What does Judges 19:27 mean?
ESV: 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.
NIV: When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold.
NASB: When her master got up 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.
CSB: When her master got up in the morning, opened the doors of the house, and went out to leave on his journey, there was the woman, his concubine, collapsed near the doorway of the house with her hands on the threshold.
NLT: When her husband opened the door to leave, there lay his concubine with her hands on the threshold.
KJV: And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold.
NKJV: When her master arose in the morning, and opened the doors of the house and went out to go his way, there was his concubine, fallen at the door of the house with her hands on the threshold.
Verse Commentary:
Ancient literature is famously short on details, as compared to modern writing. This can make it more difficult to gauge the author's intent or opinion on a subject. In this case, even with brief descriptions, it's clear the writer of the book of Judges feels a level of repulsion for the Levite master. The narrative makes the point of noting that he forced her out into a mob of rapists (Judges 19:25). Then, he seemingly makes no effort to find her until he is ready to leave—the use of the word "behold" indicates surprise. Next, he will callously tell her to "get up" so they can move along.

A "concubine" during this era was most often thought of as either a servant, slave, or a second-tier wife. A man might take on a woman from a poor family without status as a concubine, in exchange for supporting her. She would not hold the full rights and privileges of a regular wife. Even within that cultural expectation, however, the writer of Judges portrays this man harshly. This concubine had run away from him and back to her home (Judges 19:1–2). Her husband-master had come to collect her, spending several days at the home of her kind and hospitable father (Judges 19:3–10). Still, he has sacrificed her to save himself.

Now he opens the door of the old man's home (Judges 19:15–21) to continue his journey and finds his concubine lying in front of the house with her hands on the threshold. The text of the story does not address any of the questions we might wish were resolved. Was he going to leave her behind if he didn't find her there? Was he not going to look for her? Did he assume she had been killed during the night? Is she simply ruined property to him and not a person, at all?

What the man does in the next verses indicates a level of fury and indignation. His acts are shocking (Judges 19:29–30), but they serve to rally Israel to seek retribution on the men of Gibeah (Judges 20:8–10). Yet it remains unclear what sense of responsibility he felt for her as a person.
Verse Context:
Judges 19:22–30 finds a Levite traveler and his concubine spending the night in the home of an old man in the Israelite town of Gibeah. Suddenly, the house is surrounded by a mob of men demanding the Levite be handed over so they can rape him. In desperation, the Levite sends out his concubine to save himself. The mob violates and beats her until morning, after which she is found dead. The Levite carries her body home and sends a graphic message to all of Israel: cutting her into twelve pieces and sending them throughout the tribes. This sparks outrage against Gibeah leading to a civil war (Judges 20:8–10), and infamy (Hosea 9:9)
Chapter Summary:
A Levite man travels to reconcile with his runaway concubine. On their way back home, they spend the night in the city of Gibeah, in the home of an old man. The wicked men of the town form a mob, demanding the Levite be handed over to be raped. Instead, the Levite forces his concubine outside; the mob rapes and beats her until sunrise. The Levite finds her body, carries it home, and cuts it into twelve pieces. He sends these pieces throughout Israel. This shocks the entire nation into demanding some action be taken against Gibeah.
Chapter Context:
This chapter's stomach-turning depravity provides another example of the great wickedness in Israel, in an era when everyone did whatever they wanted to without regard for law or God (Judges 21:25). A mob of rapists murders a Levite man's concubine. He sends pieces of her body throughout the nation. This shocks the people into demanding justice. In the following chapters, the tribe of Benjamin refuses to hand over their guilty members. Israel is plunged into civil war.
Book Summary:
The Book of Judges describes Israel's history from the death of Joshua to shortly before Israel's first king, Saul. Israel fails to complete God's command to purge the wicked Canaanites from the land (Deuteronomy 7:1–5; 9:4). This results in a centuries-long cycle where Israel falls into sin and is oppressed by local enemies. After each oppression, God sends a civil-military leader, labeled using a Hebrew word loosely translated into English as "judge." These appointed rescuers would free Israel from enemy control and govern for a certain time. After each judge's death, the cycle of sin and oppression begins again. This continues until the people of Israel choose a king, during the ministry of the prophet-and-judge Samuel (1 Samuel 1—7).
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