The conclusion of the Book of Judges highlights two appendices with stories that do not focus on a specific Judge. Instead, there are two stories told between chapters 17 and 21. It is in this article that you will also encounter the shocking tale of the Levite and his concubine.
From chapter 17 to 18, the tale of Dan and the Idols of Micah are presented. The story tells how the tribe of Dan conquers its territory in the north. The war between Benjamin and the other tribes is discussed in chapters 19 to 21, and concentrates on Gibeah and the Levite concubine. The end of the Book shows that the Israelites are living under worse circumstances that the start of the Book.
The Tale of the Levite and his Concubine
One of the most terrible tales in the Book of Judges centers on a Levite and his young concubine. We learn that she is angry with the Levite for something he has done, although we do not know what. She leaves him and returns to her father. The Levite wants the girl back and when he has cooled his temper, he follows the girl to the house of her father. The two men get along well and her father agrees that she must return to her husband. She complies.
It is nightfall when they reach Gibeah. Oddly enough, the people of the village are not welcoming and they meet an old man that warns them staying the night in the town square is not the move. He invites the two to stay at his house, where they also eat and drink. During their meal, a group of evil people gathers outside of the home and start beating on the door. They want the Levite with the intentions of having sex with him.
The man of the house begs the people to leave, but they laugh and continue with their shouting. He attempts to reason with the men, offering his own young daughter and the Levite’s concubine. A fight stirs and the Levite pushes his concubine into the group of men, where they rape and abuse her throughout the night. When morning comes, she escapes into the house where she falls on the doorstep. However, the people inside (including her husband) do not open the door. Eventually, he gets up and sees her outside. The girl is clutching the doorstep and he tells her to get up and that they are leaving. There is no answer from the girl. The text does not say if she is dead or unconscious, but he places her over his donkey and continues on his way back home.
When he gets closer to his home, he takes a knife and cuts the girl into 12 separate pieces. He is outraged at what has happened, and sends one of the 12 pieces to each of the 12 tribes of Israel.