The atrocity of the men of Gibeah.
NOTE. These final five chapters of the Book of Judges provide glimpses into the cultural milieu during the times of the judges, revealing the religious apostasy and social degradation of the people.
VERSE 1. In those days, when there was no king in Israel, there was a certain Levite living on the farther side of the hill country of Ephraim, who took for himself a concubine out of Bethlehem Judah.
there was no king in Israel. The author repeats this refrain.
It might reflect a desire for a central authority to muster the army. Or it might stem from a desire to be like other nations.
there was a certain Levite. This is not the Levite hired by Micah the Ephraimite.
VERSE 2. His concubine played the prostitute against him, and went away from him to her father’s house to Bethlehem Judah, and was there for four months.
His concubine. A concubine was woman with whom a married man has an ongoing sexual relationship. But they are not married.
That arrangement is called concubinage.
played the prostitute against him. That is, she had an affair. She was sexually unfaithful to him.
went away from him to her father’s house. After the affair, the concubine went to her father’s house.
VERSE 3. Her husband arose and went after her to speak kindly to her, to bring her again, having his servant with him and a couple of donkeys. She brought him into her father’s house; and when the father of the young lady saw him, he rejoiced to meet him.
VERSE 4. His father-in-law, the young lady’s father, kept him there; and he stayed with him three days. So they ate and drank, and stayed there.
VERSE 5. On the fourth day, they got up early in the morning, and he rose up to depart. The young lady’s father said to his son-in-law, “Strengthen your heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward you shall go your way.”
VERSE 6. So they sat down, ate, and drank, both of them together. Then the young lady’s father said to the man, “Please be pleased to stay all night, and let your heart be merry.”
VERSE 7. The man rose up to depart; but his father-in-law urged him, and he stayed there again.
VERSE 8. He arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart; and the young lady’s father said, “Please strengthen your heart and stay until the day declines;” and they both ate.
VERSE 9. When the man rose up to depart, he, and his concubine, and his servant, his father-in-law, the young lady’s father, said to him, “Behold, now the day draws toward evening, please stay all night. Behold, the day is ending. Stay here, that your heart may be merry; and tomorrow go on your way early, that you may go home.”
VERSE 10. But the man wouldn’t stay that night, but he rose up and went near Jebus (also called Jerusalem). With him were a couple of saddled donkeys. His concubine also was with him.
VERSE 11. When they were by Jebus, the day was far spent; and the servant said to his master, “Please come and let’s enter into this city of the Jebusites, and stay in it.”
VERSE 12. His master said to him, “We won’t enter into the city of a foreigner that is not of the children of Israel; but we will pass over to Gibeah.”
We won’t enter into the city of a foreigner. He was unwilling to stay in a village of foreigners.
Gibeah. This is probably a village near Jerusalem. It was populated by Jewish people.
VERSE 13. He said to his servant, “Come and let’s draw near to one of these places; and we will lodge in Gibeah, or in Ramah.”
VERSE 14. So they passed on and went their way; and the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin.
VERSE 15. They went over there, to go in to stay in Gibeah. He went in, and sat down in the street of the city; for there was no one who took them into his house to stay.
there was no one who took them into his house. The Benjamites lack hospitality.
VERSE 16. Behold, an old man came from his work out of the field at evening. Now the man was from the hill country of Ephraim, and he lived in Gibeah; but the men of the place were Benjamites.
VERSE 17. He lifted up his eyes, and saw the wayfaring man in the street of the city; and the old man said, “Where are you going? Where did you come from?”
VERSE 18. He said to him, “We are passing from Bethlehem Judah to the farther side of the hill country of Ephraim. I am from there, and I went to Bethlehem Judah. I am going to the LORD’s house; and there is no one who has taken me into his house.
VERSE 19. Yet there is both straw and feed for our donkeys; and there is bread and wine also for me, and for your servant, and for the young man who is with your servants. There is no lack of anything.”
VERSE 20. The old man said, “Peace be to you! Just let me supply all your needs, but don’t sleep in the street.”
VERSE 21. So he brought him into his house, and gave the donkeys fodder. Then they washed their feet, and ate and drank.
VERSE 22. As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain wicked fellows, surrounded the house, beating at the door; and they spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came into your house, that we can have sex with him!”
Bring out the man … that we can have sex with him! What the men of Gibeah want to do is not homosexual activity. It is rape. Gang rape.
Their demand is reminiscent of the men of Sodom during the time of Lot:
Genesis 19:5. They called to Lot, and said to him, “Where are the men who came in to you this night? Bring them out to us, that we may have sex with them.”
VERSE 23. The man, the master of the house, went out to them, and said to them, “No, my brothers, please don’t act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, don’t do this folly.
VERSE 24. Behold, here is my virgin daughter and his concubine. I will bring them out now. Humble them, and do with them what seems good to you; but to this man don’t do any such folly.”
here is my virgin daughter and his concubine . This man should have done everything possible to protect these women.
But instead he offers them as victims to save his own life.
The Levite is profoundly self-centered. And a coward. And a terrible human being.
VERSE 25. But the men wouldn’t listen to him; so the man grabbed his concubine, and brought her out to them; and they had sex with her, and abused her all night until the morning. When the day began to dawn, they let her go.
abused her all night until the morning. What the men of Gibeah do is rape. Gang rape. They are rapists.
VERSE 26. Then the woman came in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord was, until it was light.
fell down at the door of the man’s house. She dies.
VERSE 27. Her lord rose up in the morning and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way; and behold, the woman his concubine had fallen down at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold.
went out to go his way. He is departing town, and doesn’t even look for his concubine.
VERSE 28. He said to her, “Get up, and let’s get going!” but no one answered. Then he took her up on the donkey; and the man rose up, and went to his place.
“Get up, and let’s get going! After tossing the concubine out on the street to be raped all night by a gang, he doesn’t console her. Instead, he demands that she get going.
VERSE 29. When he had come into his house, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, and divided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout all the borders of Israel.
he took a knife and cut up his concubine. This terrible man does a terrible thing.
limb by limb. He cuts up the corpse of his concubine, limb by limb.
into twelve pieces. He cuts her body into twelve parts. That suggests one body part for each tribe.
VERSE 30. It was so, that all who saw it said, “Such a deed has not been done or 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.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.