Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.Gaza - About 8 hours from Eleutheropolis, and one of the chief strong-holds of the Philistines.
And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him.
And 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 to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.Instead of forcing the doors open, he tore the posts up, as it were, by the roots, with the barred doors attached to them. The word rendered "went away with them," means "to pluck up the tent-pins," and hence, "to remove." The present town of Gaza (Ghuzzeh) is an open town, without gates or walls, but the sites of the ancient gates still remain visible. One of these, on the southeast, is shown as the gate carried off by Samson.
A partially-isolated hill, about half-an-hour southeast of Gaza, and standing out from the chain that runs up to Hebron, bears the name of "Samson's Mount." But it may be doubted whether one of the hills overlooking Hebron is not rather meant.
And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.A village to the north of Eleutheropolis, called Caphar-Sotek, was still existing in the time of Eusebius, near Zorah.
And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.And the lords of the Philistines - See Judges 3:3 note.
His great strength lieth - Rather, "wherein his strength is great."
Eleven hundred pieces of silver - The greatness of the bribe offered to Delilah, 5,500 shekels of silver, nearly two talents (Exodus 38:24, note), shows the importance attached to Samson's capture.
And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.
And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.
Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them.
Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known.
And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound.
And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.Occupied - The margin, "wherewith work hath not been done," is better.
Delilah 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 he brake them from off his arms like a thread.
And 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 seven locks of my head with the web.
And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web.And she fastened it with the pin ... - The meaning of the verses seems to be that the seven long plaits, in which Samson's hair was arranged, were to be woven as a woof into the threads of a warp which stood prepared on a loom in the chamber, which loom Delilah fastened down with a pin, so as to keep it firm and immoveable. But Samson, when he awoke, tore up the pin from its socket, and went away with the loom and the pin fastened to his hair.
The beam - Rather, the "loom," or "frame." The beam is the wooden revolving cylinder, on which the cloth is rolled as fast as it is woven, the Hebrew word for which 1 Samuel 17:7; 1 Chronicles 11:23; 1 Chronicles 20:5 is quite different from that here used.
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.
And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death;
That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a rasor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.
And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called 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 money in their hand.
And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.
And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.The possession of his extraordinary strength is ascribed (e. g. Judges 13:25) to the presence of the Spirit of the Lord. Now the Lord, or the Spirit of the Lord, had departed from him, and so his strength had gone too. The practical lesson against the presumption of self-dependence, and the all-importance of a hearty dependence upon God's Holy Spirit, must not be overlooked.
But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.Put out his eyes - Thus effectually, as they thought, preventing any future mischief on his part, while they prolonged their own triumph and revenge. (Compare Numbers 16:14; 2 Kings 25:7; Jeremiah 39:7.)
Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.
Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.Dagon was the national idol of the Philistines 1 Chronicles 10:10, so called from Dag, a fish. The description of Dagon, in his temple at Ashdod 1 Samuel 5:4, exactly agrees with the representations of a fish-god on the walls of Khorsabad, on slabs at Kouyunjik, and on sundry antique cylinders and gems. In these the figures vary. Some have a human form down to the waist, with that of a fish below the waist; others have a human head, arms, and legs, growing, as it were, out of a fish's body, and so arranged that the fish's head forms a kind of mitre to the man's head, while the body and fins form a kind of cloak, hanging down behind.
And 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 many of us.Our God ... - A portion of the Philistine triumphal song. Compare Judges 5; Exodus 15.
And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.That he may make us sport - Rather, "that he may play for us," i. e. dance and make music. At an idolatrous feast, dancing was always accompanied with vocal and instrumental music.
And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them.More literally, "let me rest, and let me feel the pillars, that I may lean upon them." He feigned weariness with his dancing and singing, and asked to recover himself by leaning against the pillars. The flat roof, from the top of which, as well as under it, spectators could see what was being done on the stage in front, was mainly supported by two pillars. The lords and principal persons sat UNDER the roof, while the people, to the number of 3,000, stood ON the flat roof. When the pillars were removed, the weight of 3,000 people brought the roof down with a fearful crash, and those above fell together with the stones and timbers upon those below, and a great slaughter was the result, Samson himself perishing under the ruins.
Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.
And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.At once avenged - "i. e. with one final revenge." These words do not breathe the spirit of the Gospel, but they express a sentiment, natural to the age, knowledge, and character of Samson.
And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.
And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed 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.
Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years."All the house of his father," in connection with "his brethren," must mean the whole tribe of Dan, aiding his nearer relations. The Danites, taking advantage of the consternation of the Philistines, and of the death of their lords and chief men, went down in force to Gaza, and recovered the body of their great captain and judge, and buried him in his father's sepulchre.