1. In those days, when there was no king in Israel, there was a man, a Levite, whose home was deep in the highlands of Ephraim. He took as concubine a woman from Bethlehem in Judah.
2. In a fit of anger his concubine left him and went back to her father's house at Bethlehem in Judah, and she stayed there for some time -- four months.
3. Her husband then set out after her, to appeal to her affections and fetch her back; he had his servant and two donkeys with him. As he was arriving at the house of the girl's father, the father saw him and came happily to meet him.
4. His father-in-law, the girl's father, kept him there; and he stayed with him for three days; they ate and drank and spent the nights there.
5. On the fourth day they got up early, and the Levite was preparing to leave when the girl's father said to his son-in-law, 'Have something to eat to gather strength; you can leave later.'
6. So they sat down and began eating and drinking, the two of them together; then the girl's father said to the young man, 'Please agree to spend tonight here too and enjoy yourself.'
7. And when the man got up to leave, the father-in-law pressed him again, and he spent another night there.
8. On the fifth day, the Levite got up early to leave, but the girl's father said to him, 'Please gather strength first!' So they stayed on until the sun began to go down, and the two men had a meal together.
9. The husband was getting up to leave with his concubine and his servant when his father-in-law, the girl's father, said, 'Look, day is fading into evening. Please spend the night here. Look, the day is nearly over. Spend the night here and enjoy yourself. Then, early tomorrow, you can leave on your journey and go back home.'
10. But the man, refusing to stay the night, got up and went on his way, until he arrived within sight of Jebus -- that is, Jerusalem. He had with him two donkeys saddled, his concubine and his servant.
11. By the time they were near Jebus, the light was going fast. The servant said to his master, 'Come on, please, let us turn off into this Jebusite town and spend the night there.'
12. His master replied, 'We shall not turn off into a town of foreigners, of people who are not Israelites; we shall go on to Gibeah.'
13. He then said to his servant, 'Come on, we shall try to reach one or other of those places, either Gibeah or Ramah, and spend the night there.'
14. So they kept going and went on with their journey. As they approached Gibeah in Benjamin, the sun was setting.
15. So they turned that way to spend the night in Gibeah. Once inside, the Levite sat down in the town square, but no one offered to take them in for the night.
16. Eventually, an old man came along at nightfall from his work in the fields. He too was from the highlands of Ephraim, although he was living in Gibeah; the people of the place, however, were Benjaminites.
17. Looking up, he saw the traveller in the town square. 'Where are you going?' said the old man, 'And where have you come from?'
18. 'We are on our way', the other replied, 'from Bethlehem in Judah to a place deep in the highlands of Ephraim. That is where I come from. I have been to Bethlehem in Judah and now I am going home, but no one has offered to take me into his house,
19. although we have straw and provender for our donkeys, and I also have bread and wine for myself, and this maidservant and the young man who is travelling with your servant; we are short of nothing.'
20. 'Welcome,' said the old man. 'I shall see that you have all you want. You cannot spend the night in the square.'
21. So he took him into his house and gave the donkeys provender. The travellers washed their feet, then ate and drank.
22. While they were enjoying themselves, some townsmen, scoundrels, came crowding round the house; they battered on the door and said to the old man, master of the house, 'Send out the man who went into your house, we should like to have intercourse with him!'
23. The master of the house went out to them and said, 'No, brothers, please, do not be so wicked. Since this man is now under my roof, do not commit such an infamy.
24. Here is my daughter; she is a virgin; I shall bring her out to you. Ill-treat her, do what you please with her, but do not commit such an infamy against this man.'
25. But the men would not listen to him. So the Levite took hold of his concubine and brought her out to them. They had intercourse with her and ill-treated her all night till morning; when dawn was breaking they let her go.
26. At daybreak the girl came and fell on the threshold of her husband's host, and she stayed there until it was light.
27. In the morning her husband got up and, opening the door of the house, was going out to continue his journey when he saw the woman, his concubine, lying at the door of the house with her hands on the threshold.
28. 'Get up,' he said, 'we must leave!' There was no answer. He then loaded her on his donkey and began the journey home.
29. Having reached his house, he took his knife, took hold of his concubine and cut her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces; he then sent her throughout the territory of Israel.
30. He gave instructions to his messengers, 'This is what you are to say to all the Israelites, "Has anything like this been done since the day when the Israelites came out of Egypt until today? Take this to heart, discuss it; then give your verdict." ' And all who saw it declared, 'Never has such a thing been done or been seen since the Israelites came out of Egypt until today.'