Judges 19:8, 9: The Fifth Day's Deadly Delay

Verse 8:[1] And he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart: and the damsel’s father said, Comfort thine heart, I pray thee. And they tarried until afternoon (Heb. till the day declined[2]), and they did eat both of them.




[Until the day increase, etc., וְהִֽתְמַהְמְה֖וּ עַד־נְט֣וֹת הַיּ֑וֹם] [They render it variously. Some translate it by the second person:] Thus the Vulgate and the Septuagint, Prepare thou until the day declines; and Jonathan, thou shalt delay, etc; and the Syriac, walk about, etc.; and the Arabic, wait thou until, etc. It is able to be a plural imperative of the second person: And these are the words of the father-in-law, not of the writer (Bonfrerius). [Others translate it by the third person:] And they tarried until the day declined (thus Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Vatablus, Junius and Tremellius, English, Dutch, etc.). To others it is a past tense, singular, with a suffix, and he delayed him (Malvenda). Until the day decline (Drusius), that is, the Sun (Piscator). Toward evening, with the Sun declining toward its setting (Drusius). The day sets, when the Sun turns toward the western quarter: The day is loosed, when the Sun draws near to its Setting: The day rests, when the gloom of night engulfs the day, and all the noise of the day is turned into quiet; or when the Sun after its daily motion to its Setting sinks, and now appears to rest from its motion (Munster). Until the day decline; that is, the heat break, and the breeze become a little more suitable for a journey (Menochius).


Verse 9:[3] 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 (Heb. is weak[4]) toward evening, I pray you tarry all night: behold, the day groweth to an end (Heb. it is the pitching time of the day[5]), lodge here, that thine heart may be merry; and to morrow get you early on your way, that thou mayest go home (Heb. to thy tent[6]).



[The day is declining toward setting, רָפָה[7]] It relaxed itself (Montanus, thus Junius and Tremellius, Tigurinus); it is made more relaxed (Pagnine); it is weakened (Vatablus, Septuagint, English); it is loosened (Munster); it has declined toward setting (Jonathan); it has receded (Syriac); it is divided in half (Arabic). The day relaxed, that is, the vigor of the day, namely, its light and heat (Piscator). The heat of the Sun has relaxed, in such a way that the day has drawn nigh to evening (Vatablus).

[And it draws nigh to the evening, הִנֵּ֙ה חֲנ֤וֹת הַיּוֹם֙] [They vary.] Behold today’s lodging (Junius and Tremellius), that is, It is not for thee to go elsewhere, but rather to be entertained here (Junius). To encamp for thee today, that is, Let the pitching of thy camp be here today (certain interpreters in the Dutch). Others: the day rests (Munster). It is the settling of the day: at that time the Sun appears to settle and to rest (Schindler). It is the lodging of the day (Pagnine); that is, It is the Time in which the day will turn itself toward lodging: Which is to say, The day draws nigh to evening, at which time men are wont to turn aside to lodging. The Setting of the Sun he calls lodging: for the Sun appears to turn aside to loding when it sets (Vatablus). Behold the day to encamp, or, it is the encampment of the day (Drusius, Piscator, English, Dutch). It is a καταχρηστικὴ/catachrestic/improper Metaphor (Piscator). A transference taken from the military. The day pitches camp near evening, when it gives itself to quiet. Or translate it, the encamping of the sun, which sun is called the day, because it makes a day. For at evening the Sun appears to pitch a camp (Drusius closely out of Kimchi).


The day groweth to an end; Hebrew, it is the encamping time of the day, that is, the evening, when armies having marched in the day, begin to pitch their camp; or, when the sun that makes the day begins to encamp himself and go toward rest; so it is a poetical expression taken from hence, that the sun, when he sets, seems to vulgar eyes to go to rest.



[And tomorrow thou shalt set out, וְהִשְׁכַּמְתֶּ֤ם מָחָר֙ לְדַרְכְּכֶ֔ם] Verbatim: and ye shall arise in the morning tomorrow for (or toward [Septuagint]) your journey (Montanus). Some things are to be understood, of this sort, so that ye might depart hence to pursue your way (Vatablus). Then in the morning ye shall arise, and depart (Arabic). Rising in the morning, return unto your domicile (Syriac). In the morning shall ye rise to your journey (Munster), or, unto your way (Pagnine), or, so that ye might prosecute your journey (Tigurinus).

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּשְׁכֵּ֙ם בַּבֹּ֜קֶר בַּיּ֣וֹם הַחֲמִישִׁי֮ לָלֶכֶת֒ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר׀ אֲבִ֣י הַֽנַּעֲרָ֗ה סְעָד־נָא֙ לְבָ֣בְךָ֔ וְהִֽתְמַהְמְה֖וּ עַד־נְט֣וֹת הַיּ֑וֹם וַיֹּאכְל֖וּ שְׁנֵיהֶֽם׃


[2] Hebrew: עַד־נְט֣וֹת הַיּ֑וֹם.


[3] Hebrew: וַיָּ֤קָם הָאִישׁ֙ לָלֶ֔כֶת ה֥וּא וּפִילַגְשׁ֖וֹ וְנַעֲר֑וֹ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֣וֹ חֹתְנ֣וֹ אֲבִ֣י הַֽנַּעֲרָ֡ה הִנֵּ֣ה נָא֩ רָפָ֙ה הַיּ֜וֹם לַעֲרֹ֗ב לִֽינוּ־נָ֞א הִנֵּ֙ה חֲנ֤וֹת הַיּוֹם֙ לִ֥ין פֹּה֙ וְיִיטַ֣ב לְבָבֶ֔ךָ וְהִשְׁכַּמְתֶּ֤ם מָחָר֙ לְדַרְכְּכֶ֔ם וְהָלַכְתָּ֖ לְאֹהָלֶֽךָ׃


[4] Hebrew: רָפָה.


[5] Hebrew: חֲנ֤וֹת הַיּוֹם֙.


[6] Hebrew: לְאֹהָלֶךָ.


[7] רָפָה signifies to sink, or to relax.

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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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