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Judges 19:5-7: Departure Delayed

Verse 5:[1] And it came to pass on the fourth day, when they arose early in the morning, that he rose up to depart: and the damsel’s father said unto his son in law, Comfort (Heb. strengthen;[2] Gen. 18:5[3]) thine heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward go your way.

[Enjoy first, etc., סְעָ֧ד לִבְּךָ֛ פַּת־לֶ֖חֶם] Support thine heart with a morsel of bread (Pagnine, Montanus) [similarly all interpreters]. Bread supports the heart of man.[4] That to the Hebrews is סָעַד, whence is סְעִידָה/refreshment (Drusius). [Gataker notes a similar expression in other authors.] Plautus in Curculio 2:3, And let us stuff something down our throats first; ham, sow’s udder, gland of the throat: these are the stays of the stomach. Horace in Speeches[5] 2:3, They shall fail thee, being poor of blood, unless Much food be brought near to thy stomach, which will rush upon such supports. Lucretius in his Concerning the Nature of Things[6] 4, Therefore, food is taken, that it might undergird the bodily frame, and restore strength, etc. Seneca in his Epistles 95, with wine to support failing veins (Gataker).

Verse 6:[7] And they sat down, and did eat and drink both of them together: for the damsel’s father had said unto the man, Be content, I pray thee, and tarry all night, and let thine heart be merry.

[And they sat] Does this here signify, to sit at table, or to remain? If the former, it shows that the ancients sat at table, they did not recline. Which is also able to be demonstrated from history, both from Homer, who introduces his heroes sitting at feast; and from Genesis 43:32 (Drusius).

[I entreat thee, etc., הֽוֹאֶל־נָ֥א וְלִ֖ין וְיִטַ֥ב לִבֶּֽךָ׃] Be please, I pray (or now [Vatablus]), and pass the night, and let thine heart be good (Montanus), or, let thine heart be cheered. That is, let it please thee to spend the night, that thine heart might be glad, etc. (Vatablus). Acquiesce, I pray, etc. (Junius and Tremellius, similarly Pagnine). That is, Acquiesce in this my petition, whereby I ask that thou spend the night (Piscator). Come now, stay, etc. (Septuagint). Remain now, etc. (Jonathan). If it be pleasing, or agreeable, spend the night (Syriac, Arabic).

Verse 7:[8] And when the man rose up to depart, his father in law urged him: therefore he lodged there again.

[And he held him resolutely, וַיִּפְצַר־בּוֹ[9]] And he forced him (Montanus); he compelled, or constrained, him (Septuagint, Syriac, Pagnine). That is, with mighty petitions he retained him (Vatablus). With his father-in-law insisting before him (Junius and Tremellius).

[1] Hebrew: וַֽיְהִי֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הָרְבִיעִ֔י וַיַּשְׁכִּ֥ימוּ בַבֹּ֖קֶר וַיָּ֣קָם לָלֶ֑כֶת וַיֹּאמֶר֩ אֲבִ֙י הַֽנַּעֲרָ֜ה אֶל־חֲתָנ֗וֹ סְעָ֧ד לִבְּךָ֛ פַּת־לֶ֖חֶם וְאַחַ֥ר תֵּלֵֽכוּ׃

[2] Hebrew: סְעָד.

[3] Genesis 18:5: “And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on (וְאֶקְחָ֙ה פַת־לֶ֜חֶם וְסַעֲד֤וּ לִבְּכֶם֙ אַחַ֣ר תַּעֲבֹ֔רוּ): for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.”

[4] Psalm 104:15: “And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart (וְ֜לֶ֗חֶם לְֽבַב־אֱנ֥וֹשׁ יִסְעָֽד׃).”

[5] Sermones.

[6] De Rerum Natura. Titus Lucretius Carus (c. 99-c. 55 BC) was a Roman poet and Epicurean philosopher. He was a proponent of a materialistic atomism, and thus a critic of religions.

[7] Hebrew: וַיֵּשְׁב֗וּ וַיֹּאכְל֧וּ שְׁנֵיהֶ֛ם יַחְדָּ֖ו וַיִּשְׁתּ֑וּ וַיֹּ֜אמֶר אֲבִ֤י הַֽנַּעֲרָה֙ אֶל־הָאִ֔ישׁ הֽוֹאֶל־נָ֥א וְלִ֖ין וְיִטַ֥ב לִבֶּֽךָ׃

[8] Hebrew: וַיָּ֥קָם הָאִ֖ישׁ לָלֶ֑כֶת וַיִּפְצַר־בּוֹ֙ חֹתְנ֔וֹ וַיָּ֖שָׁב וַיָּ֥לֶן שָֽׁם׃

[9] פָּצַר signifies to push, or to press.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Apr 15, 2019

Matthew Henry: 'He forces him to stay the fourth day, and this was kind; not knowing when they might be together again, he engages him to stay as long as he possibly could. The Levite, though nobly treated, was very urgent to be gone. A good man's heart is where his business is; for as a bird that wanders from her nest so is the man that wanders form his place. It is a sign a man has either little to do at home, or little heart to do what he has to do, when he can take pleasure in being long abroad where he has nothing to do. It is especially good to see a Levite willing to g…


Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Apr 15, 2019

Hebrew Highlights:

1. In verse 5, the use of the verb סְעָד is worthy of some consideration.

2. In verse 6, do you think that the language of sitting tells us something about posture at table among the ancients?

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