Now there were men lying in wait
Very likely some of the servants of the lords of the Philistines, who were placed privately on purpose, that when an opportunity offered, they might rush out, and fall upon Samson; Josephus F25 calls them soldiers:
abiding with her in the chamber;
in a private part of it, or otherwise they could not be said to lie in wait; in it may mean near it; perhaps it was in the next apartment to hers, where they were set:
and she said unto him, the Philistines be upon thee, Samson;
are just ready to fall upon thee, and seize thee; this she said to arouse him, and try whether he could break the withs or not, before she called in the men that lay in wait, and whether he had told her the truth or not:
and he brake the withs as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth
or "smells it" F26; as soon as it comes near it; a thread of tow or linen catches the fire presently, it being so weak that it cannot stand before the least force of it; so easily did the withs give way, and were broken, when Samson did but just stir himself, and move his arms:
so his strength was not known;
by Delilah, nor by the Philistines; that is, where it lay, so as that it might be weakened; for otherwise it was known by the easy breaking of the withs.
F25 Antiqu. l. 5. c. 8. sect. 11.
F26 (wxyrhb) "cum olfecerit", Drusius, so Piscator.