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form connexions with the Philistine women.
The una happy consequences of his attachment to Delilah should teach men to be on their guard against the artifices which are usually practised by wantons; these unprincipled females, having no affection for those who are weak enough to waste their tenderness upon them, are ready to betray or ruin them whenever it will answer any mercenary views of their own.
From Judges, Chap. xvi.
HowBEIT, the hair of Samson's head began to grow again after he was shaven.
Then the lords of the Philistines gathered themselves 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
And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry's that they said, Call for Samson, that he may
make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prisonhouse, and he made them sport. And they set him be. tween the pillars.
And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth,
them. Now the house was full of men and women: and all N 3
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.
And Samson called on the LORD, and said, O LORD Gov, 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.
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.
And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines : and 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.
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 burying place of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel un enty years.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
The heavy calamities which fell
Samson awakened his conscience, and he acknowledged that the punishment was justly inflicted, for slighting the gift of God. We may conceive that in his doleful prison, he uttered the bitterest sighs and groans, repented with the utmost contrition, implored the pardon of God, and the renewal of the covenant, and resolved never more to part with one sacred hair, but to devote himself entirely to GOD; though he despaired of future opportunities of performing the part allotted him, and could only regret, with unavailing anguish, the loss of those which were past.
The Philistines might well rejoice in their advantage; for who would have supposed that, in this abject condition, Samson would ever have been able to do them any mischief? They were therefore not contented with exulting over him, but extended their impious derision to the Gon of Israel, despising His ALMIGHTY power, and extolling a vain idol called Dagon, a god of their own making, to whom they paid that adoration which was due to the Supreme Being; to him they ascribed their success, and assembled to perform their profane rites, and that their triumph might be complete, they sent for their poor afficted captive, to divert themselves with his misery. The Philistines knew not that God had accepted Samson's repentance, and, as a proof of it, had restored the appointed token, causing his hair to grow suddenly, and that he now came with a fixed resolution to obey the Divine impulse, even at the ha. zard of his life: they therefore led him into their temple, intending, it is likely, to end their barbarities, by slaying and offering him as a victim to their abominable idol.
We may naturally suppose, that Samson as a man could not help feeling great resentment for the injuries he had suffered; and as mankind were not under the mild Dispensation of Christianity, which alone teaches universal charity and forgiveness of enemies, we must not hastily condemn him for being desirous of revenge for the loss of his eyes. There is great reason to think that Samson moreover wished to maintain the honour of God, and that he felt the utmost degree of uneasi. ness in an assembly of idolaters, when he prayed to the LORD to strengthen him once more, and that, believing his prayer was answered, he requested to be led to N 4
the pillars which supported the roof being willing to die with the Philistines, rather than they should insult his God with impunity; hoping that the LORD would accept his life as an atonement for his former disobedience, since he was excluded from a possibility of offering those sacrifices which the law of Moses required for the expiation of sin. . Samson therefore firmly grasped the pillars, and bowing his head, as a token of adoration of the living God, and humble resignation to the Divine will, which had ordained him to punish the Philistines, he exerted the last effort of his strength in the duty required of him, and slew more at his death than he had ever done at one time in his most prosperous days.
Had Samson made a proper use of the extraordinary strength with which God was pleased to endue him, what a shining character would he have been! but he certainly acted in a very inconsistent manner, for he ought to have made it the principal business of his life to effect the deliverance of Israel; but he seems to have given himself very little concern about it; he therefore gained no great honour by his victories, because he had generally a view to the gratification of anger and re• venge on his own private account. The Philistines neither sought, nor desired the protection of Divine providence, therefore they could not complain of injustice in God for giving success to Samson ; neither could Samson suppose that the LORD strengthened him in that wonderful manner, merely to enable hiin to avenge himself of his enemies : when he reflected on the numbers he had slain, he must surely perceive that he had been employed as the champion of Israel, though no thanks were due to him for the services which he rendered, but to the LORD only.
Though Samson was in many respects beyond our imitation, and therefore it would be ridiculous for ariy man to attempt to slay a thousand with the jaw-bone of an ass, and carry huge gates loaded with iron upon his shoulders, yet the relation of his performing such wonders is not at all incredible ; because it is ac. counted for by our being told that the Spirit of the LORD came upon him. From the New Testament we learn, that Christians are under the influence of the same Spirit ; they must not indeed expect to be enabled to perform miracles, because the present state of the world does not require them. Let us however be warned by Samson's example, not to despise the gifts which are bestowed on us, but, whether we have strength, wisdom, riches, or power, let us consider them. as the gifts of God, and employ them as far as we can to his honour and glory.
THE BIRTH OF SAMUEL.
From 1 Samuel, Chap. i. and ii. There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim, and his name was Elkanah, and he had two wives: the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
And this man went up out of his city yearly, to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh, And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, the priests of the LORD, were there.
And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions. N 5