Judges 19

Listen to Judges 19

A Levite and His Concubine

1 In those days, 1when there was no king in Israel, a certain Levite was sojourning in the remote parts of 2the hill country of Ephraim, who took to himself a concubine from 3Bethlehem in Judah.
2 And his concubine was unfaithful to[a] him, and she went away from him to her father's house at Bethlehem in Judah, and was there some four months.
3 Then her husband arose and went after her, to speak kindly to her and bring her back. He had with him his servant and a couple of donkeys. And she brought him into her father's house. And when the girl's father saw him, he came with joy to meet him.
4 And his father-in-law, the girl's father, made him stay, and he remained with him three days. So they ate and drank and spent the night there.
5 And on the fourth day they arose early in the morning, and he prepared to go, but the girl's father said to his son-in-law, 4"Strengthen your heart with a morsel of bread, and after that you may go."
6 So the two of them sat and ate and drank together. And the girl's father said to the man, "Be pleased to spend the night, and 5let your heart be merry."
7 And when the man rose up to go, his father-in-law pressed him, till he spent the night there again.
8 And on the fifth day he arose early in the morning to depart. And the girl's father said, 6"Strengthen your heart and wait until the day declines." So they ate, both of them.
9 And when the man and his concubine and his servant rose up to depart, his father-in-law, the girl's father, said to him, "Behold, now the day has waned toward evening. Please, spend the night. Behold, the day draws to its close. Lodge here and let your heart be merry, and tomorrow you shall arise early in the morning for your journey, and go home."
10 But the man would not spend the night. He rose up and departed and arrived opposite 7Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). He had with him a couple of saddled donkeys, and his concubine was with him.
11 When they were near Jebus, the day was nearly over, and the servant said to his master, "Come now, let us turn aside to this city of the Jebusites and spend the night in it."
12 And his master said to him, "We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners, who do not belong to the people of Israel, but we will pass on to 8Gibeah."
13 And he said to his young man, "Come and let us draw near to one of these places and spend the night at Gibeah or at 9Ramah."
14 So they passed on and went their way. And the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin,
15 and they turned aside there, to go in and spend the night at Gibeah. And he went in and sat down in the open square of the city, 10for no one took them into his house to spend the night.
16 And behold, an old man was coming from his work in the field at evening. The man was from 11the hill country of Ephraim, and he was sojourning in Gibeah. 12The men of the place were Benjaminites.
17 And he lifted up his eyes and 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 And he said to him, "We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah to the remote parts of the hill country of Ephraim, from which I come. I went to Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going 13to the house of the Lord,[b]14but no one has taken me into his house.
19 We have straw and feed for our donkeys, with bread and wine for me and your female servant and the young man with your servants. 15There is no lack of anything."
20 And the old man said, 16"Peace be to you; I will care for all your wants. 17Only, do not spend the night in the square."
21 So he brought him into his house and gave the donkeys feed. 18And they washed their feet, and ate and drank.

Gibeah's Crime

22 As they were 19making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, worthless fellows, 20surrounded the house, beating on the door. And they said to the old man, the master of the house, "Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may know him."
23 And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, "No, my brothers, 21do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, 22do not do this vile thing.
24 23Behold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine. Let me bring them out now. 24Violate them and do with them what seems good to you, but against this man 25do not do this outrageous thing."
25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and made her go out to them. And they knew her and abused her all night until the morning. And as the dawn began to break, they let her go.
26 And as morning appeared, the woman came and fell down at the door of the man's house where her master was, until it was light.
27 And her master rose up in the morning, and when he opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his way, behold, there was his concubine lying at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold.
28 He said to her, "Get up, let us be going."26But there was no answer. Then he put her on the donkey, and the man rose up and went away to his home.
29 And when he entered his house, he took a knife, and taking hold of his concubine he 27divided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel.
30 28And all who saw it said, "Such a thing has never happened or been seen from the day that the people of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt until this day; 29consider it, take counsel, and speak."

Judges 19 Commentary

Chapter 19

The wickedness of the men of Gibeah.

- The three remaining chapters of this book contain a very sad history of the wickedness of the men of Gibeah, in Benjamin. The righteous Lord permits sinners to execute just vengeance on one another, and if the scene here described is horrible, what will the discoveries of the day of judgment be! Let each of us consider how to escape from the wrath to come, how to mortify the sins of our own hearts, to resist Satan's temptations, and to avoid the pollutions there are in the world.

Cross References 29

  • 1. Judges 17:6; Judges 18:1; Judges 21:25
  • 2. See Joshua 24:33
  • 3. See Judges 17:7
  • 4. ver. 8; Genesis 18:5
  • 5. ver. 9, 22; Judges 16:25; Ruth 3:7; 2 Samuel 13:28
  • 6. ver. 5
  • 7. See Joshua 15:8, 63
  • 8. Joshua 18:28
  • 9. Joshua 18:25
  • 10. ver. 18
  • 11. ver. 1; See Joshua 24:33
  • 12. ver. 14; Judges 20:4
  • 13. Judges 18:31
  • 14. [See ver. 15 above]
  • 15. [Judges 18:10]
  • 16. Genesis 43:23
  • 17. Genesis 19:2
  • 18. Genesis 18:4; Genesis 24:32; Genesis 43:24; [John 13:5]
  • 19. See ver. 6
  • 20. Judges 20:5; [Genesis 19:4]
  • 21. Genesis 19:7
  • 22. Judges 20:6; Genesis 34:7; Deuteronomy 22:21; 2 Samuel 13:12; [Joshua 7:15]
  • 23. [Genesis 19:8]
  • 24. Genesis 34:2; Deuteronomy 21:14
  • 25. [See ver. 23 above]
  • 26. [Judges 20:5]
  • 27. Judges 20:6; [1 Samuel 11:7]
  • 28. [Hosea 9:9; Hosea 10:9]
  • 29. Judges 20:7

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Septuagint, Old Latin became angry with
  • [b]. Septuagint my home; compare verse 29

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of a sad affair of a Levite and his concubine, and of the bad consequence of it, how that she played the whore, and went away from him to her father's house, whither he followed her, and where he was kindly entertained by her father several days, Jud 19:1-9 and then set out on his journey to his own country; and passing by Jebus or Jerusalem, he came to Gibeah, and could get no lodging, Jud 19:10-15, but at length was taken in by an old man, an Ephraimite, Jud 19:16-21 when the house where he was beset by some wicked men in Gibeah, with the same intent as the men of Sodom beset the house of Lot, Jud 19:22-24 and after some expostulation of the old man with them, the concubine was brought out to them and abused by them even unto death, Jud 19:25-28 upon which the Levite her husband cut her into twelve pieces, and sent them into all the coasts of Israel, which was shocking and surprising, Jud 19:29,30 the consequence of which is related in the next chapter.

Judges 19 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.