Judges 16:1

Samson and Delilah

1 Samson went to 1Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her.

Judges 16:1 Meaning and Commentary

Judges 16:1

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.)

Judges 16:1 In-Context

1 Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her.
2 The Gazites were told, "Samson has come here." And they surrounded the place and set an ambush for him all night at the gate of the city. They kept quiet all night, saying, "Let us wait till the light of the morning; then we will kill him."
3 But Samson lay till midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts, and pulled them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron.
4 After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.
5 And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, "Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver."

Cross References 1

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