Levite's concubine

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The Levite's concubine is a rape victim mentioned in the Book of Judges. Her brutal rape and murder incited a war of justice and retribution against the Tribe of Benjamin.

Biography[edit]

Flight[edit]

The concubine fled from her Levite husband in Ephraim to her father in Bethlehem in Judah. The Levite then went to recover his wife. The Levite spoke to his wife "kindly and tenderly" (Judges 19:3 (AMP)), and she brought him to her father.

The concubine's father had the Levite remain with him for several days. The father persuades the Levite to stay longer than he had initially intended. Finally, late on the fifth day, the Levite decided to return home to Ephraim with his wife. The concubine's father urged them to stay for at least one more night, but the Levite was adamant. As the day was approaching its end, they neared Jebus, and a servant of the Levite urged his master to spend the night at Jebus, but Levite did not wish to spend the night among foreigners and decided to push on until they reached Gibeah or Ramah.

Raped and murdered[edit]

They reached Gibeah, which belong to the Tribe of Benjamin, and they decided to stay there for the night. Initially, they spend the night in the city's square due to none of the locals granting them lodgings for the night, but a fellow man from Ephraim found them and invited the Levite and his party into his house in Gibeah.

However, the Gibeahites sought to sodomize the stranger. They surrounded the house and demanded that the host surrender the Levite to them. The host then offered the mob his maiden daughter and the Levite's concubine to rape.

No, my fellow citizens, please do not act so wickedly. Since this man has come to my house [as my guest], do not commit this sacrilege. Here is my virgin daughter and this man’s concubine. I will bring them out now; abuse and humiliate them and do to them whatever you want, but do not commit this act of sacrilege against this man.

— Judges 19:23–19:24 (AMP)

Yet the mob did not listen, so the host throw the Levite's concubine to the crowd. The mob then proceeded to brutally rape the concubine all night. The concubine made it back to the house's doorstep, where she collapsed and died.

War[edit]

The Levite found her and returned home with her body. The Levite then cut her body into twelve piece and spent them throughout Israel. The Israelites were dismayed, and they assembled at Mizpah. The Levite explained what happened and the Levite to decide on how to respond to the crime.

I had come with my concubine to spend the night in Gibeah, [a town] which belongs to [the tribe of] Benjamin. But the men of Gibeah rose up against me and surrounded the house at night because of me. They intended to kill me, but instead they raped my concubine [so brutally] that she died. So I took my concubine and cut her [corpse] in pieces and sent her [body parts] throughout the land of the inheritance of Israel; for the men of Gibeah have committed a lewd and disgraceful act in Israel. Now then, all you sons of Israel, all of you, give your advice and counsel here [regarding what should be done].

— Judges 20:4–20:7 (AMP)

The Israelites decided that the Gibeahites needed to be punished for their crimes. They demanded that the Benjamites surrender the wrongdoers to them, but the Benjamites refused the demand and assembled for war.

The other tribes of Israelites then assembled for war in order to enact justice. The Israelites consulted God, and God commanded for the Tribe of Judah to lead the war. At God's command, the Israelites made war on the Benjamites. With God's aid, the Israelites defeated the Benjamites in their third engagement. The Israelites continuing winning, routed the Benjamites, and destroyed them in the pursuit. They destroyed Gibeah and decimated the Benjamites.

Aftermath[edit]

Afterwards, the Israelites swore never to have their daughters marry Benjamites, yet they was sadden that their Benjamite brethren were nearly wiped out. They then destroyed Jabesh-gilead for not attending the assembly at Mizpah, leaving only the maidens alive. They gathered four hundred of these maidens and had the surviving Benjamites marry them in order to try to ensure the survival of the Tribe.

Yet the Benjamites required more wives, so the Israelites instructed the Benjamites to seize women from Shiloh for wives. The Benjamites did as they were instructed, their population was sustained, and inheritance was ensured.