The Turning of the Day

"Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man's house where her lord was, till it was light." (Judges 19:26)

This tragic story took place in Israel in a time when "every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). The woman was of the tribe of Judah, concubine to a Levite dwelling among the tribe of Ephraim. Although she had been unfaithful, he had taken her back and they were traveling to Ephraim, staying overnight in a city of Benjamin. The "sons of Belial" among the Benjamites, however, had abused the woman throughout the night, leaving her dead at "the dawning of the day."

The whole sordid story illustrates the depths of depravity to which even men among God's chosen people can descend under cover of darkness. We are commanded to "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret" (Ephesians 5:11-12).

In the midst of this dismal record, however, there is an interesting scientific insight which should be noted. The evil events of the night terminated at what the writer calls "the dawning of the day." But the Hebrew word used for "dawning" (panah) is not the normal word for the dawn. Instead it is the word for "turning." Thus, it is not referring to the rising of the sun, but to the rotation of the earth which, after a dark night of evil, once again turns its face to the "light of the world."

Note also Job 38:14: "It |i.e., the earth's surface| is turned as clay to the seal," again suggesting the earth's axial rotation each day/night cycle. There is coming a glorious dawning, however, when we shall dwell in the presence of the One who is the true light of the world, and "there shall be no night there" (Revelation 21:25). HMM


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