A Levite’s Concubine Raped and Killed

19 Now it came about in those days, when (A)there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite [a]staying in the remote part of the hill country of Ephraim, who took a concubine for himself from Bethlehem in Judah. But his concubine [b]found him repugnant, and she left him and went to her father’s house in Bethlehem in Judah, and remained there for a period of four months. Then her husband set out and went after her to (B)speak [c]gently to her in order to bring her back, [d]taking with him his servant and a pair of donkeys. And she brought him into her father’s house, and when the girl’s father saw him, he was glad to meet him. His father-in-law, the girl’s father, prevailed upon him, and he remained with him for three days. So they ate and drank and stayed there. Now on the fourth day they got up early in the morning, and he [e]prepared to go; but the girl’s father said to his son-in-law, “(C)Strengthen [f]yourself with a piece of bread, and afterward you may go.” So both of them sat down and ate and drank together; and the girl’s father said to the man, “Please [g]be so kind as to spend the night, and (D)let your heart be cheerful.” However, the man got up to go; but his father-in-law urged him, and he spent the night there again. Now on the fifth day he got up to go early in the morning, but the girl’s father said, “Please strengthen [h]yourself, and wait until [i]late afternoon”; so both of them ate. When the man got up 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 [j]to a close; please spend the night. Behold, the day is [k]coming to an end; spend the night here so that your heart may be cheerful. Then tomorrow you may arise early for your journey and go [l]home.”

10 But the man was unwilling to spend the night, so he got up and left, and came to a place opposite (E)Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). And with him was a pair of saddled donkeys; his concubine also was with him. 11 When they were near Jebus, the day was almost gone; and (F)the servant said to his master, “Please come, and let’s 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 a city of foreigners who are not of the sons of Israel; instead, we will go on as far as Gibeah.” 13 And he said to his servant, “Come, and let’s 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 to enter and spend the night in Gibeah. When [m]they entered, [n]they sat down in the public 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 (G)the hill country of Ephraim, and he was [o]staying in Gibeah, but the men of the place (H)were Benjaminites. 17 And he raised his eyes and saw the traveler in the public square of the city; and the old man said, “Where are you going, and where do you come from?” 18 And 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 [p]my house, and no one will take me into his house. 19 Yet there is both straw and feed for our donkeys, and also bread and wine for me, and [q]your female slave, and (I)the young man who is with your servants; there is no lack of anything.” 20 Then the old man said, “(J)Peace to you. Only let me take care of all your needs; however, do not spend the night in the public square.” 21 (K)So he took him into his house and fed the donkeys, and they washed their feet and ate and drank.

22 While they were [r]celebrating, behold, (L)the men of the city, certain [s](M)worthless men, surrounded the house, pushing one another at the door; and they spoke to the owner of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who entered your house that we may [t]have relations with him.” 23 Then the man, the owner of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brothers, please do not act so wickedly. Since this man has come into my house, (N)do not commit this vile sin. 24 (O)Here is my virgin daughter and [u]the man’s concubine. Please let me bring them out, then rape them and do to them [v]whatever you wish. But do not commit this act of vile sin against this man.” 25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and brought her outside to them; and they [w]raped her and abused her all night until morning, then let her go at the approach of dawn. 26 [x]As 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 got up 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 And he said to her, “Get up and let’s go,” (P)but there was no answer. Then he put her on the donkey; and the man set out and went to his [y]home. 29 When he entered his house, he took a knife and seized his concubine, and (Q)cut her in twelve pieces, limb by limb. Then he 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, [z](R)make a plan, and speak up!”

Resolve to Punish the Guilty

20 Then all the sons of Israel from Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead, came out, and the congregation assembled as one person to the Lord at (S)Mizpah. And the [aa]leaders of all the people, all the tribes of Israel, took their stand in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand foot [ab]soldiers (T)who drew the sword. (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?” 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. But the [ac](U)citizens of Gibeah rose up against me and surrounded the house at night, [ad]threatening me. They intended to kill me; instead, they (V)raped my concubine so that she died. And I (W)took hold of my concubine and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout the land of Israel’s inheritance; for (X)they have committed an outrageous sin and vile act in Israel. Behold, all you sons of Israel, (Y)give your [ae]response and advice here.”

Then all the people rose up as one person, saying, “Not one of us will go to his tent, nor will any of us go home. 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 ten men out of a hundred throughout the tribes of Israel, and a hundred out of a thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand to [af]supply provisions for the people, so that when they come to [ag]Gibeah of Benjamin, they may [ah]punish them for all the vile sin that they have committed in Israel.” 11 So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, [ai]united as one man.

12 Then the tribes of Israel sent men through the entire [aj]tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What is this wickedness that has taken place among you? 13 Now then, turn over the men, the [ak](Z)worthless men who are in Gibeah, so that we may put them to death and (AA)remove this wickedness from Israel.” But the sons of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the sons of Israel. 14 Instead, 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 (AB)sons of Benjamin were [al]counted, twenty-six thousand men who drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah who were [am]counted, seven hundred choice men. 16 Out of all these people seven hundred (AC)choice 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 [an]counted, four hundred thousand men who drew the sword; all of these were men of war.

