Judges 19:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 19:23, NIV: The owner of the house went outside and said to them, 'No, my friends, don't be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don't do this outrageous thing.

Judges 19:23, ESV: And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brothers, do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not do this vile thing.

Judges 19:23, KJV: And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly.

Judges 19:23, NASB: Then the man, the owner of the house, went out to them and said to them, 'No, my brothers, please do not act so wickedly. Since this man has come into my house, do not commit this vile sin.

Judges 19:23, NLT: The old man stepped outside to talk to them. 'No, my brothers, don't do such an evil thing. For this man is a guest in my house, and such a thing would be shameful.

Judges 19:23, CSB: The owner of the house went out and said to them, "Please don't do this evil, my brothers. After all, this man has come into my house. Don't commit this horrible outrage.

What does Judges 19:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Judges ends by describing its era as one in which everyone in Israel did whatever they wanted to do, without regard for law or for God (Judges 21:25). In other words, the people stopped following God's commands about what was right and what was evil. They defined right and wrong as they went along, based on what seemed good to them in the moment. This was exactly what God warned would happen if they took on the depraved evils of the Canaanites (Deuteronomy 12:29–32). The events of this story tragically parallel those of Lot in Sodom (Genesis 19:2–7).

An old man, not a native of Gibeah, brought a traveling Levite and his concubine into his home for the night (Judges 19:16–21). His intent was obviously to protect them. He was not from Gibeah, but he knew what the men of his town were like. Just as he feared, a mob from the town surrounded his home. They demand he send out the Levite to be raped (Judges 19:22).

The elderly worker appeals to the crowd's sense of morality and hospitality. He calls them "brothers," referring to what they propose as heinous evil. He appeals to their shared culture's deep commitment to caring for visitors. The man has taken responsibility for this traveler and is now obligated to protect him. It would be a vile thing to violate his role as host to this man. This swarm of evil men was described using a Hebrew phrase which literally means "sons of wickedness." The men of Gibeah have decided to define right and wrong according to their own preferences, rather than God's law or the "law" of hospitality.

For his part, the old man suggests a compromise which seems unbelievably cruel and horrifying to a modern reader (Judges 19:24). Fearing for his life, and the life of everyone in the home, he will try to barter with the mob.