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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 foreigner[a] 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 yourself[d] 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 foreigner[n] in Gibeah. (The people of the place were descendants[o] 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 falling[y] 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 Israelites[z] went up from the land of Egypt until this day. Take note of it, consider it, and speak up.”


  1. Judges 19:1 Or “alien”
  2. Judges 19:2 Other modern translations read “his concubine played the harlot against him”
  3. Judges 19:3 Literally “to her heart”
  4. Judges 19:5 Literally “Refresh your heart”
  5. Judges 19:6 Literally “and let your heart be good”
  6. Judges 19:8 Literally “and let your heart be good”
  7. Judges 19:9 Literally “and let your heart be good”
  8. Judges 19:9 Literally “go to your tent”
  9. Judges 19:11 Literally “the day went down very”
  10. Judges 19:11 Hebrew “Jebusite”
  11. Judges 19:12 Hebrew “foreigner”
  12. Judges 19:12 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  13. Judges 19:15 Literally “was receiving them to their house to spend the night”
  14. Judges 19:16 Or “alien”
  15. Judges 19:16 Or “sons/children”
  16. Judges 19:18 Or “my house,” according to the LXX and some modern translations (NASB, NRSV)
  17. Judges 19:18 Literally “was receiving me to their house”
  18. Judges 19:19 That is, the concubine
  19. Judges 19:22 Literally “their hearts were being good”
  20. Judges 19:22 Literally “sons of uselessness”
  21. Judges 19:22 Literally “we may know him”
  22. Judges 19:24 Or “rape them”
  23. Judges 19:24 Literally “the good in your eyes”
  24. Judges 19:26 Hebrew “light”
  25. Judges 19:27 Or “spread out”
  26. Judges 19:30 Literally “sons/children of Israel”