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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Judges 16



Verses 1-31

Samson's Escape from Gaza. Delilah's Treachery. Samson's Death

1-3. Samson and Gaza.

1. Gaza] 2 m. from the coast, and the last town of Palestine on the coast road to Egypt. Here Samson would be a whole day's journey from his mountain home, in his enemies' territory.

2, 3. They appear not to have surrounded the house, but waited to kill him when he found the gates closed in the morning. He suspects their plan, and does not wait till morning. The two gates would turn on pins, and be made by locks or bars into one piece, which Samson lifts up and carries off. The distance from Gaza to Hebron (one of the highest points in the rugged land of Judah) is nearly 40 m.

4-22. Samson's capture through the treachery of Delilah.

4. A woman] For the third time Samson's reckless daring in love brings him into danger. Sorek] a long and fertile 'wady' or glen, running W. from near J erusalem to the plain: cp. Genesis 49:11. Zorah and Timnah are both in this valley.

5. The lords of the Philistines] see on Judges 3:3. Wherein his great strength lieth] properly 'by what means his strength is great.' The 'lords' fancy he must have some amulet or magical device. Afflict] properly, 'torment.' Pieces] i.e. shekels. The amount to be paid by each is about £150.

7. Whether Samson suspects or not, he plays upon her credulity. The supposed secret of the 'green withs,' i.e. undried bowstrings made from the intestines of animals, has all the more verisimilitude because of the sacred (and magical) number seven (cp. Judges 16:13). The Philistines are deceived as readily as Delilah.

11. Occupied] RV 'wherewith no work hath been done': cp. Luke 19:13 (AV).

13, 14. The v. is incomplete. LXX helps us to fill the gap, thus: 'if thou weavest.. web, and beatest up with the pin, my strength will fail; so while he slept Delilah did so, and she beat up the web with the pin, and said.' Delilah wove the long hair into an unfinished piece of stuff left on the upright loom: the pin was used for 'beating up' the cloth (in this case, the hair) tight and firm. Went away with the pin of the beam] 'pin' should here be omitted: Samson pulls the posts of the loom out of the ground.

15. Thine heart] thy mind or knowledge; cp. Judges 16:17, Judges 16:18.

18. Delilah sees at once that Samson is no longer tricking her, and she makes the Philistines equally confident. The belief in the importance of the hair (see on Judges 13:5) was widespread in antiquity.

19, Afflict] how is not explained. He is still asleep.

20. Departed] when he was robbed of the hair which it was his duty to preserve.

21. See 2 Kings 25:7. Grinding was women's work.

23-31. Samson's Last Exploit and Death.

23. Dagon] the chief Philistine god (1 Samuel 5).

25-29. He would make sport enough by being what he was, blind and in chains. Pillars] Two columns on which rested the roof of a large verandah, perhaps attached to the temple. After being in the court in front, in the sight of all, both below and above, he is brought to rest against these.

28. My two eyes] RM 'for one of my two eyes.' A stroke of grim humour quite in keeping, at this supreme moment, with the character of Samson.

29. On which it was borne up] RV 'leaned on them.'

31. The Philistines had no wish, and perhaps no spirit, to interfere with Samson's burial in his own country. Milton has brought out the tragic elements of this wild story at the. end of 'Samson Agonistes.' Judged] see intro. to Judges 13.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Judges 16:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.

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