1 There was still no king in Israel. There was a Levite who lived in the remote area of Mount Ephraim. He took for himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah.
2 She was unfaithful to him and went to her fathers house at Bethlehem in Judah. She was there four whole months.
3 The man went after her to persuade her to return. He took his servant and two donkeys with him. The woman invited the Levite into the house, and when her father saw him, he gave him a friendly greeting.
4 The young womans father insisted that he stay. So he stayed for three days. The couple had their meals and spent the nights there.
5 The morning of the fourth day they woke up early and prepared to go. But the womans father said to the Levite: Eat first. You will feel better. You can go later.
6 The two men sat down and ate and drank together. Then the womans father told him: »Spend the night and enjoy yourself.«
7 The Levite got up to go. However the father encouraged him to stay, so he spent another night there.
8 The morning of the fifth day he started to leave. The womans father said: »Eat something and wait until later in the day.« The two men ate together.
9 When the man, his concubine, and the servant once more started to leave, the father said: »It is almost evening. Please spend the night. It will be dark soon. Stay and enjoy yourself. Tomorrow you can get up early for the trip and go home.«
10 The man did not want to spend another night there. He and his concubine started on their way, with their servant and two donkeys with packsaddles.
11 It was late in the day when they came near Jebus that is, Jerusalem. The servant said to his master: »Why not stop and spend the night here in this Jebusite city?«
12 But his master said: »We are not going to stop in a city where the people are not Israelites.
13 »We will pass by and go a little farther and spend the night at Gibeah or Ramah.«
14 They passed by Jebus and continued on their way. It was sunset when they came to Gibeah in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin.
15 They turned off the road to spend the night there. They went into town and sat down in the city square. However no one offered to take them home for the night.
16 An old man came by at the end of a days work on the farm. He was originally from the mountains of Ephraim, but he was now living in Gibeah. The other people there were from the tribe of Benjamin.
17 The old man saw the traveler in the city square and asked: »Where do you come from? Where are you going?«
18 The Levite answered: »We have been in Bethlehem in Judah. We are on our way home deep in the mountains of Ephraim. No one will put us up for the night.
19 »We have fodder and straw for our donkeys and we have bread and wine for my concubine and me and for my servant. We have everything we need.«
20 The old man said: »Come to my home. You are welcome! I will take care of you. You do not have to spend the night in the square.«
21 He took them home and fed their donkeys. They washed their feet and ate and drank.
22 They were enjoying themselves when suddenly some sexual perverts from the town surrounded the house and pounded on the door. They said to the old man: Bring out the man who came to your house! We want to have sex with him!
23 The old man went outside and said to them: »No, my friends! Please! Do not do such an evil, immoral thing! This man is my guest.
24 »Here is his concubine and my virgin daughter. I will bring them out now. You can have them. Do whatever you want with them. But do not do such an awful thing to this man!«
25 The men would not listen to him. The Levite took his concubine and put her outside with them. They raped her and abused her all night long and did not stop until morning.
26 At dawn the woman came and fell down at the door of the old mans house. She was still there when daylight came.
27 When her master opened the door that morning to go on his way, he found his concubine lying in front of the house with her hands reaching for the door.
28 He said: »Get up and let us go.« But there was no answer. Then he put her body across the donkey and started on his way home.
29 When he arrived at his house he got a knife. He took his concubines body and cut it into twelve pieces. He sent one piece to each of the twelve tribes of Israel.
30 Everyone who saw it said: »No such deed has been seen or done since the people of Israel left Egypt! We must do something about this! What will we do?«