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Judges Chapter Nineteen


Judges 19 Outlines

The Levite’s Concubine (v.1~21)

Gibeah’s Crime (v.22~30)

New King James Version (NKJV)



This chapter gives an account of a sad affair of a Levite and his concubine, and of the bad consequence of it, how that she played the whore, and went away from him to her father's house, whither he followed her, and where he was kindly entertained by her father several days, Judges 19:1 and then set out on his journey to his own country; and passing by Jebus or Jerusalem, he came to Gibeah, and could get no lodging, Judges 19:10, but at length was taken in by an old man, an Ephraimite, Judges 19:16 when the house where he was beset by some wicked men in Gibeah, with the same intent as the men of Sodom beset the house of Lot, Judges 19:22 and after some expostulation of the old man with them, the concubine was brought out to them and abused by them even unto death, Judges 19:25 upon which the Levite her husband cut her into twelve pieces, and sent them into all the coasts of Israel, which was shocking and surprising, Judges 19:29 the consequence of which is related in the next chapter.


Judges 19:1  And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite staying in the remote mountains of Ephraim. He took for himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah.

   YLT  1And it cometh to pass, in those days, when there is no king in Israel, that there is a man a Levite, a sojourner in the sides of the hill-country of Ephraim, and he taketh to him a wife, a concubine, out of Beth-Lehem-Judah;

And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel,.... The same is observed in Judges 17:6 and refers to the same times, the times before the judges, between them and the death of Joshua, during which time there was no supreme magistrate or ruler in Israel, which is meant; and this is observed, as before, to account for wickedness being committed with impunity, such as adultery, sodomy, murder, &c. afterwards related:

that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the side of Mount Ephraim; in a city that was on one side of that mountain; it seems not to have been a Levitical city, because he was only a sojourner in it; perhaps he chose to reside there, as being near to the tabernacle of Shiloh, which was in that tribe;

who took to him a concubine out of Bethlehemjudah; the same place from whence the wicked Levite came, spoken of in the preceding chapters, and who was the means of spreading idolatry in Israel; and here a wicked concubine of a Levite comes from the same, and was the cause of great effusion of blood in Israel; which two instances may seem to reflect dishonour and disgrace on Bethlehem, which were wiped off by the birth of some eminent persons in it, as Boaz, Jesse, David, and especially the Messiah. The woman the Levite took from hence is in the Hebrew called, "a wife, a concubine"F8So Pagninus, Tigurine version, Drusius. ; for a concubine was a secondary wife, taken without espousals and a dowry: some think they were espoused, though there was no dowry, and were reckoned truly wives, though they had not all the honour and privilege as others; and that this woman was accounted the wife of the Levite, appears from his being called her husband frequently; and her father is said to be his father-in-law, and he his son-in-law; nor could she have been chargeable with adultery otherwise.


Judges 19:2  2 But his concubine played the harlot against him, and went away from him to her father’s house at Bethlehem in Judah, and was there four whole months.

   YLT  2and commit whoredom against him doth his concubine, and she goeth from him unto the house of her father, unto Beth-Lehem-Judah, and is there days -- four months.

And his concubine played the whore against him,.... Was unfaithful to him and his bed, and broke the covenant and agreement between them; or "with him"F9עליו "apud eum", Pagninus, Piscator; "cum eo", Junius & Tremellius. , while she was with him in the house; or "before him"F11"Conspectu ejus", Vatablus; "coram eo", Drusius. , of which he had knowledge and proof; though some think this is not to be understood of whoredom or adultery, but of her ill usage of him, and departure from him. The Targum is, she despised him; so Kimchi and Ben Gersom interpret it of her declining and turning aside from him, and returning to her father's house, as follows: and indeed, had she been guilty of such a crime, one would think he would never have sought after her to reconcile her, and take her again, since she not only deserved to be put away, but to be put to death according to the law of God:

and went away from him to her father's house to Bethlehemjudah; where she was received, as she knew she should, having a parent perhaps too indulgent, and which was an encouragement to her to leave her husband:

and was there some whole months or a year and four whole months, according to Ben Gersom; so Kimchi and Ben Melech observe the copulative "and" is wanting, which is expressed in 1 Samuel 27:7 and "yamim, days", is so the times used for a year, Judges 14:8.


Judges 19:3  3 Then her husband arose and went after her, to speak kindly to her and bring her back, having his servant and a couple of donkeys with him. So she brought him into her father’s house; and when the father of the young woman saw him, he was glad to meet him.

