Danites Take the Levite and the Idol
18 jIn those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days kthe tribe of the people of Dan was seeking for itself an inheritance to dwell in, for until then no inheritance among the tribes of Israel had fallen to them. 2 So the people of Dan sent five able men from the whole number of their tribe, lfrom Zorah and from Eshtaol, mto spy out the land and to explore it. And they said to them, “Go and explore the land.” And they came nto the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there. 3 When they were by the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young Levite. And they turned aside and said to him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What is your business here?” 4 And he said to them, “This is how Micah dealt with me: ohe has hired me, and I have become his priest.” 5 And they said to him, p“Inquire of God, please, that we may know whether the journey on which we are setting out will succeed.” 6 And the priest said to them, q“Go in peace. The journey on which you go is under the eye of the Lord.”
7 Then the five men departed and came to rLaish and saw the people who were there, how they lived in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, squiet and unsuspecting, lacking1 nothing that is in the earth and possessing wealth, and how tthey were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone. 8 And when they came to their brothers at uZorah and Eshtaol, their brothers said to them, “What do you report?” 9 They said, v“Arise, and let us go up against them, for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. wAnd will you do nothing? xDo not be slow to go, to enter in and possess the land. 10 As soon as you go, you will come to an yunsuspecting people. The land is spacious, for God has given it into your hands, za place where there is no lack of anything that is in the earth.”
11 So 600 men of the tribe of Dan, aarmed with weapons of war, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol, 12 and went up and encamped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. On this account that place is called bMahaneh-dan2 to this day; behold, it is west of cKiriath-jearim. 13 And they passed on from there to dthe hill country of Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah.
14 Then the five men who had gone to scout out the country of Laish said to their brothers, “Do you know that ein these houses there are an ephod, household gods, a carved image, and a metal image? Now therefore consider what you will do.” 15 And they turned aside there and came to the house of the young Levite, at the home of Micah, and fasked him about his welfare. 16 Now the 600 men of the Danites, garmed with their weapons of war, stood by the entrance of the gate. 17 And hthe five men who had gone to scout out the land went up and entered and took ithe carved image, the ephod, the household gods, and the metal image, while the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the 600 men armed with weapons of war. 18 And when these went into Micah's house and took ithe carved image, the ephod, the household gods, and the metal image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?” 19 And they said to him, “Keep quiet; jput your hand on your mouth and come with us and be to us ka father and a priest. Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and clan in Israel?” 20 And the priest's heart was glad. He took the ephod and the household gods and the carved image and went along with the people.
21 So they turned and departed, putting the little ones and the livestock and lthe goods in front of them. 22 When they had gone a distance from the home of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah's house were called out, and they overtook the people of Dan. 23 And they shouted to the people of Dan, who turned around and said to Micah, “What is the matter with you, that you come with such a company?” 24 And he said, m“You take my gods that I made and the priest, and go away, and what have I left? How then do you ask me, ‘What is the matter with you?’” 25 And the people of Dan said to him, “Do not let your voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows fall upon you, and you lose your life with the lives of your household.” 26 Then the people of Dan went their way. And when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his home.
27 But the people of Dan took what Micah had made, and the priest who belonged to him, and they came to Laish, to a people nquiet and unsuspecting, and ostruck them with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire. 28 And there was no deliverer because it was pfar from Sidon, and they had no dealings with anyone. It was in the valley that belongs to qBeth-rehob. Then they rebuilt the city and lived in it. 29 And they named the city rDan, after the name of Dan their ancestor, who was born to Israel; but sthe name of the city was Laish at the first. 30 And the people of Dan set up the carved image for themselves, and Jonathan the son of Gershom, tson of Moses,3 uand his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day vof the captivity of the land. 31 So they set up Micah's carved image that he made, was long as the house of God was at Shiloh.
