Despite the fact that the violent rape of the Levite's concubine was certainly horrific and wrong, the Levite himself has his own flaws:

Judges 19 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

2 But his concubine played the harlot against him, and she went away from him to her father’s house in Bethlehem in Judah, and was there for a period of four months. 3 Then her husband arose and went after her to speak [b]tenderly to her in order to bring her back, [c]taking with him his servant and a pair of donkeys.

1) ( Judges 19:2-3 ) could be seen as Levite's borderline apathy towards his concubine because it takes him 4 months to try and mend the broken relationship that he has with his concubine. (However, one might argue that he did was waiting for 4 months because he wanted to also use time to heal said broken relationship.)

Judges 19 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and brought her out to them; and they raped her and abused her all night until morning, then let her go at the approach of dawn.

2) Now there might be some debate as to who did the seizing of the concubine. In other words, was it the old man who was the host( the owner of the house ) or was it the Levite himself? Regardless, even if it was the old man who was the host who seized the concubine, and Not the Levite, it would still be surprising/shocking that the Levite did Not object or Not Stop seizing of the concubine. Basically, it shows that the Levite did Not really care about his concubine.

Judges 19 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

27 When her master arose in the morning and opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his way, then behold, his concubine was lying at the doorway of the house with her hands on the threshold.

3) It's quite shocking that the Levite arose(which means he slept all night) while he knew that his concubine was being gang raped by so the mob of men.

Judges 19 New American Standard Bible (NASB) 28 He said to her, “Get up and let us go,” but there was no answer.

4) We could say that the Levite command to his concubine who was just gang raped was certainly condescending because he does Not even ask if she is alright, and shows No remorse/sympathy/regret

Judges 19 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
27 When her master arose in the morning and opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his way, then behold, his concubine was lying at the doorway of the house with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, “Get up and let us go,” but there was no answer. Then he placed her on the donkey; and the man arose and went to his [u]home. 29 When he entered his house, he took a knife and laid hold of his concubine and cut her in twelve pieces, limb by limb, and sent her throughout the territory of Israel.

5) Notice that it Only says that there was no answer after the gang rape of the concubine, but it does Not say she died so she might have been unconscious. But, it is the Levite who took the knife and cut his own concubine into pieces which implies/suggests that the Levite himself might have ultimately killed her, and possibly Not the mob of men who raped her.

Would the aforementioned analysis be correct?

  • I think she was definitely dead. The incident simply shows how heartless and callous the men were.
    – user25930
    Commented Jun 1, 2019 at 22:43
  • However, doesn't the Levite also behave in an apathetic, selfish and/or condescending manner towards his concubine? Doesn't the Levite have his own flaws? Commented Jun 1, 2019 at 22:49
  • I completely agree - the Levite was almost as cavalier as the mob. However, he did recognise the mass rape as a heinous crime which is what cased the events that followed. This does not excuse the appalling way he threw the concubine out the door to the mob - just as bad in my judgement.
    – user25930
    Commented Jun 1, 2019 at 23:26
  • He was considered her husband v3 but it says that she had committed adultery. “And his concubine was unfaithful to him, and she went away from him to her father's house at Bethlehem in Judah, and was there some four months.” ‭‭Judges‬ ‭19:2 by the Law she should have been sentenced to death. But this was an event that would expose the compromise of the tribe of Judah and Israel illustrated by their defeat against the perpetrators in upcoming battle for failing to keep the land clean from immorality and defiling God’s turf. She was already guilty even before they sodomized her dead. Commented Jun 2, 2019 at 4:33
  • I do not blame her for leaving him if he was so callous - she was only a concubine not a full wife.
    – user25930
    Commented Jun 2, 2019 at 6:53

3 Answers 3


When I was a young girl, it was very difficult for me to read of these accounts that are so horrific which portray the callous and unfeeling nature of those people. But, I later realized that I was letting my emotions, and my perspective from a Christian background and culture color a straight forward and unbiased account of events that happened a long time ago in a very different culture and to very wicked people.

One of the proofs that the Bible is the inspired word of YHVH is this very unbiased and detailed account of events, for if men had written of these events they would certainly have been shaded with justifications and rationalizations for their actions. But, our Father has not left us without the reason.

