The Period Of The Judges

 Chapter 75
Delilah’s Final Attempt [Judges 16.16-16.22]
Year: B. C. 1120.

Scripture (KJV) Judges 16.16-22

16 And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death;
17 That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazirite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.
18 And 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 hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand.
19 And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.
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.
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.
22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.


Commentary


16 And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death;—Judges 16.16 (KJV) 
16 She tormented him with her nagging day after day until he was sick to death of it.—Judges 16.16 (NLT)

And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him…
Day after day, she pressured Him to tell her the secret of his great strength; her incessant nagging gave him no rest. Up to this point, Delilah, had willingly played games with Samson, but now she had become impatient with him, and besides she was anxious to get her hands on the money the Philistines promised her. According to the previous verse, she said; “Thou hast mocked me these three times. … How canst thou say, I love thee, when tine heart is not with me?” (vs. 15). It is easy to imagine her tears flowing freely to reinforce her plea to the increasingly tenderhearted Samson! She gave him no pleasure in their life together; then why didn’t he leave her? It was because she captivated him by the power of her so-called love, which in actuality was only lust; but it produced her desired result, for he was bewitched and perfectly intoxicated by her.
Though her previous attempts had disappointed and humiliated her, this vile woman resolved to persevere; and she would eventually discover the coveted secret. Even as Samson had given into his Philistine wife's nagging before, now he yields to the nagging of Delilah. She certainly sinned by using such terrible manipulation, but Samson also sinned by yielding to that manipulation.

She complained that Samson's love for her is empty, but it was a hollow protest; she has no love for him, and expects Samson to destroy himself and his service for God to "prove" his love for her. There are times when our commitment to God demands that we say, even to those we love the most, "I will not turn my back on my God, and you will just have to live with that."

so that his soul was vexed unto death…
The Holy Spirit reveals the state of Samson’s mind, saying that he was vexed; meaning that he was tormented by two contrary passions, desire to gratify her, and fear of betraying himself. So this internal strife left him with no place in his life for pleasure. Perhaps he could hardly bear to live, and wished to die, because he was perplexed by these conflicting feelings, love and fear; on the one hand he was chained by his lust for this harlot, that was continually teasing him, and whom he didn’t have the heart to leave. It’s true that leaving her may have removed the problem; but, on the other hand, if he were to disclose the secret, he feared that he might lose his strength, and that was the only thing that made him stand out from other men, and then the possibility was there that he could lose his life. Abarbinel thinks that Samson was aware that his days were short, and the time of his death at hand; which made him the more willing to give up the secret.

This may bring to mind the story of Milo, a man famous for his great strength. He is said to have carried an ox upon his shoulders for a furlong (220 yards or ⅛ mile) without breathing hard. It is said of him, that none of his adversaries could save themselves out of his hands, but his whore could; hence it is reported, that he had a strong body, but he lacked a manly soul. And there are many other things said about him concerning his great strength, which seems to be taken from this history of Samson.

This strong man looks like a complete fool! Why didn’t he see from what had already taken place that Delilah meant for harm to come to him? After flirting with her, and lying three times, he at last reveals his fatal secret to her, and so he becomes a traitor to himself and to his God. It may be good for us to adopt the reasonable observation of Calmet on this passage; "The weakness of Samson's heart in the whole of this history, is yet more astonishing than the strength of his body." He is unique among all the men God chose to judge Israel; he never raised an army, he never won a battle, he never rallied the men of Israel to him, sex was the ruin of this man—this man who was chosen by God.

Observe: Her nagging became so relentless that she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death. She literally nagged him to death. What man could stand up under such an attack? This became the turning point.


17 That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazirite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.—Judges 16.17 (KJV)
17 Finally, Samson shared his secret with her. “My hair has never been cut,” he confessed, “for I was dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as anyone else.”—Judges 16.17 (NLT)

That he told her all his heart…
He told her all she wanted to know; he had told her something before that came close to the truth, when he directed her to weave his long hair into the web lying on her loom; but now he told her everything. Why did he do it? It was because her plan had worked and she finally conquered him: “And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thy heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth. And it came to pass that she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, that his soul was vexed unto death. And he told her all his heart.” He revealed all his heart to her concerning the Nazirite vow and, presumably, the fact that the uncut hair was the only remaining sign of his consecration to Yahweh.

