Judges 16

CHAPTER XVI

Samson comes to Gaza; they lay wait for him; he rises by night,

and carries away the city gates, 1-3.

Falls in love with Delilah, 4.

The lords of the Philistines promise her money if she will

obtain from Samson the secret in which his strength lay, 5.

By various artifices she at last obtains this; and

communicates it to the Philistines, who seize and bind him, put

out his eyes, and cause him to grind in the prison-house, 6-21.

At a public festival to Dagon he is brought out to make sport;

when, being weary, he requests to be placed between the two

pillars which supported the roof of the house, on which three

thousand men and women were stationed to see him make sport,

22-27.

He prays to God to strengthen him, and pulls down the pillars;

by which (the house falling) both himself, the lords of the

Philistines, and a vast multitude of the people, are slain,

28-30.

His relatives come and take away his body, and bury it, 31.

NOTES ON CHAP. XVI

Verse 1. Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there a harlot] The

Chaldee, as in the former case, renders the clause thus: Samson

saw there a woman, an inn-keeper. Perhaps the word zonah is

to be taken here in its double sense; one who keeps a house for

the entertainment of travellers, and who also prostitutes her

person.

Gaza was situated near the Mediterranean Sea, and was one of the

most southern cities of Palestine. It has been supposed by some to

have derived its name from the treasures deposited there by

Cambyses, king of the Persians; because they say Gaza, in Persian,

signifies treasure; so Pomponius Mela and others. But it is more

likely to be a Hebrew word, and that this city derived its name,

azzah, from azaz, to be strong, it being a strong or

well fortified place.

The Hebrew ain in this word is, by the Septuagint, the

Arabic, and the Vulgate, rendered G; hence instead of azzah,

with a strong guttural breathing, we have Gaza, a name by which

this town could not be recognized by an ancient Hebrew.

Verse 2. They compassed him in] They shut up all the avenues,

secured the gates, and set persons in ambush near them, that they

might attack him on his leaving the city early the next morning.

Verse 3. Took the doors of the gate] Though Samson was a very

strong man, yet we do not find that he was a giant; consequently

we may conjecture that the gates of the city were not very large,

as he took at once the doors, the two posts, and the bar, with

him. The cities of those days would appear to disadvantage among

modern villages.

A hill-before Hebron.] Possibly there were two Hebrons; it could

not be the city generally understood by the word Hebron, as that

was about twenty miles distant from Gaza: unless we suppose that

al peney Chebron is to be understood of the road

leading to Hebron: he carried all to the top of that hill which

was on the road leading to Hebron.

Verse 4. He loved a woman in the valley of Sorek] Some think

Samson took this woman for his wife; others, that he had her as a

concubine. It appears she was a Philistine; and however strong

his love was for her, she seems to have had none for him. He

always matched improperly, and he was cursed in all his matches.

Where the valley or brook of Sorek was, is not easy to be

ascertained. Eusebius and Jerome say it lay southward of

Eleutheropolis; but where was Eleutheropolis? Ancient writers

take all their measurements from this city; but as it is nowhere

mentioned in the Scriptures, it is impossible to fix its situation

for we know not its ancient name.

Verse 5. See wherein his great strength lieth] They saw that his

stature was not remarkable: and that, nevertheless, he had most

extraordinary strength; therefore they supposed that it was the

effect of some charm or amulet. The lords of the Philistines were

the five following: Gaza, Gath, Askelon, Ekron, and Ashdod. All

these considered Samson as a public enemy; and they promised this

bad woman a large sum of money if she would obtain from him the

important secret wherein his strength lay, that, depriving him of

this supernatural power, they might be able to reduce him to

bondage.

