Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, May 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
StudyLight.org has pledged to help build churches in Uganda. Help us with that pledge and support pastors in the heart of Africa.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries
Judges 15

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

But it came to pass within a while after, in the time of wheat harvest, that Samson visited his wife with a kid; and he said, I will go in to my wife into the chamber. But her father would not suffer him to go in.

But it came to pass within a while after. — When Samson had now digested the wrong his wife had done by disclosing his secrets, as Fulvia did Catiline’s. Married couples must either not fall out, or not go long unreconciled -

Qum modo pugnarant iungant sua rostra columbae. ” - Ovid.

Visited his wife with a kid. — As a token of his kindness. So Isaac feasted Abimelech and his company, Genesis 26:30 to show that there was no rancour, or purpose of revenge. Feasting together hath, as Athenaeus saith of wine, ελκυστικον τι προς φιλιαν a force to make men friends.

Verse 2

And her father said, I verily thought that thou hadst utterly hated her; therefore I gave her to thy companion: [is] not her younger sister fairer than she? take her, I pray thee, instead of her.

I verily thought. — But he should have made sure of that; which because he did not, it cost him and his daughter their lives.

Differ: habent parvae commoda magna morae.

Is not her younger sister fairer? — Heb., Better: but never the better for her beauty, if, with Aurelia Orestilla, the Roman lady, she had nothing else to commend her. Sallust.

Forma bonum fragile est. ” - Ovid.

Take her, I pray thee, instead of her. — This man made nothing of incest: the Pope frequently dispenseth with it, Lege nimirum canina: but Samson abhorred the motion, according to Leviticus 18:18 .

Verse 3

And Samson said concerning them, Now shall I be more blameless than the Philistines, though I do them a displeasure.

Now shall I be more blameless than the Philistines. — Who all were in fault, because they either approved, or at least inhibited not this injury done to Samson; wherefore he proclaimeth open war against them all, vowing revenge.

Verse 4

And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails.

And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes. — Whereof that country was full, Song of Solomon 2:15 Psalms 63:10 and he might herein use the help of his friends. The Philistines vulpinando had got away his wife from him, as Herod that fox had done his brother Philip’s: by foxes therefore they are fitly plagued.

And put a firebrand in the midst between two tails. — Putting something else also between them, saith Lyra, which might not burn asunder; and which might keep the fire from burning the foxes, through the space betwixt tail and tail; heretics and schismatics are like these foxes with fire at their tails: for striving to run farthest one from another, they set the Church in a combustion. Eutyches fell into the other extreme of Nestorius: so did Osiander of Stancarus, and Illyricus of Strigelius, to the great disturbance of the Church. Evag., lib. i. cap. 9. Schluss., de Stanc., p. 87. Schluss., de Sect. Manich.

Verse 5

And when he had set the brands on fire, he let [them] go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards [and] olives.

With the vineyards and olives. — How this could be is hard to conceive: but in these things we must silence our reason, and exalt our faith. He that is scholar to carnal reason, hath a fool to his master.

Verse 6

Then the Philistines said, Who hath done this? And they answered, Samson, the son in law of the Timnite, because he had taken his wife, and given her to his companion. And the Philistines came up, and burnt her and her father with fire.

Burnt her and her father with fire. — Thus the fear of the wicked cometh upon them, Proverbs 10:24 and justly, when they prefer iniquity before affliction, as Samson’s wife had done. See Judges 14:15 . Josephus saith that together with her they burned all her kindred. She should have been of his mind who said, Potius in ardentem rogue insiluero quam ullum peccatum in Deum commisero. I will leap into a bonfire, rather than sin against God.

Verse 7

And Samson said unto them, Though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease.

Though ye have done this, yet, … — Here he protesteth that he was no way satisfied with, what they had done to his wife and her father; because not in a way of justice, but out of rage and fury for the loss of their grain. He would further have his pennyworths of them as a public person set up by God for the purpose to take vengeance upon an ungodly nation. "And after that," saith he, "I will cease," viz., till next time: and till I see good to begin again. Tremelius rendereth it, Siccine facturi estis? Is this your manner of dealing? q.d., You would surely serve me in like sort if I were in your hands: but I will be on the bones of you shortly. They are an angry man’s words, and therefore short and cutted.