When Samson told her all his heart, it must have been an exceedingly sad scene; he had to have known what was coming. He was faced with a choice: Delilah or the Lord, and he chose her. There were probably tears welling up in Samson's face when he said this, because we are told that Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart; Samson must have known what was coming, but he didn't want to believe it - he wanted to believe that Delilah loved him as he loved her.

Again, we see the strongest man in the world under the power of the wiles of a woman. Samson figured that because he was strong in one area of his life, he was strong in all areas; but he was desperately wrong. Thus his excessive affections toward a wicked woman caused him to lose God’s excellent gifts, and become a slave to those whom he should have ruled.

and said unto her, there hath not come a razor upon mine head…
He told her that his hair had never been cut, because an angel had commanded it before he was born; and the angel’s orders were carefully observed all his life.

for I have been a Nazirite unto God from my mother's womb…
The angel that foretold his birth said nothing about his great strength, only that he would be a Nazirite, and particularly that no razor should come upon his head, [1]Judges 13:5. This was one condition of the Nazirite life that was to be religiously observed. Abstinence from wine and strong drink was another part of the law of Naziriteship, as well as a prohibition against having contact with a dead body. Samson lived his life as a Nazirite, observing all the conditions set down by the angel, but there were times when the last two conditions were dispensed with; there was the time Samson removed honey from the body of the lion he killed, and some say Delilah gave him wine that was drugged to make him sleep soundly while she experimented with his suggestions for removing his strength.

It would seem, that the principal thing he was to regard, and upon which his strength depended, was not shaving his head; his consecration to God was to be his strength, for he was to be strengthened according to the glorious power of that Spirit which wrought in him mightily, that his strength, by a heavenly promise, not by nature, might be a type and figure of the spiritual strength of believers, [2]Colossians 1:11,29. Therefore the badge of his consecration was the pledge of his strength; if he lost the former, he knows he forfeits the latter. He lost his consecration to the Lord in his lust for this evil woman. When he told her, "If I be shaven, I shall no longer be a Nazirite, and then my strength will be lost," God left him to face his enemies alone; he was as weak as any other man. 

if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man…
Here, he reveals more than he ever did before, namely, that his strength would leave him; for though his strength did not arise from his hair, one of the conditions for keeping it was that his hair never be cut.
The miraculous strength of Samson must not be said to reside either in his hair or in his muscles, but in his personal relationship with God. As a Nazirite, he is bound by a solemn vow to live his life in a strict conformity to the laws of his Maker. It was a part of the Nazirite's vow to never cut his hair; and his long hair was the sign he was a Nazirate, and of his vow to God. When Samson permitted his hair to be cut off, he renounced and broke his Nazirate vow; and the consequence was that God abandoned him, and therefore we are told, in Judges 16:20, that the Lord was departed from him.

"Samson's treason here was in betraying state secrets and the tragic squandering of his great strength, only because he could not believe, as in the wedding story, that the woman would betray him." If only Samson had remained true to his Nazirite vow, he may have done more for God and his nation: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31; KJV).

______________verse 17 notes___________________
[1](Judges 13:5; NLT)  “You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and his hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. He will begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines.”
[2](Colossians 1:11, 29; NKJV) strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy… To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. We cannot live the life marked with all patience and longsuffering with joy by our own unaided efforts; we must be strengthened by His glorious power. The Christian life is more than trying to practice Christ’s precepts; it is a day-to-day communion with the living Lord.


18 And 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 hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand. —Judges 16.18 (KJV)
18 Delilah realized he had finally told her the truth, so she sent for the Philistine rulers. “Come back one more time,” she said, “for he has finally told me his secret.” So the Philistine rulers returned with the money in their hands.—Judges 16.18 (NLT)


And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart…
The prostitute could read his emotions clearly; she perceived by his countenance, and the serious manner in which he expressed himself that he was no longer jesting with her and had surely emptied his heart to her in foolish trust.

