In those days, when there was no king in Israel, a Levite residing at the other end of the hill country of Ephraim took to himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah.
Once his concubine deserted him, leaving him for her father’s house in Bethlehem in Judah; and she stayed there a full four months.
Then her husband set out, with an attendant and a pair of donkeys, and went after her to woo her and to win her back. She admitted him into her father’s house; and when the girl’s father saw him, he received him warmly.
His father-in-law, the girl’s father, pressed him, and he stayed with him three days; they ate and drank and lodged there.
Early in the morning of the fourth day, he started to leave; but the girl’s father said to his son-in-law, “Eat something to give you strength, then you can leave.”
So the two of them sat down and they feasted together. Then the girl’s father said to the man, “Won’t you stay overnight and enjoy yourself?”
The man started to leave, but his father-in-law kept urging him until he turned back and spent the night there.
Early in the morning of the fifth day, he was about to leave, when the girl’s father said, “Come, have a bite.” The two of them ate, dawdling until past noon.
Then the man, his concubine, and his attendant started to leave. His father-in-law, the girl’s father, said to him, “Look, the day is waning toward evening; do stop for the night. See, the day is declining; spend the night here and enjoy yourself. You can start early tomorrow on your journey and head for home.”
But the man refused to stay for the night. He set out and traveled as far as the vicinity of Jebus—that is, Jerusalem; he had with him a pair of laden donkeys, and his concubine was with him.
Since they were close to Jebus, and the day was very far spent, the attendant said to his master, “Let us turn aside to this town of the Jebusites and spend the night in it.”
But his master said to him, “We will not turn aside to a town of aliens who are not of Israel, but will continue to Gibeah.
Come,” he said to his attendant, “let us approach one of those places and spend the night either in Gibeah or in Ramah.”
So they traveled on, and the sun set when they were near Gibeah of Benjamin.
They turned off there and went in to spend the night in Gibeah. He went and sat down in the town square, but nobody took them indoors to spend the night.
In the evening, an old man came along from his property outside the town. (This man hailed from the hill country of Ephraim and resided at Gibeah, where the townspeople were Benjaminites.)
He happened to see the wayfarer in the town square. “Where,” the old man inquired, “are you going to, and where do you come from?”
He replied, “We are traveling from Bethlehem in Judah to the other end of the hill country of Ephraim. That is where I live. I made a journey to Bethlehem of Judah, and now I am on my way to the House of the LORD, and nobody has taken me indoors.
We have both bruised straw and feed for our donkeys, and bread and wine for me and your handmaid, and for the attendant with your servants. We lack nothing.”
“Rest easy,” said the old man. “Let me take care of all your needs. Do not on any account spend the night in the square.”
And he took him into his house. He mixed fodder for the donkeys; then they bathed their feet and ate and drank.
While they were enjoying themselves, the men of the town, a depraved lot, had gathered about the house and were pounding on the door. They called to the aged owner of the house, “Bring out the man who has come into your house, so that we can be intimate with him.”
The owner of the house went out and said to them, “Please, my friends, do not commit such a wrong. Since this man has entered my house, do not perpetrate this outrage.
Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. Let me bring them out to you. Have your pleasure of them, do what you like with them; but don’t do that outrageous thing to this man.”
But the men would not listen to him, so the man seized his concubine and pushed her out to them. They raped her and abused her all night long until morning; and they let her go when dawn broke.
Toward morning the woman came back; and as it was growing light, she collapsed at the entrance of the man’s house where her husband was.
When her husband arose in the morning, he opened the doors of the house and went out to continue his journey; and there was the woman, his concubine, lying at the entrance of the house, with her hands on the threshold.
“Get up,” he said to her, “let us go.” But there was no reply. So the man placed her on the donkey and set out for home.
When he came home, he picked up a knife, and took hold of his concubine and cut her up limb by limb into twelve parts. He sent them throughout the territory of Israel.
And everyone who saw it cried out, “Never has such a thing happened or been seen from the day the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt to this day! Put your mind to this; take counsel and decide.”