1. At that time there was still no king in Israel. A Levite who lived deep in the mountains of Ephraim took a woman from Bethlehem in Judah as concubine.
2. This woman left him and returned to her father's house in Bethlehem of Judah. She remained there for about four months.
3. Her husband set out to visit her and speak to her heart to make her return to his home. He brought with him a servant and two asses. She welcomed him in the house of her father who was glad to see him.
4. His father-in-law, the father of the girl, made him stay so he remained with him for three days. They ate, drank and spent the night there.
5. On the fourth day, they rose early in the morning and the Levite prepared to leave. But the father of the young maiden said to his son-in-law, "Eat some bread first so you can regain your strength, then you can go."
6. The two sat and began to eat and drink together. Then the father-in-law said, "Please spend the night here and have a good time."
7. When the Levite got up to leave, his father-in-law insisted, so he stayed that night.
8. On the fifth day, he again rose early in the morning to go, but the father of the young maiden said to him, "Have more patience and stay until evening." So they ate together.
9. But when the husband, his concubine and his servant stood up to leave, the father-in-law said to his son-in-law, "Look, it's already getting dark. Spend the night here and enjoy yourself. You can leave early tomorrow morning and be on your way home."
10. But the Levite refused to spend the night there, so he got up, left and arrived opposite Jebush, or Jerusalem. He brought with him the two saddled asses, his concubine and his servant.
11. It was very late when they came near Jebush. So the servant said to his master, "Let us not go any farther but go into the city of the Jebusites and spend the night there."
12. His master answered him, "Let us not go to a foreign city where there are no Israelites; we will go to Gibeah." And he added to his servant,
13. "Come and let us go near one of those towns. We will spend the night in Gibeah or in Ramah."
14. So they went their way, and at sunset they arrived opposite Gibeah of Benjamin.
15. They turned aside and went there to spend the night.
16. Then, an old man came in from his work in the fields. He was a man from the mountains of Ephraim and lived as a visitor in Gibeah, for the people of that place were of the tribe of Benjamin.
17. Looking to one side, the old man noticed the visitor in the city square and said to him, "Where do you come from and where are you going?"
18. And he answered, "We are passing through, for we come from Bethlehem of Judah, and we are going up to the borders of the mountains of Ephraim where I come from. I went to Bethlehem of Judah and now I am returning home. But here no one has offered me his house.
19. We have, however, straw and green fodder for our asses, and bread and wine for me, my wife and the young man who accompanies us. We don't lack anything."
20. The old man said to him, "Peace be with you. I shall provide you with all that you need. Just don't spend the night in the square."
21. He brought them to his house and gave fodder to the asses. The travelers washed their feet, then ate and drank.
22. As they were relaxing, the wicked men of the city went round the house, pounded on the door and said to the old man who owned the house, "Bring out the man you have welcomed into your house so we may amuse ourselves with him."
23. The owner of the house went out to them and said, "No, my brothers, do not treat him badly. This man has come into my house, so do not do him evil.
24. Here is my daughter, a virgin, and my companion's concubine. I can give her to you if you want. Ravish her and do with her what seems good to you, but not with this man."
25. But those men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and brought her outside. They violated and maltreated her the whole night until morning. At dawn, they left her.
26. At early morning, the woman came and fell at the entrance of the man's house where her husband was. She lay there until it was day.
27. When her husband rose up in the morning, opened the door of the house and went out to go on his way, he saw the woman, his concubine, lying at the entrance of the house, her hands on the threshold.
28. He said to her, "Get up, and let us go." But there was no response. So the man put her on his ass and went home.
29. When he arrived home, he took a knife and taking hold of his concubine, he divided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces and sent them throughout the territory of Israel.
30. He gave his messengers, this order: "Say this to the Israelites: Until today, have you seen anything like this since the Israelites came up from the land of Egypt? Think about it. Seek counsel and decide." Everyone who saw it said: "Until today, never has this happened nor has a thing like this been seen since the Israelites came up from the land of Egypt."