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Samson is greatly endangered by his intercourse with an harlot,
ver. 1 - 3.
Betrayed by Delilah to the Philistines thrice, ver. 4 - 14.
Weakened and effectually betrayed, ver. 15 - 20.
Seized, blinded, bound, imprisoned and made sport of, ver. 21 - 25.
Avenged of the Philistines, ver. 26 - 31 .
1: And saw - Going into an house of publick entertainment to refresh
himself. He there saw this harlot accidentally; and by giving way to
look upon her, was ensnared, (Ge 3:6).
2: In the morning - This they chose to do, rather than to seize upon
him in his bed by night; either, because they knew not certainly in what
house he was; or, because they thought that might cause great terror, and
confusion, and mischief among their own people; whereas in the day - time they
might more fully discover him, and more certainly use their weapons against
him. O that all who indulge any unholy desire, might see themselves thus
surrounded, and marked for destruction by their spiritual enemies! The more
secure they are, the greater is their danger.
3: Arose - Perhaps warned by God in a dream; or rather by the checks
of his own conscience. Went away - The watch - men not expecting him 'till
morning, and therefore being now retired into the sides, or upper part of
the gate - house, as the manner now is, to get some rest, to fit themselves
for their hard service intended in the morning: nor durst they pursue him,
whom they now again perceived to have such prodigious strength, and courage;
and to be so much above the fear of them, that he did not run away with all
speed, but went leisurely. Hebron - Which was above twenty miles from
Gaza. And Samson did this not out of vain ostentation, but as an
evidence of his great strength, for the encouragement of its people to join
with him vigorously; and for the greater terror and contempt of the
Philistines. It may seem strange that Samson immediately after so
foul a sin should have courage and strength from God, for so great a work.
- It is probable, that Samson had in some measure repented of
his sin, and begged of God pardon and assistance.
- This singular strength and courage was not in itself a grace, but a gift,
and it was such a gift as did not so much depend on the disposition of
his mind, but on the right ordering of his body, by the rule given to
him, and others of that order.
4: Loved - Probably as an harlot: because the dreadful punishment
now inflicted upon Samson for this sin, whom God spared for the first
offence, is an intimation, that this sin was not inferior to the former.
5: The lords - The lords of their five principal cities, who were
leagued together against him as their common enemy. Afflict - To chastise
him for his injuries done to us. They mean to punish him severely, but they
express it in mild words, lest it might move her to pity him.
Pieces of silver - Shekels, as that phrase is commonly used.
7: Samson said - Samson is guilty both of the sin of lying, and
of great folly in encouraging her enquiries, which he should at first have
checked: but as he had forsaken God, so God had now forsaken him, otherwise
the frequent repetition and vehement urging of this question might easily
have raised suspicion in him.
9: With her - That is, in a secret chamber within her call. Nor is
it strange that they did not fall upon him in his sleep, because they
expected an opportunity for doing their work more certainly, and with less
13: Web - Or, thread which is woven about a weaver's loom: or,
with a weaver's beam. If my hair, which is all divided into seven
locks, be fastened about a weaver's beam; or interwoven with weaver's
threads: then I shall be weak as another man.
15: Not with me - Not open to me.
16: Vexed - Being tormented by two contrary passions, desire to
gratify her, and fear of betraying himself. So that he had no pleasure of
17: If I be shaven - Not that his hair was in itself the cause of his
strength, but because it was the chief condition of that covenant, whereby
God was pleased to ingage himself to fit him for, and assist him in that
great work to which he called him: but upon his violation of the condition,
God justly withdraws his help. ((Isa 40:31,Ps 29:11))
18: And brought money in their hand - See one of the bravest men then
in the world bought and sold, as a sheep for the slaughter. How does this
instance sully all the glory of man, and forbid the strong man ever to boast
of his strength!
19: Sleep - By some sleepy potion. Knees - Resting his head upon
her knees. To weaken or hurt, tho' he felt it not.
