Chapter 19: The Levite Goes After His Concubine Who Played the Harlot
1 And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Ysrayl, that there was a certain Levite staying in the remote mountains of Ephraim. He took for himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Yahudah. 2 But his concubine played the harlot against him and went away from him to her father’s house at Bethlehem in Yahudah and was there four whole months. 3 Then her husband arose and went after her, to speak kindly to her and bring her back, having his servant and a couple of donkeys with him. So she brought him into her father’s house and when the father of the young woman saw him, he was glad to meet him. 4 Now his father-in-law, the young woman’s father, detained him and he stayed with him three days. So they ate and drank and lodged there.
5 Then it came to pass on the fourth day that they arose early in the morning and he stood to depart but the young woman’s father said to his son-in-law, “Refresh your heart with a morsel of bread and afterward go your way”. 6 So they sat down and the two of them ate and drank together. Then the young woman’s father said to the man, “Please be content to stay all night and let your heart be merry”. 7 And when the man stood to depart, his father-in-law urged him. So he lodged there again. 8 Then he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart but the young woman’s father said, “Please refresh your heart”. So they delayed until afternoon and both of them ate. 9 And when the man stood to depart, he and his concubine and his servant, his father-in-law, the young woman’s father said to him, “Look, the day is now drawing toward evening. Please spend the night. See, the day is coming to an end. Lodge here, that your heart may be merry. Tomorrow go your way early, so that you may get home”.
The Levite Decides to Lodge in Gibeah Among the Tribe of Benyamin
10 However, the man was not willing to spend that night. So he rose and departed and came to opposite Yebus (that is, Yahrushalim). With him were the two saddled donkeys. His concubine was also with him. 11 They were near Yebus and the day was far spent and the servant said to his master, “Come, please and let us turn aside into this city of the Yebusites and lodge in it”. 12 But his master said to him, “We will not turn aside here into a city of foreigners, who are not of the children of Ysrayl. We will go on to Gibeah”. 13 So he said to his servant, “Come, let us draw near to one of these places and spend the night in Gibeah or in Ramah”. 14 And they passed by and went their way and the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benyamin. 15 They turned aside there to go in to lodge in Gibeah. And when he went in, he sat down in the open square of the city, for no one would take them into his house to spend the night.
An Elder Ephraimite Living in Gibeah City of the Benyaminites Gives Them Lodge
16 Just then an old man came in from his work in the field at evening, who also wa from the mountains of Ephraim. He was staying in Gibeah, whereas the men of the place were Benyaminites. 17 And when he raised his eyes, he saw the traveler in the open square of the city and the old man said, “Where are you going and where do you come from”? 18 So he said to him, “We are passing from Bethlehem in Yahudah toward the remote mountains of Ephraim. I am from there. I went to Bethlehem in Yahudah. Now I am going to the house of Yah. But there is no one who will take me into his house. 19 Although we have both straw and fodder for our donkeys and bread and wine for myself, for your female servant and for the young man who is with your servant, there is no lack of anything”. 20 And the old man said, “Peace be with you (Hebrew shalom aleichem)! However, let all your needs be my responsibility. Only do not spend the night in the open square”. 21 So he brought him into his house and gave fodder to the donkeys. And they washed their feet and ate and drank.
The Benyaminites of Gibeah Want to Have Sex with the Levite: The Levite’s Concubine is Raped and Murdered
22 As they were enjoying themselves, suddenly certain men of the city, perverted men (Literally sons of Belial or Satan) surrounded the house and beat on the door. They spoke to the master of the house, the old man saying, “Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally!” 23 But the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brothers! I beg you, do not act so wickedly! Seeing this man has come into my house, do not commit this outrage. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter and the man’s concubine. Let me bring them out now. Humble them and do with them as you please but to this man do not do such a vile thing!” 25 But the men would not heed him. so the man took his concubine and brought her out to them. And they knew her and abused her all night until morning and when the day began to break, they let her go. 26 Then the woman came as the day was dawning and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her master was, till it was light.