That the Holy Spirit recorded the actions of men does not denote approval of those actions. Every record is important as everything from Genesis to Revelation concerns in one way or another the account of the First and the Last, the Aleph and the Tav (Gen. 1:1), the Alpha and the Omega... the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus) (Isa 41:4; 44:6; Rev. 1:8).

Keeping this in mind, then we search the scriptures to see why YHVH needed to tell us the wicked and evil things that people of the Lord had done.

"1 And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.

2 And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?

3 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you." (Judg. 2:1-3, KJV)

After Joshua had died, and the elders of his generation, the following generation did not know or remember the wonderful things God had done for them, and began to do what was right in their own eyes (Judg. 17:6; 21:25).

"10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.

11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim:

12 And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger.

13 And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.

14 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.

15 Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed." (Judg. 2:10-15, KJV)

Because the children of Israel had not completely driven out the wicked ones of Canaan, God determined to leave the wicked tribes in the land to prove Israel (Judg. 2:20-23; 3:1-4).

So, the account of the Levite and his concubine in Judges 19 & 20 is setting the stage, and is the reason why the tribes begin to fight with each other. The KJV uses the word "whore", whereas the CJB merely says she was unfaithful. To the Western mind that might mean she committed adultery, but if so it would have been a death sentence. She would not have been welcomed into her father's house, nor would her husband have wanted her back.

Commentary from Jaieson-Fausset-Brown at Judges 19:2:

"2. his concubine … went away from him unto her father's house—The cause of the separation assigned in our version rendered it unlawful for her husband to take her back (De 24:4); and according to the uniform style of sentiment and practice in the East, she would have been put to death, had she gone to her father's family. Other versions concur with Josephus, in representing the reason for the flight from her husband's house to be, that she was disgusted with him, through frequent brawls." Source: Biblehub

The scriptures do not say that the Levite slept, only that he arose. We are not provided with any of his feelings nor his emotions during these events. We are only given the raw data, the acts that were committed.

Commentary from Jamieson-Fausset-Brown on Judges 19:

"1. it came to pass in those days—The painfully interesting episode that follows, together with the intestine commotion the report of it produced throughout the country, belongs to the same early period of anarchy and prevailing disorder.

a certain Levite … took to him a concubine—The priests under the Mosaic law enjoyed the privilege of marrying as well as other classes of the people. It was no disreputable connection this Levite had formed; for a nuptial engagement with a concubine wife (though, as wanting in some outward ceremonies, it was reckoned a secondary or inferior relationship) possessed the true essence of marriage; it was not only lawful, but sanctioned by the example of many good men.A Levite’s concubine runs from him to her father’s house at Beth-lehem; he goeth to fetch her back; is kindly entertained by her father; he departs, and comes to Gibeah of Benjamin, and his concubine with him, Judges 19:1-14. An old man of Mount Ephraim entertains them, Judges 19:15-21. The men of the city encompass the house, to debauch the Levite, who through necessity delivers unto them his concubine, whom they abuse to death, Judges 19:22-28. He carrieth her body home; divideth it into twelve parts; sendeth them into all the coasts of Israel, Judges 19:29,30." (Source: Biblehub

He did not directly kill his concubine. He found her dead on the doorstep (Judg. 20:4-5).

Was it right for that Levite to offer his inferior wife (concubine) to save himself? Was his behavior the next morning cavalier and unfeeling?

We cannot read the OT in the English and get all of the flavor and nuance of the Hebrew without knowing the Hebrew traditions, and the Law.

We could possibly justify that he was afraid when the whole house was surrounded by such wicked men - those sons of Belial - who might have torn the house down and killed everyone inside to get to that one man.

He did at least have enough anger over the treatment of his concubine / wife that he sent pieces of her body as proof of what was done throughout all of Israel. But, the entire record was the reason for the subsequent actions in chapters 20 & 21 of the tribes fighting among themselves.

You ask if his actions were correct. The answer is no. But, that is the point. God told us of these events so that we could see how wicked Israel had become while living among the evil Canaanites who they had left in the land. They had violated God's command and had become like the evil ones they lived among.

