But they constrained him
The Arabic version renders it, "they held him by force": but the meaning is not, that they laid hands on him, and held him in a forcible manner against his will; but they were very urgent and importunate with him, that he would stay with them; they would take no denial. The sense is better given in the Persic version, "the disciples with importunity said unto him"; they were so pressing with arguments, that he could not withstand them: saying, abide with us;
his conversation was so engaging, and his discourses were so heavenly and instructive, so sweet and delightful, so powerful and moving, that they could not bear to part with him, but were exceeding desirous of his continuance with them, even though he was a stranger to them. And as they had in view their own pleasure and profit, so they urge the necessity and advantage of his stay, with respect to himself: for it is towards evening, and the day is far spent;
it might be four or five o'clock in the afternoon: and he went in to tarry with them;
for a while, not all night. So earnest, importunate, and resolute was the church, when she had found Christ, that he would abide with her, ( Song of Solomon 3:4 Song of Solomon 3:5 ) .