Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.
Gaza, a city of great antiquity, was situated between Raphia and Askelon, twenty-two miles north of the former, and sixteen south of of the latter, according to the Antonine Itinerary; three miles from the sea, according to Arrian, and thirty-four from Ashdod or Azotus, according to Diodorus Siculus. It was a place of great strength and importance; and successively belonged to the Philistines, Hebrews, Chaldeans, and Persians; which latter defended it for two months against Alexander the great, who finally took and destroyed it. It was afterwards rebuilt, and alternately possessed by the Egyptians, Syrians, and Jews. The present town, which the Arabs call Razza, is situated on an eminence, and is rendered picturesque by the number of fine minarets which rise majestically above the buildings, with beautiful date trees interspersed. It contains upwards of 2,000 inhabitants.
Heb. a woman an harlot. and went
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.
Heb. silent. kill him.
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.
bar and all
Heb. with the bar.
And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.
in the valley
or, by the brook.
And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.
or, humble. we will.
And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.
And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.
If they bind
or, new cords. Heb. moist. another. Heb. one.
Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them.
Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known.
And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound.
now tell me
And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.
If they bind me
that never, etc
Heb. wherewith work hath not been done.
And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web.
with the web
It is evident that this verse ends abruptly, and does not contain a full sense. Houbigant has particularly noticed this, and corrected the text from the Septuagint: which adds after these words, [kai enkrouses to passalo eis ton toichou, kai esomai hos eis ton anthropon asthenes kai egeneto en to koimasthai auton kai elabe Dalida tas hepta seiras tes kephales autou, kai hyphanen en to diasmati, k.t.l.] "and shall fasten them with the pin in the wall, I shall become weak like other men: and so it was, that when he slept, Dalida took the seven locks of his head, and wove them with the web," etc. This is absolutely necessary to complete the sense; else Delilah would appear to do something she was not ordered to do, and to omit what she was commanded. Dr. Kennicott very judiciously observes, that the omission, for such it appears to be, begins and ends with the same word; and that the same word occurring in different places, is a very common cause of omission in Hebrew manuscripts.
And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web.
And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine 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, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death;
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 Nazarite 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.
all his heart
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.
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.
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.
I will go
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.
and put out
Heb. and bored out.
Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.
after he was shaven
or, as when he was shaven.
Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.
And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us.
which slew many of us
Heb. and who multiplied our slain.
And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.
Heb. before them. sport.
Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.
"Samson, therefore," says Dr. Shaw, "must have been in a court or area below; and consequently the temple will be of the same kind with the ancient, [temene] or sacred enclosures, which were only surrounded either in part, or on all sides, with some plain or cloistered buildings. Several palaces, doutwanas, (as the courts of justice are called in those countries) are built in this fashion. On their public festivals and rejoicings, the roofs of these cloisters are crowded with spectators. I have often seen numbers of people diverted in this manner on the roof of the dey's palace at Algiers; which, like many others, has an advanced cloister, over against the gate of the palace, like a long pent-house, supported by one or two contiguous pillars in front, or centre."
And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.
that I may
And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.
on which it was borne up
or, he leaned on them.
And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.
Heb. my soul. die.
and the house
So the dead
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.