And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight
Either not being able to lie any longer through the conviction of his conscience for his lewdness, or being warned by a dream, or having an impulse upon his spirit, which suggested to him that wait was laid for him, and the danger he was in; and coming to the gate of the city, which he found shut and fast barred and bolted, and the watch perhaps asleep, not expecting his coming until daylight:
and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went
away with them, bar and all;
did not stand to break open the doors of the gate, but took the two side posts up, on which the folding doors of the gate were hung, out of the ground in which they were fastened, with the bar which went across the doors for the security of them:
and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron;
if this hill was near Hebron, as the words thus read seem to intimate, he must carry the gates twenty miles upon his shoulders, for so far was Hebron from Gaza; so Josephus says it was over Hebron; but according to Adrichomius F20, it was near Gaza, looking towards Hebron; and so Sandys says F21, in the valley, on the east side of the city, are many straggling buildings, beyond which there is a hill more eminent than the rest, on the north side of the way that leads to Babylon, said to be that to which Samson carried the gates of the city. It is very probable, as some think, that it was between Gaza and Hebron, in sight of both cities, which may be meant by the phrase "before", or "on the face of"; being so high might be seen as far as Hebron, as well as at Gaza. This 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 through the bars of death and the grave, and carried off the doors in triumph; and in a short time ascended to heaven, whereby he declared himself to be the Son of God with power. It was usual for doors and bars of gates to be carried in triumph, and laid up in temples F23; and the Jews say these doors were not less than sixty cubits, and suppose Samson's shoulders to be as broad F24.
F20 "Theatrum Terrae Sanet". p. 133.
F21 Ut supra, (Travels l. 3.) p. 117.
F23 "----sacris in postibus arma: ----et portarum ingentia claustra." Virgil. Aeneid. 7. ver. 185.
F24 T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 10. 1.