Jamieson-Faussett-Brown's Commentary at Judges 19:24:

"22-24. certain sons of Belial beset the house—The narrative of the horrid outrage that was committed; of the proposal of the old man; the unfeeling, careless, and in many respects, inexplicable conduct of the Levite towards his wife, disclose a state of morality that would have appeared incredible, did it not rest on the testimony of the sacred historian. Both men ought to have protected the women in the house, even though at the expense of their lives, or thrown themselves on God's providence. It should be noted, however, that the guilt of such a foul outrage is not fastened on the general population of Gibeah." Source: Biblehub

Though your question includes a mention of chap. 20, you have only asked about the Levite in chap. 19. But, in chap. 20 when the tribes gather men to go against Benjamin and Gibeah, they sought counsel of God, and asked Him a question.

"18 And the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the Lord said, Judah shall go up first." (Judg. 20:18, KJV)

They didn't ask God if they should fight against Benjamin. They asked Him who should go up first to the battle. God's answer was to send Judah, but God did not support Judah, and Judah lost 22,000 men (Judg. 20:21). They asked God if they should fight their brother Benjamin again, and God told them yes (Judg. 20:23). But, He still allowed 18,000 men of Israel to be killed.

Only on the third day did He allow Phinehas to succeed (Judg. 20:28-48). Throughout all of this period after Joshua's death and before a king was appointed, God supported those who proved themselves to be with Him, and did not support those who walked away from Him to do evil.

God's record of the Levite in Judges ch. 19 was not an approval of that man's actions. It was not an indication of acceptable behavior on his part. It was simply an account of what happened. YHVH made an oath and a covenant with the Israelite, but they broke it.

It is entirely possible that God might have provided an alternative solution in Judges 19 if that Levite had stood with YHVH and asked Him for deliverance from the evil ones.

YHVH continued to use those people for the promise He had made to Abraham in order to bring about the salvation plan through the lineage to Yeshua. He kept that promise, and delivered the Messiah through Abraham's promised seed, in Isaac (Rom. 9:7).

  1. The Levite did not pursue after the woman, but permitted her to be in her father's house in peace and quietness. These matters (of marital separation) are not to be dealt with impetuously. If anything, it shows admirable restraint on his part. I do not think it is proper to see fault in this.

  2. The house was surrounded by 'men of belial' - lawless, idolatrous, ungovernable and violent. It is easy to criticize actions of offering a woman to pacify them. The alternative was the probable death of the entire household. There was no police force. There was none came to help in the midst of a riot. The household were on their own in great danger from an incensed mob.

  3. The man 'arose'. That is to say he was lying down. The text does not say that he had been asleep. No conclusion can be drawn from this. He may have been lying all night on his face praying, for all we know.

  4. The man left in haste. The place was dangerous. He urged the woman to be going as it must have immediately seemed that she was sleeping in the porchway. It would not have been safe for him to go out during darkness. Now, it was light and they needed to escape, quickly, before the men of the place stirred from their night of wickedness and renewed their violence.

  5. 'None answered' surely means she was dead. It was surely a corpse that was transported on the animal. But the Levite was the one who took responsibility for whether life had ceased or not. The narrative does not comment on the competence of his medical decision. The householder would be a witness to the fact of 'none answered' and could affirm that. There is no other evidence, only the 'medical opinion' of the Levite. Thus the accuracy of the narrative, since the Levite cut up the body and must take responsibility that the woman was, indeed, deceased.

  6. The Levite showed passion, justice, competence and astuteness in dividing the woman into twelve. Each tribe would be under an obligation to return the parts so that a proper Jewish burial could be arranged. No single tribe would be able to ignore the situation. Each single tribe would be absolutely obliged to send representatives - at least to return the body parts.

  7. I work as a Security Officer and I deal with situations of many kinds. Sometimes I am so frightened that my heart pumps so fast and hard that I am unable to speak, but I have to stand and not let it show. I know that there are times - during potentially violent confrontations - that the apparently 'brave' response is the worse possible course of action and will result in an escalation to life-threatening scenarios.

  8. I cannot see any reason, myself, to criticize the Levite in any single thing that he did.

  9. Had the Levite resisted the mob, and had the mob killed the Levite, there would have been no report of the appalling situation in that town. The course of action he took was one in which the matter was reported and one in which the nation of Israel intervened and saw justice done. Otherwise, nothing would have happened and the terrible state of affairs would have continued, unabated.

  10. Who knows how many visitors to the town had already been murdered by this gang during successive nights of similar conduct ?


