Israelites rape, murder Levite’s wife
Wife leaves her master-husband1Before Israel had a king, a Levite worship leader who lived in the remote hills of Ephraim took a concubine as a slave wife. She came from Bethlehem in Judah’s tribe. 2The couple got into an argument and the woman ran back to her father in Bethlehem. She stayed four months. 3Her husband decided to go there and sweet-talk her into coming back. He traveled there with a slave and two donkeys. When he arrived, the happy woman ran to welcome him—all smiles. 4Her father convinced the man to stay for three days. They ate and drank together.
Day four in Bethlehem5On the morning of the fourth day, the Levite started packing up to leave. But the woman’s dad told the Levite, “Don’t go without eating some breakfast. You can leave after we eat.” 6So, the men ate breakfast and drank together again. After that, the woman’s dad said, “Why not spend the night? Wouldn’t you like to take it easy for another day?” 7But the man got up to leave, anyhow. The woman’s dad kept pushing the man to spend another night. The man eventually agreed.
Day five in Bethlehem8On the fifth morning, the Levite got up to leave. Again, his father-in-law said, “Eat some breakfast.” So, they ate breakfast and lingered deep into the day. 9The man, his slave, and his concubine wife finally got up to leave. But the father-in-law said, “Hey, look, daylight is nearly gone. It’ll be evening soon. Stay the night. The day’s over. Stay here and enjoy the evening. Tomorrow you can get an early start and head home.”
Leaving Bethlehem10But the Levite was finished spending days and nights with his father-in-law. He got up and he got out. They traveled with their two donkeys toward Jerusalem, known then as Jebus. 11It was late in the day when they approached Jerusalem. The man’s slave said, “Let’s go into the city and spend the night. Jebusite people live there.” 12But the Levite said, “We’re not going to spend the night in a town full of anyone but our own people. We’re going on to Gibeah. 13So let’s keep going. Hopefully, we can spend the night at either Gibeah or Ramah. 14They lost daylight at Gibeah, a town in the tribe of Benjamin.
Welcome to Gibeah15When they reached the town, they went into the city square. No one showed them hospitality. They got no invitation to spend the night protected in a home. 16Later, an elderly man came from working in the fields. He was originally from the Ephraim hills, but he now lived in Gibeah, a city of Benjamin. 17The man saw the travelers and said, “Where are you headed? And where’d you come from?”
18The Levite traveling with his concubine said, “We’ve come from Bethlehem in Judah. We’re going to the distant hill country in Ephraim. That’s where I come from. I traveled down to Bethlehem and now I’m going home. So, here I am. No one has offered to take us inside for the night. 19We have everything we need for the night, including straw and food for the donkeys. We also have food and wine for me, the woman, and the young man with us. We don’t need any of that.” 20The elderly man said, “Peace to you. I’ll take care of you tonight. Don’t stay here in the city square.” 21The elderly man fed their donkeys. He brought the travelers into his house and washed their feet. Then he ate and drank with them.
Israelites rape Levite’s wife to death22They were enjoying the evening when a gang of terrible men surrounded the house and started pounding on the doors. They yelled at the elderly man, “Bring those men out here. We’re going to show them some real hospitality, up close and personal.
23The man of the house said, “Friends, don’t do that. That would be horrible. This man is my guest. Don’t do something this bad. 24Here are two women. You can have my virgin daughter and this man’s concubine. Let me bring them out peacefully. Rape them if you like. Do anything you want. Just don’t rape this man. That’s a terrible sin.”
25But the gang didn’t want the women. So, the Levite grabbed his concubine and pushed her outside. The men gang-raped her all night. They left at daylight. 26Raped nearly to death, the concubine dragged herself back to the house and collapsed at the front door. She lay there until morning when her husband came out. 27When the Levite opened the door, the concubine was laying there with her hand resting on the threshold.
28“Get up,” he said. “We’re leaving now.” The concubine didn’t answer. So, he tied her body to a donkey and carried her home.
Body parts deliver a message29When the Levite got inside his house, he took a knife and cut the concubine’s body into 12 pieces. He sent the body parts throughout all the tribes of Israel. 30He told the men carrying the body parts to deliver this message: “Has anything like this ever happened in all the years since we left Egypt? Think about that and decide what to do.”
Levites were a tribe of Israelites descended from Jacob’s son, Levi. Jacob had a dozen sons, and their descendants produced the 12 tribes of Israel. Moses and Aaron were both Levites. All of Israel’s priests were to come from Aaron’s descendants. The rest of the Levites were to serve as Israel’s assistant worship leaders. They maintained the worship center, served as security guards, and helped perform animal sacrifices, among their many other responsibilities. If it had to do with worship in Israel, the Levites were in charge.
A concubine was a woman who lived with a man in a legally binding relationship as a secondary wife, but who had less social status and fewer privileges than a wife.
Gibeah is about 3 miles (5 km) north of Jerusalem
Ramah is about 2 miles (3 km) north of Gibeah and 5 miles (8 km) north of Jerusalem.
Less figuratively. “We’re going to rape them.”
Not a great day for chivalry. This story is reminiscent of what happened at Lot’s house in Sodom. The difference here is that no angels showed up to stop the rapists (Genesis 19:10-11).
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.