Verse 7. Seven green withs] That is, any kind of pliant, tough

wood, twisted in the form of a cord or rope. Such are used in many

countries formed out of osiers, hazel, &c. And in Ireland, very

long and strong ropes are made of the fibres of bog-wood, or the

larger roots of the fir, which is often dug up in the bogs or

mosses of that country. But the Septuagint, by translating the

Hebrew yetharim lachim by νευραιςυγραις, and the

Vulgate by nerviceis funibus, understand these bonds to be cords

made of the nerves of cattle, or perhaps rather out of raw hides,

these also making an exceedingly strong cord. In some countries

they take the skin of the horse, cut it lengthwise from the hide

into thongs about two inches broad, and after having laid them in

salt for some time, take them out for use. This practice is

frequent in the country parts of Ireland; and both customs, the

wooden cord, and that made of the raw or green hide, are among the

most ancient perhaps in the world. Among the Irish peasantry this

latter species of cord is called the tug and is chiefly used for

agricultural purposes, particularly for drawing the plough and the

harrow, instead of the iron chains used in other countries.

Verse 9. Men lying in wait] They probably did not appear, as

Samson immediately broke his bonds when this bad woman said, The

Philistines be upon thee.

Verse 11. If they bind me fast with new ropes] Samson wishes to

keep up the opinion which the Philistines held; viz., that his

mighty strength was the effect of some charm; and therefore he

says, Seven green withs which had not been dried; new ropes that

were never occupied; weave the seven locks of my hair with the

web, &c.; the green withs, the new ropes, and the number

seven, are such matters as would naturally be expected in a charm

or spell.

Verse 13. The seven locks of my head] Probably Samson had his

long hair plaited into seven divisions, and as his vow of a

Nazarite obliged him to wear his hair, so, seven being a number of

perfection among the Hebrews, his hair being divided into seven

locks might more particularly point out the perfection designed by

his Nazarite state.

Every person must see that this verse ends abruptly, and does

not contain a full sense. Houbigant has particularly noticed this,

and corrected the text from the Septuagint, the reading of which I

shall here subjoin: εανυφανηςταςεπτασειραςτηςκεφαληςμοναυν

τωδιασματικαιεγκρουσηςτωπασσαλωειςτοντοιχονκαιεσομαι

ωςειςτωνανθρωπωνασθενηςκαιεγενετοεντωκοιμασθαιαυτον

καιελαβεδαλιδαταςεπτασειραςτηςκεφαληςαυτουκαιυφανενεν

τωδιασματικαιεπηξετωπασσαλωειςτοντοιχον; "If thou shalt

weave the seven locks of my head with the web, and shalt fasten

them with the pin in the wall, I shall become weak like other men:

And so it was that, when he slept, Dalida took the seven locks of

his head, and wove them with the web, and fastened it with the pin

to the wall and said unto him," &c. All the words printed here in

italic, are wanting in the present Hebrew copies; but are

preserved in the Septuagint, and are most obviously necessary to

complete the sense; else Delilah appears to do something that she

is not ordered to do, and to omit what she was commanded.

Verse 16. His soul was vexed unto death] What a consummate fool

was this strong man! Might he not have seen, from what already

took place, that Delilah intended his ruin? After trifling with

her, and lying thrice, he at last commits to her his fatal secret,

and thus becomes a traitor to himself and to his God. Well may we

adopt the sensible observation of Calmet on this passage: La

foiblesse du caeur de Samson, dans torte cette histoire, est

encore plus etonnante que la force de son corps; "The weakness of

Samson's heart in the whole of this history, is yet more

astonishing than the strength of his body."

Verse 17. If I be shaven, then my strength will go from me] The

miraculous strength of Samson must not be supposed to reside

either in his hair or in his muscles, but in that relation in

which he stood to God as a Nazarite, such a person being bound by

a solemn vow to walk in a strict conformity to the laws of his

Maker. It was a part of the Nazarite's vow to permit no razor to

pass on his head; and his long hair was the mark of his Nazirate,

and of his vow to God. When Samson permitted his hair to be shorn

off, he renounced and broke his Nazir vow; in consequence of which

God abandoned him, and therefore we are told, in Jud 16:20, that

the Lord was departed from him.

Verse 19. She began to affect him] She had probably tied his

hands slyly, while he was asleep, and after having cut off his

hair, she began to insult him before she called the Philistines,

to try whether he were really reduced to a state of weakness.

