Judges 16

1 Samson went to Gaza, and saw there a prostitute, and went in to her. 2 The Gazites were told, “Samson is here!” They surrounded him, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, “Wait until morning light, then we will kill him.” 3 Samson lay until midnight, and arose at midnight, and laid hold of the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and plucked them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of the mountain that is before Hebron. 4 It came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 The lords of the Philistines came up to her, and said to her, “Entice him, and see in which his great strength lies, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.” 6 Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and what you might be bound to afflict you.” 7 Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven green cords that were never dried, then shall I become weak, and be as another man.” 8 Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green cords which had not been dried, and she bound him with them. 9 Now she had an ambush waiting in the inner room. She said to him, “The Philistines are on you, Samson!” He broke the cords, as a string of tow is broken when it touches the fire. So his strength was not known. 10 Delilah said to Samson, “Behold, you have mocked me, and told me lies: now please tell me with which you might be bound.” 11 He said to her, “If they only bind me with new ropes with which no work has been done, then shall I become weak, and be as another man.” 12 So Delilah took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said to him, “The Philistines are on you, Samson!” The ambush was waiting in the inner room. He broke them off his arms like a thread. 13 Delilah said to Samson, “Until now, you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me with what you might be bound.” He said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web.” 14 She fastened it with the pin, and said to him, “The Philistines are on you, Samson!” He awakened out of his sleep, and plucked away the pin of the beam, and the web. 15 She said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies.” 16 When she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, his soul was troubled to death. 17 He told her all his heart, and said to her, “No razor has ever come on my head; for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will go from me, and I will become weak, and be like any other man.” 18 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 has told me all his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her, and brought the money in their hand. 19 She made him sleep on her knees; and she called for a man, and shaved off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. 20 She said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” He awoke out of his sleep, and said, “I will go out as at other times, and shake myself free.” But he didn’t know that the LORD had departed from him. 21 The Philistines laid hold on him, and put out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he ground at the mill in the prison. 22 However the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaved. 23 The lords of the Philistines gathered them together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice; for they said, “Our god has delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.” 24 When the people saw him, they praised their god; for they said, “Our god has delivered our enemy and the destroyer of our country, who has slain many of us, into our hand.” 25 When their hearts were merry, they said, “Call for Samson, that he may entertain us.” They called for Samson out of the prison; and he performed before them. They set him between the pillars; 26 and Samson said to the boy who held him by the hand, “Allow me to feel the pillars whereupon the house rests, that I may lean on them.” 27 Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were on the roof about three thousand men and women, who saw while Samson performed. 28 Samson called to the LORD, and said, “Lord GOD, remember me, please, and strengthen me, please, only this once, God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Samson took hold of the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and leaned on them, the one with his right hand, and the other with his left. 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” He bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell on the lords, and on all the people who were therein. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than those who he killed in his life. 31 Then his brothers 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 burial site of Manoah his father. He judged Israel twenty years.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–3

Hitherto Samson’s character has appeared glorious, though uncommon. In this chapter we find him behaving in so wicked a manner, that many question whether or not he were a godly man. But the apostle has determined this, Heb 11:32. By adverting to the doctrines and examples of Scripture, the artifices of Satan, the deceitfulness of the human heart, and the methods in which the Lord frequently deals with his people, we may learn useful lessons from this history, at which some needlessly stumble, while others cavil and object. The peculiar time in which Samson lived may account for many things, which, if done in our time, and without the special appointment of Heaven, would be highly criminal. And there might have been in him many exercises of piety, which, if recorded, would have reflected a different light upon his character. Observe Samson’s danger. Oh that all who indulge their sensual appetites in drunkenness, or any fleshly lusts, would see themselves thus surrounded, way-laid, and marked for ruin by their spiritual enemies! The faster they sleep, the more secure they feel, the greater their danger. We hope it was with a pious resolution not to return to his sin, that he rose under a fear of the danger he was in. Can I be safe under this guilt? It was bad that he lay down without such checks; but it would have been worse, if he had laid still under them.

Verses 4–17

Samson had been more than once brought into mischief and danger by the love of women, yet he would not take warning, but is again taken in the same snare, and this third time is fatal. Licentiousness is one of the things that take away the heart. This is a deep pit into which many have fallen; but from which few have escaped, and those by a miracle of mercy, with the loss of reputation and usefulness, of almost all, except their souls. The anguish of the suffering is ten thousand times greater than all the pleasures of the sin.

Verses 18–21

See the fatal effects of false security. Satan ruins men by flattering them into a good opinion of their own safety, and so bringing them to mind nothing, and fear nothing; and then he robs them of their strength and honour, and leads them captive at his will. When we sleep our spiritual enemies do not. Samson’s eyes were the inlets of his sin, (ver. #(1),) and now his punishment began there. Now the Philistines blinded him, he had time to remember how his own lust had before blinded him. The best way to preserve the eyes, is, to turn them away from beholding vanity. Take warning by his fall, carefully to watch against all fleshly lusts; for all our glory is gone, and our defence departed from us, when our separation to God, as spiritual Nazarites, is profaned.

Verses 22–24

Samson’s afflictions were the means of bringing him to deep repentance. By the loss of his bodily sight the eyes of his understanding were opened; and by depriving him of bodily strength, the Lord was pleased to renew his spiritual strength. The Lord permits some few to wander wide and sink deep, yet he recovers them at last, and marking his displeasure at sin in their severe temporal sufferings, preserves them from sinking into the pit of destruction. Hypocrites may abuse these examples, and infidels mock at them, but true Christians will thereby be rendered more humble, watchful, and circumspect; more simple in their dependence on the Lord, more fervent in prayer to be kept from falling, and in praise for being preserved; and, if they fall, they will be kept from sinking into despair.

Verses 25–31

Nothing fills up the sins of any person or people faster than mocking and misusing the servants of God, even thought it is by their own folly that they are brought low. God put it into Samson’s heart, as a public person, thus to avenge on them God’s quarrel, Israel’s, and his own. That strength which he had lost by sin, he recovers by prayer. That it was not from passion or personal revenge, but from holy zeal for the glory of God and Israel, appears from God’s accepting and answering the prayer. The house was pulled down, not by the natural strength of Samson, but by the almighty power of God. In his case it was right he should avenge the cause of God and Israel. Nor is he to be accused of self-murder. He sought not his own death, but Israel’s deliverance, and the destruction of their enemies. Thus Samson died in bonds, and among the Philistines, as an awful rebuke for his sins; but he died repentant. The effects of his death typified those of the death of Christ, who, of his own will, laid down his life among transgressors, and thus overturned the foundation of Satan’s kingdom, and provided for the deliverance of his people. Great as was the sin of Samson, and justly as he deserved the judgments he brought upon himself, he found mercy of the Lord at last; and every penitent shall obtain mercy, who flees for refuge to that Saviour whose blood cleanses from all sin. But here is nothing to encourage any to indulge sin, from a hope they shall at last repent and be saved.

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