Judges 16:21

21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison.

Read Judges 16:21 Using Other Translations

But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.
And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison.
So the Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes. They took him to Gaza, where he was bound with bronze chains and forced to grind grain in the prison.

What does Judges 16:21 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Judges 16:21

But the Philistines took him
Being assured by Delilah that his strength was gone from him, of which perhaps she had made trial by binding him, and found he could not free himself from the bonds till she loosed them; or otherwise they would have been afraid to have ventured to lay hold upon him;

and put out his eyes;
that should his strength return to him, be might not be able to see where and whom to strike, and so be incapable of doing much mischief any more; the word signifies, they "dug" or "bored them" F9 out; they plucked or cut out his eye balls, so that it was impossible his sight should ever be recovered; according to the Arabic version, they blinded him by putting fire to his eyes; the Jews observe, that this was done in just retaliation, measure for measure; Samson, they say F11, went after his eyes; that is, by taking one harlot after another; therefore the Philistines put out his eyes:

and brought him down to Gaza:
which lay on the sea coast, and therefore they are said to bring him down to it; here he had been before of his own will, now against it; for in one instance he had acted to his own shame, by going in to an harlot; and in another, to the shame and disgrace of the city, and the inhabitants of it, by carrying off their city gates; through which they now brought him in triumph, in order to repair the dishonour done them: though, perhaps, the true reason of carrying him thither was, that he might be at the greater distance from the Israelites, should they think of rescuing him out of their hands; and especially because it was a very strong fortified city, it had its name from strength; hence Mela F12 calls it "Munita admodum Gaza", and says, that when Cambyses made war in Egypt, he carried his wealth and money to this place:

and bound him with fetters of brass;
the Targum calls them chains of brass, and the word being of the dual number, it is probable there were two of them, with which he was bound the greater security:

and he did grind in the prison house;
the motion of mills by water or wind was as yet not invented, but it was usual, as it is still in the eastern countries, to grind with hand mills, at which one or more worked; or with mills moved around by beasts or slaves, and was a work prisoners were employed in, ( Exodus 11:5 ) ( 12:29 ) ( Isaiah 47:1 Isaiah 47:2 ) and Samson being a strong man, they might expect much service from him this way. The Talmudists F13 understand this in a criminal sense, as they do ( Job 31:10 ) but this is justly rejected by Kimchi.


FOOTNOTES:

F9 (wrqny) "effoderant", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremelius, Piscator
F11 Misn. Sotah. c. sect. 8.
F12 De Situ Orbis, l. 1. c. 11.
F13 T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 10. 1.
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