- From the treachery of his wife and her father, Samson takes occasion to burn their corn, verse 1-5.
- He smites the Philistines with a great slaughter, verse 6-8.
- He slays a thousand of them with the jaw-bone of an ass, verse 9-17.
- He is distressed, and supplied with water, verse 18-20.
Wheat harvest - Which was the proper season for what follows. With a kid - As a token of reconciliation. Into the chamber - Into her chamber, which the women had separate from the mens.
Hated her - Because thou didst desert her: but this was no sufficient cause; for he should have endeavored a reconciliation, and not have disposed of another man's wife without his consent.
Now shall I, &c. - Because they have first provoked me by an irreparable injury: but although this may look like an act of private revenge; yet it is plain Samson acted as a judge (for so he was) and as an avenger of the publick injuries of his people.
Foxes - Of which there were great numbers in Canaan. But it is not said that Samson caught them all, either at one time, or by his own hands; for being so eminent a person, and the judge of Israel, he might require assistance of as many persons as he pleased. And it must be allowed, that the God who made the world, and by his singular providence watched over Israel, and intended them deliverance at this time, could easily dispose things so that they might be taken. He chose to do this not by his brethren, whom he would preserve from the hatred and mischief which it might have occasioned them, but by brute creatures, thereby to add scorn to their calamity, and particularly by foxes; partly, because they were fittest for the purpose, being creatures very fearful of fire; and having such tails as the fire-brands might most conveniently be tied to; and not going directly forward, but crookedly, whereby the fire would be dispersed in more places. Fire-brands - Made of such matter as would quickly take fire, and keep it for a long time; which was easy to procure. And put, &c. - That the foxes might not make too much haste, nor run into their holes, but one of them might delay another, and so continue longer in the places where they were to do execution.
Let them go - Successively at several times; and in divers places, so that they might not hinder one another, nor all run into the same field; but being dispersed in all parts, might spread the plague farther; and withal might be kept at a distance from the fields and vineyards of the Israelites.
Burnt her - For the mischief which she had occasioned them; thus she brought upon herself that mischief which she studied to avoid. The Philistines had threatened to burn her and her father's house with fire. To avoid this she betrayed her husband. And now the very thing she feared comes upon her!
Hip and thigh - It seems to be a phrase, to express a desperate attack, attended with the utmost hurry and confusion: and perhaps intimates, that they all fled before him. So he smote them in the hinder parts. Rock Etam - A natural fortress, where he waited to see what steps the Philistines would take.
Unto us - Thou hast by these actions punished not them only, but us, who are sure to smart for it.
Bind thee - Why not rather, to fight under thy banner? Because sin dispirits men, nay, it infatuates them, and hides from their eyes the things that belong to their peace. Swear - Not that he feared them, or could not as easily have conquered them, as he did the host of the Philistines; but because he would be free from all temptation of doing them harm, though it were in his own defence.
And they bound him - Thus was he a type of Christ, who yielded himself to be bound, yea and led as a lamb to the slaughter. Never were men so besotted as these men of Judah, except those who thus treated our blessed Saviour. The rock - That is, from the cave in the rock, in which he had secured himself, out of which he was first brought up, and then carried down from the rock to the plain.
Shouted - Because they had now their enemy, as they supposed, in their hands. Loosed - Heb. were melted; that is, were dissolved, as things which are melted in the fire. This typified the resurrection of Christ, by the power of the Spirit of holiness. In this he loosed the bands of death, it being impossible he should be holden of them. And thus he triumphed over the powers of darkness, which had shouted against him.
New jaw-bone - And therefore the more tough and strong.
Slain a thousand men - What could be too hard for him to do, on whom the Spirit of the Lord came mightily? It was strange the men of Judah did now at least come in to his assistance. But he was to be a type of him, who trod the wine-press alone.
Ramath-Lehi - That is, the lifting up of the jaw-bone; by contraction Lehi, verse 14, as Salem is put for Jerusalem.
Sore a thirst - A natural effect of the great pains he had taken. And perhaps there was the hand of God therein, to chastise him for not making mention of God in his song, and to keep him from being proud of his strength. One would have thought that the men of Judah would have met him with bread and wine: but they so little regarded him, that he is fainting for want of a draught of water! Thus are the greatest slights often put upon those that do the greatest services! Shall I die - Wilt thou not finish what thou hast begun? Wilt thou undo what thou hast done.
In the Jaw - Either causing the jaw-bone to send forth water, as the rock formerly did, causing a spring to break forth in that Lehi, mentioned verse 14, for Lehi is both the name of a place, and a jaw-bone. En-hakkore - That is, the fountain of him that cried for thirst; or, that called upon God for deliverance; that is, the fountain which was given in answer to my prayer. In Lehi - According to this translation, Lehi is the name of a place.
He judged - That is, he pleaded their cause, and avenged them against the Philistines. Of the Philistines - That is, whilst the Philistines had the power and dominion, from which he was not fully to deliver, but only to begin to deliver them. From this place it is manifest, that in the computation of the times of the judges, the years of servitude or oppression are not to be separated from the years of the judges, but added to them, and are comprehended within them; which proposition is of great importance for clearing this difficult part of scripture-chronology.