Finding he could not disengage himself, she called the

Philistines, and he, being alarmed, rose up, thinking he could

exert himself as before, and shake himself, i.e., disengage

himself from his bonds and his enemies: but he wist not that the

Lord was departed from him; for as Delilah had cut off his locks

while he was asleep, he had not yet perceived that they were gone.

Verse 21. Put out his eyes] Thus was the lust of the eye, in

looking after and gazing on strange women, punished. As the

Philistines did not know that his strength might not return, they

put out his eyes, that he might never be able to plan any

enterprise against them.

He did grind in the prison-house.] Before the invention of wind

and water-mills, the grain was at first bruised between two

stones, afterwards ground in hand-mills. This is practiced in

China and in different parts of the East still; and women and

slaves are the persons who are obliged to turn these mills.

Such instruments were anciently used in this country, and called

querns, from the Anglo-Saxon [A.S.] and [A.S.] cweorn and cwyrn,

which has the signification of a mill; hence [A.S.] cweorn stan, a

millstone: and as quern conveys the notion of grinding, hence

[A.S.], cweornteth, the dentes molares or grinders in the jaws

of animals. This clause of the verse is thus translated in the

Saxon Octateuch: [----Anglo-Saxon----] "And the Philistines laid

their fangs, (seized) him soon, and led him away to their burgh,

(city,) and shut him up in prison, and made him grind at their

hand-querne." So late as half a century ago I have seen these

querns or hand-mills in these kingdoms.

Verse 22. The hair of his head began to grow again] And may we

not suppose that, sensible of his sin and folly, he renewed his

Nazir vow to the Lord, in consequence of which his supernatural

strength was again restored?

Verse 23. Unto Dagon their god] Diodorus Siculus describes their

god thus: τομενπροσωπονεχειγυναικοςτοδαλλοσωμαπαν

ιχθους; "It had the head of a woman, but all the rest of the body

resembled a fish." Dagon was called Dorceto among the heathens.

Horace, in the following lines, especially in the third and

fourth, seems to have in view the image of Dagon:-

Humano capiti cervicem pictor equinam

Pingere si velit; et varias inducere plumas,

Undique collatis Inembris; ut turpiter atrum

Desinat in piscem mulier formosa superne;

Spectatum admissi risum teneatis amici?

DE ART. POET., V. 1.

"Suppose a painter to a human head

Should join a horse's neck; and wildly spread

The various plumage of the feather'd kind

O'er limbs of different beasts, absurdly join'd;

Or if he gave to view a beauteous maid,

Above the waist with every charm array'd,

Should a foul fish her lower parts infold,

Would you not smile such pictures to behold?"

FRANCIS.

Verse 25. Call for Samson, that he may make us sport] What the

sport was we cannot tell; probably it was an exhibition of his

prodigious strength. This seems to be intimated by what is said,

Jud 16:22, of the restoration of his

hair; and the exertions he was obliged to make will account for

the weariness which gave him the pretence to ask for leave to lean

against the pillars. Some think he was brought out to be a

laughing-stock, and that he was variously insulted by the

Philistines; hence the version of the Septuagint: καιερραπιζον

αυτον, and they buffeted him. Josephus, Antiq. Jud. lib. v., cap.

8, s. 12, says: He was brought out, οπωςενυβρισωσιναυτονπαρα

τονποτον, that they might insult him in their cups.

Verse 27. Now the house was full of men] It was either the

prison-house, house of assembly, or a temple of Dagon, raised on

pillars, open on all sides, and flat-roofed, so that it could

accommodate a multitude of people on the top.

Verse 28. Samson called unto the Lord] It was in consequence of

his faith in God that he should be strengthened to overthrow his

enemies and the enemies of his country, that he is mentioned,

Heb 11:32, among those who were remarkable for their

faith.

Verse 29. The two middle pillars upon which the house stood]

Much learned labour has been lost on the attempt to prove that a

building like this might stand on two pillars. But what need of

this? There might have been as many pillars here as were in the

temple of Diana at Ephesus, and yet the two centre pillars be the

key of the building; these being once pulled down, the whole

house would necessarily fall.