Abarbinel speculates that he might have sworn to her that what he said was true; and Abarbinel and Kimchi learned from their rabbis that she was now convinced he had told her the truth. The thing that removed all her doubts was that Samson mentioned the name of God, saying he was a Nazirite unto God, and she knew he would not take that holy name in vain, by mixing God with a lie, and besides, the account he gave seemed to fit in with the long hair he wore.

We need to pay close attention to this verse, because Verse 18 is the key to understanding the entire account.

she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, come up this once…
The Philistines may have returned home, thinking that she was unable to discover his secret. But now she believes she knows the secret to his strength and how to remove it, so he will become as weak as other men. And now, having this new confidence, she sends for them, and pleads with them to come quickly, because she wanted to have the money they had offered her in her hands.

Poor unsuspecting Samson! His disregard for his consecration to the Lord would now lead to the removal of the last sign of the Nazirite vow and render him useless to the Lord’s service.

for he hath showed me all his heart…
There are two readings of this clause; FIRST, the reading, which our version follows, is, “hath showed me,” are the words of Delilah to the lords of the Philistines; SECOND, “he hath showed her,” are the words of the messengers to the Philistines.

We have in this passage the fatal consequences of Samson's foolishness in betraying his own strength; he soon paid dearly for it. A whore is a deep ditch; he that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein. Samson sinks into that pit.

then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her…
This is Philistine country, and his would-be captors must have lived nearby, since there is no mention of men waiting in ambush, as there was in the previous attempts; and I can’t imagine Delilah keeping Samson restrained for very long.

and brought money in their hand…
1100 shekels of silver apiece, for a total of 5500 shekels, is the sum they first proposed to give her; and now since they are pretty well assured of success, they brought it along with them to pay her for her services. There are many things that we could say about this evil woman, but two statements may be enough to portray her true character.
1. The heartless cruelty and deceit of the wicked Delilah, who thoroughly hated Samson, but pretended to love him, only for the sake of delivering him for a price to his bitterest enemies, come sharply into focus in this passage.
2. She was a cold, unscrupulous, untrusting religious whore, who did not even trust the lords of her own people, but required them to pay her the promised bounty "in hand," before she actually delivered Samson.
The lords of the Philistines that hired her to do this vile thing are sent for; but they must be sure to bring the money in their hands. The wages of unrighteousness are accordingly produced, unknown to Samson. It would have grieved one's heart to have seen one of the bravest men in the world sold and bought, as a sheep for the slaughter.

Many in the world would, for the hundredth part of what was given to Delilah, sell those that they pretend to have the greatest respect for. Trust not in a friend then, put no confidence in a guide.

 

19 And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.—Judges 16.19 (KJV)
19 Delilah lulled Samson to sleep with his head in her lap, and then she called in a man to shave off the seven locks of his hair. In this way she began to bring him down, and his strength left him.—Judges 16.19 (NLT)

And she made him sleep upon her knees…
Consider what a treacherous method she undertook: She made him sleep upon her knees (he laid his head in her lap); what sweet words of love she must have said to him to lull Samson to sleep. Josephus says she gave him some intoxicating liquor, which made him fall to sleep. We don’t know what opiates she might slipped into his cup, but we cannot presume that he knowingly drank wine or strong drink, for that would have brought about a forfeiture of his Naziriteship as much as the cutting off of his hair. She pretended to be kind to him even though she planned to give him to his sworn enemies, which she could not have pulled off, if she had not made him sleep. Here we see the fatal consequences of false security. Satan ruins men by rocking them asleep, flattering them into having a good opinion of their own safety, and so he brings them to care about nothing and fear nothing, and then he robs them of their strength and honor and leads them into the captivity of his will. When we sleep our spiritual enemies do not.

and she called for a man; a barber…
Rather, she called to a man (a barber to cut off his hair)—the man whom she had secretly hidden in her chamber, before she put Samson to sleep. While he was asleep this person cut off his hair so silently and so quickly that it did not awaken him, but from what follows we see that it did affect him, since the Lord’s Spirit left him while he slept.

In former times shaving was the work of a servant and sometimes of a woman; Jarchi calls this barber a messenger of the lords of the Philistines:

and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head…
In the Hebrew it is "she shaved," but it probably means that she did it by engaging the barber of the previous line. He cut off seven locks of Samson’s hair, and this shows that his hair was not woven into one lock, which is how some interpret what she was directed to do when she made her third attempt to uncover the secret to his great strength. And this line proves that Delilah did not give the haircut as some claim.