A Levite and His Concubine
19 In those days, xwhen there was no king in Israel, a certain Levite was sojourning in the remote parts of ythe hill country of Ephraim, who took to himself a concubine from zBethlehem in Judah. 2 And his concubine was unfaithful to1 him, and she went away from him to her father's house at Bethlehem in Judah, and was there some four months. 3 Then her husband arose and went after her, to speak kindly to her and bring her back. He had with him his servant and a couple of donkeys. And she brought him into her father's house. And when the girl's father saw him, he came with joy to meet him. 4 And his father-in-law, the girl's father, made him stay, and he remained with him three days. So they ate and drank and spent the night there. 5 And on the fourth day they arose early in the morning, and he prepared to go, but the girl's father said to his son-in-law, a“Strengthen your heart with a morsel of bread, and after that you may go.” 6 So the two of them sat and ate and drank together. And the girl's father said to the man, “Be pleased to spend the night, and blet your heart be merry.” 7 And when the man rose up to go, his father-in-law pressed him, till he spent the night there again. 8 And on the fifth day he arose early in the morning to depart. And the girl's father said, c“Strengthen your heart and wait until the day declines.” So they ate, both of them. 9 And when the man and his concubine and his servant rose up to depart, his father-in-law, the girl's father, said to him, “Behold, now the day has waned toward evening. Please, spend the night. Behold, the day draws to its close. Lodge here and let your heart be merry, and tomorrow you shall arise early in the morning for your journey, and go home.”
10 But the man would not spend the night. He rose up and departed and arrived opposite dJebus (that is, Jerusalem). He had with him a couple of saddled donkeys, and his concubine was with him. 11 When they were near Jebus, the day was nearly over, and the servant said to his master, “Come now, let us turn aside to this city of the Jebusites and spend the night in it.” 12 And his master said to him, “We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners, who do not belong to the people of Israel, but we will pass on to eGibeah.” 13 And he said to his young man, “Come and let us draw near to one of these places and spend the night at Gibeah or at fRamah.” 14 So they passed on and went their way. And the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin, 15 and they turned aside there, to go in and spend the night at Gibeah. And he went in and sat down in the open square of the city, gfor no one took them into his house to spend the night.
16 And behold, an old man was coming from his work in the field at evening. The man was from hthe hill country of Ephraim, and he was sojourning in Gibeah. iThe men of the place were Benjaminites. 17 And he lifted up his eyes and 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?” 18 And he said to him, “We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah to the remote parts of the hill country of Ephraim, from which I come. I went to Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going jto the house of the Lord,2 gbut no one has taken me into his house. 19 We have straw and feed for our donkeys, with bread and wine for me and your female servant and the young man with your servants. kThere is no lack of anything.” 20 And the old man said, l“Peace be to you; I will care for all your wants. mOnly, do not spend the night in the square.” 21 So he brought him into his house and gave the donkeys feed. nAnd they washed their feet, and ate and drank.
22 As they were omaking their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, worthless fellows, psurrounded the house, beating on the door. And they said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may know him.” 23 And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brothers, qdo not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, rdo not do this vile thing. 24 sBehold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine. Let me bring them out now. tViolate them and do with them what seems good to you, but against this man rdo not do this outrageous thing.” 25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and made her go out to them. And they knew her and abused her all night until the morning. And as the dawn began to break, they let her go. 26 And as morning appeared, the woman came and fell down at the door of the man's house where her master was, until it was light.
27 And her master rose up in the morning, and when he opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his way, behold, there was his concubine lying at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, “Get up, let us be going.” uBut there was no answer. Then he put her on the donkey, and the man rose up and went away to his home. 29 And when he entered his house, he took a knife, and taking hold of his concubine he vdivided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel. 30 wAnd all who saw it said, “Such a thing has never happened or been seen from the day that the people of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt until this day; xconsider it, take counsel, and speak.”
Israel's War with the Tribe of Benjamin
20 Then yall the people of Israel came out, zfrom Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead, and the congregation assembled as one man to the Lord at aMizpah. 2 And the bchiefs of all the people, of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, 400,000 men on foot cthat drew the sword. 3 (Now the people of Benjamin heard that the people of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) And the people of Israel said, “Tell us, how did this evil happen?” 4 And the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, d“I came to Gibeah that belongs to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to spend the night. 5 eAnd the leaders of Gibeah rose against me and surrounded the house against me by night. They meant to kill me, and they violated my concubine, and she is dead. 6 fSo I took hold of my concubine and cut her in pieces and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel, for they have committed abomination and goutrage in Israel. 7 Behold, you people of Israel, all of you, hgive your advice and counsel here.”
