Judges 19:18-21: Generous Hospitality

Verse 18:[1] And he said unto him, We are passing from Beth-lehem-judah toward the side of mount Ephraim; from thence am I: and I went to Beth-lehem-judah, but I am now going to (Josh. 18:1; Judg. 18:31; 20:18) the house of the LORD; and there is no man that receiveth (Heb. gathereth;[2] Judg. 19:15[3]) me to house.

[We are going to the house of God] That is, at Shiloh, where the Tabernacle was, Joshua 18:1 (Malvenda out of Junius). Either, 1. so that he might sacrifice there, and give thanks to God (Vatablus), because by the return of his wife the matter had been well composed (Martyr, similarly Lyra). Or, 2. because he lived there (Vatablus). Shiloh was in mount Ephraim, whence that Levite originated (Munster). Or, 3. so that, with God invoked in that place, they might return unharmed to their home in mount Ephraim (Lapide).

The house of the Lord was in Shiloh, Joshua 18:1; 22:12. Thither he went, either because he lived there, for that was in the tribe of Ephraim; or rather, because he would there offer prayers, and praises, and sacrifices unto God, for his mercy in reconciling him and his wife together, and for his blessing upon them again, and to make atonement for his wife.

Verse 19:[4] Yet there is both straw and provender for our asses; and there is bread and wine also for me, and for thy handmaid, and for the young man which is with thy servants: there is no want of any thing.

[And of the lad which is with me, וְלַנַּ֖עַר עִם־עֲבָדֶ֑יךָ] And for the lade with thy servants (Montanus), that is, with us; namely, with me and with my wife (Piscator). Others otherwise: that is to say, There is such abundance of food and wine with us, that it would suffice even for thy servants (Drusius). With thy servant (Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus).

Verse 20:[5] And the old man said, (Gen. 43:23; Judg. 6:23) Peace be with thee; howsoever let all thy wants lie upon me; (Gen. 19:2) only lodge not in the street.

[Peace be with thee] In this passage, these are not so much the words of one greeting, as of one banishing all care (Drusius). Greetings, or, be of good cheer (Vatablus).

[I myself shall provide] Hebrew: all thy want upon me[6] (Montanus), understanding, be (Piscator). Whatever shall be wanting to thee, this shall be incumbent upon me (Drusius). I make myself a debtor: For the preposition עַל/upon sometimes denotes a debt or obligation (Glassius’ “Grammar” 553).

Howsoever let all thy wants lie upon me; only lodge not in the street: It matters not whether thou wantest nothing or every thing, I will take care to supply all thy wants.

Verse 21:[7] (Gen. 24:32; 43:24) So he brought him into his house, and gave provender unto the asses: (Gen. 18:4; John 13:5) and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink.

[And he furnished fodder for the asses (thus Pagnine, Junius and Tremellius), וַיִּ֖בּוֹל לַחֲמוֹרִ֑ים] Thus it was written, but read [that is, in the margin] וַיָּבָל. [They translate it:] He cast fodder to the asses (Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic). And he mingled, or mixed, to the asses (Malvenda, Munster). בָּלַל is to mix; thence בְּלִיל/fodder in Job 24:6.[8] For in fodder there is some mixture of kinds (Drusius out of Munster). And he made a place for the asses (Septuagint).

[They washed their feet] Understanding, the servants[9] (Vatablus). This was the cutom in those hot regions, so that they might wash off the dust (Martyr). Being about to recline at table, they washed their feet, lest they should defile their couches. Which also was customary among the Greeks. See Athenæus’ Banquet of the Learned 14 (Drusius).

They washed their feet, as they used to do to travellers in these hot countries, Genesis 18:4; 19:2; 24:32, etc.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלָ֗יו עֹבְרִ֙ים אֲנַ֜חְנוּ מִבֵּֽית־לֶ֣חֶם יְהוּדָה֮ עַד־יַרְכְּתֵ֣י הַר־אֶפְרַיִם֒ מִשָּׁ֣ם אָנֹ֔כִי וָאֵלֵ֕ךְ עַד־בֵּ֥ית לֶ֖חֶם יְהוּדָ֑ה וְאֶת־בֵּ֤ית יְהוָה֙ אֲנִ֣י הֹלֵ֔ךְ וְאֵ֣ין אִ֔ישׁ מְאַסֵּ֥ף אוֹתִ֖י הַבָּֽיְתָה׃

[2] Hebrew: מְאַסֵּף.

[3] Judges 19:15: “And they turned aside thither, to go in and to lodge in Gibeah: and when he went in, he sat him down in a street of the city: for there was no man that took them (מְאַסֵּף־אוֹתָם) into his house to lodging.”

[4] Hebrew: וְגַם־תֶּ֤בֶן גַּם־מִסְפּוֹא֙ יֵ֣שׁ לַחֲמוֹרֵ֔ינוּ וְ֠גַם לֶ֣חֶם וָיַ֤יִן יֶשׁ־לִי֙ וְלַֽאֲמָתֶ֔ךָ וְלַנַּ֖עַר עִם־עֲבָדֶ֑יךָ אֵ֥ין מַחְס֖וֹר כָּל־דָּבָֽר׃

[5] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֙אמֶר הָאִ֤ישׁ הַזָּקֵן֙ שָׁל֣וֹם לָ֔ךְ רַ֥ק כָּל־מַחְסוֹרְךָ֖ עָלָ֑י רַ֥ק בָּרְח֖וֹב אַל־תָּלַֽן׃

[6] Hebrew: כָּל־מַחְסוֹרְךָ֖ עָלָ֑י.

[7] Hebrew: וַיְבִיאֵ֣הוּ לְבֵית֔וֹ וַיִּ֖בּוֹל לַחֲמוֹרִ֑ים וַֽיִּרְחֲצוּ֙ רַגְלֵיהֶ֔ם וַיֹּאכְל֖וּ וַיִּשְׁתּֽוּ׃

[8] Job 24:6: “They reap every one his corn (בְּלִילוֹ, his fodder) in the field: and they gather the vintage of the wicked.”

[9] That is, the servants washed their feet.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.




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