Then went Samson to Gaza
One of the five principalities of the Philistines, which was ten miles from Ashkelon, as Sandys F17 says; who also describes F18 it as standing upon an hill environed with valleys, and these again well nigh enclosed with hills, most of them planted with all sorts of delicate fruits; and, according to Bunting F19, forty two miles from Ramathlehi, the place where we last hear of him, (See Gill on Amos 1:6) (See Gill on Zephaniah 2:4) what he went hither for is not easy to say; it showed great boldness and courage, after he had made such a slaughter of the Philistines, to venture himself in one of their strongest cities, where he must expect to be exposed to danger; though it is highly probable this was a long time after his last encounter with them:
and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her;
the Targum renders it an innkeeper, one that kept a victualling house; so Kimchi, Ben Gersom, and Ben Melech interpret it; into whose house he went for entertainment and lodging, and very probably in the dusk of the evening; and the woman that kept this house might herself be an harlot, or, however, Samson saw one in her house, with whom he was captivated, and went in unto her, or had criminal conversation with her; it seems as if he did not turn in thither with any such wicked design, but on sight of the person was ensnared to commit lewdness with her; and, as Lyra says, there were many hostesses in some places, and so here, who too easily prostituted themselves to their guests.
F17 Travels, l. 3. p. 118.
F18 Travels, l. 3. p. 116.
F19 Ut supra. (Travels, l. 3. p. 118.)