Bible Verses About Tarrying

What does it mean to tarry in the Bible?

In Bible verses, the word tarry means to wait or to abide or stay in or at a place. For example, to wait patiently upon the Lord is to tarry.

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 ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.

Genesis 19:2 King James Version (KJV)

This is the first reference to tarrying in the bible, and it is referring to when Lot was offering to house the angels whom had come to Sodom and Gomorrah. In this verse, the definition of tarry means “To stay”, and holds positive connotations of hospitality towards the messengers of God.

The other example to draw meaning from comes from Genesis 45:9, which states:

Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, ‘Thus saith thy son Joseph: God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not:” The definition of tarry in this one differs slightly; it holds more negative connotations in it’s statement which implies that it means “To delay.

Genesis 45:9 King James Version (KJV)

Both of these meanings can be relevant to our walks with God, as God encourages us to show hospitality on multiple occasions (see Titus 1:8, 1 Peter 4:8-9). Showing hospitality is one way of showing love for our fellow man, and because of Lot’s hospitality and character, he was spared the judgement that God set upon the city of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Tarrying as Procrastination

On the other side of the spectrum, we have tarrying as it relays to delaying or procrastination. Procrastination is an issue that everyone struggles with, Christians not withstanding. In a world where we constantly witness sinful acts and occurrences from our peers, family, coworkers, and even political leaders, we are called to inform them of their wrongdoing, as well as they are called to inform us.

Nobody likes being told that they are wrong, or that what they are doing is wrong, therefore, leaving us with the very likely fact that confronting them about it could be a difficult or negative experience. How we bring these things up to our fellow peers should be thought through with tact and discretion and brings to mind a separate verse about removing the beam from your own eye (Matthew 7:5).

However, even with keeping this discretion in mind, while making sure you are not sinning in an equal or more severe manner, we are called to not delay in taking action. When somebody sins in front of you, bring it up as soon as possible, as to not incite thoughts or feelings from the other party involved that it was brought towards them with a personal grudge or malevolent intent. Know that when you do not delay in your action, and you are backed by the word of God, that your words will appear as both just and righteous. Remember, if you are reinforced by the word of God, you are called to act in accordance to it and without delay, for you do not need to second guess yourself when God is behind your actions.

What Does the Bible Say About Tarry?

Genesis 19:2

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 ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.

Genesis 27:44

And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away;

Genesis 30:27

And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, [tarry: for] I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.

Genesis 45:9

Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not:

Exodus 12:39

And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.

Exodus 24:14

And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur [are] with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.

Leviticus 14:8

And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean: and after that he shall come into the camp, and shall tarry abroad out of his tent seven days.

Numbers 22:19

Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the LORD will say unto me more.

Judges 5:28

The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot [so] long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots?

Judges 6:18

Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set [it] before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again.

Judges 19:6

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.

Judges 19:9

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 toward evening, I pray you tarry all night: behold, the day groweth to an end, lodge here, that thine heart may be merry; and to morrow get you early on your way, that thou mayest go home.

Judges 19:10

But the man would not tarry that night, but he rose up and departed, and came over against Jebus, which [is] Jerusalem; and [there were] with him two asses saddled, his concubine also [was] with him.

Ruth 1:13

Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me.

Ruth 3:13

Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, [that] if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, [as] the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.

1 Samuel 1:23

And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.

1 Samuel 10:8

And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal; and, behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt offerings, [and] to sacrifice sacrifices of peace offerings: seven days shalt thou tarry, till I come to thee, and show thee what thou shalt do.

1 Samuel 14:9

If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them.

2 Samuel 10:5

When they told [it] unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and [then] return.

2 Samuel 11:12

And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow.

2 Samuel 15:28

See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until there come word from you to certify me.

2 Samuel 18:14

Then said Joab, I may not tarry thus with thee. And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he [was] yet alive in the midst of the oak.

2 Samuel 19:7

Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants: for I swear by the LORD, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now.

2 Kings 2:2

And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said [unto him, As] the LORD liveth, and [as] thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel.

2 Kings 2:4

And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, [As] the LORD liveth, and [as] thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho.

2 Kings 2:6

And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, [As] the LORD liveth, and [as] thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on.

2 Kings 7:9

Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day [is] a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king’s household.

2 Kings 9:3

Then take the box of oil, and pour [it] on his head, and say, Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel. Then open the door, and flee, and tarry not.

2 Kings 14:10

Thou hast indeed smitten Edom, and thine heart hath lifted thee up: glory [of this], and tarry at home: for why shouldest thou meddle to [thy] hurt, that thou shouldest fall, [even] thou, and Judah with thee?

Chronicles-1 19:5

Then there went [certain], and told David how the men were served. And he sent to meet them: for the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and [then] return.

Psalms 101:7

He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.

Proverbs 23:30

They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.

Isaiah 46:13

I bring near my righteousness: it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.

Jeremiah 14:8

O the hope of Israel, the saviour thereof in time of trouble, why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man [that] turneth aside to tarry for a night?

Habakkuk 2:3

For the vision [is] yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

Matthew 26:38

Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

Mark 14:34

And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.

Luke 24:29

But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

Luke 24:49

And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

John 4:40

So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.

John 21:22

Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what [is that] to thee? follow thou me.

John 21:23

Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what [is that] to thee?

Acts 10:48

And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Acts 18:20

When they desired [him] to tarry longer time with them, he consented not;

Acts 28:14

Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome.

1 Corinthians 11:33

Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.

1 Corinthians 16:7

For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit.

1 Corinthians 16:8

But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.

1 Timothy 3:15

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Hebrews 10:37

For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

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