I believe the concubine is symbolic of Israel. Just prior in Judges 17, Micah steals from his mother, tells her and she brags on him. This man sounds like spawn of the devil. He uses his stolen money to buy silver and make an idol. He then hires a Levite to perform religious services, establishing the fact that the religious leaders of Israel were for sale to anyone, no matter how bad. The concubine in chapter 19 is a picture of Israel's Levite leadership because she begins by prostituting herself. After Elijah called down fire from heaven on Mt. Carmel, Israel never again practiced idolatry. This parallels the concubine going home to her father.

The Levite went to get her after 4 months. Jesus came in year 4000. The father seemed to know what would happen and delayed their leaving until it was late. There's a period of history called 'The Dark Ages.' The Levite's servant suggested stopping for the night in Jerusalem, but was told 'It's full of foreigners'...a hint of a future when Jerusalem would again be filled with foreigners. The Levite stops in Gibeah, and the residents want to have sex with the Levite, reminiscent of Sodom & Gomorrah. The concubine is given to the residents of Gibeah. The text is vague about her death, suggesting it's a result of violent, perverted sex accompanied by beating. The Levite cuts her into 12 pieces and sends each piece to one of the tribes. At that point, the concubine lost her identity, except for her head. The Jews were outraged at the manner of her death, saying "Such a thing has never been done, or even heard of!"

The 12 tribes comprise one nation, Israel. Israel decided to cut out part of their body, the tribe of Benjamin, and subsequently lost their identity. Today, Jews do not know their tribal affiliation, except for their head..some of the Levites can trace their identity. It is helpful to see who Benjamin is...the second son of Jacob and Rachel. Their first son, Joseph, is a picture of Jesus in His first coming. Benjamin is a picture of Jesus in His second coming. In the first century, the religious leaders, the Levites, rejected Jesus' claim to be the messiah. Their reasoning, delivered quite passionately, referred to the manner of Jesus' death, saying 'Such a thing has never been done before or even heard of!' An interesting aside is just before the story of Micah is the death of Samson, and there are parallels between Jesus' and Samson's death. Both died with their arms outstretched. Samson's arms were tied to the temple columns; some scholars suggest Jesus' hands may have been tied, in addition to the nails. Although the Holy Temple came down 40 years after Jesus' death, and the temple in Samson's story is Philistine, both death's are associated with a temple coming down. Samson defeated the enemy when he died; so did Jesus (death).

Rom.2:29 says not everyone who is circumcised in the flesh has a circumcised heart, meaning who you are is a heart matter. Since Benjamin is a picture of Jesus in His second coming, it could be said a Jew who believes Jesus is the messiah belongs to the tribe of Benjamin. In the first century, the religious leaders (Levites) declared war on the Christian Jews, the Benjamites. They did everything possible to get rid of them, from killing them, i.e., Stephen, to adding a curse against Christians to the daily prayers. This war has continued to this day. Jews who wish to emigrate to Israel are welcome, as long as they are not Christian. Jews who wish to attend synagogue can do so, but Christians cannot join. Orthodox Jews will not let their daughters marry a Jewish man who is a Christian.

The Jews in Judges 19 stopped the war before Benjamin was wiped out, leaving 600 men. The Jewish sages believe the Messiah will come in year 6000 (no one has access to God's clock). Since the other tribes would not let their daughters marry a Benjamite, they wiped out the town of Jabesh-Gilead, and took 400 maidens for wives for the Benjamites. Jabesh-Gilead had not participated in the war on Benjamin, and Jabesh-Gilead means dry hill of testimony. Perhaps it refers to people who haven't heard about God, prior to Jesus', and are given the opportunity to live when Jesus came, symbolized through the young maidens. The remaining 200 Benjamite men are allowed to take wives from the young maidens who dance at Shiloh, a picture of the Church adding members for the next 2,000 years, of whoever they can find.

The worst part of the story is the manner of the concubine's death. In a way, she deserved it because she began by selling herself. In the Bible, harlotry is a parallel to religious idolatry, or worship of God that's messed up. If the concubine represents Israel during the Dark Ages, it is so, so sad that the Church slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Jews, in the name of Jesus. Talk about messed up religion, but ours was. What a picture in this story: Israel messed up by practicing idolatry, and centuries later, Jews are slaughtered by Christian zealots. It's hard to see ourselves as God must see us, but maybe it's necessary if we are to humble ourselves before Him.

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