Judges 19:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 19:12, NIV: His master replied, 'No. We won't go into any city whose people are not Israelites. We will go on to Gibeah.'

Judges 19:12, ESV: And his master said to him, “We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners, who do not belong to the people of Israel, but we will pass on to Gibeah.”

Judges 19:12, KJV: And his master said unto him, We will not turn aside hither into the city of a stranger, that is not of the children of Israel; we will pass over to Gibeah.

Judges 19:12, NASB: However, his master said to him, 'We will not turn aside into a city of foreigners who are not of the sons of Israel; instead, we will go on as far as Gibeah.'

Judges 19:12, NLT: 'No,' his master said, 'we can't stay in this foreign town where there are no Israelites. Instead, we will go on to Gibeah.

Judges 19:12, CSB: But his master replied to him, "We will not stop at a foreign city where there are no Israelites. Let's move on to Gibeah."

What does Judges 19:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Daylight is fading quickly, and the Levite is still on the road (Judges 19:4–11). He travels with his concubine, servant, and donkeys (Judges 19:1–3). As the road takes them past the city of Jebus, the servant suggests they find a place in the city to stay for the night. Traveling on foot in the dark is risky, and this was a particularly lawless era in that region (Judges 21:25). It would be much safer to find a home to stay at overnight.

The Levite refuses, because Jebus is a city of non-Israelites. The city at the time was occupied by the Jebusites. The tribe of Benjamin had famously failed to drive the Jebusites out of the city during the time of Joshua (Judges 1:21). Eventually, the city will be absorbed into Israel and renamed "Jerusalem."

Instead of stopping, the man decides to continue a few more hours to the Israelite town of Gibeah. It's likely the Levite assumes the Jebusites will not welcome three Israelite travelers for the night, or that they will not be safe there. Tragically, the attempt to seek safety leads the group into a horrific act of violence (Judges 19:22).