What does Judges 19:9 mean?
ESV: And when the man and his concubine and his servant rose up to depart, his father-in-law, the girl 's father, said to him, "Behold, now the day has waned toward evening. Please, spend the night. Behold, the day draws to its close. Lodge here and let your heart be merry, and tomorrow you shall arise early in the morning for your journey, and go home."
NIV: Then when the man, with his concubine and his servant, got up to leave, his father-in-law, the woman’s father, said, "Now look, it’s almost evening. Spend the night here; the day is nearly over. Stay and enjoy yourself. Early tomorrow morning you can get up and be on your way home."
NASB: When the man got up 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. Behold, the day is coming to an end; spend the night here so that your heart may be cheerful. Then tomorrow you may arise early for your journey and go home.'
CSB: The man got up to go with his concubine and his servant, when his father-in-law, the girl’s father, said to him, "Look, night is coming. Please spend the night. See, the day is almost over. Spend the night here, enjoy yourself, then you can get up early tomorrow for your journey and go home."
NLT: Later, as the man and his concubine and servant were preparing to leave, his father-in-law said, 'Look, it’s almost evening. Stay the night and enjoy yourself. Tomorrow you can get up early and be on your way.'
KJV: And when the man rose up to depart, he, and his concubine, and his servant, his father-in-law, the damsel's father, said unto him, Behold, now the day draweth toward evening, I pray you tarry all night: behold, the day groweth to an end, lodge here, that thine heart may be merry; and tomorrow get you early on your way, that thou mayest go home.
NKJV: And when the man stood to depart—he and his concubine and his servant—his father-in-law, the young woman’s father, said to him, “Look, the day is now drawing toward evening; please spend the night. See, the day is coming to an end; lodge here, that your heart may be merry. Tomorrow go your way early, so that you may get home.”
Verse Commentary:
The moment has finally come when the Levite man feels he can appropriately resist his father-in-law's aggressive pleas for him to stay another night (Judges 19:1–8). The man and his servant and his concubine stand up to leave the house and get on the road toward Ephraim. The girl's father once more asks them to stay just one more night. He's done this several times already, and what started out as a short trip has turned into a five-day stay.

This time, the father-in-law makes a practical point. It is late in the day, almost evening. Why set out now when it will soon be growing dark? Enjoy yourself here for one more night, then get up early tomorrow and head home. After so many delays, the Levite probably thinks if he doesn't leave now he'll be caught in the same cycle for another day. And so, he will politely refuse, though he may eventually wish he hadn't.
Verse Context:
Judges 19:1–10 describes a Levite's journey to retrieve his runaway concubine. For reasons not given, she leaves him and goes back to her father. Months later, the Levite arrives to retrieve her, seemingly with complete forgiveness. The woman and her father are glad, and the father pressures them to stay for several days. Finally, the Levite insists on leaving. He refuses to stay in the then-Gentile-controlled city of Jebus. Instead, they will continue after dark to Gibeah. Ironically, this will lead them into shocking danger.
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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