Samson escapeth from Gaza by carrying away the gates of the city. Delilah corrupted by the Philistines urgeth him to tell her where his strength lay; he thrice deceiveth her; but is at length prevailed upon, and his head shaven. The Philistines take him, and put out his eyes; but his strength is renewed as his hair groweth. The Philistines hold a great feast to Dagon, and send for Samson to make them sport; who pulleth down the house upon the heads of his enemies, and is slain with them.
1THEN 1went Samson to 2Gaza, and saw there an 3harlot, and 4went in unto her.
1 After the slaughter of the Philistines, described in the previous chapter.
2 One of the most important cities of the Philistines, situated at the Mediterranean Sea, in the land of Simeon.
3 Hebr. a woman, an harlot. Other, an hostess.
4 See Gen. 6 on verse 4. Some understand by this phrase here used, that he took up his lodging at her house.
2And it was told 5the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they 6compassedahim in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were 7quiet all the night, saying, 8In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him.
5 Hebr. to the Gazites, saying, which abrupt sentence is thus supplied: (And it was told) the Gazites, by saying, or, (they made it known) to the Gazites, saying. This implies, according to the meaning of some, that they had straightway given them notice of Samson’s coming, that by no means they might lose this opportunity.
6 The one telling the other, that they were to be all up with one accord, and to eye Samson well, that he might by no means escape away.
a make a circuit, surround
7 Hebr. they were silent, that is, they kept themselves quiet, and did nothing. See Judges 18 on verse 9; 1 Kings 22 on verse 3.
8 Understand hereupon: Let us be quiet, until it becomes light.
3And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up 9to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.
9 Hebr. to the head. This was an high mountain situated eastward before Gaza, upon the top whereof (as from this text may be gathered) they looked on Hebron which also was situated upon an high mountain by the western borders of Judah. Herewith do the maps also agree. Some perceive that he carried them to the top of the mountain of Judah, which is close by Hebron.
4¶And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of 10Sorek, whose name was Delilah.
10 Which runs by the valley of Eshcol, or the valley of grapes (whereof see Deut. 1 on verse 24) out of the mountain of Judah, into the Mediterranean Sea, and parting the tribes of Dan and Simeon from each other. According to the opinion of others, Eshcol and Sorek would be names of one and the same brook. But Num. 13:24 it is said, that the place (not brook) was called by the Israelites Nachal-eshkol.
5And the 11lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, 12Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to 13afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of 14silver.
11 See Judges 3 on verse 3.
12 See Judges 14 on verse 15.
13 Or, to humble; also verse 6.
14 See Gen. 20 on verse 16.
6¶And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.
7And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven 15green withsb that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as 16another man.
15 Other, fresh or sound, green osier rods, or withs, bonds, osier-bonds, willow-bonds.
16 Or, as one of the men, or, as an only man; also verse 11.
8Then the lords of the Philistines 17brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them.
17 Hebr. caused to come up to her, that is, they brought, or furnished, caused to be brought to her.
9Now there were men 18lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The 19Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of 20towc is broken when it 21toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known.
18 That is, the Philistines who watched and heeded the matter.
19 That is, there are the Philistines who want to overtake you.
20 Or, course flax.
c coarse fibers of flax or hemp used for spinning
21 That is, comes near the fire, or feels, perceives the fire, as we use to say. Compare Psalm 58 on verse 9.
10And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound.
11And he said unto her, If they bind me 22fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.
22 Hebr. binding bind.
12Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And 23he brake them from off his arms like a thread.
23 Namely, the thick ropes or cords.
13And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou weavest the 24seven locks of my head with the 25web.
24 That is, all the hair of mine head, being as it were divided into so many locks. Compare verses 19, 22.
25 Other, web which is weaved about a weaver’s loom. Understand hereupon: (as in the former) then I would become weak, and be as another man.
14And she 26fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and 27went away with the pin 28of the beam, and with the web.
26 Understand, after she had done according to his saying with the twisted hair-locks, she then besides (for the greater care) fastened them with a pin to the weaver’s beam. Others understand that she nailed the weaver’s beam fast, that Samson might not be able to remove it out of its place, or loosen it.
27 Or, went away with the nail and with the weaver’s loom: showing his former strength, and that this was not the means to entrap and compel him.
28 That is, wherewith Delilah had fastened the twisted hair locks. Hebr. of the twisting.
15¶And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth.
16And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was 29vexed unto death;
29 Hebr. was shortened; as fruits which are mowed and cut down. The meaning is: that all his mind and courage perished, vanished away; yea (as we use also to say) his breath grew short, and his spirit almost fainted, through anguish; whereby he suffered himself, at length, to be overcome by Delilah. A very remarkable and pitiful example of human frailty and inconsiderateness in so excellent and transcendent a hero of God, as Samson was. Compare Job 21 on verse 4.