   YLT  3And her husband riseth and goeth after her, to speak unto her heart, to bring her back, and his young man [is] with him, and a couple of asses; and she bringeth him into the house of her father, and the father of the young woman seeth him, and rejoiceth to meet him.

And her husband arose,.... From the place where he lived:

and went after her; to Bethlehemjudah, where her father lived:

to speak comfortably to her "or to her heart"F12על לבה "ad cor", Pagninus. ; having heard perhaps that she repented of her sin, or if it was only upon a quarrel between them, his anger might cool and subside, and therefore sought for a reconciliation; and which was the more commendable in him, as he did not put her away, but she departed from him: and

to bring her again; to his own city, and to his own house and bed, as before:

having his servant with him, and a couple of asses; one of them for her to ride upon, and the other to carry provisions on:

and she brought him into her father's house; it seems she met with him before he came thither, in the fields, or in the street; and by this it appears that she was glad to see him, and received him in a loving manner, and introduced him into her father's house, so that things looked well, and promised success:

and when the father of the damsel saw him, he rejoiced to meet him; having a good opinion of him, and perhaps understood, even by his daughter's story, that she was most in fault, and therefore was well pleased to see him come after her; though he ought before this time to have sent her home, or sought for a reconciliation of her to her husband.


Judges 19:4  4 Now his father-in-law, the young woman’s father, detained him; and he stayed with him three days. So they ate and drank and lodged there.

   YLT  4And keep hold on him doth his father-in-law, father of the young woman, and he abideth with him three days, and they eat and drink, and lodge there.

And his father in law, the damsel's father, retained him,.... Prevailed upon him to stay some time with him:

and he abode with him three days; it seems as if he agreed to stay with him so long, and that time he stayed contentedly:

so they did eat and drink, and lodged there; the Levite and his servant were very handsomely entertained, and had everything provided for them convenient for meat, drink, and lodging.


Judges 19:5  5 Then it came to pass on the fourth day that they arose early in the morning, and he stood to depart; but the young woman’s father said to his son-in-law, “Refresh your heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward go your way.”

   YLT  5And it cometh to pass, on the fourth day, that they rise early in the morning, and he riseth to go, and the father of the young woman saith unto his son-in-law, `Support thy heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward ye go on.'

And it came to pass on the fourth day,.... The time the Levite had agreed to stay being up:

when they arose early in the morning the Levite, his concubine and servant, in order to set out on their journey: that he arose to depart; the Levite rose up from his seat to take his leave of his father-in-law, and depart from his house, and proceed on his way homeward; for rising out of his bed is before expressed:

and the damsel's father said to his son in law, comfort thy heart with a morsel of bread; take a breakfast first, that he might be fitter for his journey, for bread comforts or strengthens men's hearts, Psalm 104:15 though here it may be put for any and all sorts of provisions, whatever might be proper to take early in a morning, and before setting out on a journey: and afterwards go your way; he seemed as if he was willing he should set forward, after he had refreshed him with a meal.


Judges 19:6  6 So they sat down, and the two of them ate and drank together. Then the young woman’s father said to the man, “Please be content to stay all night, and let your heart be merry.”

   YLT  6And they sit and eat both of them together, and drink, and the father of the young woman saith unto the man, `Be willing, I pray thee, and lodge all night, and let thy heart be glad.'

And they sat down,.... Not only sat down upon their seats again, the Levite having rose up in order to go away, but sat down at table:

and did eat and drink both of them together; both the Levite and his father-in-law; and it appears by this, and what follows, that the Levite did not take only a short repast, or breakfast with him, but stayed and dined with him, when they ate a plentiful meal, and drank freely after dinner:

for the damsel's father had said to the man, be content, I pray thee, and tarry all night, and let thine heart be merry; let us spend a pleasant evening together, in drinking freely, though not to excess, in cheerful conversation, and innocent mirth. This he proposed to him, and hoped he would agree to it.


Judges 19:7  7 And when the man stood to depart, his father-in-law urged him; so he lodged there again.

   YLT  7And the man riseth to go, and his father-in-law presseth on him, and he turneth back and lodgeth there.

And when the man rose up to depart,.... Rose up from table, having ate and drank sufficiently, in order to depart the house, and proceed on his journey:

his father in law urged him; with much entreaty, and earnest solicitations, that he would stay all night with him:

therefore he lodged there again; another night, being prevailed upon through his father's importunity.


