And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and you shall rise up early, and go on your way. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.
Read Chapter 19
George Leo Haydock
My lords. He took them to be men.
No. They refuse at first, that he may have the merit of pressing them to accept the invitation. (Haydock)
“They replied,” the text goes on, “No, instead, we shall rest in the street.” Seeing that despite his entreaty they declined, he did not lose heart, he did not give up what he was intent on, he did not have the kinds of feelings we often do. If at any time we want to win someone over and then we see them somewhat reluctant, we immediately desist; this is due to our doing it without ardor and longing and especially to our thinking that we have excuse enough to be able to say that at any rate we did our best. What do you mean, you have done your best? You have let slip the prey, you have missed the treasure—is this doing your best? Then you would have done your best if you hadn’t let the treasure slip through your fingers, if you hadn’t bypassed the prey, if your display of hospitality was not limited to a perfunctory remark.
“On seeing them,” the text says, note, “he rose to meet them and prostrated himself on the ground.” He gave thanks to God for being found worthy to welcome the visitors. Notice his virtue of soul: he considered it a great kindness on God’s part to encounter these men and by welcoming them to fulfill his private longing. Now don’t tell me they were angels; remember, rather, that this good man did not realize that yet but behaved as though receiving unknown travelers. “He said, ‘Lo, sirs, break off your journey at your servant’s house. Rest and bathe your feet; then rise early and resume your journey.’ ” These words are sufficient to reveal the virtue residing in the good man’s soul. How could you help being amazed at his exceeding humility and the fervor with which he displayed his hospitality? “Lo, sirs,” he said, “break off your journey at your servant’s house.” He addresses them as “sirs” and calls himself their servant. Let us listen precisely, dearly beloved, to these words and lea...