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Monday, May 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Judges 16

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 1

Gaza - About 8 hours from Eleutheropolis, and one of the chief strong-holds of the Philistines.

Verse 3

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.

Verse 4

A village to the north of Eleutheropolis, called Caphar-Sotek, was still existing in the time of Eusebius, near Zorah.

Verse 5

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.

Verse 11

Occupied - The margin, “wherewith work hath not been done,” is better.

Verse 14

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 1Sa 17:7; 1 Chronicles 11:23; 1 Chronicles 20:5 is quite different from that here used.

Verse 20

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.

Verse 21

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.)

They applied to the two feet fetters of brass 2 Samuel 3:34; Jeremiah 52:11, and made him “grind” - the special task of slaves and captives Exodus 11:5; Isaiah 47:2; Lamentations 5:13.

Verse 23

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.

Verse 24

Our God ... - A portion of the Philistine triumphal song. Compare Judges 5:0; Exodus 15:0.

Verse 25

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.

Verse 26

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.

Verse 28

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.

Verse 31

“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.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Judges 16". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/judges-16.html. 1870.
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