8 And all the people arose as one man, saying, “None of us will go to his tent, and none of us will return to his house. 9 But now this is what we will do to Gibeah: we will go up against it by lot, 10 and we will take ten men of a hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred of a thousand, and a thousand of ten thousand, to bring provisions for the people, that when they come they may repay Gibeah of Benjamin for all the outrage that they have committed in Israel.” 11 So all the men of Israel gathered against the city, united as one man.
12 iAnd the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What evil is this that has taken place among you? 13 Now therefore give up the men, jthe worthless fellows in Gibeah, that we may put them to death kand purge evil from Israel.” But the Benjaminites would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the people of Israel. 14 Then the people of Benjamin came together out of the cities to Gibeah to go out to battle against the people of Israel. 15 And the people of Benjamin mustered out of their cities on that day l26,000 men mwho drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who mustered 700 chosen men. 16 Among all these were 700 chosen men who were nleft-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss. 17 And the men of Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered m400,000 men who drew the sword; all these were men of war.
19 Then the people of Israel rose in the morning and encamped against Gibeah. 20 And the men of Israel went out to fight against Benjamin, and the men of Israel drew up the battle line against them at Gibeah. 21 qThe people of Benjamin came out of Gibeah and destroyed on that day 22,000 men of the Israelites. 22 But the people, the men of Israel, took courage, and again formed the battle line in the same place where they had formed it on the first day. 23 rAnd the people of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until the evening. And they inquired of the Lord, “Shall we again draw near to fight against our brothers, the people of Benjamin?” And the Lord said, “Go up against them.”
24 So the people of Israel came near against the people of Benjamin the second day. 25 And Benjamin swent against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed 18,000 men of the people of Israel. All these were men who tdrew the sword. 26 Then all the people of Israel, the whole army, went up and came to uBethel and wept. They sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. 27 And the people of Israel inquired of the Lord v(for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28 and wPhinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, xministered before it in those days), saying, “Shall we go out once more to battle against our brothers, the people of Benjamin, or shall we cease?” And the Lord said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will give them into your hand.”
29 ySo Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah. 30 And the people of Israel went up against the people of Benjamin on the third day and set themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times. 31 And the people of Benjamin went out against the people and were drawn away from the city. And as at other times they began to strike and kill some of the people in the highways, zone of which goes up to aBethel and the other to Gibeah, and in the open country, about thirty men of Israel. 32 And the people of Benjamin said, b“They are routed before us, as at the first.” But the people of Israel said, “Let us flee and draw them away from the city to the highways.” 33 And all the men of Israel rose up out of their place and set themselves in array at Baal-tamar, and the men of Israel who were in ambush rushed out of their place from Maareh-geba.1 34 And there came against Gibeah 10,000 chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was hard, cbut the Benjaminites did not know that disaster was close upon them. 35 And the Lord defeated Benjamin before Israel, and the people of Israel destroyed 25,100 men of Benjamin that day. All these were men who ddrew the sword. 36 So the people of Benjamin saw that they were defeated.
The men of Israel gave ground to Benjamin, because they trusted the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah. 37 eThen the men in ambush hurried and rushed against Gibeah; the men in ambush moved out and struck all the city with the edge of the sword. 38 Now the appointed signal between the men of Israel and the men in the main ambush was that when they made a great cloud of smoke rise up out of the city 39 the men of Israel should turn in battle. Now Benjamin had begun to strike and kill about thirty men of Israel. They said, f“Surely they are defeated before us, as in the first battle.” 40 But when the signal began to rise out of the city in a column of smoke, the Benjaminites looked behind them, and behold, gthe whole of the city went up in smoke to heaven. 41 Then the men of Israel turned, and the men of Benjamin were dismayed, hfor they saw that disaster was close upon them. 42 Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel in ithe direction of the wilderness, but the battle overtook them. And those who came out of the cities were destroying them in their midst. 43 Surrounding the Benjaminites, they pursued them and trod them down from Nohah2 as far as opposite Gibeah on the east. 44 Eighteen thousand men of Benjamin fell, all of them men of valor. 45 And they turned iand fled toward the wilderness to the rock of jRimmon. Five thousand men of them were cut down in the highways. And they were pursued hard to Gidom, and 2,000 men of them were struck down. 46 So all who fell that day of Benjamin were 25,000 men who drew the sword, all of them men of valor. 47 But 600 men turned and ifled toward the wilderness to the rock of jRimmon and remained at the rock of Rimmon four months. 48 And the men of Israel turned back against the people of Benjamin and struck them with the edge of the sword, the city, men and beasts and all that they found. And all the towns that they found they set on fire.