Again, Samson was asleep, while the crucial deed was accomplished. It would be interesting to know just how that sleep was induced, whether by strong drink or drugs, or however. And it should be noted that a few Bible scholars say he was awake during the haircut and he cooperated with the barber, but that would make his wickedness and culpability even greater in this sin against God’s commands.

We are not told how much hair was cut-off; whether the ancient Hebrews cut off the hair to the same extent as Orientals now do. The word employed is sometimes the same as that for shearing sheep, and therefore the only instrument used might have been scissors.

and she began to afflict him…
She was probably cautious when she tied his hands, even if he was asleep; and after having cut off his hair, she began to insult him before she called the Philistines, to test whether his strength was really reduced to a state of weakness. After she discovered he could not free himself, she called the Philistines. Hearing her sound the alarm, he stood up, thinking he could exert the same powerful strength he had before, and shake himself, that is, extricate himself from his bonds and his enemies: but he wist not that the Lord was departed from him; since Delilah had cut off his locks while he was asleep, and he had not yet perceived that they were gone.

This line can be read, “And she inflicted him again.” Is she only now afflicting him or had she done it before? She had afflicted him, or at least attempted it, three times before, and therefore she did not begin now; this Hebraism is used in [3](Mark 4:1) and frequently in Jewish writings.

The utter heartless cruelty of Delilah, so typical of a prostitute, is revealed in the phrase and she began to afflict him. She couldn’t wait for the Philistines to get there, so she began tormenting Samson, knowing that his strength was lost. His strength began to wane immediately as his locks began to be shorn, and it was all gone by the time his hair was all cut off.

One cannot help wondering if Samson really began to suspect the loathsome treachery and hatred of Delilah, at this point. I am not sure; he appears to be a very foolish man when it involves Delilah.

and his strength went from him…
It is a poor understanding of the theology of this account to declare that Samson thought his strength lay in his uncut hair alone. Every mention of his physical prowess is accompanied by the remark that the spirit of the Lord came upon him to move him to such great physical strength. The importance of the uncut hair was that it was one of the signs of the vow; in fact, it was the only one of the three signs that was outwardly observable. He himself stated to Delilah that a haircut would break the vow and render him powerless because physical strength was the particular gift he had from God as a result of his consecration to Him. His loss of strength afterwards was clearly attributed to the departure of the Spirit from him (vs. 20); not for the loss of his hair, but for his contempt for the ordinance of God, which was the reason God departed from him. Now, Samson was completely at the mercy of his captors, who eventually blinded him and assigned him to the menial task of grinding grain (wheat) in a prison near Gaza, the scene of some of his previous great exploits.

It is most likely that Delilah used sexual intercourse to induce heavy sleep upon the mighty Samson, and he slept through the haircut. Afterward, she shook him in a violent manner to wake him, and shrieking and crying out terribly to frighten him, with her old cry of the Philistines being on him; whereby she perceived his strength was gone, and he could not free himself. Delilah, greedy for the great reward of silver, sat calmly, conscious of the awful fate to which she was delivering her lover. Samson didn't know that things had changed; he had lived in compromise for so long, he thought it would never make a difference.

______________verse 19 notes___________________
[3](Mark 4:1; KJV)  And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land. Jesus taught them by the sea on several other occasions.


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. —Judges 16.20 (KJV)
20 Then she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” When he woke up, he thought, “I will do as before and shake myself free.” But he didn’t realize the LORD had left him.—Judges 16.20 (NLT)

And she said, the Philistines be upon thee, Samson…
Delilah herself beat Samson back to consciousness as she yelled in mocking tones, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. In reality, the only Philistine attacking him was Delilah herself! She woke him with these words for the fourth time; it was her test of whether or not his strength had left him.

and he awoke out of his sleep…
When he awoke from her yelling the Philistines be upon thee, Samson, he no doubt leaped up, assuming this to be just another gag where she had somehow tied him up.

