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Judges 19:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the farther side of the hill-country of Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Beth-lehem-judah.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And it came to pass in those days, when [there was] no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the side of mount Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Bethlehemjudah.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Now it came about in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite staying in the remote part of the hill country of Ephraim, who took a concubine for himself from Bethlehem in Judah.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And it came to pass in those days, when [there was] no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite dwelling on the side of mount Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Beth-lehem-judah.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that a certain Levite, sojourning on the further side of mount Ephraim, took him a concubine out of Bethlehem-Judah.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— And it came to pass in those days, when, king, there was none in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the farther side of the hill country of Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Bethlehem-judah.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And it cometh to pass, in those days, when there is no king in Israel, that there is a man a Levite, a sojourner in the sides of the hill-country of Ephraim, and he taketh to him a wife, a concubine, out of Beth-Lehem-Judah;
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— There was a certain Levite, who dwelt on the side of mount Ephraim, who took a wife of Bethlehem Juda:
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And it came to passe in those dayes, when there [was] no King in Israel, that there was a certaine Leuite soiourning on the side of mount Ephraim, who tooke to him a concubine out of Bethlehem Iudah.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And there was a Levite sojourning in the sides of mount Ephraim, and he took to himself a concubine from Bethlehem{gr.Bethleem} Judah{gr.Juda}.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— And it came to pass in those days, when [there was] no king in Yisrael, that there was a certain Lewi sojourning on the side of mount Efrayim, who took to him a concubine out of Beth Lechem Yehudah.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And it came to pass x1961
(1961) Complement
A primitive root (compare H1933); to exist, that is, be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary).
in those x1992
(1992) Complement
Masculine plural from H1931; they (only used when emphatic).
days, 3117
{3117} Prime
From an unused root meaning to be hot; a day (as the warm hours), whether literally (from sunrise to sunset, or from one sunset to the next), or figuratively (a space of time defined by an associated term), (often used adverbially).
when [there was] no x369
(0369) Complement
As if from a primitive root meaning to be nothing or not exist; a non-entity; generally used as a negative particle.
king 4428
{4428} Prime
From H4427; a king.
in Yi$rl יִשׂרָאֵל, 3478
{3478} Prime
From H8280 and H0410; he will rule as God; Jisrael, a symbolical name of Jacob; also (typically) of his posterity.
that there was x1961
(1961) Complement
A primitive root (compare H1933); to exist, that is, be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary).
a certain 376
{0376} Prime
Contracted for H0582 (or perhaps rather from an unused root meaning to be extant); a man as an individual or a male person; often used as an adjunct to a more definite term (and in such cases frequently not expressed in translation.).
Lw לֵוִי 3881
{3881} Prime
Patronymic from H3878; a Leviite or descendant of Levi.
sojourning 1481
{1481} Prime
A primitive root; properly to turn aside from the road (for a lodging or any other purpose), that is, sojourn (as a guest); also to shrink, fear (as in a strange place); also to gather for hostility (as afraid).
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
on the side 3411
{3411} Prime
Feminine of H3409; properly the flank; but used only figuratively, the rear or recess.
of mount 2022
{2022} Prime
A shortened form of H2042; a mountain or range of hills (sometimes used figuratively).
Efrayim אֶפרַיִם, 669
{0669} Prime
Dual of a masculine form of H0672; double fruit; Ephrajim, a son of Joseph; also the tribe descended from him, and its territory.
who took 3947
{3947} Prime
A primitive root; to take (in the widest variety of applications).
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
to him a concubine 802
{0802} Prime
The first form is the feminine of H0376 or H0582; the second form is an irregular plural; a woman (used in the same wide sense as H0582).
{6370} Prime
Of uncertain derivation; a concubine; also (masculine) a paramour.
out of B Leem Yh בֵּית־לֶחֶם־יְהוּדָה. 1035
{1035} Prime
בֵּית לֶחֶם
Beyth Lechem
{bayth leh'-khem}
From H1004 and H3899; house of bread; Beth-Lechem, a place in Palestine.
{3063} Prime
From H3034; celebrated; Jehudah (or Judah), the name of five Israelites; also of the tribe descended from the first, and of its territory.
(4480) Complement
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Judges 19:1

_ _ Judges 19:1-15. A Levite going to Bethlehem to fetch his wife.

_ _ 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.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Judges 19:1-15

_ _ The domestic affairs of this Levite would not have been related thus largely but to make way for the following story of the injuries done him, in which the whole nation interested themselves. Bishop Hall's first remark upon this story is, That there is no complain of a public ordered state but there is a Levite at one end of it, either as an agent or as a patient. In Micah's idolatry a Levite was active; in the wickedness of Gibeah a Levite was passive; no tribe shall sooner feel the want of government than that of Levi; and, in all the book of Judges, no mention is made of any of that tribe, but of these two. This Levite was of Mount Ephraim, Judges 19:1. He married a wife of Bethlehem-Judah. She is called his concubine, because she was not endowed, for perhaps he had nothing to endow her with, being himself a sojourner and not settled; but it does not appear that he had any other wife, and the margin calls her a wife, a concubine, Judges 19:1. She came from the same city that Micah's Levite came from, as if Bethlehem-Judah owed a double ill turn to Mount Ephraim, for she was as bad for a Levite's wife as the other for a Levite.

