1At that time Israel didn't have a king. A Levite who was living in a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim married a concubine-wife from Bethlehem in Judah.
2But she was unfaithful to him and left him to return to her father's house in Bethlehem. She was there for four months.
3Then her husband went after her, to talk kindly with her and bring her back home. With him went his servant and two donkeys. She took him to her father's house and when her father met him, he gladly welcomed him.
4Her father pressed him to stay with them, so he remained for three days, eating, drinking, and sleeping there.
5On the fourth day he and his concubine got up early in the morning and prepared to leave, but her father said to his son-in-law, “You'll feel better if you have something to eat before you go.”
6So the two men sat down to eat and drink together. The father said to his son-in law, “Please agree to spend another night here, and you can enjoy yourself!”
7The man got up to leave, but his father-in-law pressed him to stay, so in the end he spent the night there.
8On the fifth day he got up early in the morning to leave. But his father-in-law said, “Eat before you go, then leave later this afternoon.” So they had a meal together.
9When he got up to leave with his concubine and his servant, his father-in-law told him, “Look it's late—it's already evening. Spend the night here. The day's almost over. Stay here the night and enjoy yourself, then tomorrow you can get up early and be on your way home.”
10But the man didn't want to spend another night, so he got up and left. He headed towards the town of Jebus (now called Jerusalem) with his two saddled donkeys and his concubine.
11As they approached Jebus the day was over, the servant said to his master, “Sir, why don't we stop here at this Jebusite town for the night?”
12But his master replied, “No, we're not going to stop in this town where only foreigners live and no Israelites. We'll continue on to Gibeah.”
13Then he told his servant, “Come on, let's try and get to Gibeah or Ramah and spend the night somewhere there.”
14So they carried on and reached Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin just as the sun was setting.
15They stopped in Gibeah to spend the night, and sat down in the town's main square, but no one invited them to come and stay.
16But later that evening an old man came by, returning from working in the fields. He was from the hill country of Ephraim, but was now living in Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin.
17He looked over and noticed the traveler in the square and asked, “Where are you going and where have you come from?”
18“We've come from Bethlehem in Judah and we're going to a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim,” the man replied. “I'm from there and I went to Bethlehem, and now I'm going to the Lord's Temple. No one here has invited me to stay.
19There's straw and food for our donkeys, and we your servants have bread and wine—enough for me, the woman, and my servant. We have all we need.”
20“You are welcome to stay with me,” the man replied. “I can let you have everything you need. Just don't spend the night here in the square.”
21He took him home and fed the donkeys. The travelers washed their feet and then started to eat and drink.
22While they were enjoying themselves, some depraved men from the town came and surrounded the house, and banged on the door, shouting to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to stay in your house so we can have sex with him.”
23The man who owned the house went outside and told them, “My brothers, don't act in such an evil way! This man is a guest in my house. Don't do something so disgusting!
24Look, here's my virgin daughter and the man's concubine. Let me bring them out and you can rape them and do whatever you want to them. But don't do something so disgusting to this man.”
25But the men refused to listen, so the man grabbed his concubine and threw her outside to them. They raped her and abused her all night until the morning, and only discarded her at dawn.
26As night turned into day she returned to the house where her master was staying and collapsed in front of the door as it got light.
27Her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house. He went out to continue his journey and there was his concubine, stretched out in the doorway of the house, with her hands holding onto the doorstep.
28“Get up, let's go,” he told her, but there was no answer. Then the man lifted her onto his donkey and went home.
29When he got home he took a knife, and holding onto his concubine, cut her up, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent these pieces of her to every part of Israel.
30Everyone who saw her said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen before, from the time the Israelites left Egypt up until now. You should think about what happened to her! Decide what to do! Speak up!”