And Samson said, let me die with the Philistines
He sought their death, and was content to lose his own life to be avenged on them; in neither of which did he act a criminal part as a judge of Israel; and from a public spirit he might desire the death of their enemies, and seek to effect it by all means possible; and was the more justifiable at this time, as they were not only insulting him, the representative of his nation, but were affronting the most high God with their idolatries, being now in the temple of their idol, and sacrificing to him. As for his own death, he did not simply desire that, only as he could not be avenged on his enemies without it, he was willing to submit to it; nor did he lay hands on himself, and cannot be charged with being guilty of suicide, and did no other than what a man of valour and public spirit will do; who for the good of his country will not only expose his life to danger in common, but for the sake of that will engage in a desperate enterprise, when he knows most certainly that he must perish in it. Besides, Samson said this, and did what he did under the direction and influence of the Spirit of God; and herein was a type of Christ, who freely laid down his life for his people, that he might destroy his and their enemies:
and he bowed himself with all his might,
having fresh strength, and a large measure of it given him at this instant, which he had faith in, and therefore made the attempt, and for which he is reckoned among the heroes for faith in ( Hebrews 11:32 )
and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were
who were all killed, and Samson himself; an emblem this of the destruction of Satan, and his principalities and powers, by the death of Christ:
so the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he
slew in his life;
for besides the lords, and they that were in the house, there were 3000 men and women on the roof, which fell in, and lost their lives also, so that it is very likely there were at least 6000 or 7000 slain; Philo Byblius says 40,000, which is not probable; whereas in his life we only read of 1000 slain by him with the jawbone, besides thirty men at Ashkelon, and the slaughter made when he smote hip and thigh, the number of which is not known. As this house pulled down by Samson is generally thought to be the temple of Dagon, a traveller F1 in those parts tells us, that there is now extant the temple of Dagon in half demolished, and the pillars of it are yet to be seen; but he doubtless mistakes an edifice of a later construction for it: and another traveller F2 of our own country says, on the northeast corner and summit of the hill (on which the city is built) are the ruins of huge arches sunk low in the earth, and other foundations of a stately building; the Jews, adds he, do fable this place to have been the theatre of Samson pulled down on the heads of the Philistines; but he takes it to be the ruins of a later building; (See Gill on 1 Samuel 5:2).
F1 Baumgarten. Perogrinatio, l. 2. c. 3. p. 27. Vid. Adrichom. Theatrum Terrae S. p. 134.
F2 Sandy's Travels, l. 3. p. 116.