And said, I will go out as at other times before…
On three previous occasions his sleep was interrupted in the same way, but he never met any Philistines, and so he concluded that it would be the same way this time; and, if there were Philistines there, he was sure he could easily annihilate them.

and shake myself...
What a nonchalant attitude is on display here. How could he not miss his hair as soon as he awoke, and yet he said, “I will shake myself as at other times after waking from sleep,” or, “I will shake myself as at other times when the Philistines were upon me?” Perhaps he thought that with his hair gone, it would be easier to shake himself (shake off the Philistines with the strength God gave him), because his head would feel lighter; giving little thought to how much heavier the burden of guilt was than that of hair.

Perhaps he forgot what he told Delilah, and he didn’t know that his hair had been shaved off; or if he did, he did not realize that the Lord had left him, and he believed that his strength would be there when he needed it. It didn’t take long for him to discover he had made a mistake; he was quickly taken by the Philistines, and abused by them, and in a short time he lost his sight and later on he lost his life.

Samson is like everyone who thinks they are "getting away" with sin. They misinterpret the merciful delay of God's judgment or correction as a sign that He really doesn't care; thus presuming on God's mercy, they continue on and ultimately make things far, far worse. You don't have to go far to see people that are broken, blind, and in bondage because of their sin. Friend, God forgives, but it’s as true today as it was when the Holy Spirit said it; “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal 6:7; KJV). In the end, Samson's problem was not with his hair, but his heart—and his heart problem caught up with him eventually, because he never heeded God's merciful warnings and got things set straight.

and he wist not that the Lord was departed from him…
This brief line at the end of verse 20 has to be one of the saddest comments in all Scripture: And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him. The special manifestation of the spirit of Yahweh as the fulfillment of the Nazirite vow was now gone, because the last stipulation of Samson’s consecration had been broken. The self-sufficient warrior thought he could still exert his strength and did not immediately perceive that it was gone. He did not feel the loss of his hair, or consider what would follow. What a humiliating and painful spectacle! Deprived of the divine influences, degraded in his character, and yet, through the infatuation of a guilty passion, scarcely awake to the wretchedness of his fallen condition! His judgeship was ended. He was then the slave of the Philistines, assigned to the most humiliating menial labor, and the laughing-stock of his pagan enemies. No one who understands what happened can feel anything but pity for this weak and sinful Judge.

Note, Many have lost the favorable presence of God and are not aware of it; they have provoked God to withdraw from them, but are not aware of their loss, hence they never complain about it. Their souls pine away and grow weak, their gifts wither, everything goes wrong with them; and yet they don’t attribute it to the right cause: they are not aware that God has departed from them, and therefore, they don’t try to reconcile themselves to God. When God has departed we cannot do as at other times.

The bottom line is this. The harlot in Gaza deceived him and so did Delilah. You would think that by then Samson would have been alert to danger, but his conscience was defiled and his moral senses were destroyed. Samson even deceived himself by thinking he had everything under control, but he was wrong.

 

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.—Judges 16.21 (KJV)
21 So the Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes. They took him to Gaza, where he was bound with bronze chains and forced to grind grain in the prison.—Judges 16.21 (NLT)

But the Philistines took him…
God had patiently dealt with Samson after he touched the dead lion and drank wine at the feast; but now, as the outward sign of Samson’s Nazirite vow disappeared, His patience turned to judgment, and Samson was utterly powerless without the help of the Lord. Perhaps she had tested his strength by binding him, and found he could not free himself from the bonds until she untied them. Being assured by Delilah that his strength was gone from him, the lords of the Philistines rushed into Delilah’s chamber for the first time and took Samson.

The Philistines took him when God had departed from him. Those that have thrown themselves out of God's protection become an easy prey to their enemies. If we sleep in the lap of our lusts, we shall certainly wake in the hands of the Philistines. Sin has its wages, and this is Samson's payday. His sin will leave him blind, in bondage, and a slave—before the blindness, bondage, and slavery was inward, but now it is also outward

and put out his eyes…
The Philistines were afraid that his strength may eventually return, since his hair would continue to grow, but if they blinded him, and then his strength returned, he might not be able to see where and whom to strike, and so, he would be incapable of doing much damage anymore. The word used for put out signifies, they "dug" or "bored them" out; or they plucked, scooped out, pierced or cut out his eye balls, or they destroyed his sight by holding a red-hot iron before the eyes; so that it was impossible for his sight to ever return. According to the Arabic version, they blinded him by burning out his eyes; the Jews observe that this was done in justifiable retaliation. Samson, they say, followed his eyes; by taking one harlot after another; therefore the Philistines put out his eyes. His eyes were the inlets of his sin: he saw the harlot at Gaza, and went in unto her [4](Judges 16:1), and now his punishment began with the eyes. Now that the Philistines had blinded him he had time to remember how his own lust had blinded him. The best preservative of the eyes is to turn them away from beholding vanity.