Judges 19:8  8 Then he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart, but the young woman’s father said, “Please refresh your heart.” So they delayed until afternoon; and both of them ate.

   YLT  8And he riseth early in the morning, on the fifth day, to go, and the father of the young woman saith, `Support, I pray thee, thy heart;' and they have tarried till the turning of the day, and they eat, both of them.

And he rose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart,.... With a full intention to take his leave of his father, and be gone:

and the damsel's father said, comfort thine heart, I pray thee; with a meal's meat, with a breakfast, before he set out on his journey, that he might be heartier and stronger for it:

and they tarried until afternoon; or "until the decline of the day"F13עד נטות היום "usque ad declinare diem", Montanus; to the same purpose Pagninus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. , when the sun had passed the meridian, and was declining, as it immediately does when noon is past:

and they did eat both of them; the man stayed and took a dinner with his father-in-law; and though no mention is made of the concubine, neither in this, nor in the other instances, no doubt she ate with them.


Judges 19:9  9 And when the man stood to depart—he and his concubine and his servant—his father-in-law, the young woman’s father, said to him, “Look, the day is now drawing toward evening; please spend the night. See, the day is coming to an end; lodge here, that your heart may be merry. Tomorrow go your way early, so that you may get home.”

   YLT  9And the man riseth to go, he and his concubine, and his young man, and his father-in-law, father of the young woman, saith to him, `Lo, I pray thee, the day hath fallen toward evening, lodge all night, I pray thee; lo, the declining of the day! lodge here, and let thine heart be glad -- and ye have risen early to-morrow for your journey, and thou hast gone to thy tent.'

And when the man rose up to depart, he and his concubine, and his servant,.... Rose up from table, having comfortably refreshed themselves:

his father in law, the damsel's father, said unto him, behold, now the day draweth towards evening; or is "remiss", or "weak"F14רפה "debilitata est", Pagninus, Vatablus; "remissus est", Junius & Tremellius. ; that is, the heat, light, and strength of the sun abated, and became weaker and more remiss, as it does the more it declines, and is nearer setting:

I pray you tarry all night; suggesting, it was a very improper time to set out in on a journey:

behold, the day groweth to an end; or "behold, it is the encampment of the day"F15הנות היום "castrametatio diei", Drusius. , when the day or sun seems to be pitching its tent, and going to rest; or it being the time when an army on the march stops and pitches their tents, in order to continue all night; or when men go to their tents and habitations, and lie down and take their rest:

lodge here, that thine heart may be merry; and let us have another pleasant evening together, which cannot be had in an inn upon the road; you cannot be comfortable there, as here, and therefore be persuaded to stay, since it is not possible to get home tonight:

and tomorrow get you early on your way, that thou mayest go home; to thy city, as the Targum; signifying, that he should not insist upon their staying any longer, and then they might set out on their journey as soon as they pleased.


Judges 19:10  10 However, the man was not willing to spend that night; so he rose and departed, and came opposite Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). With him were the two saddled donkeys; his concubine was also with him.

   YLT  10And the man hath not been willing to lodge all night, and he riseth, and goeth, and cometh in till over-against Jebus (It [is] Jerusalem), and with him [are] a couple of asses saddled; and his concubine [is] with him.

But the man would not tarry that night,.... He was determined upon his journey; he perceived there was no end of the solicitations of his father-in-law, and did not know how long he intended to detain him, and therefore was resolved not to hearken to him any longer:

but he rose up and departed; rose up from his seat, took his leave of his father-in-law, and proceeded on his journey:

and came over against Jebus, which is Jerusalem; which was then called Jebus, because inhabited by the Jebusites, as appears from the following verse; this was about six miles from BethlehemF16Hieron. de loc. Heb. fol. 89. E. ; so far they were come on in their journey homewards:

and there were with him two asses saddled; which he brought with him when he came to Bethlehem, Judges 19:3 now said to be "saddled", either for him and his concubine to ride on; or they were bound or girt, as the word signifies, being loaded with bread, and wine, and provender; or it may be one of them was for him and his concubine to ride on by turns, and the other to carry the provisions:

and his concubine also was with him; matters being now made up between them, she had agreed to go with him, and did, which was the end of his coming to her father's house; and therefore this is observed on that account, as well as for what follows in the tragical part of this history.


Judges 19:11  11 They were near Jebus, and the day was far spent; and the servant said to his master, “Come, please, and let us turn aside into this city of the Jebusites and lodge in it.”

