Judges 19

A Levite’s Concubine Raped and Killed

19 Now it came about in those days, when 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 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, “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 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 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 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 the hill country of Ephraim, and he was [o]staying in Gibeah, but the men of the place 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 the young man who is with your servants; there is no lack of anything.” 20 Then the old man said, “Peace to you. Only let me take care of all your needs; however, do not spend the night in the public square.” 21 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, the men of the city, certain [s]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, do not commit this vile sin. 24 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,” 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 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]make a plan, and speak up!”


  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