It is probable they had promised Delilah not to kill him, but they very effectively disable him. They considered that his eyes would never see again, and that the strongest arms could do little without eyes to guide them, and therefore, if they blind him now, they blind him forever.

Putting a man’s eyes out was one of the cruel punishments of those times (see [5]Numbers 16:14; [6]2 Kings 25:7), and it is still practiced by tyrants around the world to make their rivals incapable of challenging their authority. So King John, in Shakespeare, ordered Arthur s eyes to be put out with a hot iron (King John, Act IV. scene 1.). Herodotus (Melp. 4:2) says that the Scythians used to put out the eyes of all their slaves. {I would think that blind slaves would have a hard time doing their work; plowing straight rows or arranging flowers.}

Note: Because men are attracted to women first through the eye, and because it was Samson's failure to restrain his attraction to women, it was fitting that he was blinded in prison.

and brought him down to Gaza…
This city appeared early in Samson’s history. It was situated on the sea coast, and therefore they are said to bring him down to it. Gaza was the last town encountered in southwest Palestine as a traveler journeyed from Jerusalem toward Egypt. It was nearly forty miles from Samson’s birthplace, Zorah. He had gone there before on his own volition, but now he was there against his will. In one instance he acted shamefully, by having sex with a harlot; and in another, he disgraced a city and its inhabitants, by carrying off their city gates; through which they now brought him in triumph, in order to repair the dishonor he had done to them. But, perhaps the real reason they took him there was to place him at a greater distance from the Israelites, just in case they had plans to rescue him. Also another consideration was that Gaza was a very strong fortified city. Finally, they may have chosen Gaza so that the citizens could see him as the weak man he was with his hair removed and his eyes blind. Recently he had given those citizens proofs [7](Judges 16:3) of his awesome strength, but now he was a joke; they made fun of him, threw stones at him and hit him with sticks.

Question: Did God arrange for Samson to be taken to Gaza, so that where he first sinned [4](Judges 16:1) is the same place where he receives his punishment.

and bound him with fetters of brass…
Samson wouldn't humble himself in obedience before God - he insisted on the "freedom" of doing what he wanted to do. Now he is totally humiliated by Satan, and has no freedom at all.

The Targum says they bound him with chains of brass (Not of leather, like other captives.), and the word used is plural, which indicates there were at least two of them and he may have been bound hand and foot, which gave them greater security.

The Philistines brought Samson to Gaza in this state of utter humiliation. The very city whose gate he had recently carried away now welcomed its blind captive. Samson’s future potential was now canceled. His uncontrolled lust had placed him in a condition where God could no longer use him to battle the Philistines hand to hand, for he was blind. He had disqualified himself by his selfish sin.

and he did grind in the prison house…
Before the invention of wind and water-mills, the grain was at first bruised between two stones, and then afterwards ground in hand-mills. This is practiced in China and in different parts of the East still today; and women, prisoners and slaves are the persons, who along with animals, are made to turn these mills [8](Isaiah 47:1,2). We are not told the exact nature of the work assignment to Samson; but, there was in use at that time a mill usually powered by a donkey, as indicated in [9]Matthew 18:6, and it is reasonable to suppose that, due to his great strength, Samson was utilized to turn the mill instead of an animal. In any event, that type of labor, when done by human beings, was allocated to the lowest class of slaves. Thus, the shame and humiliation of Israel's Superhuman Judge reached its terrible climax. The Philistines brought Samson to the depth of utter humiliation. In the now hollowed sockets of his eyes he carried the mark of his shame and unfaithfulness as God’s servant.