17That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a 30Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my 31strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.
30 See Judges 13 on verse 5.
31 Not that his strength was in the hair, but that the cutting off his hair was the breaking of the vow of a Nazarite (see Num. 6:5; Judges 13:5) whereunto he was engaged by God’s command, Who endowed him by His Spirit with this extraordinary strength, as long as he kept his vow of a Nazarite, but deprived him thereof, when he became guilty of the breach thereof.
18And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and 32called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought 33money in their hand.
32 That is, caused to call, sent for, commanded to tell.
33 Or, silver. See verse 5.
19And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she 34called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to 35afflict him, and his strength went from him.
34 That is, caused to call, sent for.
35 That is, to jog him, or otherwise to push, stir, prick, etc. to awaken and to give him notice (as before) of the Philistines’ coming, that they might see, whether he might be taken captive and compelled, or not.
20And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out 36as at other times before, and 37shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was 38departed from him.
36 Hebr. as time in (or at) time; that is, as before, more than once.
37 As one that is shorn, or rouses up himself, and gathers up his strength unto any work or business. Other, I will shake myself out of their hands, as if he would say, I will easily rid myself out of their hands.
38 Understand so far, and in regard thereof, that He had withdrawn from him that former strength.
21¶But the Philistines took him, and put out his 39eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the 40prison house.
39 That he might not be able to hurt them anymore; yet suffering him to live for a spectacle, and a show unto their idol Dagon. See verses 23, 24. But God, Who rules all, had intended something different, as the outcome has shown.
40 Hebr. the house of those that were bound.
22Howbeit the hair of his head began to 41grow again 42after he was shaven.
41 And Samson, by a sincere repentance to come again to his prior state of his vow of a Nazarite and to receive of God the previous strength. Hebr. to wax green, to shoot forth, as grass and herbs.
42 Or, as him that was shaven; or, according as it was shorn off, that is, the hair began to grow again as long as it was at the time when he was shaven by Delilah’s deceit. Other, after he was shorn.
23Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto 43Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.
43 The idol of the Philistines, so called, because in respect of his lowermost part he was like a fish, (since the Philistines dwelt by the sea) and the uppermost had the form or shape of a man. See hereof 1 Sam. 5:2, 3, 4, 5. Also other heathens have had their sea idols, as Neptune, Triton, Leucothea, etc. Some perceive that this idol was so called from the Hebrew word dagan, that is, corn, because they held him to be the god of husbandry, or tillage. Of such kind of idolatry, see Rom. 1:23, 25.
24And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew 44many of us.
44 That is, who at times has slain multitudes of Philistines.
25And it came to pass, when their hearts were 45merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us 46sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; 47and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.
45 Hebr. good, that is, merry, of good things, one will say. Also Judges 18:20; 19:6; Ruth 3:7; 2 Sam. 13:28.
46 Or, laugh, procure laughter, that we may take our pleasure and delight, sport, and trifle away time by it. As king Belshazzar did with the gold and silver vessels of the holy temple, Daniel 5, to the praise and glory of idols, and to the dishonour of God.
47 Other, that he might play.
26And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, 48Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may 49lean upon them.
48 Or, set, lead me.
49 As if he had been wearied with laboring at the mill in prison, and with making such haste to come to this place.
27Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the 50roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.
50 According to the manner and custom of those countries, this was flat. See Deut. 22 on verse 8.
28And Samson calledd unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, 51that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.
d Heb. 11:32, etc.
51 This he prayed by faith, and was heard of God, Who gave him, that by the putting out of his eyes by the Philistines was made unsuitable (as they perceived) to execute his calling, this occasion, this design, and extraordinary strength, breathed into him this prayer, and gave him in his death, as well as in his life, wonderful victory; to the praise of His holy Name, to the defiance of idols and shaming of His enemies. See verse 30.
29And Samson took hold of the two 52middle pillars upon which the house stood, and 53on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.
52 Hebr. pillars of the middle.
53 Other, and he (Samson) leaned upon, or stayed himself against it.
30And Samson said, Let 54me die with the Philistines. And he 55bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.
54 Which is here as much as: Let me, myself, my person, die. See Gen. 9 on verse 5; Gen. 12 on verse 5.
55 Or, stretched out himself; thrusting away the pillars from him, and bowing them in.
31Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between 56Zorah and 57Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel 58twenty years.
56 See Judges 13 on verse 2.
57 See Judges 13 on verse 25.
58 As Judges 15:20. This conclusion, here repeated, intimates, that this last act of Samson appertained as well to his office as judge, as the other fore-going. As he, also especially in his death, is held to be a type and figure of our Lord Christ, Who conquered all His and our enemies chiefly by His death.