Civil War, Benjamin Defeated

18 Now the sons of Israel set out, went up to Bethel, and (AD)inquired 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 got up in the morning and camped against Gibeah. 20 The men of Israel went to battle against Benjamin, and the men of Israel lined up for battle against them at Gibeah. 21 Then the sons of Benjamin came out of Gibeah and [ao](AE)struck to the ground on that day twenty-two thousand men of Israel. 22 But the people, the men of Israel, showed themselves courageous and lined up for battle again in the place where they had lined themselves up on the first day. 23 And (AF)the sons of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and (AG)inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall we again advance for battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin?” And the Lord said, “Go up against him.”

24 So the sons of Israel [ap]came against the sons of Benjamin on the second day. 25 And Benjamin went out against them from Gibeah the second day and struck to the ground again eighteen thousand men of the sons of Israel; all of these drew the sword. 26 Then (AH)all the sons of Israel and all the people went up and came to Bethel, and they wept and remained there before the Lord, and fasted that day until evening. And they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. 27 And the sons of Israel (AI)inquired 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 stop?” And the Lord said, “Go up, (AJ)for tomorrow I will hand them over to you.”

29 (AK)So Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah. 30 And the sons of Israel went up against the sons of Benjamin on the third day and lined up against Gibeah as at other times. 31 (AL)When the sons of Benjamin went out against the people, they were lured away from the city, and they began to strike and kill some of the people as at other times, on the roads (one of which goes up to Bethel, and the other to Gibeah), and in the field, about thirty men of Israel. 32 And the sons of Benjamin said, “They are defeated before us, like the first time.” But the sons of Israel said, “Let’s flee, so that we may draw them away from the city to the roads.” 33 Then all the men of Israel rose from their place and lined up at Baal-tamar; (AM)and the men of Israel in ambush charged from their place, from Maareh-geba. 34 When ten thousand choice men from all Israel came against Gibeah, the battle became [aq]fierce; (AN)but [ar]Benjamin did not know that disaster was [as]close to them. 35 And the Lord struck Benjamin before Israel, so that the sons of Israel destroyed 25,100 men of Benjamin that [at]day, all who drew the sword.

36 So the sons of Benjamin saw that they were [au]defeated. (AO)When the men of Israel gave [av]ground to Benjamin because they relied on the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah, 37 (AP)the men in ambush hurried and rushed against Gibeah; the men in ambush also deployed and struck all the city with the edge of the sword. 38 Now the agreed sign between the men of Israel and the men in ambush was (AQ)that they would make a great cloud of smoke rise from the city. 39 Then the men of Israel turned in the battle, and Benjamin began to strike and kill about thirty men of Israel, (AR)for they said, “Undoubtedly they are [aw]defeated before us, as in the first battle.” 40 But when the cloud began to rise from the city in a column of smoke, Benjamin looked (AS)behind them; and behold, the entire city was going up in smoke to heaven. 41 Then the men of Israel turned, and the men of Benjamin were terrified; for they saw that (AT)disaster was [ax]close to them. 42 Therefore, they turned their backs before the men of Israel to flee in the (AU)direction of the wilderness, but the battle overtook them while those who attacked from the cities were annihilating them in the midst of them. 43 (AV)They surrounded Benjamin, pursued them without rest, and trampled them down opposite Gibeah toward the [ay]east. 44 So eighteen thousand men of Benjamin fell; all of these were valiant men. 45 [az]The rest turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of (AW)Rimmon, but they [ba]caught five thousand of them on the roads and overtook them [bb]at Gidom, and [bc]killed two thousand of them. 46 So all those of Benjamin who fell that day were twenty-five thousand men who drew the sword; all of these were valiant men. 47 But six hundred men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon; and they remained at the rock of Rimmon for four months. 48 The men of Israel then turned back against the sons of Benjamin and struck them with the edge of the sword, both the entire city with the cattle and all that they found; they also set on fire all the cities which they found.

Mourning a Lost Tribe

21 Now the men of Israel (AX)had sworn in Mizpah, saying, “None of us shall give his daughter to Benjamin [bd]in marriage.” (AY)So the people came to Bethel and sat there before God until evening, and raised their voices and wept [be]profusely. And they said, “Why, Lord, God of Israel, has this happened in Israel, that one tribe is missing today from Israel?” And it came about the next day that the people got up early and built (AZ)an altar there, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.

Then the sons of Israel said, “Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who did not go up to the Lord in the assembly?” For [bf]they had taken a solemn oath concerning anyone (BA)who did not go up to the Lord at Mizpah, saying, “He shall certainly be put to death.” And the sons of Israel were sorry for their brother Benjamin, and said, “Today one tribe is cut off from Israel! What are we to do for wives for those who are left, since we have (BB)sworn by the Lord not to give them any of our daughters as wives?”

Provision for Their Survival

And they said, “What one is there of the tribes of Israel that did not go up to the Lord at Mizpah?” And behold, no one had come to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly. For when the people were [bg]counted, behold, not one of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead was there. 10 And the congregation sent twelve thousand [bh]of the valiant warriors there, and commanded them, saying, “Go and (BC)strike the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, along with the women and the children. 11 And this is the thing that you shall do: you (BD)shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman who has [bi]slept with a male.” 12 And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead four hundred young virgins who had not known a man by [bj]sleeping with him; and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.

