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Judges 19:12-30

Context
19:12 But his master said to him, “We should not stop at a foreign city where non-Israelites live. 1  We will travel on to Gibeah.” 19:13 He said to his servant, 2  “Come on, we will go into one of the other towns 3  and spend the night in Gibeah or Ramah.” 19:14 So they traveled on, 4  and the sun went down when they were near Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin. 5  19:15 They stopped there and decided to spend the night 6  in Gibeah. They came into the city and sat down in the town square, but no one invited them to spend the night. 7 

19:16 But then an old man passed by, returning at the end of the day from his work in the field. 8  The man was from the Ephraimite hill country; he was living temporarily in Gibeah. (The residents of the town were Benjaminites.) 9  19:17 When he looked up and saw the traveler 10  in the town square, the old man said, “Where are you heading? Where do you come from?” 19:18 The Levite 11  said to him, “We are traveling from Bethlehem 12  in Judah to the remote region of the Ephraimite hill country. That’s where I’m from. I had business in Bethlehem in Judah, but now I’m heading home. 13  But no one has invited me into their home. 19:19 We have enough straw and grain for our donkeys, and there is enough food and wine for me, your female servant, 14  and the young man who is with your servants. 15  We lack nothing.” 19:20 The old man said, “Everything is just fine! 16  I will take care of all your needs. But don’t spend the night in the town square.” 19:21 So he brought him to his house and fed the donkeys. They washed their feet and had a meal. 17 

19:22 They were having a good time, 18  when suddenly 19  some men of the city, some good-for-nothings, 20  surrounded the house and kept beating 21  on the door. They said to the old man who owned the house, “Send out the man who came to visit you so we can have sex with him.” 22  19:23 The man who owned the house went outside and said to them, “No, my brothers! Don’t do this wicked thing! After all, this man is a guest in my house. Don’t do such a disgraceful thing! 19:24 Here are my virgin daughter and my guest’s 23  concubine. I will send them out and you can abuse them and do to them whatever you like. 24  But don’t do such a disgraceful thing to this man!” 19:25 The men refused to listen to him, so the Levite 25  grabbed his concubine and made her go outside. 26  They raped 27  her and abused her all night long until morning. They let her go at dawn. 19:26 The woman arrived back at daybreak and was sprawled out on the doorstep of the house where her master 28  was staying until it became light. 29  19:27 When her master 30  got up in the morning, opened the doors of the house, and went outside to start on his journey, there was the woman, his concubine, sprawled out on the doorstep of the house with her hands on the threshold. 19:28 He said to her, “Get up, let’s leave!” But there was no response. He put her on the donkey and went home. 31  19:29 When he got home, he took a knife, grabbed his concubine, and carved her up into twelve pieces. 32  Then he sent the pieces throughout Israel. 33  19:30 Everyone who saw the sight 34  said, “Nothing like this has happened or been witnessed during the entire time since 35  the Israelites left the land of Egypt! 36  Take careful note of it! Discuss it and speak!”

1 tn Heb “who are not from the sons of Israel.”

2 tn Or “young man.”

3 tn Heb “we will enter one of the places.”

4 tn Heb “and they passed by and went.”

5 tn Heb “which belongs to Benjamin.”

6 tn Heb “they turned aside there to enter to spend the night.”

7 tn Heb “and he entered and sat down, and there was no one receiving them into the house to spend the night.”

8 tn Heb “And look, an old man was coming from his work, from the field in the evening.”

9 tn Heb “And the men of the place were Benjaminites.”

10 tn Heb “the man, the traveler.”

11 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Levite) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

12 map For location see Map5 B1; Map7 E2; Map8 E2; Map10 B4.

13 tn Heb “I went to Bethlehem in Judah, but [to] the house of the LORD I am going.” The Hebrew text has “house of the LORD,” which might refer to the shrine at Shiloh. The LXX reads “to my house.”

14 tn By calling his concubine the old man’s “female servant,” the Levite emphasizes their dependence on him for shelter.

15 tc Some Hebrew mss and ancient witnesses read the singular, “your servant,” which would refer to the Levite. If one retains the plural, then both the Levite and his wife are in view. In either case the pronominal suffix emphasizes their dependence on the old man for shelter.

16 tn Heb “Peace to you.”

17 tn Heb “ate and drank.”

18 tn Heb “they were making their heart good.”

19 tn Heb “and look.”

20 tn Heb “the men of the city, men, the sons of wickedness.” The phrases are in apposition; the last phrase specifies what type of men they were. It is not certain if all the men of the city are in view, or just a group of troublemakers. In 20:5 the town leaders are implicated in the crime, suggesting that all the men of the city were involved. If so, the implication is that the entire male population of the town were good-for-nothings.

21 tn The Hitpael verb form appears to have an iterative force here, indicating repeated action.

22 tn Heb “so we can know him.” On the surface one might think they simply wanted to meet the visitor and get to know him, but their hostile actions betray their double-talk. The old man, who has been living with them long enough to know what they are like, seems to have no doubts about the meaning of their words (see v. 23).

23 tn Heb “his”; the referent (the visiting Levite) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

24 tn Heb “what is good in your eyes.”

25 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Levite) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

26 tn Heb “and he caused [her] to go outside to them.”

27 tn Heb “knew,” in the sexual sense.

28 tn The Hebrew term here translated “master,” is plural. The plural indicates degree here and emphasizes the Levite’s absolute sovereignty over the woman.

29 tn Heb “The woman came at the turning of the morning and fell at the door of the house of the man where her master was until the light.”

30 tn The Hebrew term here translated “master,” is plural. The plural indicates degree here and emphasizes the Levite’s absolute sovereignty over the woman.

31 tn Heb “And the man took her on the donkey and arose and went to his place.”

32 tn Heb “he carved her up by her bones into twelve pieces.”

33 tn Heb “and he sent her through all the territory of Israel.”

34 tn The words “the sight” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

35 tn Heb “from the day.”

36 tc Codex Alexandrinus (A) of the (original) LXX has the following additional words: “And he instructed the men whom he sent out, ‘Thus you will say to every male Israelite: “There has never been anything like this from the day the Israelites left Egypt till the present day.”’”



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