   YLT  11They [are] near Jebus, and the day hath gone greatly down, and the young man saith unto his lord, `Come, I pray thee, and we turn aside unto this city of the Jebusite, and lodge in it.'

And when they were by Jebus the day was far spent,.... Or "was gone down very much"F17רד מאד "descenderat valde", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version. , the sun was going down apace, and near setting:

and the servant said unto his master, come, I pray thee: he proposed it to him in a submissive manner, and might use some entreaty for his master's good and safety:

and let us turn in unto this city of the Jebusites, and lodge in it; for though that part of the city which belonged to the tribe of Judah was taken by them after the death of Joshua, yet that which belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, part of it was still possessed by the Jebusites, whom the Benjamites could not expel, Judges 1:21 and Ben Gersom thinks, that this affair of this Levite, and his concubine, was before the men of Judah fought against it, and took it; which not unlikely, seeing it is called here a city of the Jebusites, and because the Levite objected going into it on that account; whereas there would not have been much in his objection, if one part or it was in the session of the men of Judah, and the other in the hands of the tribe of Benjamin, though they had some Jebusites dwelling among them.


Judges 19:12  12 But his master said to him, “We will not turn aside here into a city of foreigners, who are not of the children of Israel; we will go on to Gibeah.”

   YLT  12And his lord saith unto him, `Let us not turn aside unto the city of a stranger, that is not of the sons of Israel, thither, but we have passed over unto Gibeah.'

And his master said unto him, we will not turn aside hither into the city of a stranger,.... A city of the children of the Gentiles, as the Targum, as the Jebusites were, being one of the seven nations of the land of Canaan, who were to be dispossessed and destroyed; and which, one would think, he would not have so called, had it been inhabited, though but in part, by the children of Judah and Benjamin: by this it appears, that this Levite was a good man, and conscientious, and shunned all appearance of evil, and the company of wicked men, as became his character and profession: and it is added:

that is not of the children of Israel; which further confirms the above conjecture, that this city was not as yet at all in the hands of the Israelites; or if it had been, was retaken, and now in the hands of the Jebusites:

we will pass over to Gibeah; which was in the tribe of Benjamin, and inhabited by men of that tribe, and so more agreeable to this Levite, though it proved fatal to him; this was, as Josephus saysF18De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 2. sect. 1. thirty furlongs, or near four miles from Jebus or Jerusalem; and though it was near sun setting, he chose rather to proceed on to this place, than to lodge at Jebus, and the rather it may be, as it was a Levitical city, Joshua 21:17.


Judges 19:13  13 So he said to his servant, “Come, let us draw near to one of these places, and spend the night in Gibeah or in Ramah.”

   YLT  13And he saith to his young man, `Come, and we draw near to one of the places, and have lodged in Gibeah, or in Ramah.'

And he said to his servant, come, and let us draw near,.... And get on as fast as we can:

to one of these places to lodge all night, in Gibeah, or in Ramah; which were both in the tribe of Benjamin, and he left it to his servant to go to either, to that which was most convenient, because of the time of the day, it being near sun setting; now, as before observed, Gibeah was not quite four miles from Jerusalem; whereas, according to JeromF19De loc. Heb. fol. 94. B. , Ramah was six miles, and therefore we find they took up at Gibeah, as being nearest of these two places; See Gill on Joshua 18:24, Joshua 18:25, Hosea 5:8.


Judges 19:14  14 And they passed by and went their way; and the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin.

   YLT  14And they pass over, and go on, and the sun goeth in upon them near Gibeah, which is to Benjamin;

And they passed on, and went their way,.... Proceeded on in their journey from Jebus or Jerusalem, near to which they were:

and the sun went down upon them when they were by Gibeah, which belongeth to Benjamin; which is added, to distinguish it from another Gibeah in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:57 when they were come pretty near to this place, on the side of it, as it seems, the sun was just setting, which determined them to take up their lodging here, as follows.


Judges 19:15  15 They turned aside there to go in to lodge in Gibeah. And when he went in, he sat down in the open square of the city, for no one would take them into his house to spend the night.

   YLT  15and they turn aside there to go in to lodge in Gibeah, and he goeth in and sitteth in a broad place of the city, and there is no man gathering them into the house to lodge.