13 Then the whole congregation sent word and spoke to the sons of Benjamin who were (BE)at the rock of Rimmon, and (BF)proclaimed peace to them. 14 And the tribe of Benjamin returned at that time, and they gave them the women whom they had allowed to live from the women of Jabesh-gilead; but they [bk]were not enough for them. 15 And the people were sorry for Benjamin, because the Lord had created a gap in the tribes of Israel.

16 Then the elders of the congregation said, “What are we to do for wives for those who are left, since the women have been eliminated from Benjamin?” 17 And they said, “There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, so that a tribe will not be wiped out from Israel. 18 But we cannot give them wives from our daughters.” For the sons of Israel (BG)had sworn, saying, “Cursed is he who gives a wife to Benjamin!”

19 So they said, “Behold, there is a feast of the Lord from year to year in (BH)Shiloh, which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the road that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south side of Lebonah.” 20 And they commanded the sons of Benjamin, saying, “Go and lie in wait in the vineyards, 21 and watch; and behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to [bl](BI)take part in the dances, then you shall come out of the vineyards, and each of you shall seize his wife from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. 22 And when their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, we shall say to them, ‘[bm]Give them to us voluntarily, because we did not take for each man of Benjamin [bn]a wife in battle, [bo](BJ)nor did you give them to them, [bp]otherwise you would now be guilty.’” 23 The sons of Benjamin did so, and took wives according to their number from those who danced, whom they seized. And they went and returned to their inheritance, and (BK)rebuilt the cities and lived in them. 24 And the sons of Israel departed from there at that time, every man to his tribe and family, and each one departed from there to his inheritance.

25 (BL)In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.


  1. Judges 19:1 Or sojourning
  2. Judges 19:2 Or was unfaithful to him (a Hebrew homonym); LXX became angry at him
  3. Judges 19:3 Lit to her heart
  4. Judges 19:3 Lit and
  5. Judges 19:5 Lit arose
  6. Judges 19:5 Lit your heart
  7. Judges 19:6 Lit be willing to
  8. Judges 19:8 Lit your heart
  9. Judges 19:8 Lit the day declines
  10. Judges 19:9 Lit toward evening
  11. Judges 19:9 Lit declining
  12. Judges 19:9 Lit to your tent
  13. Judges 19:15 As in LXX; MT he
  14. Judges 19:15 As in LXX; MT he
  15. Judges 19:16 Or sojourning
  16. Judges 19:18 MT; LXX the house of the Lord, cf. v 29
  17. Judges 19:19 I.e., the concubine
  18. Judges 19:22 Lit making their hearts glad
  19. Judges 19:22 Lit sons of Belial
  20. Judges 19:22 Lit know him
  21. Judges 19:24 Lit his
  22. Judges 19:24 Lit the good in your eyes
  23. Judges 19:25 Lit knew her (carnally)
  24. Judges 19:26 Lit At the turning of the morning
  25. Judges 19:28 Lit place
  26. Judges 19:30 Or take counsel
  27. Judges 20:2 Lit cornerstones
  28. Judges 20:2 Lit men
  29. Judges 20:5 Or landowners
  30. Judges 20:5 Lit against me
  31. Judges 20:7 Lit word
  32. Judges 20:10 Lit take
  33. Judges 20:10 Heb Geba
  34. Judges 20:10 Lit do
  35. Judges 20:11 Lit companions as
  36. Judges 20:12 Lit tribes
  37. Judges 20:13 Lit sons of Belial
  38. Judges 20:15 Or mustered
  39. Judges 20:15 Or mustered
  40. Judges 20:17 Or mustered
  41. Judges 20:21 Lit destroyed
  42. Judges 20:24 Lit approached
  43. Judges 20:34 Lit heavy
  44. Judges 20:34 Lit they
  45. Judges 20:34 Lit touching
  46. Judges 20:35 Lit day; all these drew
  47. Judges 20:36 Lit struck
  48. Judges 20:36 Lit place
  49. Judges 20:39 Lit struck
  50. Judges 20:41 Lit touching
  51. Judges 20:43 Lit sunrise
  52. Judges 20:45 As in LXX; Heb And they
  53. Judges 20:45 Lit gleaned
  54. Judges 20:45 Lit as far as
  55. Judges 20:45 Lit struck
  56. Judges 21:1 Lit as a wife
  57. Judges 21:2 Lit with great weeping
  58. Judges 21:5 Lit there was a great oath
  59. Judges 21:9 Or mustered
  60. Judges 21:10 Lit men from the sons of valor
  61. Judges 21:11 Lit known the bed of
  62. Judges 21:12 Lit the bed of a male
  63. Judges 21:14 Lit did not find it so
  64. Judges 21:21 Lit dance
  65. Judges 21:22 Lit Favor us with them
  66. Judges 21:22 Lit his
  67. Judges 21:22 Lit because you did not
  68. Judges 21:22 Lit as

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