In those days there was no king of Israel; and in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking an inheritance for themselves to live in, for until that day an inheritance had not been allotted to them as a possession among the tribes of Israel.
So the sons of Dan sent from their family five men out of their whole number, valiant men from Zorah and Eshtaol, to spy out the land and to search it; and they said to them, ``Go, search the land." And they came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there.
When they were near the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young man, the Levite; and they turned aside there and said to him, ``Who brought you here? And what are you doing in this place? And what do you have here?"
He said to them, ``Thus and so has Micah done to me, and he has hired me and I have become his priest."
They said to him, ``Inquire of God, please, that we may know whether our way on which we are going will be prosperous."
The priest said to them, ``Go in peace; your way in which you are going has the LORD'S approval."
Then the five men departed and came to Laish and saw the people who were in it living in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure; for there was no ruler humiliating them for anything in the land, and they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone.
When they came back to their brothers at Zorah and Eshtaol, their brothers said to them, ``What do you report? "
They said, ``Arise, and let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. And will you sit still? Do not delay to go, to enter, to possess the land.
``When you enter, you will come to a secure people with a spacious land; for God has given it into your hand, a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth."
Then from the family of the Danites, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, six hundred men armed with weapons of war set out.
They went up and camped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. Therefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan to this day; behold, it is west of Kiriath-jearim.
They passed from there to the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah.
Then the five men who went to spy out the country of Laish said to their kinsmen, ``Do you know that there are in these houses an ephod and household idols and a graven image and a molten image? Now therefore, consider what you should do."
They turned aside there and came to the house of the young man, the Levite, to the house of Micah, and asked him of his welfare.
The six hundred men armed with their weapons of war, who were of the sons of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate.
Now the five men who went to spy out the land went up and entered there, and took the graven image and the ephod and household idols and the molten image, while the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men armed with weapons of war.
When these went into Micah's house and took the graven image, the ephod and household idols and the molten image, the priest said to them, ``What are you doing?"
They said to him, ``Be silent, put your hand over your mouth and come with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?"
The priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod and household idols and the graven image and went among the people.
Then they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the livestock and the valuables in front of them.
When they had gone some distance from the house of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah's house assembled and overtook the sons of Dan.
They cried to the sons of Dan, who turned around and said to Micah, ``What is the matter with you, that you have assembled together?"
He said, ``You have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and have gone away, and what do I have besides? So how can you say to me, `What is the matter with you?'"
The sons of Dan said to him, ``Do not let your voice be heard among us, or else fierce men will fall upon you and you will lose your life, with the lives of your household."
So the sons of Dan went on their way; and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house.
Then they took what Micah had made and the priest who had belonged to him, and came to Laish, to a people quiet and secure, and struck them with the edge of the sword; and they burned the city with fire.
And there was no one to deliver them, because it was far from Sidon and they had no dealings with anyone, and it was in the valley which is near Beth-rehob. And they rebuilt the city and lived in it.
They called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father who was born in Israel; however, the name of the city formerly was Laish.
The sons of Dan set up for themselves the graven image; and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land.
So they set up for themselves Micah's graven image which he had made, all the time that the house of God was at Shiloh.
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.
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.
Then her husband arose and went after her to speak tenderly to her in order to bring her back, taking with him his servant and a pair of donkeys. So she brought him into her father's house, and when the girl's father saw him, he was glad to meet him.
His father-in-law, the girl's father, detained him; and he remained with him three days. So they ate and drank and lodged there.
Now on the fourth day they got up early in the morning, and he prepared to go; and the girl's father said to his son-in-law, ``Sustain yourself with a piece of bread, and afterward you may go."
So both of them sat down and ate and drank together; and the girl's father said to the man, ``Please be willing to spend the night, and let your heart be merry."
Then the man arose to go, but his father-in-law urged him so that he spent the night there again.
On the fifth day he arose to go early in the morning, and the girl's father said, ``Please sustain yourself, and wait until afternoon"; so both of them ate.
When the man arose to go along with his concubine and servant, his father-in-law, the girl's father, said to him, ``Behold now, the day has drawn to a close; please spend the night. Lo, the day is coming to an end; spend the night here that your heart may be merry. Then tomorrow you may arise early for your journey so that you may go home."
But the man was not willing to spend the night, so he arose and departed and came to a place opposite Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). And there were with him a pair of saddled donkeys; his concubine also was with him.
When they were near Jebus, the day was almost gone; and the servant said to his master, ``Please come, and let us turn aside into this city of the Jebusites and spend the night in it."
However, his master said to him, ``We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners who are not of the sons of Israel; but we will go on as far as Gibeah."
He said to his servant, ``Come and let us approach one of these places; and we will spend the night in Gibeah or Ramah."
So they passed along and went their way, and the sun set on them near Gibeah which belongs to Benjamin.
They turned aside there in order to enter and lodge in Gibeah. When they entered, they sat down in the open square of the city, for no one took them into his house to spend the night.
Then behold, an old man was coming out of the field from his work at evening. Now the man was from the hill country of Ephraim, and he was staying in Gibeah, but the men of the place were Benjamites.
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?"
He said to him, ``We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah to the remote part of the hill country of Ephraim, for I am from there, and I went to Bethlehem in Judah. But I am now going to my house, and no man will take me into his house.
``Yet there is both straw and fodder for our donkeys, and also bread and wine for me, your maidservant, and the young man who is with your servants; there is no lack of anything."
The old man said, ``Peace to you. Only let me take care of all your needs; however, do not spend the night in the open square."
So he took him into his house and gave the donkeys fodder, and they washed their feet and ate and drank.
While they were celebrating, behold, the men of the city, certain worthless fellows, surrounded the house, pounding the door; and they spoke to the owner of the house, the old man, saying, ``Bring out the man who came into your house that we may have relations with him."
Then the man, the owner of the house, went out to them and said to them, ``No, my fellows, please do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not commit this act of folly.
``Here is my virgin daughter and his concubine. Please let me bring them out that you may ravish them and do to them whatever you wish. But do not commit such an act of folly against this man."
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.
As the day began to dawn, the woman came and fell down at the doorway of the man's house where her master was, until full daylight.
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.
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 home.
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.
All who saw it said, ``Nothing like this has ever happened or been seen from the day when the sons of Israel came up from the land of Egypt to this day. Consider it, take counsel and speak up!"