And the man, the master of the house, went out to them, and said to them, No, my brothers, no, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into my house, do not this folly.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Do not this folly.—It is from no deficiency of moral indignation that the word “folly” (nebalah) is used. Sometimes when crime is too dark and deadly for ordinary reproach the feelings are more deeply expressed by using a milder word, which is instantly corrected and intensified by the hearer himself. (See Genesis 34:7; Deuteronomy 22:21.) Thus Virgil merely gives the epithet “unpraised” (“illaudati Busiridis aras”) to the cannibal tyrant, which serves even better than a stronger word. (Comp. “Shall I praise you for these things? I praise you not” 1Corinthians 11:17-22.) (See the author’s Brief Greek Syntax, p. 199.) This figure of speech takes the various form of antiphasis, litotes, meiosis, &c.Genesis 19:8. Both cases betray painfully the low place in the social scale occupied by woman in the old world, from which it is one of the glories of Christianity to have raised her.
22-24. certain sons of Belial beset the house—The narrative of the horrid outrage that was committed; of the proposal of the old man; the unfeeling, careless, and in many respects, inexplicable conduct of the Levite towards his wife, disclose a state of morality that would have appeared incredible, did it not rest on the testimony of the sacred historian. Both men ought to have protected the women in the house, even though at the expense of their lives, or thrown themselves on God's providence. It should be noted, however, that the guilt of such a foul outrage is not fastened on the general population of Gibeah.This man is come into mine house, and therefore I am obliged to protect him by the laws of hospitality. Compare Genesis 19:17,8.
and said unto them, nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; it is plain he understood them in such sense, that they meant not bare knowledge of the man, as who he was, &c. but to commit wickedness the most abominable; so great, that it cannot be well said how great it is; and to dissuade from it, he uses the most tender language, and the most earnest entreaties:
seeing this man is come into my house, do not this folly; he argues from the law of hospitality, which ought not to be infringed; a man being obliged to protect a stranger under his roof; and from the nature of the crime, which was folly, stupidity, and what was abominable to the last degree.And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)23. Nay, my brethren … wickedly] Similarly Genesis 19:7.
do not … folly] This translation is only a makeshift. The Hebr. nebâlâh means much more than folly; it implies moral insensibility, repudiation of the claims of morality and religion, particularly, in this phrase, an outrage against the laws of nature, Jdg 20:6; Jdg 20:10, Genesis 34:7, Deuteronomy 22:21, 2 Samuel 13:12. In Joshua 7:15 the phrase is used of Achan’s iniquity.Verse 23. - He pleads the sanctity of hospitality. Judges 19:18), "and I walk at the house of Jehovah, and no one receives me into his house" (Seb. Schm., etc.); not "I am going to the house of Jehovah" (Ros., Berth., etc.), for את הלך does not signify to go to a place, for which the simple accusative is used either with or without ה local. It either means "to go through a place" (Deuteronomy 1:19, etc.), or "to go with a person," or, when applied to things, "to go about with anything" (see Job 31:5, and Ges. Thes. p. 378). Moreover, in this instance the Levite was not going to the house of Jehovah (i.e., the tabernacle), but, as he expressly told the old man, from Bethlehem to the outermost sides of the mountains of Ephraim. The words in question explain the reason why he was staying in the market-place. Because he served at the house of Jehovah, no one in Gibeah would receive him into his house,
(Note: As Seb. Schmidt correctly observes, "the argument is taken from the indignity shown him: the Lord thinks me worthy to minister to Him, as a Levite, in His house, and there is not one of the people of the Lord who thinks me worthy to receive his hospitality.")
although, as he adds in Judges 19:19, he had everything with him that was requisite for his wants. "We have both straw and fodder for our asses, and bread and wine for me and thy maid, and for the young man with thy servants. No want of anything at all," so as to cause him to be burdensome to his host. By the words "thy maid" and "thy servants" he means himself and his concubine, describing himself and his wife, according to the obsequious style of the East in olden times, as servants of the man from whom he was expecting a welcome.
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