_ _ I. This Levite's concubine played the whore and eloped from her husband, Judges 19:2. The Chaldee reads it only that she carried herself insolently to him, or despised him, and, he being displeased at it, she went away from him, and (which was not fair) was received and entertained at her father's house. Had her husband turned her out of doors unjustly, her father ought to have pitied her affliction; but, when she treacherously departed from her husband to embrace the bosom of a stranger, her father ought not to have countenanced her sin. Perhaps she would not have violated her duty to her husband if she had not known too well where she should be kindly received. Children's ruin is often owing very much to parents' indulgence.

_ _ II. The Levite went himself to court her return. It was a sign there was no king, no judge, in Israel, else she would have been prosecuted and put to death as an adulteress; but, instead of that, she is addressed in the kindest manner by her injured husband, who takes a long journey on purpose to beseech her to be reconciled, Judges 19:3. If he had put her away, it would have been a crime in him to return to her again, Jeremiah 3:1. But, she having gone away, it was a virtue in him to forgive the offence, and, though the party wronged, to make the first motion to her to be friends again. It is part of the character of the wisdom from above that it is gentle and easy to be entreated. He spoke friendly to her, or comfortably (for so the Hebrew phrase of speaking to the heart commonly signifies), which intimates that she was in sorrow, penitent fore what she had done amiss, which probably he heard of when he came to fetch her back. Thus God promises concerning adulterous Israel (Hosea 2:14), I will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably to her.

_ _ III. Her father made him very welcome, and, by his extraordinary kindness to him, endeavoured to atone for the countenance he had given his daughter in withdrawing from him, and to confirm him in his disposition to be reconciled to her. 1. He entertains him kindly, rejoices to see him (Jeremiah 3:3), treats him generously for three days, Judges 19:4. And the Levite, to show that he was perfectly reconciled, accepted his kindness, and we do not find that he upbraided him or his daughter with what had been amiss, but was as easy and as pleasant as at his first wedding-feast. It becomes all, but especially Levites, to forgive as God does. Every thing among them gave a hopeful prospect of their living comfortably together for the future; but, could they have foreseen what befel them within one day or two, how would all their mirth have been embittered and turned into mourning! When the affairs of our families are in the best posture we ought to rejoice with trembling, because we know not what troubles one day may bring forth. We cannot foresee what evil is near us, but we ought to consider what may be, that we may not be secure, as if tomorrow must needs be as this day and much more abundant, Isaiah 56:12. 2. He is very earnest for his stay, as a further demonstration of his hearty welcome. The affection he had for him, and the pleasure he took in his company, proceeded, (1.) From a civil regard to him as his son-in-law and an ingrafted branch of his own house. Note, Love and duty are due to those to whom we are related by marriage as well as to those who are bone of our bone: and those that show kindness as this Levite did may expect to receive kindness as he did. And, (2.) From a pious respect to him as a Levite, a servant of God's house; if he was such a Levite as he should be (and nothing appears to the contrary) he is to be commended for courting his stay, finding his conversation profitable, and having opportunity to learn from him the good knowledge of the Lord, hoping also that the Lord will do him good because he has a Levite to be his son-in-law, and will bless him for his sake. [1.] He forces him to stay the fourth day, and this was kind; not knowing when they might be together again, he engages him to stay as long as he possibly could. The Levite, though nobly treated, was very urgent to be gone. A good man's heart is where his business is; for as a bird that wanders from her nest so is the man that wanders form his place. It is a sign a man has either little to do at home, or little heart to do what he has to do, when he can take pleasure in being long abroad where he has nothing to do. It is especially good to see a Levite willing to go home to his few sheep in the wilderness. Yet this Levite was overcome by importunity and kind persuasion to stay longer than he intended, Judges 19:5-7. We ought to avoid the extreme of an over-easy yielding, to the neglect of our duty on the one hand, and that of moroseness and wilfulness, to the neglect of our friends and their kindness on the other hand. Our Saviour, after his resurrection, was prevailed upon to stay with his friends longer than he at first intimated to be his purpose, Luke 24:28, Luke 24:29. [2.] He forces him to stay till the afternoon of the fifth day, and this, as it proved, was unkind, Judges 19:8, Judges 19:9. He would by no means let him go before dinner, promises him he shall have dinner early, designing thereby, as he had done the day before, to detain him another night; but the Levite was intent on the house of the Lord at Shiloh (Judges 19:18), and, being impatient to get thither, would stay no longer. Had they set out early, they might have reached some better lodging-place than that which they were now constrained to take up with, nay, they might have got to Shiloh. Note, Our friends' designed kindnesses often prove, in the event, real injuries; what is meant for our welfare becomes a trap. Who knows what is good for a man in this life? The Levite was unwise in setting out so late; he might have got home better if he had staid a night longer and taken the day before him.

