Judges 19International Children’s Bible (ICB)
A Levite and His Servant
19 At that time the people of Israel did not have a king.
There was a Levite who lived in the faraway part of the mountains of Ephraim. He had taken a slave woman. She was from the city of Bethlehem in the land of Judah. 2 But she was unfaithful to him. She left him and went back to her father’s house. It was in Bethlehem in Judah. She stayed there for four months. 3 Then her husband went to ask her to come back to him. He took with him his servant and two donkeys. The Levite came to her father’s house. And she invited the Levite to come in. Her father was happy to see him. 4 The father-in-law, the young woman’s father, asked him to stay. So he stayed for three days. He ate, drank and slept there.
5 On the fourth day they got up early in the morning. The Levite was getting ready to leave. But the woman’s father said to his son-in-law, “Refresh yourself by eating something. Then you may go.” 6 So the two men sat down to eat and drink together. After that, the father said to him, “Please stay tonight. Relax and enjoy yourself.” 7 When the man got up to go, his father-in-law asked him to stay. So he stayed again that night. 8 On the fifth day the man got up early in the morning to leave. The woman’s father said, “Refresh yourself. Wait until this afternoon.” So the two men ate together.
9 Then the Levite, his slave woman and his servant got up to leave. His father-in-law, the young woman’s father, said, “It’s almost night. The day is almost gone. So spend the night here and enjoy yourself. Tomorrow morning you may get up early and go on your way home.” 10 But the Levite did not want to stay another night. He took his two saddled donkeys and his slave woman. He traveled toward the city of Jebus. (Jebus is another name for Jerusalem.)
11 The day was almost over. They were near Jebus. So the servant said to his master, “Let’s stop at this city. It’s the city of the Jebusite people. Let’s spend the night here.”
12 But his master said, “No. We won’t go inside a strange city. Those people are not Israelites. We will go on to the city of Gibeah.” 13 Then he said, “Come on. Let’s try to make it to Gibeah or Ramah. We can spend the night in one of those cities.” 14 So they went on. And the sun went down as they came near Gibeah. Gibeah belongs to the tribe of Benjamin. 15 So they stopped there to spend the night. They came to the public square in the middle of the city and sat down. But no one invited them home to spend the night.
16 That evening an old man came into the city from his work in the fields. His home was in the mountains of Ephraim. But now he was living in Gibeah. (The men of Gibeah were from the tribe of Benjamin.) 17 He saw the traveler, the Levite, in the public square. He asked, “Where are you going? Where did you come from?”
18 The Levite answered, “We are traveling from Bethlehem in Judah. We’re going to my home. I’m from a faraway part of the mountains of Ephraim. I have been to Bethlehem in Judah. Now I am going to the Holy Tent of the Lord. No one has invited me to stay in his house. 19 We already have straw and food for our donkeys. There is bread and wine for me, the young woman and my servant. We don’t need anything.”
20 The old man said, “You are welcome to stay at my house. Let me give you anything you need. But don’t spend the night in the public square.” 21 So the old man took the Levite into his house. He fed their donkeys, and they washed their feet. Then he gave them something to eat and drink.
22 While they were enjoying themselves, some wicked men of the city surrounded the house. They beat on the door. They shouted to the old man who owned the house. They said, “Bring out the man who came to your house. We want to force him to have physical relations with us.”
23 The owner of the house went outside. And he said to them, “No, my friends. Don’t be so evil. This man is a guest in my house. Don’t do this terrible thing! 24 Look, here is my daughter. She is a virgin. And here is the man’s slave woman. I will bring them out to you now. Do anything you want with them. But don’t do such a terrible thing to this man.”
25 But the men would not listen to him. So the Levite took his slave woman and sent her outside to them. They raped her. They treated her very badly all night long. Then, at dawn, they let her go. 26 She came back to the house where her master was staying. She fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.
27 In the morning the Levite got up. He opened the door of the house. He went outside to go on his way. But there lay his slave woman. She had fallen down at the doorway of the house. Her hands were on the doorsill. 28 Then the Levite said to her, “Get up; let’s go.” But she did not answer. So he put her on his donkey and went home.
29 When the Levite got home, he took a knife and cut his slave woman into 12 parts. Then he sent a part to each of the areas where the people of Israel lived. 30 Everyone who saw this said, “Nothing like this has ever happened before. It has never happened since the people of Israel came out of Egypt. Think about it. Tell us what to do.”
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