27 When her master arose in the morning and opened the doors of the house and went out to go his way, there was his concubine, fallen at the door of the house with her hands on the threshold. 28 And he said to her, “Get up and let us be going”. But there was no answer. So the man lifted her onto the donkey and the man got up and went to his place.
29 When he entered his house, he took a knife, laid hold of his concubine and divided her into twelve pieces, limb by limb (Literally with her bones) and sent her throughout all the territory of Ysrayl. 30 And so it was that all who saw it said, “No such deed has been done or seen from the day that the children of Ysrayl came up from the land of Egypt until this day. Consider it, Confer and speak up”!
Chapter 20: The Children of Ysrayl Have a Meeting and Interrogate the Levite
1 So all the children of Ysrayl came out, from Dan to Beersheba, as well as from the land of Gilead and the congregation gathered together as one man before Yah at Mizpah. 2 And the leaders of all the people, all the tribes of Ysrayl, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of Yah, four hundred thousand foot soldiers who drew the sword. 3 (Now the children of Benyamin heard that the children of Ysrayl had gone up to Mizpah). Then the children of Ysrayl said, “Tell us, how did this wicked deed happen”? 4 So the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, “My concubine and I went into Gibeah which belongs to Benyamin, to spend the night. 5 And the men of Gibeah rose against me and surrounded the house at night because of me. They intended to kill me but instead they ravished my concubine so that she died. 6 So I took hold of my concubine, cut her in pieces and sent her throughout all the territory of the inheritance of Ysrayl, because they committed lewdness and outrage in Ysrayl. 7 “Look! All of you are children of Ysrayl. Give your advice and counsel here and now”!
The Children of Ysrayl Gather Men of War
8 So all the people arose as one man saying, “None of us will go to his tent nor will any turn back to his house. 9 But now this is the thing which we will do to Gibeah. We will go up against it by lot. 10 We will take ten men out of every hundred throughout all the tribes of Ysrayl, a hundred out of every thousand and a thousand out of every ten thousand, to make provisions for the people, that when they come to Gibeah in Benyamin, they may repay all the vileness that they have done in Ysrayl”. 11 So all the men of Ysrayl were gathered against the city, united together as one man.
The Tribe of Benyamin Refuse to Hand Over the Offenders
12 Then the tribes of Ysrayl sent men through all the tribe of Benyamin saying. “What is this wickedness that has occurred among you”? 13 “Now therefore, deliver up the men, the perverted men (Literally sons of Belial or Satan) who are in Gibeah that we may put them to death and remove the evil from Ysrayl”! But the children of Benyamin would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the children of Ysrayl. 14 Instead, the children of Benyamin gathered together from their cities to Gibeah, to go to battle against the children of Ysrayl. 15 And from their cities at that time the children of Benyamin numbered twenty-six thousand men who drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who numbered seven hundred select men. 16 Among all this people were seven hundred select men who were left-handed. Every one could sling a stone at a hair’s breadth and not miss. 17 Now besides Benyamin, the men of Ysrayl numbered four hundred thousand who drew the sword. All of these were men of war.
The Children of Ysrayl Inquire of Yah at Bethyl and Battle Against Benyamin: The War with the Benyaminites
18 Then the children of Ysrayl arose and went up to the house of Yah (or Bethyl) to inquire of Yah. They said, “Which of us shall go up first to battle the children of Benyamin?” Yah said, “Yahudah first”! 19 So the children of Ysrayl rose in the morning and encamped at Gibeah. 20 And the men of Ysrayl went out to battle against Benyamin and the men of Ysrayl put themselves in battle array to fight against them at Gibeah. 21 Then the children of Benyamin came out of Gibeah and on that day cut down to the ground twenty-two thousand men of the Israylites. 22 And the people, that is , the men of Ysrayl, encouraged themselves and again formed the battle line at the place where they had put themselves in array on the first day. 23 Then the children of Ysrayl went up and wept before Yah until evening and asked counsel of Yah saying, “Shall I again draw near for battle against the children of my brother Benyamin”? And Yah said, “Go up against him”.