_ _ IV. In his return home he was forced to lodge at Gibeah, a city in the tribe of Benjamin, afterwards called Gibeah of Saul, which lay on his road towards Shiloh and Mount Ephraim. When it drew towards night, and the shadows of the evening were stretched out, they began to think (as it behoves us to do when we observe the day of our life hastening towards a period) where they must lodge. When night came they could not pursue their journey. He that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goes. They could not but desire rest, for which the night was intended, as the day for labour. 1. The servant proposed that they should lodge in Jebus, afterwards Jerusalem, but as yet in the possession of Jebusites. “Come,” said the servant, “let us lodge in this city of the Jebusites,” Judges 19:11. And, if they had done so, it is probable they would have had much better usage than they met with in Gibeah of Benjamin. Debauched and profligate Israelites are worse and much more dangerous than Canaanites themselves. But the master, as became one of God's tribe, would by no means quarter, no, not one night, in a city of strangers (Judges 19:12), not because he questioned his safety among them, but he was not willing, if he could possibly avoid it, to have so much intimacy and familiarity with them as a night's lodging came to, nor to be so much beholden to them. By shunning this place he would witness against the wickedness of those that contracted friendship and familiarity with these devoted nations. Let Israelites, Levites especially, associate with Israelites, and not with the sons of the stranger. 2. Having passed by Jebus, which was about five or six miles from Bethlehem (the place whence they came), and not having daylight to bring them to Ramah, they stopped at Gibeah (Judges 19:13-15); there they sat down in the street, nobody offering them a lodging. In these countries, at that time, there were no inns, or public-houses, in which, as with us, travellers might have entertainment for their money, but they carried entertainment along with them, as this Levite did (Judges 19:19), and depended upon the courtesy and hospitality of the inhabitants for a lodging. Let us take occasion hence, when we are in journeys, to thank God for this, among other conveniences of travelling, that there are inns to entertain strangers, and in which they may be welcome and well accommodated for their money. Surely there is no country in the world wherein one may stay at home with more satisfaction, or go abroad with more comfort, than in our own nation. This traveller, though a Levite (and to those of that tribe God had particularly commanded his people to be kind upon all occasions), met with very cold entertainment at Gibeah: No man took them into his house. If they had any reason to think he was a Levite perhaps that made those ill-disposed people the more shy of him. There are those who will have this laid to their charge at the great day, I was a stranger and you took me not in.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Judges 19:1

A. concubine — Heb. a wife, a concubine, that is, such a concubine as was also his wife: called a concubine, only because she was not endowed. Perhaps he had nothing to endow her with, being himself only a sojourner.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

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Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
when there:

Judges 17:6 In those days [there was] no king in Israel, [but] every man did [that which was] right in his own eyes.
Judges 18:1 In those days [there was] no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day [all their] inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel.
Judges 21:25 In those days [there was] no king in Israel: every man did [that which was] right in his own eyes.


Judges 17:1 And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name [was] Micah.
Judges 17:8 And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehemjudah to sojourn where he could find [a place]: and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed.
Joshua 24:30 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which [is] in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.
Joshua 24:33 And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill [that pertained to] Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.

a concubine:
Heb. a woman or, a wife.
Genesis 22:24 And his concubine, whose name [was] Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.
Genesis 25:6 But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.
2 Samuel 3:7 And Saul had a concubine, whose name [was] Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and [Ishbosheth] said to Abner, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father's concubine?
2 Samuel 5:13 And David took [him] more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron: and there were yet sons and daughters born to David.
2 Samuel 16:22 So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel.
2 Samuel 19:5 And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines;
2 Samuel 20:3 And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women [his] concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in ward, and fed them, but went not in unto them. So they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in widowhood.
1 Kings 11:3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.
2 Chronicles 11:21 And Rehoboam loved Maachah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and his concubines: (for he took eighteen wives, and threescore concubines; and begat twenty and eight sons, and threescore daughters.)
Esther 2:14 In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name.
Song of Songs 6:8-9 There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number. ... My dove, my undefiled is [but] one; she [is] the [only] one of her mother, she [is] the choice [one] of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; [yea], the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.
Daniel 5:3 Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which [was] at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.
Malachi 2:15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
, Beth-lehem-judah,
Judges 17:8 And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehemjudah to sojourn where he could find [a place]: and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed.
Genesis 35:19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which [is] Bethlehem.
Matthew 2:6 And thou Bethlehem, [in] the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
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Gn 22:24; 25:6; 35:19. Jsh 24:30, 33. Jg 17:1, 6, 8; 18:1; 21:25. 2S 3:7; 5:13; 16:22; 19:5; 20:3. 1K 11:3. 2Ch 11:21. Es 2:14. So 6:8. Dn 5:3. Mal 2:15. Mt 2:6.

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