Shofetim 19

1 9 And it came to pass in those days, when there was no melech in Yisroel, that there was a certain Levi sojourning in the remote har Ephrayim country, who took to him a pilegesh out of Beit-Lechem Yehudah.
2 And his pilegesh played the zonah against him, and went away from him unto her bais av to Beit-Lechem Yehudah, and was there four whole months.
3 And her ish arose, and went after her, to speak unto her lev, and to bring her back, having his na’ar (servant) with him, and a couple of donkeys; and she brought him into her bais av; and when the avi hana’arah saw him, he had simcha to welcome him.
4 And his khoten (father-inlaw), the avi hana’arah, held him fast; and he abode with him shloshet yamim; so they did eat and drink, and lodged there.
5 And it came to pass on the fourth day, when they arose early in the boker, that he rose up to depart; the avi hana’arah said unto his choson (sonin-law), Refresh thine lev with a morsel of lechem, and afterward go your way.
6 And they sat down, and did eat and drink both of them together; for the avi hana’arah had said unto the ish, Be pleased, and tarry all night, and let thine lev be content.
7 And when the ish rose up to depart, his khoten (fatherin-law) urged him; therefore he lodged there again.
8 And he arose early in the boker on the yom hachamishi to depart; and the avi hana’arah said, Refresh now thine lev. Tarry till the yom turns [past midday], and they did eat both of them.
9 And when the ish rose up to depart, he, and his pilegesh, and his na’ar, his khoten (father-in-law), the avi hana’arah, said unto him, Hinei, now the yom draweth toward erev, tarry the night now; hinei, the yom groweth to an end, lodge here, that thine lev may be content; and makhar (tomorrow) get you early on your derech, that thou mayest go to your ohel.
10 But the ish would not tarry that night, but he rose up and departed, and came to nokhach (straight before, in the direction of) Yevus, which is Yerushalayim; and there were with him two donkeys saddled, his pilegesh also was with him.
11 And when they were near Yevus, the yom was far spent; and the na’ar said unto his adon, Come, now, and let us turn in into ir haYevusi, and lodge in it.
12 And his adon said unto him, We will not turn aside hither into the ir nochri, that is not of the Bnei Yisroel; we will pass over to Giv’ah.
13 And he said unto his na’ar, Come, and let us draw near to one of these places to lodge all night, in Giv’ah, or in Ramah.
14 And they passed on and went their way; and the shemesh went down upon them when they were near Giv’ah, which belongeth to Binyamin.
15 And they turned aside thither, to go in and to lodge the night in Giv’ah; and when he went in, he sat him down in the rechov of the ir; for there was no ish that took them into his bais to lodge the night [T.N. See Iyov 31:32 regarding the sin here, made more shameful in that it was committed against a Levi].
16 And, hinei, there came an ish zaken from his work out of the sadeh at erev, and the ish was also from har Ephrayim; and he sojourned in Giv’ah; but the anashim of the place were Bnei Yemini (Benjamites).
17 And when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw haish haoreach (the wayfaring man, traveling man) in the rechov haIr; and the ish hazaken said, Whither goest thou? And whence comest thou?
18 And he said unto him, We are passing from Beit-Lechem Yehudah toward the remote har Ephrayim country; from thence am I; and I went to Beit-Lechem Yehudah, but I am now going to the Bais Hashem [see 18:31]; but there is no ish that receiveth me into the bais.
19 Yet there is both straw and fodder for our donkeys; and there is lechem and yayin also for me, and for thy amah (maidservant), and for the na’ar which is with thy avadim; there is no machsor (want, need) of any thing.
20 And the ish hazaken said, Shalom lach; howsoever let all thy wants lie upon me; only lodge not in the rechov.
21 So he brought him into his bais, and mixed fodder for the donkeys; and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink.
22 Now as they were making their hearts content, hinei, the anshei haIr, anshei bnei Beliya’al, surrounded the bais, and pounded incessantly on the delet, and shouted to the ish, the Ba’al HaBayit, the zaken, saying, Bring out the ish that came into thine bais, that we may know him [T.N. a thin line drawn between homosexual rape and murder].
23 And the ish, the Ba’al HaBayit, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, do not so wickedly; seeing that this ish is come into mine bais, do not this nevalah (outrage).
24 Hinei, here is my bat a betulah, and his pilegesh; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth hatov unto your eyes; but unto this ish do not so devar hanevalah (vile, wicked a thing).
25 But the anashim would not pay heed to him; so the ish took his pilegesh, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her kol halailah until the boker; and when the shachar (dawn) came, they let her go.
26 Then came the isha at the break of haboker, and fell down at the petach bais haish where her adon was, ad haohr (until daylight, sunrise).
27 And her adon rose up in the boker, and opened the daletot habais, and stepped out to go on his derech; and, hinei, the isha, his pilegesh, was fallen at the petach habais! And her hands were upon the sahf (threshold).
28 And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going. But there was no answer. Then the ish took [the corpse] upon a donkey, and the ish rose up, and set out for his makom (place, home).
29 And when he was come into his bais, he took a ma’akhelet (knife), and laid hold on his pilegesh, and divided her, together with her atzmot, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the territory of Yisroel.
30 And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the yom that the Bnei Yisroel came up out of Eretz Mitzrayim unto this day; give ye heed unto it, make up your minds [about the punishment], and speak.

Shofetim 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.

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.

Shofetim 19 Commentaries

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