So, what is Tarry and what does it mean?
According to Dictionary.com Tarry [tar-ee] can be used as a verb, and here are the definitions.
1. To remain or stay, as in a place; sojourn:
2. To delay or be tardy in acting, starting, coming, etc.; linger or loiter.
3. To wait.
The word Tarry originates in what is the United Kingdom today. It originated somewhere between 1275 – 1325 A.D. and is considered Middle English. This is why the word is mainly used in the King James Version of the Bible and normally changed to “To Wait” or “Remain” or similar words in other Bible translations.
Tarry also comes from the Hebrew word achar (pronounced aw-khar') which is spelled אָחַר in Hebrew.
Sometimes we need to just need to hesitate on our actions before acting. This could be as simple as saying something quickly to your spouse, best friend, parents, co-workers, etc. that if you just waited and thought it out, you would have not ended up in this predicament you are in now. This can also work in ways when praying to God.
Even though I am a man of action, and believe that God will not just magically show you what you should do without you lifting a finger, sometimes we do need to be patient and tarry. Sometimes Jesus might ask us to tarry. The best example of this is right before Jesus was going to the cross, and he went to Gethsemane to pray. He asked his Disciples to tarry, and well, they fell asleep and Jesus was ticked, not once, but at least 3 times they have fallen asleep on him. Below is the verse from KJV then the whole passage from the ESV translation.
Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. – Matthew 26:38 (KJV)
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 4So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on.e See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
- Matthew 26:36-46 (ESV)
If you are a Christian, you are waiting for the day that Jesus will come back. This is the inevitable tarry where we cannot really do anything but tarry.
But in other cases, for example, if you are looking for a new job, if you tarry around, the jobs just aren’t going to show up and give you a job. You need to take action, once you take action, applying for that new job; you need to tarry to see if you get an interview. Then if you get the interview, you need to tarry again while waiting to hear the results of said interview.
Sometimes we need to tarry and other times not!