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Saturday, May 18th, 2024
Eve of Pentacost
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Bible Commentaries
Judges 16

Hawker's Poor Man's CommentaryPoor Man's Commentary

Verse 1


The close of Samson's history forms the subject of this Chapter. We have in it a melancholy proof of our fallen nature, in the renewed breakings out of lustful passions in Samson, and the sad consequence of them, in the loss of his eyes, when, after repeated disappointments, the Philistines got him into their hands. His recovery by grace, and the Lord's merciful answer to his prayer, with his death: these are among the relations in this chapter.

Judges 16:1

What awful departures from God, we behold in men. Who should conceive, that a man so wonderfully distinguished of God, his birth so introduced, his life so singular, and in many points becoming so lively a type of Him whose whole nature was harmless, holy, undefiled, and separate from sinners; who should have thought that he should thus have fallen! Reader! let not such views stagger thee, nor for a moment tend to shake thy faith. Many characters the Holy Ghost gives us in his sacred word, who prove the stock of corrupt nature from whence they sprung, and yet, in certain features of their lives, were appointed to shadow forth somewhat to represent the blessed Jesus. Indeed had not this been the case, there never could have been any type of the Lord Jesus at all. But as the apostle saith, Every high Priest taken from among men is to be such as can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way, for that he himself is compassed with infirmities. And yet we know that all these high Priests, with all their ministrations, and all their sacrifices, had no other design, or meaning, but to typify the blessed Jesus. Hebrews 5:1-2 .

Verse 2

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.

See Reader! how alive the enemies to God, and his people are, to wait for thy halting. Oh! that everyone who ventures to pursue uncleanness and the gratification of his corrupt passions, would in those Gazites surrounding Samson, behold a representation, how the accursed enemy of souls watches over the unguarded hours of sinners! Behold! ye adulterers, and adultresses, you that drop asleep in the arms of harlots, ye captives to excess of wine, and abominable lusts; see what dangers you are exposed to, when you think all secure! 1 Thessalonians 5:3-10 .

Verse 3

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.

I pass over every other consideration, to call the Reader's attention to the lively representation here made of Samson's wonderful strength, and that of our divine Redeemer, in his victory over death, hell, and the grave. Did not Jesus, though the soldiers secured, as they thought, the grave, and the stone upon it sealed: did he not burst asunder all the bars, and carry them away before him? Was not our dear Lord, like Samson, when they had bound him and nailed him to the cross, considered as the sure prisoner, which could not escape their hands? And yet, did he not, like Samson at midnight, just at the break of day, lead captivity captive, and come forth to the terror and confusion of a1l his enemies? Yes! thou dear Redeemer! thou hast indeed, not only come forth, from the supposed confinement of the grave, but thou hast forever prevented thine enemies, and ours, from confining our bodies and souls, for everlasting destruction. The grave, into which the bodies of thy saints are put, is now an open grave, and by thy glorious resurrection, the everlasting power, and dominion of it, is done away. So that in thy triumph, all thy people now sing; 0 death where is now thy sting; 0 grave where is now thy victory: Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 .

Verse 4

And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.

Again we behold the sad breakings out of our fallen state. How justly doth the Psalmist (and everyone taught of God may join issue in the same language), say for himself: The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. Psalms 36:1 .

Verses 5-19

I see no reason to interrupt the progress of the history through the several relations given, of this artful woman ' s persevering spirit to ruin Samson. But I rather pass on to the spiritual improvements the history furnisheth. And here we see to what a degree of folly, and presumption, sin reduceth the mind. Samson could not but know that, as a Nazarite to God, the unshaven head was as an outward sign, or mark, of a spiritual state. What madness, what presumption therefore, was it thus to tempt God. But Reader, mark, and as you mark the instance of Samson, learn not to be high minded, but fear. What an easy prey is man, with all his boasted strength, to any and every temptation, when the Lord for one moment withdraws his support. Oh! how sweet is it to have Paul's sentiments, and from the same spirit. I can do nothing by myself, saith he: but I can do all things, through Christ who strengtheneth me. 1 Corinthians 4:4 ; Philippians 4:13 .

Verse 20

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.

This is a very awful account: the Lord was departed from him, and he knew it not, It is said of Ephraim, that strangers had devoured his strength, and he knew it not: yea, grey hairs were here and there upon him, and he unconscious. Hosea 7:9 . When the strong man armed keepeth the house the goods are in peace. Luke 11:21 . Reader! think how deadened to divine things must that man's mind be, who is unconscious of the Spirit's withdrawing his influences, feels nothing of the want of quickenings, and regards not the withering state of his soul! Lord! take not thine Holy Spirit from me, ought to be the daily earnest prayer of every one. - Psalms 51:11 .

Verse 21

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.

Awfully let us remark the punishment suited to the offence; that is, I mean, not as it came from the hand of man, but from the correction of God. it was Samson's eyes which had become the great inlet to evil, when he first saw this harlot. The desire of the eye is one of those lusts of the flesh which the apostle marks among the daring transgressions. 1 John 2:16 . But oh how much more dreadful, had Samson's sins blinded the eyes of his soul! We hear no murmuring, no complaining, fall from the lips of Samson at the cruelty of the Philistines. No doubt through grace, he was led to see the divine justice in it, and to accept the punishment of his iniquity. Grace will always do this. For how unjust soever on the part of man, it was right and just on the part of God. So thought David in the case of Shimei, when he came forth in his distress to curse him. So let him curse, said David, because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse David. 2 Samuel 16:10 . But pause Reader! is there nothing here typical of Jesus? Did not the chief Priests, and Elders, when they had bound Jesus, and nailed him to the cross, mock, and insult the Lord of life and glory? Dearest Lord! how do all insults and injuries from man to man, sink comparatively to nothing, when we behold thine unparalleled sufferings; when the very Judge that condemned thee, in the moment of passing sentence, declared thee innocent. Matthew 27:24 .

