Judges 19:1–20:48

A Levite’s Concubine Degraded

1 Now it came about in those days, when athere was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite 1staying in the remote part of the hill country of Ephraim, who took a concubine for himself from Bethlehem in Judah.

2 But his concubine played the harlot against him, and she went away from him to her father’s house in Bethlehem in Judah, and was there for a period of four months.

3 Then her husband arose and went after her to aspeak 1tenderly to her in order to bring her back, 2taking with him his servant and a pair of donkeys. So she brought him into her father’s house, and when the girl’s father saw him, he was glad to meet him.

4 His father-in-law, the girl’s father, detained him; and he remained with him three days. So they ate and drank and lodged there.

5 Now on the fourth day they got up early in the morning, and he 1prepared to go; and the girl’s father said to his son-in-law, “aSustain 2yourself with a piece of bread, and afterward you may go.”

6 So both of them sat down and ate and drank together; and the girl’s father said to the man, “Please be willing to spend the night, and alet your heart be merry.”

7 Then the man arose to go, but his father-in-law urged him so that he spent the night there again.

8 On the fifth day he arose to go early in the morning, and the girl’s father said, “Please sustain 1yourself, and wait until 2afternoon”; so both of them ate.

9 When the man arose to go along with his concubine and servant, his father-in-law, the girl’s father, said to him, “Behold now, the day has drawn 1to a close; please spend the night. Lo, the day is 2coming to an end; spend the night here that your heart may be merry. Then tomorrow you may arise early for your journey so that you may go 3home.”

10 But the man was not willing to spend the night, so he arose and departed and came to a place opposite aJebus (that is, Jerusalem). And there were with him a pair of saddled donkeys; his concubine also was with him.

11 When they were near Jebus, the day was almost gone; and athe servant said to his master, “Please come, and let us turn aside into this city of the Jebusites and spend the night in it.”

12 However, his master said to him, “We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners who are not of the sons of Israel; but we will go on as far as Gibeah.”

13 He said to his servant, “Come and let us approach one of these places; and we will spend the night in Gibeah or Ramah.”

14 So they passed along and went their way, and the sun set on them near Gibeah which belongs to Benjamin.

15 They turned aside there in order to enter and lodge in Gibeah. When 1they entered, 1they sat down in the open square of the city, for no one took them into his house to spend the night.

16 Then behold, an old man was coming out of the field from his work at evening. Now the man was from athe hill country of Ephraim, and he was 1staying in Gibeah, but the men of the place bwere Benjamites.

17 And he lifted up his eyes and 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 He said to him, “We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah to the remote part of the hill country of Ephraim, for I am from there, and I went to Bethlehem in Judah. But I am now going to 1my house, and no man will take me into his house.

19 “Yet there is both straw and fodder for our donkeys, and also bread and wine for me, 1your maidservant, and athe young man who is with your servants; there is no lack of anything.”

20 The old man said, “aPeace to you. Only let me take care of all your needs; however, do not spend the night in the open square.”

21 aSo he took him into his house and gave the donkeys fodder, and they washed their feet and ate and drank.

22 While they were 1celebrating, behold, athe men of the city, certain 2bworthless fellows, surrounded the house, pounding the door; and they spoke to the owner of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came into your house that we may have 3relations with him.”

23 Then the man, the owner of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my fellows, please do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, ado not commit this act of folly.

24 aHere is my virgin daughter and his concubine. Please let me bring them out that you may ravish them and do to them 1whatever you wish. But do not commit such an act of folly against this man.”

25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and brought her out to them; and they raped her and abused her all night until morning, then let her go at the approach of dawn.

26 1As the day began to dawn, the woman came and fell down at the doorway of the man’s house where her master was, until full daylight.

27 When her master arose in the morning and opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his way, then behold, his concubine was lying at the doorway of the house with her hands on the threshold.

28 He said to her, “Get up and let us go,” abut there was no answer. Then he placed her on the donkey; and the man arose and went to his 1home.

29 When he entered his house, he took a knife and laid hold of his concubine and acut her in twelve pieces, limb by limb, and sent her throughout the territory of Israel.

30 All who saw it said, “Nothing like this has ever happened or been seen from the day when the sons of Israel came up from the land of Egypt to this day. Consider it, atake counsel and speak up!”

Chapter 20

Resolve to Punish the Guilty

1 Then all the sons of Israel from Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead, came out, and the congregation assembled as one man to the Lord at aMizpah.

2 The 1chiefs of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, took their stand in the assembly of the people of God, 400,000 foot 2soldiers awho drew the sword.

3 (Now the sons of Benjamin heard that the sons of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) And the sons of Israel said, “Tell us, how did this wickedness take place?”

4 So the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, “I came with my concubine to spend the night at Gibeah which belongs to Benjamin.

5 “But the amen of Gibeah rose up against me and surrounded the house at night because of me. They intended to kill me; instead, they bravished my concubine so that she died.

6 “And I atook hold of my concubine and cut her in pieces and sent her throughout the land of Israel’s inheritance; for bthey have committed a lewd and disgraceful act in Israel.

7 “Behold, all you sons of Israel, agive your advice and counsel here.”

8 Then all the people arose as one man, saying, “Not one of us will go to his tent, nor will any of us return to his house.

9 “But now this is the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up against it by lot.

10 “And we will take 10 men out of 100 throughout the tribes of Israel, and 100 out of 1,000, and 1,000 out of 10,000 to 1supply food for the people, that when they come to 2Gibeah of Benjamin, they may 3punish them for all the disgraceful acts that they have committed in Israel.”

11 Thus all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, united as one man.

12 Then the tribes of Israel sent men through the entire 1tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What is this wickedness that has taken place among you?

13 “Now then, deliver up the men, the 1aworthless fellows in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and bremove this wickedness from Israel.” But the sons of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the sons of Israel.

14 The sons of Benjamin gathered from the cities to Gibeah, to go out to battle against the sons of Israel.

15 From the cities on that day the asons of Benjamin were 1numbered, 26,000 men who draw the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah who were 1numbered, 700 choice men.

16 Out of all these people 700 achoice men were left-handed; each one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

17 Then the men of Israel besides Benjamin were 1numbered, 400,000 men who draw the sword; all these were men of war.

Civil War, Benjamin Defeated

18 Now the sons of Israel arose, went up to Bethel, and ainquired of God and said, “Who shall go up first for us to battle against the sons of Benjamin?” Then the Lord said, “Judah shall go up first.”

19 So the sons of Israel arose in the morning and camped against Gibeah.

20 The men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin, and the men of Israel arrayed for battle against them at Gibeah.

21 Then the sons of Benjamin came out of Gibeah and 1afelled to the ground on that day 22,000 men of Israel.

22 But the people, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves and arrayed for battle again in the place where they had arrayed themselves the first day.

23 aThe sons of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and binquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall we again draw near for battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin?” And the Lord said, “Go up against him.”

24 Then the sons of Israel 1came against the sons of Benjamin the second day.

25 Benjamin went out 1against them from Gibeah the second day and 2felled to the ground again 18,000 men of the sons of Israel; all these drew the sword.

26 Then aall the sons of Israel and all the people went up and came to Bethel and wept; thus they remained there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening. And they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.

27 The sons of Israel ainquired of the Lord (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days,

28 and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, Aaron’s son, stood before it to minister in those days), saying, “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin, or shall I cease?” And the Lord said, “Go up, afor tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand.”

29 aSo Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah.

30 The sons of Israel went up against the sons of Benjamin on the third day and arrayed themselves against Gibeah as at other times.

31 aThe sons of Benjamin went out 1against the people and were drawn away from the city, and they began to …

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