night in Gibeah or in Ramah.” 14 So they crossed over and went their way, and the sun went down on them beside Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin. 15 And 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.m

16 Then 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 foreignern in Gibeah. (The people of the place were descendantso of Benjamin.) 17 And 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?” 18 And 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,p but no one took me in to spend the night.q 19 There is both straw and fodder for our donkeys, and also bread and wine for me, for your servant,r and for the young man who is with your servant; there is no lack of anything.” 20 And 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.” 21 So he brought him to his house, and he fed the donkeys; they washed their feet, ate, and drank.

22 While they were enjoying themselves,s behold, the men of the city, the perverse lot,t 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.”u 23 So 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. 24 Here is my virgin daughter and his concubine. Please, let me bring them out; do violence to them,v and do to them whatever you please.w Do not do this disgraceful thing to this man.” 25 But 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. 26 And the woman came as the morning appeared, and she fell at the entrance of the man’s house where her master was, until daylight.x

27 In 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 fallingy at the entrance of the house, with her hand on the threshold. 28 And 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. 29 When 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. 30 All who saw it said, “Nothing like this has ever been since the Israelitesz went up from the land of Egypt until this day. Take note of it, consider it, and speak up.”

The Punishment of Benjamin

20 All the Israelitesa went out, from Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead, and they gathered as one bodyb to Yahweh at Mizpah. And the leaders of all the people, all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand sword-bearing infantry. (The descendantsc of Benjamin heard that the Israelitesd had gone up to Mizpah.) And the Israelitese said, “Tell us, how did this evil act occur?” The Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, answered and said, “I came to Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to spend the night. The lords of Gibeah rose up against me and surrounded the house at night. They intended to kill me, and they raped my concubine, and she died. Then I grabbed my concubine and cut her into pieces, and I sent her throughout all the territory of Israel’s inheritance; for they committed a shameful and disgraceful thing in Israel. Look, all you Israelites!f Make your decisiong and advice here.”

All the people got up as one body,h saying, “Not one of us will go to his tent, or will any of us return to his house. So then, this is what we will do to Gibeah: we will go up against her by lot. 10 We will take ten men of one hundred from all the tribes of Israel, and one hundred of one thousand, and one thousand of ten thousand, to bring provisions to the troops, to repay them when they come to Gibeahi of Benjamin for all the disgraceful thingsj they did in Israel.” 11 And all the men of Israel were gathered to the city as one bodyk united.

12 Then the tribes of Israel sent men throughout all the tribes of Benjamin, saying, “What is this wickedness that happened among you? 13 So then, hand over the men, the perverse lot,l who are in Gibeah, so that we may kill them and purge this wickedness from Israel.” But the descendantsm of Benjamin were not willing to listen to the voice of their relatives,n the Israelites.o 14 And the descendantsp of Benjamin were gathered from the cities to Gibeah to go out for battle against the Israelites.q 15 From the cities the descendantsr of Benjamin were counted on that day twenty-six thousand sword-wielding men,s besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who were counted seven hundred well-trainedt men. 16 From all these troops were seven hundred well-trainedu men who were left-handed;v each one could sling with a stone at a hair and not miss. 17 And the men of Israel besides Benjamin were counted four hundred thousand sword-wielding men;w all were warriors.x

18 Then the Israelitesy got up and went up to Bethel, and they inquired of God, saying, “Who will go up first for the battle against the descendantsz of Benjamin?” And Yahweh said, “Judah will go first.” 19 And the Israelitesa got up in the morning, and they encamped against Gibeah. 20 Then the men of Israel marched out for the battle against Benjamin, and the men of Israel took up positions against them for battle at Gibeah. 21 The descendantsb of Benjamin went out from Gibeah, and they struck down on that day twenty-two thousand men of Israel to the ground. 22 But the troops, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves,c and again they arranged their battle lines in the place where they had arranged themselves the first day. 23 The Israelitesd went up and wept before Yahweh until evening and inquired of Yahweh, saying, “Should we again draw near from the battle against the descendantse of Benjamin, our relatives?”f And Yahweh said, “Go up against them.”g

24 And the Israelitesh drew near to the descendantsi of Benjamin on the second day. 25 And Benjamin went out from Gibeah to meet them on the second day, and they struck down the Israelitesj again, eighteen thousand men to the ground; all of these were sword-wielding.k 26 And all the Israelitesl and all the troops went up and came to Bethel and wept; and they sat there before Yahweh and fasted on that day until evening; and they offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before Yahweh. 27 And the Israelitesm inquired of Yahweh (In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there, 28 and Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, was standing before itn to minister in those days), saying, “Should we go out once more to battle against the descendantso of Benjamin our relatives,p or should we stop?” And Yahweh said, “Go up tomorrow; I will give themq into your hand.”

29 So Israel stationed an ambush all around Gibeah. 30 And the…

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