The Second Day of Battle Against Benyamin
24 So the children of Ysrayl approached the children of Benyamin on the second day. 25 And Benyamin went out against them from Gibeah on the second day and cut down to the ground eighteen thousand more of the children of Ysrayl. All these drew the sword.
The Children of Ysrayl Go Back to Yah at Bethyl
26 Then all the children of Ysrayl, that is, all the people, went up and came to the house of Yah (Or Bethyl) and wept. They sat there before Yah and fasted that day until evening and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before Yah. 27 So the children of Ysrayl inquired of Yah (the ark of the covenant of Yah was there in those days 28 And Phinehas the son of Yleazar, the son of Aharon stood before it in those days) saying, “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of my brother Benyamin or shall I cease”? And Yah said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand”.
Ysrayl Ambushes the Tribe of Benyamin on the Third Day: Yah Defeats the Tribe of Benyamin
29 Then Ysrayl set men in ambush all around Gibeah. 30 And the children of Ysrayl went up against the children of Benyamin on the third day and put themselves in battle array against Gibeah as at the other times. 31 So the children of Benyamin went out against the people and were drawn away from the city. They began to strike down and kill some of the people, as at the other times, in the highways (one of which goes up to Bethyl and the other to Gibeah) and in the field, about thirty men of Ysrayl. 32 And the children of Ysrayl said, “They are defeated before us, as at first”. But the children of Ysrayl said, “Let us flee and draw them away from the city to the highways”. 33 So all the men of Ysrayl rose from their place and put themselves in battle array at Baal Tamar. Then Ysrayl’s men in ambush burst forth from their position in the plain of Geba. 34 And ten thousand select men from all Ysrayl came against Gibeah and the battle was fierce. But the Benyaminites did not know that disaster was upon them. 35 Yah defeated Benyamin before Ysrayl. And the children of Ysrayl destroyed that day twenty-five thousand one hundred Benyaminites. All these drew the sword.
Ysrayl Burns the Whole City of Gibeah
36 So the children of Benyamin saw that they were defeated. The men of Ysrayl had given ground to the Benyaminites because they relied on the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah. 37 And the men in ambush quickly rushed upon Gibeah. The men in ambush spread out and struck the whole city with the edge of the sword. 38 Now the appointed signal between the men of Ysrayl and the men in ambush was that they would make a great cloud of smoke rise up from the city– 39 Whereupon, the men of Ysrayl would turn in battle. Now Benyamin had begun to strike and kill about thirty of the men of Ysrayl. For they said, “Surely they are defeated before us, as in the first battle”. 40 But when the cloud began to rise from the city in a column of smoke, the Benyaminites looked behind them and there was the whole city going up in smoke to heaven. 41 And the men of Ysrayl turned back, the men of Benyamin panicked, for they saw that disaster had come upon them. 42 Therefore, they turned their backs before the men of Ysrayl in the direction of the wilderness but the battle overtook them and whoever came out of the cities they destroyed in their midst. 43 They surrounded the Benyamites, chased them and easily trampled them down as far as the front of Gibeah toward the east. 44 And eighteen thousand men of Benyamin fell. All these were men of valor. 45 Then they (or the rest) turned and fled toward the wilderness to the Rock of Rimmon and they cut down five thousand of them on the highways. Then they pursued them relentlessly up to Gidom and killed two thousand of them. 46 So all who fell of Benyamin that day were twenty-five thousand men who drew the sword. All these were men of valor. 47 But six hundred men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the Rock of Rimmon and they stayed at the Rock of Rimmon for four months. 48 And the men of Ysrayl turned back against the children of Benyamin and struck them down with the edge of the sword, from every city, men and beasts, all who were bound. They also set fire to all the cities they came to.