20: Said - Within himself. Shake myself - That is, put forth my
strength. Knew not - Not distinctly feeling the loss of his hair, or not
considering what would follow. Many have lost the favourable presence of
God, and are not aware of it. They have provoked God to withdraw from them;
but are not sensible of their loss.
21: His eyes - Which was done both out of revenge and policy, to
disable him from doing them harm, in case he should recover his strength;
but not without God's providence, punishing him in that part which had been
instrumental to his sinful lusts. Gaza - Because this was a great and
strong city, where he would be kept safely; and upon the sea - coast, at
sufficient distance from Samson's people; and to repair the honour of
that place, upon which he had fastened so great a scorn. God also ordering
things thus, that where he first sinned, (Jdg 16:1), there he should
receive his punishment. Grind - As slaves use to do. He made himself a
slave to harlots, and now God suffers men to use him like a slave. Poor
Samson, how art thou fallen! How is thine honour laid in the dust!
Wo unto him, for he hath sinned! Let all take warning by him, carefully
to preserve their purity. For all our glory is gone, when the covenant of
our separation to God, as spiritual Nazarites, is profaned.
22: The hair - This circumstance, though in itself inconsiderable, is
noted as a sign of the recovery of God's favour, and his former strength, in
some degree, upon his repentance, and renewing his vow with God, which was
allowed for Nazarites to do.
23: Dagon - An idol, whose upper part was like a man, and whose lower
part was like a fish: probably one of the sea - gods of the Heathens.
25: Made sport - Either being made by them the matter of their sport
and derision, of bitter scoffs, and other indignities: or, by some proofs
of more than ordinary strength yet remaining in him, like the ruins of a
great and goodly building: whereby he lulled them asleep, until by this
complaisance he prepared the way for that which he designed.
26: Whereon the house standeth - Whether it were a temple, or
theatre, or some slight building run up for the purpose.
27: The roof - Which was flat, and had window's through which they
might see what was done in the lower parts of the house.
28: Samson called - This prayer was not an act of malice and revenge,
but of faith and zeal for God, who was there publickly dishonoured; and
justice, in vindicating the whole common - wealth of Israel, which was his
duty, as he was judge. And God, who heareth not sinners, and would never use
his omnipotence to gratify any man's malice, did manifest by the effect,
that he accepted and owned his prayer as the dictate of his own Spirit.
And that in this prayer he mentions only his personal injury, and not
their indignities to God and his people, must be ascribed to that prudent
care which he had, upon former occasions, of deriving the rage of the
Philistines upon himself alone, and diverting it from the people. For
which end I conceive this prayer was made with an audible voice, though he
knew they would entertain it only with scorn and laughter.
30: Two pillars - Instances are not wanting of more capacious
buildings than this, that have been supported only by one pillar.
Pliny in the 15th chapter of the 36th Book of his Natural History,
mentions two theatres built by C. Curio, in Julius Caesar's time; each
of which was supported only by one pillar, tho' many thousands of people
sat in it together. Let me die - That is, I am content to die, so I can
but contribute to the vindication of God's glory, and the deliverance
of God's people. This is no encouragement to those who wickedly murder
themselves: for Samson did not desire, or procure his own death
voluntarily, but by mere necessity; he was by his office obliged to seek
the destruction of these enemies and blasphemers of God, and oppressors of
his people; which in these circumstances he could not effect without his own
death. Moreover, Samson did this by Divine direction, as God's answer
to his prayer manifests, and that he might be a type of Christ, who by
voluntarily undergoing death, destroyed the enemies of God, and of his
people. They died, just when they were insulting over an Israelite,
persecuting him whom God had smitten. Nothing fills up the measure of the
iniquity of any person or people faster, than mocking or misusing the
servants of God, yea, tho' it is by their own folly, that they are brought
low. Those know not what they do, nor whom they affront, that make sport
with a good man.
31: Buried - While the Philistines were under such grief, and
consternation, that they had neither heart nor leisure to hinder them.