The devil does to sinners what he has done to Samson; he blinds the minds of those who believe not, and enslaves them, and imprisons them in his interests. Poor Samson, how thou hast fallen! How thy honor is laid in the dust! How the glory and defense of Israel has become the drudge and triumph of the Philistines! The crown has fallen from his head; woe unto him, for he hath sinned. Let all take warning by his fall to carefully preserve their purity, and to guard against all fleshly lusts; for all our glory has gone, and our defense departed from us, when the covenant of our separation to God, as spiritual Nazirites, is polluted.
LET ALL TAKE A WARNING FROM HIM, TO CAREFULLY PRESERVE THEIR PURITY. FOR ALL OUR GLORY IS GONE, WHEN THE COVENANT OF OUR SEPARATION TO GOD, AS SPIRITUAL NAZIRITES, IS PROFANED.

______________verse 21 notes___________________
[4](Judges 16:1; NKJV) Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her.
[5](Numbers 16:14; NLJV)  Moreover you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you put out the eyes of these men? We will not come up!
[6](2 Kings 25:7; NKJV) Then they killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, put out the eyes of Zedekiah, bound him with bronze fetters, and took him to Babylon.
[7](Judges 16:3; KJV) 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.
[8](Isaiah 47:1-2; NLT) Come down, virgin daughter of Babylon, and sit in the dust. For your days of sitting on a throne have ended. O daughter of Babylonia, never again will you be the lovely princess, tender and delicate. Take heavy millstones and grind flour. Remove your veil, and strip off your robe. Expose yourself to public view.
[9](Matt 18:6; KJV) But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. A millstone—an ass's millstone, because in ancient times, before the invention of wind and water mills, the stones were turned sometimes by slaves, but commonly by asses or mules.—Adam Clarke's Commentary

 

22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.—Judges 16.22 (KJV)
22 But before long, his hair began to grow back.—Judges 16.22 (NLT)

Howbeit, the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven…
It began to grow immediately no doubt, as it naturally would do; but it is highly probable it grew in an extraordinary manner, and in a short time became as it was before it was shaved, and as it grew his strength was renewed. It’s not that his strength naturally rested in his hair, and so it naturally increased as his hair grew; but he became more aware of his sin, and he repented of it and renewed his Naziriteship (which Nazirites were allowed to do), of which letting his hair grow was a token; and it pleased God, who accepted his repentance as genuine, and it became His own good will and pleasure to renew his strength; principally because of his prayer [10](V. 28) to him.

God had not forgotten either the sinful Judge or his Chosen People of Israel. The fact stated here is an indication that there was yet a final episode to be related in the remarkable story of Samson. We have noted that the hair of his head began to grow again; yet he did not regain his strength, until he had called on God and reconciled himself. However, God gives him hope in the midst of a dungeon; not only is his hair returning, but we can assume that more importantly, his heart is also returning. “His hair grew together with his repentance and his strength with his hairs” [BISHOP HALL].  The lesson for us may be “that no matter what kind of mess we have put ourselves into because of our sin, God can bring us hope. He rarely makes it all better instantly, but He definitely brings hope.”

It is strange that the Philistines in whose hands he was, were not wary of the growth of his hair again, and did not cut it; but perhaps they were willing for his great strength to return to him, thinking that they might get so much more work out of him, and now that he was blind they no longer believed he could harm them, as he once did. Although his hair is said to have begun to grow again, he was not in prison very long before the Philistines brought him forth to celebrate their victory. There is also no evidence that the growing of his hair caused him to receive any strength, until after he called upon the Lord [10](vs. 28).

Observe: Friend, our spiritual strength today is not in ceremonies or in rituals. The strength of the believer is always in the Spirit of God—Always.

______________verse 22 notes___________________
[10](Judges 16.28; NLT)  Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “Sovereign LORD, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time. With one blow let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes.” His penitent and prayerful spirit seems clearly to indicate that this meditated act was not that of a vindictive suicide and that he regarded himself as putting forth his strength in his capacity of a public magistrate. He must be considered, in fact, as dying for his country's cause. His death was not designed or sought, except as it might be the inevitable consequence of his great effort. His prayer must have been a silent ejaculation, and, from its being revealed to the historian, approved and accepted of God.—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

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