Verse 8

And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam.

And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter,i.e., Wherever he hit them, he gave them their passport, as we say: he beat them back and belly, as the French proverb hath it; he peppered them, and paid them to some tune, as ours. He hurled them to the ground with spurns and thrusts with his knees saith Diodat. Wherever his blows fell, they mauled them, and made them sure for stirring any more, saith another interpreter. Here we see that veriverbium of Solomon exemplified, "One sinner destroyeth much good." Ecclesiastes 9:18 As also, what a deal of mischief and bloodshed many times followeth upon adulteries, rapes, or other violations of wedlock: the Trojan war, for instance, waged much about this time: according to that prophecy of Cassandra to her brother Paris.

Grain iuvenca venit quae te, patriamque domumque

Perdet; io prohibe; Graia iuvenca venit. ” - Ovid’s Epist.

The Scots paid dear for the dishonour they did to our Edward VI, whom they denied his espoused wife, their then Queen, and married her to the Dauphin of France. This occasioned that great loss they sustained at Musselburgh field. Life of Edward VI.

Verse 9

Then the Philistines went up, and pitched in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi.

Spread themselves in Lehi. — Which showeth that they were a great army that came to fetch their bane. "Associate yourselves, ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces." Isaiah 8:9

Verse 10

And the men of Judah said, Why are ye come up against us? And they answered, To bind Samson are we come up, to do to him as he hath done to us.

Why are ye come up against us? — They choose rather to treat than to fight, though they had such a champion as Samson. Hosti discedenti pons aureus extruendus est, et magno precio, precibus, patientia et prudentia, alma pax redimenda. War is woeful, peace a precious commodity: yet not to be sought with the loss of truth. Zechariah 8:19

Verse 11

Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines [are] rulers over us? what [is] this [that] thou hast done unto us? And he said unto them, As they did unto me, so have I done unto them.

As they did unto me. — He pleadeth ius talionis, for his own defence. This would not have held good if Samson had been a private person, and the wrong had been done to himself only, Proverbs 20:22 ; Proverbs 24:19 ; Proverbs 17:13 Romans 12:17 ; Romans 12:19 though tallying of injuries is by carnal people held but justice, and counted manhood; whereas indeed it is doghood rather. But public revenge is justly exercised by the magistrate; who yet must not rashly make war, but remember what was once gravely spoken by our Henry VII: If we princes should take every occasion that is offered, the world should never be quiet, but wearied with continual brawls.

Verse 12

And they said unto him, We are come down to bind thee, that we may deliver thee into the hand of the Philistines. And Samson said unto them, Swear unto me, that ye will not fall upon me yourselves.

We are come down to bind thee. — In these Israelites we have an example of ingratitude: as in Samson, of meekness, and care of his unworthy countrymen. How fitly might he have said to them, as once Themistocles in like case did to his Athenians, "Are ye weary of receiving so many benefits by one man?"

That we may deliver thee into the hand of the Philistines. — With shame enough they might speak it, like a company of cowards as they were. But he upbraideth them not with their pusillanimity lack of courage or fortitude or perfidy; but, as solicitous of their safety, yieldeth to be bound. So did our dear Saviour, … Facinus vincere civem Romanum, saith the orator. Let me imitate his gradation, It was much for the Son of God to he bound, more to be beaten, most of all to be slain. Quid dicam, in crucem tolli?

That ye will not fall upon me yourselves. — And so occasion me, in mine own defence, to fall foul again upon you. He made no question of making his party good with the Philistines, though they were an army of them: this showeth the strength of his faith.

Verse 13

And they spake unto him, saying, No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand: but surely we will not kill thee. And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him up from the rock.

