The Message

Judges 19

The Levite

11-4 It was an era when there was no king in Israel. A Levite, living as a stranger in the backwoods hill country of Ephraim, got himself a concubine, a woman from Bethlehem in Judah. But she quarreled with him and left, returning to her father’s house in Bethlehem in Judah. She was there four months. Then her husband decided to go after her and try to win her back. He had a servant and a pair of donkeys with him. When he arrived at her father’s house, the girl’s father saw him, welcomed him, and made him feel at home. His father-in-law, the girl’s father, pressed him to stay. He stayed with him three days; they feasted and drank and slept.

5-6 On the fourth day, they got up at the crack of dawn and got ready to go. But the girl’s father said to his son-in-law, “Strengthen yourself with a hearty breakfast and then you can go.” So they sat down and ate breakfast together.

6-7 The girl’s father said to the man, “Come now, be my guest. Stay the night—make it a holiday.” The man got up to go, but his father-in-law kept after him, so he ended up spending another night.

8-9 On the fifth day, he was again up early, ready to go. The girl’s father said, “You need some breakfast.” They went back and forth, and the day slipped on as they ate and drank together. But the man and his concubine were finally ready to go. Then his father-in-law, the girl’s father, said, “Look, the day’s almost gone—why not stay the night? There’s very little daylight left; stay another night and enjoy yourself. Tomorrow you can get an early start and set off for your own place.”

10-11 But this time the man wasn’t willing to spend another night. He got things ready, left, and went as far as Jebus (Jerusalem) with his pair of saddled donkeys, his concubine, and his servant. At Jebus, though, the day was nearly gone. The servant said to his master, “It’s late; let’s go into this Jebusite city and spend the night.”

12-13 But his master said, “We’re not going into any city of foreigners. We’ll go on to Gibeah.” He directed his servant, “Keep going. Let’s go on ahead. We’ll spend the night either at Gibeah or Ramah.”

14-15 So they kept going. As they pressed on, the sun finally left them in the vicinity of Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin. They left the road there to spend the night at Gibeah.

15-17 The Levite went and sat down in the town square, but no one invited them in to spend the night. Then, late in the evening, an old man came in from his day’s work in the fields. He was from the hill country of Ephraim and lived temporarily in Gibeah where all the local citizens were Benjaminites. When the old man looked up and saw the traveler in the town square, he said, “Where are you going? And where are you from?”

18-19 The Levite said, “We’re just passing through. We’re coming from Bethlehem on our way to a remote spot in the hills of Ephraim. I come from there. I’ve just made a trip to Bethlehem in Judah and I’m on my way back home, but no one has invited us in for the night. We wouldn’t be any trouble: We have food and straw for the donkeys, and bread and wine for the woman, the young man, and me—we don’t need anything.”

20-21 The old man said, “It’s going to be all right; I’ll take care of you. You aren’t going to spend the night in the town square.” He took them home and fed the donkeys. They washed up and sat down to a good meal.

22 They were relaxed and enjoying themselves when the men of the city, a gang of local hell-raisers all, surrounded the house and started pounding on the door. They yelled for the owner of the house, the old man, “Bring out the man who came to your house. We want to have sex with him.”

23-24 He went out and told them, “No, brothers! Don’t be obscene—this man is my guest. Don’t commit this outrage. Look, my virgin daughter and his concubine are here. I’ll bring them out for you. Abuse them if you must, but don’t do anything so senselessly vile to this man.”

25-26 But the men wouldn’t listen to him. Finally, the Levite pushed his concubine out the door to them. They raped her repeatedly all night long. Just before dawn they let her go. The woman came back and fell at the door of the house where her master was sleeping. When the sun rose, there she was.

27 It was morning. Her master got up and opened the door to continue his journey. There she was, his concubine, crumpled in a heap at the door, her hands on the threshold.

28 “Get up,” he said. “Let’s get going.” There was no answer.

29-30 He lifted her onto his donkey and set out for home. When he got home he took a knife and dismembered his concubine—cut her into twelve pieces. He sent her, piece by piece, throughout the country of Israel. And he ordered the men he sent out, “Say to every man in Israel: ‘Has such a thing as this ever happened from the time the Israelites came up from the land of Egypt until now? Think about it! Talk it over. Do something!’”