And they turned aside thither to go in and lodge in Gibeah,.... Instead of going right forward, and passing by Gibeah, over against which they were, they turned out of their road, and went into the city to seek a lodging in it:

and when he went in, he sat him down in a street of the city; to see whether any person would invite him into any of their houses, as was usual in those hospitable times and countries, and where there were few inns for the entertainment of travellers and strangers, or none at all, and especially in cities; if any where, they were upon the public road:

for there was no man that took them into his house to lodging; the spirit of hospitality being greatly declined, and even gone from among them; or as some think, those that had such a spirit, and were willing to receive strangers, were afraid, because of their wicked neighbours, who would beset their houses to abuse strangers, as the sequel of this history shows.


Judges 19:16  16 Just then an old man came in from his work in the field at evening, who also was from the mountains of Ephraim; he was staying in Gibeah, whereas the men of the place were Benjamites.

   YLT  16And lo, a man, an aged one, hath come from his work from the field in the evening, and the man [is] of the hill-country of Ephraim, and he [is] a sojourner in Gibeah, and the men of the place [are] Benjamites.

And, behold, there came an old man from his work out of the field at even,.... Which is the time that men come from their labour, and take their rest; and this man, though a man in years, and of some substance, as appears by what follows, yet attended the business of his calling, which was very commendable in him:

which was also of Mount Ephraim; as the Levite was, which when the old man understood, he was the more ready no doubt to receive him into his house:

and he sojourned in Gibeah; he was not a native of the place, and yet more kind to strangers than such as were; nor does he appear to be a Levite, though it was a Levitical city; on what account he sojourned here is not manifest:

but the men of the place were Benjamites: for as yet the number of Levites were not large, others dwelt in the cities besides them, even such as were of the tribe to which they belonged.


Judges 19:17  17 And when he raised his eyes, he saw the traveler in the open square of the city; and the old man said, “Where are you going, and where do you come from?”

   YLT  17And he lifteth up his eyes, and seeth the man, the traveller, in a broad place of the city, and the aged man saith, `Whither goest thou? and whence comest thou?'

And when he had lifted up his eyes,.... For it may be, as he came out of the field, he was musing and meditating with his eyes downwards directed, but coming into the city looked up:

he saw a wayfaring man in the street of the city; whom he supposed to be a traveller and a stranger by his dress, and other circumstances, having never seen him before, and knowing pretty well the inhabitants of the place:

and the old man said, whither goest thou? and whence comest thou? the meaning of the questions is, what place he was travelling to, and from whence he came last.


Judges 19:18  18 So he said to him, “We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah toward the remote mountains of Ephraim; I am from there. I went to Bethlehem in Judah; now I am going to the house of the Lord. But there is no one who will take me into his house,

   YLT  18And he saith unto him, `We are passing over from Beth-Lehem-Judah unto the sides of the hill-country of Ephraim -- thence I [am], and I go unto Beth-Lehem-Judah; and to the house of Jehovah I am going, and there is no man gathering me into the house,

And he said unto him, we are passing from Bethlehemjudah,.... He answers to his last question first, for this was the place from whence they came:

towards the side of Mount Ephraim: thither they were going, which is an answer to the first question: and then adds, which is more than what was requested:

from thence am I; that is, he was an inhabitant of a city on one side of Mount Ephraim, but what that city was, he says not, nor is it elsewhere said:

and I went to Bethlehemjudah; on what account he does not declare, but the above narrative clearly shows for what reason he went thither:

but I am now going to the house of the Lord; that is, the tabernacle in Shiloh, there he proposed to go first to offer sacrifice for the success of his journey, and for the reconciliation of his wife to him, and to pray to God for happiness in his family yet to come, and where some think his habitation was; but rather it was at some distance, not far from Mount Ephraim, and on the side of it, whither he should return when he had performed those acts of religion and devotion, which he judged were his duty:

and there is no man that receiveth me to house: that had invited him to his house to take a lodging there, as was common to do to travellers, as the instances of Abraham, Lot, Job, and others, show. It was a law with the Lucani (a people in Italy), that if a stranger came at sun setting, and was desirous of coming under the roof of anyone, if such an one did not receive him, he was to be fined, and suffer the punishment of inhospitalityF20Aelian. Var. Hist. l. 4. c. 1. .


Judges 19:19  19 although we have both straw and fodder for our donkeys, and bread and wine for myself, for your female servant, and for the young man who is with your servant; there is no lack of anything.”

   YLT  19and both straw and provender are for our asses, and also bread and wine there are for me, and for thy handmaid, and for the young man with thy servants; there is no lack of anything.'

