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Judges 13-15. Samson and the Philistines.— About the same time as the Israelites entered Canaan from the east, the Purasati (of the Egyptian monuments), or Philistines, came over the sea from Caphtor (Crete), and settled in the rich coast-lands between Carmel and Gaza (p. 28). For centuries it was a question which of the two races was to have the mastery. The inevitable conflict began early, and was not ended till the time of David. Samson, Israel’ s Hercules, is said to have saved and judged Israel in the days of the Philistines ( Judges 13:5, Judges 15:20, Judges 16:31), but he did not, like the other Judges, call his tribesmen to arms and lead them into battle. His exploits were single-handed adventures. As a popular hero he is on a somewhat lower level than Gideon, Barak, Jephthah, David, and Samuel, with whom he is named in Hebrews 11:32. That the tales of his escapades were popular can well be believed. “ The scrapes into which Samson’ s weakness for women brought him, the way in which he turned the tables on those who thought they had got the best of him, the hard knocks he dealt the uncircumcised, and the practical jokes he played on them must have made these stories great favourites with the story-loving race, such as all the Semites are” (Moore, 315).
Judges 15. Samson against the Philistines.— His anger having cooled, Samson went down to appease his betrothed and complete the marriage. When he learned how things stood, he was angrier than ever, and determined to wreak his revenge upon the Philistines. The stories of the burning of their corn and the slaughter of a thousand of them with an ass’ s jawbone are good examples of Heb. folklore. [For parallels, especially to a Roman ceremony at the Cerealia, to the story of the foxes, see ICC and CB, also Frazer, Spirits of the Corn and of the Wild, i., pp. 296 f. The corn-spirit is sometimes thought to assume the shape of a fox, but this has probably no bearing on this story.— A. S. P.]
Judges 15:4 . Instead of foxes (which do not roam in packs) read “ jackals.” The feud between Samson and the Philistines now became deadly.
Judges 15:6 . Read, with some Heb. MSS. and ancient VSS., “ her and her father’ s house” ( i.e. family).— The rock Etam is not certainly known.
Judges 15:17-19 . The etymologies are of course popular, not scientific. Ramath-lehi did not originally mean “ the throwing away of the jaw bone,” but ( cf. mg.) Jawbone Hill ( cf. Ramoth-gilead). The “ hollow place” that is in Lehi— called the Maktç sh or Mortar from its shape— was cleft by God long before Samson came on the scene. And En-hakkore did not signify “ the well of him that called,” but the Partridge’ s (Caller’ s) Spring.
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Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Judges 15". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/
the Sixth Week after Easter