Japanese Living Bible

士師記 19


1イスラエルにまだ王がいなかったころ、あるレビ人がエフライムの山地の奥に住んでいました。その人は、ユダのベツレヘムから一人の娘をそばめとして連れて来ました。 ところが彼女はその人をきらって、ベツレヘムの実家へ逃げ帰り、四か月もそこにいました。 そこで夫は従者を一人伴い、そばめを乗せるろばをもう一頭連れて、彼女を連れ戻そうと会いに出かけたのです。彼女は訪ねて来た夫を招き入れ、父親に引き合わせると、父親も歓待してくれました。 勧められるまま三日間滞在し、うちとけて、楽しい時を過ごしました。

四日目の朝早く、出立しようと腰を上げると、父親は、朝食をすませてからにするよう熱心に勧めます。 そうこうするうち、たいそう楽しかったのか、父親は、もう一晩泊まってくれとしきりに頼むのです。 初めはなかなか承知しませんでしたが、しゅうとがあまりに頼むので断りきれず、泊まることにしました。 翌朝、二人が早く起きると、またも父親が、「夕方までいてください。そして、日暮れ前にお発ちなさい」と、拝み倒さんばかりに頼むのです。二人はこの日も、ごちそう攻めに会いました。


10 しかし、今度ばかりは耳を貸さず、彼らは出立し、日暮れまでに、エブスとも呼ばれたエルサレムの近くまで来ました。 11 従者が主人に言いました。「日が暮れかかっておりますので、これ以上旅を続けるわけにはいきません。今夜はここに泊まってはいかがでしょう。」

12-13 「いや、だめだ。イスラエル人のいない異教徒の町だから。ギブアか、できればラマまで行こう。」

14 こうして、一行は旅を続けました。ベニヤミン族の村ギブアまで来た時、ちょうど日が沈みました。 15 ここで一泊しようと町へ入って行きましたが、だれも招き入れてくれません。しかたなく町の広場で野宿することにしました。 16 ちょうどそこへ、野良仕事を終えた老人が通りかかりました。そこはベニヤミンの領地でしたが、この老人はエフライムの山地出身で、今はギブアに住んでいる人でした。 17 広場に野宿している旅人に目を留めた老人は、「どちらからお越しかな。どこまで行かれるのじゃ」と尋ねました。

18 「ユダのベツレヘムから戻る途中です。シロからそう遠くないエフライムの山奥に住んでおります。今夜は、どこの家にも泊めてもらえなかったのです。 19 ろばの餌も私たちの食糧やぶどう酒も、たくさん持っています。」

20 「お気づかいは無用ですよ。私の家にお泊まりなさい。こんな所に野宿してはいけない。」

21 老人は一行を自宅に案内しました。ろばにたっぷりまぐさをやったあと、共に食卓を囲みました。 22 夕食の席がしだいにはなやいできた時、ならず者の一団が家を取り囲み、戸をたたき始めたのです。彼らは大声で、「おまえの所に泊まった男を出せ。そいつに興味があるのだ」とどなります。 23 老人は外へ出て、彼らと話し合いました。「そんな悪いことはよしなされ。あの方は私の客人だ。 24 代わりに、私のところの生娘と客人のそばめを差し出そう。いま二人を連れて来るから、好きなようにすればいい。ただし、客人には指一本ふれてくれるな。」

25 それでも彼らは聞き入れません。すると客人のレビ人は、自分のそばめを外のならず者の前に放り出しました。彼らは夜通し代わる代わる彼女を辱め、夜が明けるころようやく解放したのです。 26 彼女は、明るくなるまで戸口に倒れたままでした。

27 旅立とうとして夫が戸を開けると、自分のそばめが手を敷居にかけたまま入口に倒れているのを見ました。 28 「さあ、立ちなさい。出かけよう」と声をかけましたが、何の返事もありません。すでに彼女は死んでいたのです。彼は死体をろばに乗せ、家まで運びました。 29 家に着くと、ナイフで死体を十二に切り分け、一つずつイスラエルの各部族に送りました。 30 それを見た民はみな、ベニヤミン人の野蛮な行為に怒りをかきたてられました。「エジプトを出て以来、こんなひどい出来事があっただろうか。この事件を見過ごすわけにはいかない。」