What does Judges 6:18 mean?
ESV: Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you." And he said, "I will stay till you return."
NIV: Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you." And the Lord said, "I will wait until you return."
NASB: Please do not depart from here until I come back to You, and bring out my offering and lay it before You.' And He said, 'I will remain until you return.'
CSB: Please do not leave this place until I return to you. Let me bring my gift and set it before you." And he said, "I will stay until you return."
NLT: Don’t go away until I come back and bring my offering to you.' He answered, 'I will stay here until you return.'
KJV: Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again.
NKJV: Do not depart from here, I pray, until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You.” And He said, “I will wait until you come back.”
Verse Commentary:
God has come in the form of a traveler (Judges 6:11–12) and announced to Gideon that He is with him. The Lord commanded Gideon to go and save Israel from the Midianites, an impossible-sounding task (Judges 6:13–16). Gideon's story includes many moments where he expresses a combination of skepticism, fear, and doubt. In this case, he might have thought he's found a method to "explain away" the conversation. This Person introduced as "the angel of the Lord" apparently looks like any other man. So, Gideon has asked for a sign to prove the Angel is the Lord.

It's not clear what sign Gideon has in mind. He simply asks the Angel to wait while he goes to prepare a gift. The word used here is min'hāt, from the same root word used for sacrifices, tributes, and offerings. The Lord agrees to wait where He is until Gideon returns. The present Gideon brings back is a sign of profound respect and hospitality which also gives an opportunity to witness God's power (Judges 6:19–21).
Verse Context:
Judges 6:11–27 begins in a town called Ophrah. There, the Angel of the Lord appears to a man named Gideon. The Lord calls Gideon mighty, despite his apparent lack of influence or power, and commands him to save Israel from Midian. After a display of power, God commands Gideon to tear down the town's altars to false idols, replacing them with an altar to Yahweh complete with a sacrifice of his father's bull. Gideon does so under the cover of darkness out of fear of his family and the townspeople.
Chapter Summary:
Israel follows the sad pattern of the book of Judges, and once again turns to evil and idols. God turns them over to the Midianites. These foreign raiders spend the next seven years invading and consuming Israel's crops and livestock. Israel cries for help to the Lord. His first step is to send a prophet to remind them of God's goodness and their disobedience. The Lord then appears to Gideon, commanding him to save Israel because God will be with him. Gideon obeys God's command to tear down a Baal altar and build one to Yahweh in its place. He calls his countrymen to follow him and asks for signs from God.
Chapter Context:
The book of Judges contains a series of stories with a common theme: Israel falls into sin, suffers, and is rescued by God, only to fall once again (Judges 1—2). The next phase in Israel's downward spiral comes after 40 years of peace, won by Deborah and Barak (Judges 4—5). Israel is punished for sin through the Midianites. After seven years, the Israelites cry out for help. The Lord appears to Gideon, challenging the timid man to lead the battle against Israel's oppressors. Empowered by the Spirit, Gideon calls for his people to follow him, but still asks the Lord for signs. Gideon's successful campaigns are depicted in chapters 7 and 8.
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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