Judges 19

1At that time, the people of Israel did not have a king. There was a Levite man that lived far back in the hill country of Ephraim. That man had a woman as a servant that was like a wife to him. That woman servant was from the city of Bethlehem in the country of Judah. 2But his woman servant had an argument with the Levite man. She left him and went back to her father’s house in Bethlehem, Judah. She stayed there for four months. 3Then her husband went after her. He wanted to speak kindly to her so that she would come back to him. He took with him his servant and two donkeys. The Levite man came to her father’s house. Her father saw the Levite man and came out to greet him. The father was very happy. 4The woman’s father led the Levite man into his house. The Levite’s father-in-law invited him to stay. So the Levite man stayed for three days. He ate, drank, and slept in his father-in-law’s house. 5On the fourth day, they got up early in the morning. The Levite man was getting ready to leave. But the young woman’s father said to his son-in-law, “Eat something first. After you eat, then you can go.” 6So the Levite man and his father-in-law sat down to eat and drink together. After that, the young woman’s father said to the Levite man, “Please stay tonight. Relax and enjoy yourself. Wait until this afternoon to leave.” So the two men ate together. 7The Levite got up to leave, but his father-in-law persuaded him to stay the night again. 8Then, on the fifth day, the Levite man got up early in the morning. He was ready to leave. But the woman’s father said to his son-in-law, “Eat something first. Relax and stay until this afternoon.” So they both ate together again. 9Then the Levite man, his woman servant, and his servant got up to leave. But the young woman’s father said, “It is almost dark. The day is almost gone. So stay the night here and enjoy yourself. Tomorrow morning you can get up early and go on your way.” 10But the Levite man did not want to stay another night. He took his two donkeys and his woman servant. He traveled as far as the city of Jebus. (Jebus is another name for Jerusalem). 11The day was almost over. They were near the city of Jebus. So the servant said to his master, the Levite man, “Let’s stop at this Jebusite city. Let’s stay the night here.” 12But his master, the Levite man, said, “No. We won’t go inside a strange city. Those people are not Israelite people. We will go to the city of Gibeah.” 13The Levite man said, “Come on. Let’s try to make it to Gibeah or Ramah. We can stay the night in one of those cities.” 14So the Levite man and the people with him traveled on. The sun was going down just as they entered the city of Gibeah. Gibeah is in the area that belongs to the family group of Benjamin. 15So they stopped at Gibeah. They planned to stay the night in that city. They came to the city square in the city and sat down there. But no one invited them home to stay the night. 16That evening an old man came into the city from the fields. His home was in the hill country of Ephraim. But now he was living in the city of Gibeah. (The men of Gibeah were from the family group of Benjamin.) 17The old man saw the traveler (the Levite man), in the public square. The old man asked, “Where are you going? Where did you come from?” 18The Levite man answered, “We are traveling from the city Bethlehem, Judah. We are going home. I am from far back in the hill country of Ephraim. I have been to Bethlehem, Judah. And now, I am going to my house. 19We already have straw and food for our donkeys. There is also bread and wine for me, the young woman and my servant. We don’t need anything.” 20The old man said, “You are welcome to stay at my house. I will give you anything you need. Only, don’t stay the night in the public square!” 21Then the old man took the Levite man and the people with him to his house. He fed their donkeys. They washed their feet. Then they had something to eat and drink. 22While the Levite man and those that were with him were enjoying themselves, some of the men from that city surrounded the house. They were very bad men. They began beating on the door. They shouted at the old man that owned the house. They said, “Bring out the man that came to your house. We want to have sex with him.” 23The old man went outside and spoke to those bad men. He said, “No, my friends, don’t do such bad things! That man is a guest in my house. Don’t do this terrible sin. 24Look, here is my daughter. She has never had sex before. I will bring her out to you now. You can use her any way you want. But don’t do such a terrible sin against this man.” 25But those bad men would not listen to the old man. So the Levite man took his woman servant and put her outside with those evil men. Those evil men hurt her and raped her all night long. Then, at dawn, they let her go. 26At dawn, the woman came back to the house where her master was staying. She fell down at the front door. She lay there until it was daylight. 27The Levite man got up early the next morning. He wanted to go home. He opened the door to go outside. And a hand fell across the threshold of the door. There was his woman servant. She had fallen down against the door. 28The Levite man said to her, “Get up, let’s go!” But she did not answer—˻she was dead˼. The Levite man put his woman servant on his donkey and went home. 29When he arrived at his house, he took a knife and cut his woman servant into 12 parts. Then he sent those 12 parts of the woman to all the areas where the people of Israel lived. 30Everyone that saw this said, “Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel before. We haven’t seen anything like this from the time we came out of Egypt. Discuss this and tell us what to do.”

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