Pieter de Grebber ca. 1600 – 1653

The laborer of Gibeah offering hospitality

oil on canvas (107 × 150 cm) — c. 1640
private collection

This work is linked to Judges 19:20

Tags: Judges

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On his journey home a Levite decides to spend the night in the town of Gibeah. It is dark when he, his concubine and his helper arrive. No one offers them the customary hospitality.

Then an old man, not born in the town, comes home from his work on the land and offers them lodging for the night, as De Grebber shows in this painting. He washes their feet and gives them wine and food, and the evening was merry.

Somehow other residents of Gideah became aware of the visitors. They were sons of Belial: bad people, children of Satan. They knock on the door and demand the Levite to be sent out so that they could "know him". The host refuses, but the men insist, upon which the Levite sends out his concubine, who had been unfaithful to him.

The men then "know her" all night. At dawn she returns to the house, where the Levite finds her dead on the doorstep. He puts her on his donkey and continues the journey.

At home he cuts her body into twelve pieces and sends them to all parts of the land Israel. He wanted to show his fellow Israelites what the people of Gibeah (also Israelite) had done to him. Infuriated, the tribes gather and demand the extradition of the rapists. This was the beginning of the first Israelite Civil War.

This painting is an undated canvas by Pieter de Grebber.

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