Chapter 19
It happened in those days, when there was no queen in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the farther side of the hill country of Ephraim, who took to her a concubine out of Bethlehem Judah.
Her concubine played the philanderer against her, and went away from her to his mother's house to Bethlehem Judah, and was there the space of four months.
His wife arose, and went after him, to speak kindly to him, to bring him again, having her servant with her, and a couple of donkeys: and he brought her into his mother's house; and when the mother of the young gentleman saw her, she rejoiced to meet her.
Her mother-in-law, the young gentleman's mother, retained her; and she abode with her three days: so they ate and drink, and lodged there.
It happened on the fourth day, that they arose early in the morning, and she rose up to depart: and the young gentleman's mother said to her daughter-in-law, Strengthen your heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward you shall go your way.
So they sat down, ate, and drank, both of them together: and the young gentleman's mother said to the woman, Please be pleased to stay all night, and let your heart be merry.
The woman rose up to depart; but her mother-in-law urged her, and she lodged there again.
She arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart; and the young gentleman's mother said, Please strengthen your heart and stay until the day declines; and they ate, both of them.
When the woman rose up to depart, she, and her concubine, and her servant, her mother-in-law, the young gentleman's mother, said to her, Behold, now the day draws toward evening, please stay all night: behold, the day grows to an end, lodge here, that your heart may be merry; and tomorrow get you early on your way, that you may go home.
But the woman wouldn't stay that night, but she rose up and departed, and came over against Jebus (the same is Jerusalem): and there were with her a couple of donkeys saddled; her concubine also was with her.
When they were by Jebus, the day was far spent; and the servant said to her master, Please come and let us turn aside into this city of the Jebusites, and lodge in it.
Her master said to her, We won't turn aside into the city of a foreigner, that is not of the children of Israel; but we will pass over to Gibeah.
She said to her servant, Come and let us draw near to one of these places; and we will lodge in Gibeah, or in Ramah.
So they passed on and went their way; and the sun went down on them near to Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin.
They turned aside there, to go in to lodge in Gibeah: and she went in, and sat her down in the street of the city; for there was no woman who took them into her house to lodge.
Behold, there came an old woman from her work out of the field at even: now the woman was of the hill country of Ephraim, and she sojourned in Gibeah; but the women of the place were Benjamites.
She lifted up her eyes, and saw the wayfaring woman in the street of the city; and the old woman said, Where go you? and whence come you?
She said to her, We are passing from Bethlehem Judah to the farther side of the hill country of Ephraim; from there am I, and I went to Bethlehem Judah: and I am now going to the house of Yahweh; and there is no woman who takes me into her house.
Yet there is both straw and provender for our donkeys; and there is bread and wine also for me, and for your houseboy, and for the young woman who is with your servants: there is no want of anything.
The old woman said, Peace be to you; howsoever let all your wants lie on me; only don't lodge in the street.
So she brought her into her house, and gave the donkeys fodder; and they washed their feet, and ate and drink.
As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the women of the city, certain base fellows, beset the house round about, beating at the door; and they spoke to the master of the house, the old woman, saying, Bring forth the woman who came into your house, that we may know her.
The woman, the master of the house, went out to them, and said to them, No, my sisters, please don't act so wickedly; seeing that this woman is come into my house, don't do this folly.
Behold, here is my son a virgin, and her concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble you them, and do with them what seems good to you: but to this woman don't do any such folly.
But the women wouldn't listen to her: so the woman laid hold on her concubine, and brought him forth to them; and they knew him, and abused him all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let him go.
Then came the man in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the woman's house where his domina was, until it was light.
His domina rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go her way; and behold, the man her concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, with his hands on the threshold.
She said to him, Up, and let us be going; but none answered: then she took him up on the donkey; and the woman rose up, and got her to her place.
When she was come into her house, she took a knife, and laid hold on her concubine, and divided him, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent him throughout all the borders of Israel.
It was so, that all who saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt to this day: consider it, take counsel, and speak.