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Ver. 23. “ But his wife said unto hiin, If the Lord were pleased to kill us,” &c.]-Here it appears that the weakest vessel was the strongest believer, an help-meet in faith and hope to her husband, and a very singular blesse ing; by which she appeared to be a daughter of Abraham, strong in faith, resting on and pleading the promise and appearance of God, as the security of their life.
** “ Nor would as at this time have told us such things as these."14That is, he would not have accepted our sacrifice, and promised us a son to deliver his people, had he intended to have destroyed us. So may an enlightened soul say, if tbe Lord had designed to have destroyed me, ho would never have shewn me the misery of my nature, the plague of my heart, the spiritualtiy and condemnation of the law, iny own weakness and inability, and the way of life and salvation through a gracious Saviour, and have enabled me to place all my hope and trust in him; neither would he ever have given me a view of the glories of Christ, have united my heart's desire to him, and delight in him as his way of salvation, if he bad intended to have destroyed me.
The idea which this chapter gives us of Samson is not what might have been
expected concerning one, who by the special designation of heaven was a Nazarite to God, and a deliverer of Israel; and yet really he was both. Here is, 1. Samson's courtship of a daughter of the phi. listines, and his marriage to her, ver. 1--5, 7, 8. 2. His conquest of a lion, and the prize lie found in the carcase of it, ver. 5, 6, 8, 9. 3. Samson's riddle proposed to his companions, ver. 10-14. and unriddled by the treachery of his wife, ver. 15-18. 4. The occasion this gave him to kill thirty of the philistines, ver. 19. and to break off lis new alliance, ver. 20.
IN this chapter we have an account of Samson's going down to Timnah to take him a wife, and of a lion tbat roared against him, and of his destroying that lion, as though it had been only a kid. In which respect some have thought Samson to be a type of our Lord Jesus : first, in bis fixing his love upon his people, the gentile church, which was strong, intense, and ardent : secondly, in the manifestations of his love to her, to engage her heart to him : thirdly, in his meeting with Satan, the roaring lion of hell, whom he destroyed and triumphed over: for "out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweet ness ;" which may denote the gospel feast and sweetness of faith, hope, and joy, which the christian finds in seeing sin, Satan, death, and hell, conquered by the Lord Jesus.
Samson, wlien he bad courted au alliance with the philistines, did but scek
an occasion against them, chap. xiv. 4. Now here we have a farther account of the occasions to weaken them, and to avenge not bis own, but Israel's quarrels upon them. Every thing bere is surprising; if any thing be thought incredible, it must be remembered, that with God nothing is impossible, and it was by the Spirit of the Lord coming upon him, that he was both directed to, and strengthened for, those unusual ways of makivg war. 1. From the perfidiousness of his wife and her father, be took occasion to burn their corn, ver. 1-5. 2. From the philistines barbarous cruelty to bis wife and her father, he took occasion to smite them with a great slangliter, ver. 6-8. 3. From the treachery of his own countrymen, who delivered him bound to the philistines, he took occasion to kill one thousand of them with the jawbone of an ass, ver. 9–17. 4. From the distress he was then in for want of water, God took occasion to shew him favour in a sea. sonable supply, ver. 18-20.
VER. 18. “ And now shall I die for thirst?"7-In which prayer, or rather complaint, he discovers a true faith in the God of Israel; for it is as though he had said, 'O Lord, thou hast appeared for me and strengthened me, and given me victory over mine enemies, but unless thou appear for me afresh, and supply my thirst, I shall faint and fall into their hands.'
Ver. 19. “ But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout.”- Which was a display of mercy by the working of a miracle; hereby the Lord shewed his power and love to Samson, and that he was a God hearing prayer. In the time of the christian's greatest distress, the Lord is near with supplies of mercy, and miracles of love and power are laid up for them in the covenant of grace.
Samson's name, signifies a little sun (sol parrus ;) we have scen this sun rising
very bright, and his morning rays strong and clear, and, nothing appearing to the contrary, we take it for granted that the middle of the day was proportionably illustrions, while he judged Israel twenty vears: but the melancholy story of this chapter gires such an account of his evening, as did not commend his day. This little son set under a cloud, and yet, just in the setting, darted forth one such strong and glorious beam, as made him even then a type of Christ, conquering by death. Here is, 1. Samson greatly endangered by his familiarity with one harlot, and hardly escaping, ver. 1-3. 2. Samson quite ruined by his familiarity with another harlot, Delilah. Observe, 1. How he was betrayed to her by his own lusts, ver. 4. (2.) How he was betrayed by her to his sworn enemies, the philistines, who, 1. By her means got it ont of him at last where his great strength lay, ver. 5--17. 2. Then robbed him of his strength, by taking from his head the crown of his separation, ver. 18-20. 3. Then seized him, blinded him, imprisoned lim, abused him, and at a solemn festival made a shew of him, ver. 21 --25. But, lastly, he avenged himself of them, by pulling down the theatre upon their heads, and so dying with them, ver. 26-31.
VER. 3. “And went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders.”]_ This as Dr. Gill observes, was an emblem of Christ's resurrection, of whom Samson was a type, who being encompassed in a sepulchre, and sealed, and watched by soldiers, broke througb the bars of death and the grave, and of the doors in triumph, and in a short time ascended to heaven, whereby he declared himself to be the Son of God with power.'
