1In those days, when there was no king in Israel, a certain Levite was sojourning in the remote parts of the hill country of E'phraim, who took to himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. 2And his concubine became angry with19.2 Gk Old Latin: Heb played the harlot against him, and she went away from him to her father's house at Bethlehem in Judah, and was there some four months. 3Then her husband arose and went after her, to speak kindly to her and bring her back. He had with him his servant and a couple of asses. And he came19.3 Gk: Heb she brought him to her father's house; and when the girl's father saw him, he came with joy to meet him. 4And his father-in-law, the girl's father, made him stay, and he remained with him three days; so they ate and drank, and lodged there. 5And on the fourth day they arose early in the morning, and he prepared to go; but the girl's father said to his son-in-law, “Strengthen your heart with a morsel of bread, and after that you may go.” 6So the two man sat and ate and drank together; and the girl's father said to the man, “Be pleased to spend the night, and let your heart be merry.” 7And when the man rose up to go, his father-in-law urged him, till he lodged there again. 8And on the fifth day he arose early in the morning to depart; and the girl's father said, “Strengthen your heart, and tarry until the day declines.” So they ate, both of them. 9And when the man and his concubine and his servant rose up to depart, his father-in-law, the girl's father, said to him, “Behold, now the day has waned toward evening; pray tarry all night. Behold, the day draws to its close; lodge here and let your heart be merry; and tomorrow you shall arise early in the morning for your journey, and go home.”
10But the man would not spend the night; he rose up and departed, and arrived opposite Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). He had with him a couple of saddled asses, and his concubine was with him. 11When they were near Jebus, the day was far spent, and the servant said to his master, “Come now, let us turn aside to this city of the Jeb'usites, and spend the night in it.” 12And his master said to him, “We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners, who do not belong to the people of Israel; but we will pass on to Gib'e-ah.” 13And he said to his servant, “Come and let us draw near to one of these places, and spend the night at Gib'e-ah or at Ramah.” 14So they passed on and went their way; and the sun went down on them near Gib'e-ah, which belongs to Benjamin, 15and they turned aside there, to go in and spend the night at Gib'e-ah. And he went in and sat down in the open square of the city; for no man took them into his house to spend the night.
16And behold, an old man was coming from his work in the field at evening; the man was from the hill country of E'phraim, and he was sojourning in Gib'e-ah; the men of the place were Benjaminites. 17And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the wayfarer in the open square of the city; and the old man said, “Where are you going? and whence do you come?” 18And he said to him, “We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah to the remote parts of the hill country of E'phraim, from which I come. I went to Bethlehem in Judah; and I am going to my home;19.18 Gk Compare 19.29. Heb to the house of the LORD and nobody takes me into his house. 19We have straw and provender for our asses, with bread and wine for me and your maidservant and the young man with your servants; there is no lack of anything.” 20And the old man said, “Peace be to you; I will care for all your wants; only, do not spend the night in the square.” 21So he brought him into his house, and gave the asses provender; and they washed their feet, and ate and drank.
22As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, base fellows, beset the house round about, beating on the door; and they said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may know him.” 23And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brethren, do not act so wickedly; seeing that this man has come into my house, do not do this vile thing. 24Behold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine; let me bring them out now. Ravish them and do with them what seems good to you; but against this man do not do so vile a thing.” 25But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine, and put her out to them; and they knew her, and abused her all night until the morning. And as the dawn began to break, they let her go. 26And as morning appeared, the woman came and fell down at the door of the man's house where her master was, till it was light.
27And her master rose up in the morning, and when he opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his way, behold, there was his concubine lying at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28He said to her, “Get up, let us be going.” But there was no answer. Then he put her upon the ass; and the man rose up and went away to his home. 29And when he entered his house, he took a knife, and laying hold of his concubine he divided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel. 30And all who saw it said, “Such a thing has never happened or been seen from the day that the people of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt until this day; consider it, take counsel, and speak.”
Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, 1957 and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.