Wives Provided for the Tribe of Benjamin
21 Now the men of Israel had sworn kat Mizpah, “No one of us shall give his daughter in marriage to Benjamin.” 2 And the people came to lBethel and sat there till evening before God, and they lifted up their voices and wept bitterly. 3 And they said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, why has this happened in Israel, that today there should be one tribe lacking in Israel?” 4 And the next day the people rose early and mbuilt there an altar and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. 5 And the people of Israel said, “Which of all the tribes of Israel did not come up in the assembly to the Lord?” nFor they had taken a great oath concerning him who did not come up to the Lord to Mizpah, saying, “He shall surely be put to death.” 6 And the people of Israel ohad compassion for Benjamin their brother and said, “One tribe is cut off from Israel this day. 7 pWhat shall we do for wives for those who are left, since we have sworn by the Lord that we will not give them any of our daughters for wives?”
8 And they said, “What one is there of the tribes of Israel that did not come up to the Lord to Mizpah?” And behold, no one had come to the camp from qJabesh-gilead, to the assembly. 9 For when the people were mustered, behold, not one of the inhabitants of qJabesh-gilead was there. 10 So the congregation sent 12,000 of their bravest men there and commanded them, r“Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword; also the women and the little ones. 11 This is what you shall do: severy male and every woman that has lain with a male you shall devote to destruction.” 12 And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead 400 young virgins who had not known a man by lying with him, and they brought them to the camp at tShiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.
13 Then the whole congregation sent word to the people of Benjamin who were at the urock of Rimmon and vproclaimed peace to them. 14 And Benjamin returned at that time. And they gave them the women whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-gilead, but they were not enough for them. 15 And the people whad compassion on Benjamin because the Lord had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.
16 Then the elders of the congregation said, x“What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?” 17 And they said, “There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, that a tribe not be blotted out from Israel. 18 Yet we cannot give them wives from our daughters.” yFor the people of Israel had sworn, “Cursed be he who gives a wife to Benjamin.” 19 So they said, “Behold, there is the yearly feast of the Lord at Shiloh, which is north of Bethel, on the east of zthe highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.” 20 And they commanded the people of Benjamin, saying, “Go and lie in ambush in the vineyards 21 and watch. If the daughters of Shiloh come out to adance in the dances, then come out of the vineyards and snatch each man his wife from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. 22 And when their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, we will say to them, ‘Grant them graciously to us, because we did not take for each man of them his wife in battle, neither did you give them to them, else you would now be guilty.’” 23 And the people of Benjamin did so and took their wives, according to their number, from the dancers whom they carried off. Then they went and returned to their inheritance band rebuilt the towns and lived in them. 24 And the people of Israel departed from there at that time, every man to his tribe and family, and they went out from there every man to his inheritance.
25 cIn those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
1 In the days awhen the judges ruled there was ba famine in the land, and a man of cBethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. 2 The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were dEphrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. 3 But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, 5 and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.
Ruth's Loyalty to Naomi
6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that ethe Lord had visited his people and fgiven them food. 7 So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. 8 But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother's house. May the Lord gdeal kindly with you, as you have dealt with hthe dead and with me. 9 The Lord grant that you may find irest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10 And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” 11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb jthat they may become your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, 13 would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that kthe hand of the Lord has gone out against me.” 14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
15 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to lher gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. mYour people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. nMay the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” 18 oAnd when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.
Naomi and Ruth Return
19 So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, pthe whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” 20 She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi;1 call me qMara,2 for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 rI went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”
22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem sat the beginning of barley harvest.