Yet there is both straw and provender for our asses,.... Straw to litter them with, and provender to feed them with, which he had brought with him on them:

and there is bread and wine also for me, and for thine handmaid; meaning himself and his concubine; there were enough for them both, which were packed up, and carried by the asses:

and for the young man which is with thy servants; the supplement, which is, seems quite needless, and even impertinent; for as yet the young man, by whom he means his servant, was not as yet in company with the servants of the old man; but the sense is, that there was not only provisions with him for himself, and his wife, and also for his servant, but even enough for the servants of the old man, whether maid or manservants: there is no want of anything; and therefore none needed to be shy of taking them in, since they should not be burdensome to any upon any account; all they wanted was a lodging.


Judges 19:20  20 And the old man said, “Peace be with you! However, let all your needs be my responsibility; only do not spend the night in the open square.”

   YLT  20And the old man saith, `Peace to thee; only, all thy lack [is] on me, only in the broad place lodge not.'

And the old man said, peace be with you,.... All happiness attend thee, particularly ease and tranquillity of mind, let nothing disturb or distress thee:

howsoever, let all thy wants lie upon me; signifying, that if he had neither bread nor wine for himself, his wife, and his servant, nor any litter nor provender for his asses, he was welcome to all from him; and whatever his wants were, he would supply them, which was nobly and generously said:

only lodge not in the street: that I cannot bear to think of, as if he should say; for a stranger, an Israelite, one of my own country, a good man, a Levite going to the house of God, to take up a lodging in the streets, let it not be said.


Judges 19:21  21 So he brought him into his house, and gave fodder to the donkeys. And they washed their feet, and ate and drank.

   YLT  21And he bringeth him in to his house, and mixeth [food] for the asses, and they wash their feet, and eat and drink.

So he brought him into his house,.... Showed him the way to it, and in a kind and friendly manner introduced him, and bid him welcome:

and gave provender unto the asses; this is mentioned first, it being then perhaps, as now, the first thing that a careful man is concerned for, to see that his cattle is taken care of, and then himself; and such a method this ancient good man took with his guest:

and they washed their feet; which was commonly done to strangers in those hot countries, and was very refreshing, see Genesis 18:4.

and did eat and drink; sat down at table and supped with him.


Judges 19:22  22 As they were enjoying themselves, suddenly certain men of the city, perverted men,[a] surrounded the house and beat on the door. They spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally!

   YLT  22They are making their heart glad, and lo, men of the city, men -- sons of worthlessness -- have gone round about the house, beating on the door, and they speak unto the old man, the master of the house, saying, `Bring out the man who hath come unto thine house, and we know him.'

Now as they were making their hearts merry,.... With a glass of wine after supper, and conversing together in a cheerful manner about their country and friends:

behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial; very wicked, lawless, ungovernable, worthless, and unprofitable creatures, men under the influence of Satan, and their own lusts:

beset the house round about: that none might escape out of it, especially the Levite, his wife and servant:

and beat at the door; to get entrance, either by those within opening to them, or by breaking it open:

and spake to the master of the house, the old man; who, upon this noise and clamour made, came to the door, to inquire what was the meaning of all this: to whom they replied, saying:

bring forth the man that came into thy house, that we may know him; not what manner of person he was, of what country and profession, whither he was going, and what business he had here; but that they might have carnal knowledge of him in an unnatural way, or commit that sin with him which is commonly called sodomy; and the men of Sodom expressed their lust by the same word, Genesis 19:5.


Judges 19:23  23 But the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brethren! I beg you, do not act so wickedly! Seeing this man has come into my house, do not commit this outrage.

   YLT  23And the man, the master of the house, goeth out unto them, and saith unto them, `Nay, my brethren, do not evil, I pray you, after that this man hath come in unto my house, do not this folly;

And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them,.... Opened the door, and went out to converse with them, and talked them after this manner:

and said unto them, nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; it is plain he understood them in such sense, that they meant not bare knowledge of the man, as who he was, &c. but to commit wickedness the most abominable; so great, that it cannot be well said how great it is; and to dissuade from it, he uses the most tender language, and the most earnest entreaties:

seeing this man is come into my house, do not this folly; he argues from the law of hospitality, which ought not to be infringed; a man being obliged to protect a stranger under his roof; and from the nature of the crime, which was folly, stupidity, and what was abominable to the last degree.


Judges 19:24  24 Look, here is my virgin daughter and the man’s[b] concubine; let me bring them out now. Humble them, and do with them as you please; but to this man do not do such a vile thing!”

