International Standard Version
The Levite’s Mistress
1Now it happened in those days, before there was a king in Israel, that a certain male descendant of Levi, who lived in a remote part of the mountainous regiona of Ephraim, took a mistress for himself from Bethlehem in the territory of Judah. 2But his mistress was sexually unfaithful to him, and then she left him to live in her father’s home in Bethlehem in the territory of Judah. She had been living there for a periodb of about four months 3when her husband got up and went after her, intending to speak lovingly to herc in order to win her back. He took with him his young man servant and a pair of donkeys. When she brought him into her father’s house to see him, her father was happy to have met him.
4The young woman’s father (that is, his father-in-law) made him stay there for three days while they ate and drank during his visit there. 5On the fourth day, they got up early that morning, and the descendant of Levid got ready to leave. Then the young woman’s father-in-law told him, “Fortify yourselfe by eating some food before you go.” 6So both of them sat down for a bit, ate and drank together, and the young woman’s father invited the man, “Please, enjoy yourself and spend another night.” 7The man got up, intendingf to leave, but his father-in-law urged him to spend the night there again.
8On the fifth day, he got up early in the morning, but the young woman’s father-in-law told him, “Please, fortify yourself,”g so they delayed until later that afternoon while both of them ate together. 9When the man got up to leave with his mistress and servant, his father-in-law, the young woman’s father, told him, “Look now, evening is coming, so please spend another night. See how the daylight is fading, so spend the night here and enjoy yourself. Then tomorrow get up early and leave on your journey home.”
10Because the man was unwilling to spend the night, he got up, left, and arrived opposite Jebus (now known as Jerusalem). He had with him a pair of saddled donkeys, along with his mistress. 11As they approached Jebus, the daylight was almost gone, so the servant suggested to his master, “Come on, let’s spend the night in this Jebusite city.”
12But his master replied, “We’re not going to turn aside into a city of foreigners who are not part of the Israelis. Instead, we’ll go on to Gibeah.” 13He also told his servant, “Come on,h let’s go to one of these places and spend the night in Gibeah or Ramah.” 14So they continued on their way, and the sun set on them near Gibeah, which is part of Benjamin’s territorial allotment.i 15They turned aside there, intending to enter Gibeah and spend the night.
The Homosexual Descendants of Benjamin in Gibeah
After they entered the city, they had to sit down in the public square because no one would take them into theirj home for the night. 16Just then, an old man was coming out of the fields that evening from work. The man was from the mountainous regionk of Ephraim and had been staying in Gibeah, even though the men of that place were descendants of Benjamin. 17As the old man looked up and saw the traveling man in the public square of the city, he asked, “Now then, where are you headed? And where are you from?”
18He replied, “We’re traveling from Bethlehem in Judah to the remote part of the mountainous regionl of Ephraim, because I’m from there, and I’ve been visiting Bethlehem in Judah. I’m going home now, but no one will take me into his home. 19Meanwhile, we also have straw and fodder for our donkeys, and bread and wine for me, for thism young woman servant, and for the young man who is with your servants. We don’t need anything else.”
20The old man replied, “Don’t be alarmed. I’ll take care of all your needs. Just don’t spend the night in the public square.” 21So he took him into his home and fed the donkeys while they refreshed themselves and had dinner.”n
22While they were enjoying themselves, all of a sudden certain ungodly meno who lived in the city surrounded the house, pounded on the door, and ordered the old man who owned the home, “Bring out the man who came to visit your home so we can have sex with him.”
23The man who owned the house went out to talk to them and pleaded with them, “No, my brothers, please don’t act so wickedly. This man is my guest! Don’t try to do this stupid thing. 24Instead, here’s my virgin daughter and my visitor’sp mistress. Please let me bring them out to you. Occupy yourselves with them, and do to them whatever you would like. But don’t commit such a stupid thing against this man.”
The Men of Gibeah Rape and Murder the Mistress
25But the men were unwilling to listen to him. So the descendant of Leviq grabbed his mistress, took her out to them, and they raped and tortured her all night until morning. Then they released her as the first daylight was beginning to appear. 26As dawn was breaking, the woman approached the door of the man’s home where her master was and collapsed. Eventually, full daylight came. 27When her master got up that morning and opened the doors of the house to leave on his way, there was his mistress, fallen dead at the door of the house with her hands grasping the threshold.
28He spoke to her, “Get up, and let’s go.”
But there was no response. So he placed her on the donkey, mounted his own animal,r and went home. 29When he arrived home, he grabbed a knife, took hold of his mistress, cut her apart limb by limb into twelve pieces, and sent her remainss throughout the land of Israel. 30All the witnesses said, “Nothing has happened or has been seen like this from the day the Israelis came here from the land of Egypt to this day! Think about it, get some advice about it, and then speak up about it!”
a 19:1 Or the hill country
b 19:2 Lit. days
c 19:3 Lit. speak to her heart
d 19:5 Lit. and he
e 19:5 Lit. Fortify your heart
f 19:7 The Heb. lacks intending
g 19:8 Lit. Fortify your heart
h 19:13 So Codex Leningradensis.
i 19:14 The Heb. lacks territorial allotment
j 19:15 The Heb. lacks their
k 19:16 Or the hill country
l 19:18 Or the hill country
m 19:19 Lit. your;
n 19:21 Lit. they washed their feet and ate and drank
o 19:22 Lit. men of Belial; i.e. men so wicked as to be worthy of death
p 19:24 Lit. and his
q 19:25 Lit. man
r 19:28 Lit. donkey, got up
s 19:29 The Heb. lacks remains