But surely we will not kill thee. — No, but you will do as bad: for qui non cum potest servat occidit. This is the world’s wages; expect hard usage, even from some professors, when it comes to a critical point once: they will dispraise what erst they praised and applauded, and turn cat in pan, as they say, to provide for their own ease and safety.

And they bound him with two new cords. — So that now he seemed to be in a forlorn and desperate condition. God reserveth his holy hand for a dead lift; and helpeth those that are forsaken of their hopes.

Verse 14

[And] when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that [were] upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.

The Philistines shouted against him. — But ere long Samson made them change their note, and turn their crowing into crying. Thus the hope of the wicked perisheth - their Hilary-term is very short. "In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare," - or, a cord, to strangle his joy with, - "but the righteous sing and rejoice." Proverbs 29:6

Became as flax.Similia funibus ex lino ustulato.

And his bands loosed. — Heb., Melted; dissoluta dissilierunt.

Verse 15

And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith.

And he found a new jaw-bone of an ass. — This holy Hercules had no better a club to bestir him with; and it was sufficient. So was "the foolishness of preaching," to subdue the world under Christ, the true Samson, who, by his death, brake the bands of death, and destroyed his and our enemies.

And slew a thousand men therewith. — So did Shamgar six hundred with an ox-goad; David, Goliath, with a sling and stone. God can effect great matters by small means. How many thousands perish by a pestilential air, as 2 Samuel 1:25 . The great cardinal of Lorraine was lighted to his lodging and to his long home at once by a poisoned torch. Bucholc.

Verse 16

And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.

With the jaw bone of an ass, heaps upon heaps. — Heb., A heap, two heaps. Here is an elegancy (antanaclasis) in the original; for the same word Chamor signifieth both an ass and a heap. And this was Samson’s epinicion, or song of thanksgiving to God; not a vain vaunt of his own strength and achievements, as Josephus and Ambrose will have it, for which cause also God punished him afterwards with so great thirst, say they.

Verse 17

And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramathlehi.

And called that place Ramathlehi. — We must likewise set up marks and monuments of God’s signal mercies, to preserve the memory of them, which else will soon be moth eaten. Abraham did so by his Jehovahjireh, Moses by his Jehovahnissi, Samuel by his Ebenezer, Jehoshaphat by his Berachah, the Jews in Esther by their Purim, …

Verse 18

And he was sore athirst, and called on the LORD, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?

And he was sore athirst. — To keep him humble after so notable an exploit, and to make him pray, ascribing kingdom, power, and glory to God alone.

And now shall I die for thirst? — Which is a most grievous kind of death, worse than that by hunger, which yet is worse than to die by the sword. Lamentations 4:9

And fall into the hands of the uncircumcised? — This will much reflect upon thee, Lord, and redound to thy dishonour. Viderit Christus, said Luther, nam si ego causa excidero, ipse solus ignorainiam reportabit. Let Christ provide for his own great name.

Verse 19

But God clave an hollow place that [was] in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof Enhakkore, which [is] in Lehi unto this day.

But God clave a hollow place. — In figure like a mortar, as Proverbs 27:22 .

That was in the jaw. — Or rather in Lehi, the place so called. See the like in Psalms 78:15-16 ; Locus ille referebat mortarium. - Vat. Deuteronomy 32:13 , - "He made him to suck honey out of the rock," that is, water as good as honey, because in a pressing necessity.

Wherefore he called the name thereof Enhakkore. — That is, The well of him that called or cried. See Judges 15:17 . If we should not be in straits sometimes, God should have no tribute from us, as those malignants in Ezra suggested against the returned captives. Ezra 4:13

Which is in Lehi unto this day. — Till Samuel’s time, who is thought to have written this book. Jerome saith it remained till his time. And Glycas saith, in the suburbs of Eleutheropolis is still seen a spring called The Jaw Bone.

Verse 20

And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

And he judged Israel. — Haply after this victory he was publicly accepted and acknowledged as judge of Israel by this people, who before had dealt so unworthily with him:

Sic cum fortuna statque caditque fides.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Judges 15". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/judges-15.html. 1865-1868.
Ads FreeProfile