Ver. 28, 29. “And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars, upon which the house stood.”]-Some have thought that Samson's catching three hundred foxes, and his taking hold of the two pillars of so large a building, are impossibilities: to the first let it be observed, that the land 80 abounded with these creatures, that it gave rise to the names of several parts of it, of Shual which signifies a fox, 1 Sam. xiii. 17. besides it might be a work of time, and he being a judge in Israel migbt order so many to be caught. To the second let it be observed, that the ancient way of building might be different from our's, and may be little known to us. Pliny relates, that Curio built a theatre at Rome which held many thousands, and was supported only by one single pin. And Mr. Rapin in his History of Éngland tells us, Vol. I. page 188. that Westminster-ball, that was built by William Rufus, is two hundred and seventy feet long, and seventy-four feet broad, and that it has the largest roof in all Europe, which is supported without any pillars at all: this shews it was possible that the two pillars, wbich Samson laid hold of, might support the build. ing. Hence observe, it was here that Samson prayed, that he bowed himself with all his might, that it was done in faith, that the Lord strengtbened him, and answered bis prayer : in which respect some have thought Samson a type of Christ, laying down his life frerly, that he might thereby destroy his people's enemies; and that the destruction of the philistines in Samson's death was emblematical of the destruction of Satan's kingdom, of the principalitics, and powers, by the death of Christ, Col. ii. 15. Heb. ii. 14.
All agree, that what is related in this, and the rest of the chapters to the end
of this book, was not done, as the story is laid, after Samson, but long before, even soon after the death of Joshua, ju the days of Pbi. nelias the son of Elcazar, chap. xx. 28. But it is cast here into the latter part of the book, that it might not interrupt the history of the Judges. That it might appear how happy the nation was in the Judges, here is strewed how unhappy they were when there was none. 1. Then idolatry began in the family of Micah, chap. xvii. 2. Then it spread itself into the tribe of Dan, chap. xviii. 3. Their villainy was committed in Gibeah of Benjamin, chap. xix. 4. Then that whole tribe was destroyed for countenancing it, chap. xx. 5. Then odd sort of ways were taken to keep up that tribe, chap. xxi. Therefore blessed be God for the government we are under. In this chapter we are told how Micah an Epbraimite furnished himself, 1. With an image of his God, ver. 1-6. 2. With a Levite, such an one as lie was, for his priest, ver. 1-13.
VER. 1. " And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah."]—It is to be observed, that this and the four following chapters are a history of facts which did not come to pass after the death of Samson as they are placed in the bible; for it is said, ver. 6. “ There was no king in Israel ;" that is, there was no judge to rule in Israel, Josbua and the elders being dead : and it seems to connect with chap. ii. 10. and to take place from the death of the elders who ruled aster Joshua, till the Lord first raised up a judge in Israel, namely Otbniel, Caleb's younger brother, chap. iii. 9. This is the connection in which Josephus placeth this history: and it appears that the Lcvite whom Micah engaged for his priest, was Moses's grandson: his name was Jonathan, who was the son of Gershom, who was the son of Moses, Exod. ii. 22. Judges xviii. 30. and at this time Phinehas who was Aaron's grandson was living, chap. xx. 28. Which shews that these facts took place upon the death of the elders, before a judge was raised up in Israel, as it was impossible for Moses's or Aaron's grand. son to be living after the death of Samson. Aud the reason why these facts were placed in the sacred book after Sam. son's death, may be constantly to remind Israel, that as their government, or as some call it, their state policy, ceased in the death of Samson, who was a Danite ; so they might at the same time remember, that the eleven hundred pieces of silver, wbich the mother of Micah dedicated to make an idol, which the Danites took from Micali, and became the ruin of religion in that tribe, and doubtless laid the foundation of that spreading idolatry among the Israelites, which brought them into such distress and tribulation ; for we find that their idolatry remained all the while that the house of God stood at Shiloh, chap. xviii. 31. And very probably this, in a spiritual sense, is what Jacob meant, when he said, “Dan shall be a serpent in the way, and an adder in the path," Gen. xlix. 17. for these idols of the Danites, which tbey set up, were like serpents in the way and adders in the path to Israel; and this may be the reason why the tribe of Dan is not mentioned with the rest of the tribes, 1 Chron. vii. nor twelve thousand of that tribe sealed, as of the other tribes, Rev. vii. 5, &c.
Ver. 12. - And Micah consecrated the Levite.”]-This was a daring presumption in him, not being of the tribe of Levi, but of the tribe of Ephrain : neither was any priest to be consecrated but with the holy anointing oil; Moses made this oil, and others were prohibited from making it, Exod. xxx. 33. It was likewise presumption in the Levite to be made a priest, because the priesthood was ordained to be in the family of Aaron, Exod. xxx. 30. and the Levite was of the family of Moses, chap. xviii. 30. Hence we see that error bas no bounds, and that the greatest unhappiness that a man can be given up to in the ways of religion, is to be suffered to follow his own imaginations or inventions.
How idolatry crept into the family of Micah, we read in the chapter before,
how it was translated from thence into the tribe of Dan, we have an account in this chapter, and how it gained a settlement in a city of note; for how great a matter doth a little fire kindle! The tribe of Dan had their lot assigned them last of all the tribes, and it happening to, be too straight for them, a considerable city in the utmost corner of Canaan northward was added to it, let them get it and take it; it was called Laisb and Lechem, Josh, xix. 47. Now here we are told, (1.)