   YLT  24lo, my daughter, the virgin, and his concubine, let me bring them out, I pray you, and humble ye them, and do to them that which is good in your eyes, and to this man do not this foolish thing.'

Behold, here is my daughter, a maiden, and his concubine,.... His own daughter, a virgin, and the concubine of the Levite his guest:

them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you; those he proposed to bring out, and deliver to them, to lie with, to do with as they pleased to gratify their raging lust, which to do was more than he ought, or had power to do: he had no right to prostitute his own daughter, and much less the concubine or wife of another man, though perhaps it might be with the consent of the Levite; but all this he said in a hurry and surprise, in a fright and terror, and of two evils choosing the least, and perhaps in imitation of Lot, whose case might come to remembrance:

but unto this man do not so vile a thing; as he apprehended that to be which they were desirous of, whether to kill him, as he himself says, Judges 20:5 or to commit the unnatural sin, and which, rather than comply with, he should have chosen to have been slain.


Judges 19:25  25 But the men would not heed him. So the man took his concubine and brought her out to them. And they knew her and abused her all night until morning; and when the day began to break, they let her go.

  YLT  25And the men have not been willing to hearken to him, and the man taketh hold on his concubine, and bringeth [her] out unto them without, and they know her, and roll themselves upon her all the night, till the morning, and send her away in the ascending of the dawn;

But the men would not hearken to him,.... Especially with respect to his daughter, whom they knew very well, and had no affection for, perhaps was not handsome enough for them:

so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; that is, not the old man, but the Levite took his own wife or concubine, and put her forth to them, very probably with her consent, to try if that would pacify them, she being a fair and beautiful woman, as Ben Gersom and Abarbinel suggest; and JosephusF21Antiqu. l. 5. c. 2. sect. 8. intimates, that some young men of the city had seen her in the street, and were captivated with her beauty, and came on purpose for her, and would not be satisfied unless she was delivered to them; and upon which her husband, perceiving this, laid hold on her by main strength, as the word signifies, and brought her out whether she would or not, as Kimchi notes:

and they knew her, and abused her all night until the morning; had carnal knowledge of her, and used her in a most shocking manner one after another, all the night long, until the morning appeared:

and when the day began to spring; at break of day, when the light dawned: they let her go; their works being works of darkness, and would not bear the light.


Judges 19:26  26 Then the woman came as the day was dawning, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her master was, till it was light.

   YLT  26and the woman cometh in at the turning of the morning, and falleth at the opening of the man's house, where her lord [is], till the light.

Then came the woman in the dawning of the day,.... When those wicked wretches who had abused her had left her, having had her from place to place, at some distance from the house out of which she was put, and to which she got again, as well as she could:

and fell down at the door of the man's house where her lord was; her husband, so called, not because she had been his servant, but because she was his wife; and at the door of the old man's house, where he was, which she knew, and had found out by one means or another; she fell down, either purposely for her ease, and to lie and wait there, until the time of opening the door in the morning; or rather through weakness, not being able to stand, nor so much as to knock at the door to get admittance: and there she lay

till it was light; broad daylight.


Judges 19:27  27 When her master arose in the morning, and opened the doors of the house and went out to go his way, there was his concubine, fallen at the door of the house with her hands on the threshold.

   YLT  27And her lord riseth in the morning, and openeth the doors of the house, and goeth out to go on his way, and lo, the woman, his concubine, is fallen at the opening of the house, and her hands [are] on the threshold,

And her lord rose up in the morning,.... Very early no doubt, and it is scarcely reasonable to think he should sleep quietly after such a riot, and his concubine or wife delivered up to the lust of such brutish creatures:

and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way; either in search of her, or rather to make the best of his way on his journey, to preserve his own life, having given her up for lost:

and, behold the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold; in a posture that persons are when they fall, stretching out their hands to save themselves what they can; or of such who lay themselves down to sleep with their hands under their heads, and which her husband thought was her case, by what follows.


Judges 19:28  28 And he said to her, “Get up and let us be going.” But there was no answer. So the man lifted her onto the donkey; and the man got up and went to his place.

