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ful of the aid of the LORD, to which he ought to have imputed them; but he was soon reminded of his own natural infirmity, for he suffered the most extreme thirst, which humbled his spirit, so that he thankfully acknowledged the goodness of God, and intreated the LORD to compassionate his present sufferings : his prayer was heard, and a miracle wrought to relieve him.
It is said just before, that Samson, by way of memorial, named the place where he slew the Philistines Ramath Lehi*, which means the casting away of the jawbone. Some learned men are therefore of opinion t, that instead of translating the passage, God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, it ought to be, an hollow place that was in Lehr; and this construction seems to be confirmed, by the words which follow after Samson's recovery is mentioned ; that he called the name thereof En-hakkore, or the well of him that cried, which is in Lehi unto this day (the time when the history was written): now the jaw-bone would scarcely have remained so long; besides, the testimony of many travellers, that a fountain remains in the very spot which is supposed to be Lehi, that bears the name of the foun. tain of the jaw, strongly tends to confirm this opinion.
The fate of Samson's wife and her father may be considered as a remarkable instance of God's judgments on treachery and deceitfulness, and should be a warning to all persons not to be guilty of any unlawful practices, lest they bring down mischief upon their own heads.
* Clarke's Annotations. + Stackhouse on the Bible, and Essay for a new Translation.
SAMSON CARRIES AWAY THE GATES OF GAZA
DELILAH BETRAYS HIM.
From Judges, Chap. xvi. Then went Samson to Gaza: 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.
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.
And it came to pass afterwards, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah,
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 himn : and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.
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 soven green withs that never were dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.
Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with thein.
Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philis
tines 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.
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.
Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And he brake them from off his arms like a thread.
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.
And she fastened it with a 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 birth: if I be shaven, then my strength will go
from me, and I shall become weak, and be like
other man. And when Delilah saw that he told herall his heart,
she this once ;
she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, say. ing, Come up
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 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.
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.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Perhaps it was in defiance of the Philistines, that Samson went to a city belonging to them. How he was apprized of their scheme to surprise him suddenly is not mentioned: but it is likely, that feeling the Spirit of the LORD was upon him, he understood from this cir. cumstance that the Philistines were about to attack him; and arose in the night, and, to their great con. fusion and amazement, took the city gates, which probably were well fastened to prevent his
and carried them, with all their ponderous appurtenances, to the top of a hill which was at several miles distance.
Delilah was certainly a mercenary wretch, who lived with him from interested views, such an one could not resist a bribe. How strange it appears, that Samson should not be better guarded against her artifices, than (with a weakness of mind which will ever disgrace his
pame) to suffer the important secret to be drawn from him. We must not suppose, that the natural quality of Samson's hair differed from that of other men; but his remaining a Nazarite, under covenant with God, of which his hair was a token, made it impossible for the Philistines to subdue him : because the Lord had promised, that whilst he abstained from wine, and let no razor come on his head, he should be assisted by the power of the Lord in order to conquer them. This Di. vine assistance was not given to Samson as a reward for his own merit, but for the punishment of the Philistines, and the deliverance of Israel; though his being chosen by the LORD, for this purpose, gave himn opportunities of shewing his faith as Joshua had done; of which if Samson had availed himself, he would have escaped the dreadful misfortunes wherein he was involved.
We find from his discourse with Delilah, that Sam. son understood that his extraordinary strength was not inherent in him, but would be taken away, if he broke the Covenant with God: 'no excuse therefore can be made for him; nor can we wonder that he was left to the unhappy consequences of his folly and wickedness, as
he rather chose to please an abandoned woman, than to be the distinguished servant of the LORD.
What mortifying reflections must have arisen in the mind of Samson, when he felt that his strength was gone from him! And what agonies must have torn his wretched bosom, when he suffered the cruelties inflicted by the enraged Philistines! He now found himself a miserable captire, in the hands of enemies, who had suffered so much from him, that he could expect no mercy. He was deprived of his eyes, bound with fetters of brass, condemned to the most servile of all employ. ments, and subject to continual insult and derision. It was an inexcusable fault in Samson repeatedly to