Highlights of Judges 15-18 - Theocratic Ministry School

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Bible reading: Judges 15-18 (8 min.)

(Judges 15:14)

When he came to Le′hi, the Phi•lis′tines shouted triumphantly at meeting him. Then Jehovah’s spirit empowered him, and the ropes on his arms became like linen threads that were scorched with fire, and his fetters melted off his hands.

*** it-1 p. 1028 Hand ***
The terminal part of the arm. The “hand,” as used in the Scriptures, at times includes the wrist, as at Genesis 24:22, 30, 47 and Ezekiel 16:11, where bracelets are said to be worn on the “hands,” and at Judges 15:14, where mention is made of the fetters on Samson’s “hands.”

(Judges 15:17)

When he finished speaking, he threw the jawbone away and called that place Ra′math-le′hi.

*** it-2 p. 236 Lehi ***
At Lehi, Samson struck down a thousand Philistines with the moist jawbone of an ass. Subsequently he called the site Ramath-lehi (meaning “Lofty Place of the Jawbone”), probably to memorialize the victory Jehovah had given him there. (Jg 15:9-19) Originally, though, Lehi may have got its name from the shape of its crags.

(Judges 16:1)

One time Samson went to Gaz′a and saw a prostitute there, and he went in to her.

*** w05 3/15 p. 27 Samson Triumphs in the Strength of Jehovah! ***
Samson was single-minded in the pursuit of his objective, his fight against the Philistines. His staying at the house of a prostitute at Gaza was for the purpose of fighting against God’s enemies. Samson needed a lodging place for the night in an enemy city, and it could be found in the house of a prostitute. Samson had no immoral purpose in mind. He left the woman’s house at midnight, grabbed the city gates and the two side posts, and carried them to the top of a mountain near Hebron, which was some 37 miles [60 km] away. This was done with divine approval and God-given strength.—Judges 16:1-3.

*** it-1 p. 608 Delilah ***
The prostitute mentioned at Judges 16:1, 2 is not the same as Delilah. This prostitute lived at Gaza, whereas Delilah lived in the torrent valley of Sorek.

*** it-1 p. 1151 Hospitality ***
It seems that prostitutes sometimes operated lodging places. Rahab the prostitute of Jericho lodged the two spies sent out by Joshua, and she showed kindness and hospitality to them by hiding them from their pursuers. (Jos 2:1-13) Samson lodged at the house of a prostitute woman in Gaza until midnight, waiting to humiliate the Philistines by carrying off the city gates.—Jg 16:1-3.

*** it-2 p. 850 Samson ***
Another time Samson went to the home of a prostitute in the Philistine city of Gaza. Hearing of this, the Philistines laid in wait for him, intending to kill him in the morning. But at midnight Samson got up and ripped the city gate and its side posts and bar from the wall of Gaza, and he carried them “up to the top of the mountain that is in front of Hebron.” (Jg 16:1-3; see GAZA No. 1.) This was a great humiliation for the Philistines, as it left Gaza weak and unprotected from intruders. The fact that Samson was able to accomplish this amazing feat indicates that he still had God’s spirit. This would argue against his having gone to the house of the prostitute for immoral purposes. In Lange’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures (Jg 16:1, p. 212), commentator Paulus Cassel says on this point: “Samson did not come to Gaza for the purpose of visiting a harlot: for it is said that ‘he went, thither, and saw there a [prostitute].’ But when he wished to remain there [at Gaza] over night, there was nothing for him, the national enemy, but to abide with the [prostitute]. . . . His stay is spoken of in language not different from that employed with reference to the abode of the spies in the house of Rahab. The words, ‘he saw her,’ only indicate that when he saw a woman of her class, he knew where he could find shelter for the night.” (Translated and edited by P. Schaff, 1976) It should also be noted that the account reads “Samson kept lying till midnight” and not ‘Samson kept lying with her till midnight.’
By going into enemy territory, Samson demonstrated his fearlessness. It may well be that he went to Gaza to ‘look for an opportunity against the Philistines,’ as had been the case earlier when he sought a wife among them. (Jg 14:4) If so, Samson apparently intended to turn any effort directed against him into an occasion for inflicting injury upon the Philistines.

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