   YLT  28and he saith unto her, `Rise, and we go;' and there is none answering, and he taketh her on the ass, and the man riseth and goeth to his place,

And he said unto her, up, and let us be going,.... He spoke to her as supposing her asleep, in order to awake her, and prepare for their journey with all the haste they could, lest greater mischief should befall them:

but none answered; for she was dead; and her death was occasioned, as JosephusF23Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 5. c. 2. sect. 8.) says, partly through grief at what she had suffered, and partly through shame, not daring to come into the sight of her husband; but chiefly through the injuries done her by the number of persons that had lain with her: so it is reportedF24Herodot. Urania, sive, l. 8. c. 33. of the Thessalonians, when they took Phocis, many women were destroyed through the abundance of rapes committed upon them. To these Abarbinel adds, the cold of the night, being without her clothes, or anything to cover her:

then the man took her up upon an ass; and carried off her dead body, without making any remonstrance to the inhabitants, from whom he could not expect that any justice would be done him:

and the man rose up, and got him unto his place; to his city on one side Mount Ephraim, to which he made as much haste as he could, instead of going to the house of God at Shiloh, as he proposed; for now the circumstances of things were changed with him, and instead of sacrificing and giving praise to God in his house, his business was to seek for justice from the tribes of Israel.


Judges 19:29  29 When he entered his house he took a knife, laid hold of his concubine, and divided her into twelve pieces, limb by limb,[c] and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel.

   YLT  29and cometh in unto his house, and taketh the knife, and layeth hold on his concubine, and cutteth her in pieces to her bones -- into twelve pieces, and sendeth her into all the border of Israel.

And when he was come into his house,.... Having taken the dead body of his wife from off the ass, and brought it in thither, and laid it in a proper place and order:

he took a knife; a carving knife, such as food is cut with, as the word signifies; the Targum is, a sword:

and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces; cut off her limbs at the joints of her bones, and made twelve pieces of them, according to the number of the tribes of Israel:

and sent her into all the coasts of Israel; that is, to every tribe, as Josephus saysF25Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 5. c. 2. sect. 8.) : there was now no supreme magistrate to apply unto for justice, nor the court of seventy elders, and therefore he took this strange and unheard of method to acquaint each of the tribes with the fact committed; this he did not out of disrespect to his wife, but to express the vehement passion he was in on account of her death, in the way it was, and to raise their indignation at the perpetrators of it. Ben Gersom thinks he did not send to the tribe of Benjamin, where the evil was done; but Abarbinel is of another mind, and as Levi was not a tribe that lay together in one part of the land, but was scattered in it, pieces might be sent to the two half tribes of Manasseh, as the one lay on the one side Jordan, and the other on the other, and so there were twelve for the twelve pieces to be sent unto. So Ptolemy king of Egypt killed his eldest son, and divided his members, and put them in a box, and sent them to his mother on his birthdayF26Justia. e Trogo, l. 38. c. 8. . ChytraeusF1Apud Quistorp. in loc. writes, that about A. C. 140, a citizen of Vicentia, his daughter being ravished by the governor Carrarius, and cut to pieces, who had refused to send her to him, being sent back again, he put up the carcass in a vessel, and sent it to the senate of Venice, and invited them to punish the governor, and seize upon the city.


Judges 19:30   30 And so it was that all who saw it said, “No such deed has been done or seen from the day that the children of Israel came up from the land of Egypt until this day. Consider it, confer, and speak up!”

   YLT  30And it hath come to pass, every one who seeth hath said, `There hath not been -- yea, there hath not been seen like this, from the day of the coming up of the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt till this day; set your [heart] upon it, take counsel, and speak.'

And it was so, that all that saw it,.... The dismembered pieces of the dead body, and were made acquainted with the cause of it; for so JosephusF2Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 5. c. 2. sect. 8.) says, he gave the messengers a command to declare what was the cause of her death:

said, there was no such deed done nor seen, from the day that the children of Israel came out of Egypt, unto this day; meaning not so much the cutting in pieces the dead body, and sending it to different parts; though that was awful and shocking, as the complicated wickedness committed at Gibeah, which was the cause of it, to which reference is had, Hosea 9:9 this is an observation of the writer of this book, Samuel; but what follows are the words either of those the Levite sent, who were bid to deliver them to those to whom the pieces were sent, or else of the persons present at the time of the delivery of the pieces to them, or whom they got together to disclose the matter to:

consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds; well weigh and think of the matter within yourselves, consult with one another what is proper to be done, and give your opinion freely without any reserve.


──John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible


New King James Version (NKJV)


  1. Judges 19:22 Literally sons of Belial
  2. Judges 19:24 Literally his
  3. Judges 19:29 Literally with her bones