Verse 22

Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.

Sweet are the renewings of the Holy Ghost. Oh! how precious the returns of the Comforter, after a night of desertion!

Verses 23-24

Nothing can be more plain from the history, than that it was the artful intrigue of a woman which had been the instrument for delivering Samson into the hands of the Philistines; but yet a dunghill god must have the credit. To what a desperate state of ignorance, as well as sin, is the mind capable of arriving, when the glory of God, and his honor is not acknowledged. See an awful account of this by Paul, Romans 1:22 , etc.

Verses 25-30

How wonderful are all the ways and works of God! By what solemn and striking providences, doth the Lord carry on his designs in the world! Samson's triumph was greater in his death, than in all the victories of his life. But Reader! let us pass by the mere circumstances of the history, with even all the moral improvements it affords, to attend to the spiritual views it exhibits. And here surely, if anywhere, we are called upon to behold this Nazarite of the Old Testament, as holding forth evident marks of similitude to the glorious Nazarite of the New. Did Samson pull down the temple of Dagon at his death: and did not Jesus overthrow to the ground every false god, when he died on the cross, and when he ruined the whole empire of sin and Satan? Did Samson die voluntarily for the destruction of the Philistines? And did not our Jesus give his life, a willing ransom for the sins of his people? Herein indeed, they differed. Samson died to crush his enemies with him. But Jesus died for his enemies to have life. Did Samson by his death obtain a most decisive victory! And what victory more decisive than that of the Lord Jesus, who by his death destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil, and delivered them, who through fear of death, are all their life time subject to bondage? Did Samson with his two hands push down the pillars of the house: and were not the arms of Jesus stretched, forth on the cross, when he made the pillars of the earth to move at their centre, and the gates of hell itself to be loosened forever? Yes! thou precious Almighty Nazarite, thy death was distinguished with every wonder heaven could give in testimony to its importance. Herein indeed again, Samson ' s death differed from thine. He fell to rise no more. But thou in thy death didst open the path to everlasting life; and in thy glorious resurrection that followed, thou hast forever destroyed that dreaded foe of our nature. Oh! blessed Lord! may my soul look on this, and learn by thy Spirit ' s teaching, to rejoice with trembling. While, as Samson ' s victory even in death, caused Israel to triumph over their enemies, so in the everlasting triumphs of the cross over the ungodly, (as in the instance of the Philistines), may my soul behold the sure destruction that awaits all them that know not God, nor obey the gospel of Jesus. For in that final hour when thou shalt come to be glorified in thy saints, and to be admired in all that believe; we know also that a tremendous judgment will take place on the enemies of thy truth, who shall, be driven from thy presence with everlasting destruction. 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10 .

Verse 31

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.

It is worthy remark, how careful the Patriarchs and early believers were, to record the monuments of their sepulchres. No doubt from one, and the same cause: they all died in faith of the promised redemption. See Heb_11:22; Heb_11:32 , etc.


I CANNOT dismiss the review of this very remarkable character, Samson, without once again, and before I take a farewell leave of him, desiring grace and the divine teachings of the Holy Spirit, that I may look at him so as to profit. I would pause and consider, with what an air of importance his birth was introduced: how singularly the presence of the Lord led him on through all the remarkable periods of his life: and what decisive tokens of the same Almighty presence and favor distinguished his death. Thus brought into the world, so solemnly set apart as a Nazarite to God: and so peculiarly distinguished from every other in all the events which befell him: it is impossible but to suppose that the divine intention concerning him was to prefigure another. And to whom shall I direct my eyes, in order to behold the person represented, but to thee, thou holy blessed glorious Nazarite, whose whole nature was purer than snow, whiter than milk, more ruddy than rubies, and brighter than polishing sapphire. Thy birth indeed, blessed Jesus, was miraculous; and great were the predictions and preparations, made in the sacred word for thy coming. Anointed with the Holy Ghost without measure, and solemnly set apart for thy Father's service, when thou didst come thou wast at once brought into a display of the most triumphant exploits; not indeed of the destruction of the Philistines, but in thy victory over the enemy; when from thy baptism thou wast led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. Basely wast thou betrayed as Samson, by false friends, and like him delivered up into the hands of thine enemies. But infinitely surpassing him, though thine enemies nailed thee to the cross, and then insulted thy sufferings, thou hast, by that very death, fulfilled the whole council of Jehovah, put an everlasting end to sin, with all its dreadful consequences, and brought in an everlasting righteousness, which is to all, and upon all that believe.

Here then, Lord, let me behold thee in thy death, and in the triumph of it. And beseech thee, thou gracious God of my salvation, that now thou hast by thy death spoiled principalities and powers, and made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it, that thou wilt mercifully go on by the preaching of thy gospel, under thy blessed Spirit's influence, conquering and to conquer. Oh! may thy sovereign word be as the arms of Samson, to pull down all the strong holds of sin and Satan. Let that cursed foe be beheld by thy people, to fall as lightning from heaven. Let the foundation of every false god be thrown down, and the ruin of antichrist be brought to pass. Oh! let thy Kingdom come, thou dear Redeemer, and Master, and hasten the latter day glory. May that period soon arrive, when the nations of the earth shall own thy power, when every knee shall bow before thee, and every tongue confess, that thou art Christ, to the glory of God the Father.

Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Judges 16". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/judges-16.html. 1828.
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