Verse 30. So the dead which he slew] We are informed that the

house was full of men and women, with about three thousand of both

sexes on the top; now as the whole house was pulled down,

consequently the principal part of all these were slain; and among

them we find there were the lords of the Philistines. The death of

these, with so many of the inferior chiefs of the people, was such

a crush to the Philistine ascendancy, that they troubled Israel no

more for several years, and did not even attempt to hinder

Samson's relatives from taking away and burying his dead body.

Verse 31. He judged Israel twenty years.] It is difficult to

ascertain the time of Samson's magistracy, and the extent of

country over which he presided. His jurisdiction seems to have

been very limited, and to have extended no farther than over those

parts of the tribe of Dan contiguous to the land of the

Philistines. This is what our margin intimates on Jud 15:20. Many

suppose that he and Eli were contemporaries, Samson being rather

an executor of the Divine justice upon the enemies of his people,

than an administrator of the civil and religious laws of the

Hebrews. Allowing Eli and Samson to have been contemporaries, this

latter part might have been entirely committed to the care of Eli.

1. SAMSON does not appear to have left any posterity. His amours

with the different women mentioned in the history were

unproductive as to issue. Had he married according to the laws of

his country, he would have been both a more useful and a more

happy man, and not have come to a violent death.

2. We seldom find much mental energy dwelling in a body that in

size and bulk greatly surpasses the ordinary pitch of man; and

wherever there are great physical powers, we seldom find

proportionate moral faculties. Samson was a man of a little mind,

a slave to his passions, and the wretched dupe of his mistresses.

He was not a great though he was a strong man; and even his

muscular force would have been lost, or spent in beating the air,

had he not been frequently under the impulse of the Divine Spirit.

He often got himself into broils and difficulties from which

nothing but supernatural interposition could have saved him. His

attacks upon the Philistines were never well planned, as he does

not appear to have asked counsel from God; indeed, he seems to

have consulted nothing but his own passions, particularly those of

inordinate love and revenge; and the last effort of his

extraordinary strength was, not to avenge his people for the

oppressions which they had suffered under the Philistinian yoke,

nor to avenge the quarrel of God's covenant against the enemies of

his truth, but to be avenged of the Philistines for the loss of

his two eyes.

3. Samson is a solemn proof how little corporeal prowess avails

where judgment and prudence are wanting, and how dangerous all

such gifts are in the hands of any man who has not his passions

under proper discipline, and the fear of God continually before

his eyes.

4. A parallel has been often drawn between Samson and our

blessed Lord, of whom he has been supposed to be a most

illustrious type. By a fruitful imagination, and the torture of

words and facts, we may force resemblances everywhere; but that

not one will naturally result from a cool comparison between Jesus

Christ and Samson, is most demonstrable. A more exceptionable

character is not to be found in the sacred oracles. It is no small

dishonour to Christ to be thus compared. There is no resemblance

in the qualities of Samson's mind, there is none in his moral

conduct, that can entitle him even to the most distant comparison

with the chaste, holy, benevolent, and immaculate Jesus. That man

dishonours the law of unchangeable righteousness, who endeavours

to make Samson a type of any thing or person that can be called

holy, just, and pure.

5. Those who compare him to Hercules have been more successful.

Indeed, the heathen god of strength appears to have been borrowed

from the Israelitish judge; but if we regard what is called the

choice of Hercules, his preference of virtue to pleasure, we

shall find that the heathen is, morally speaking, vastly superior

to the Jew. M. De Lavaur, in his Conference de la Fable avec l'

Histoire Sainte, vol. ii., p. 1, has traced the parallel between

Hercules and Samson in the following manner:-

"Hercules was figured by the poets as supernatural both in his

birth and actions, and was therefore received by the people as a

god of the first order. They attributed to him the miracles

wrought by several illustrious chiefs among the people of God,

which they found described in the sacred oracles, more ancient

than their most ancient accounts, or which they had learned by

tradition, and their commerce with the Egyptians and Phoenicians,

who were spread through various countries, but particularly in

Greece. It is also to the time of these chiefs, and to the

government of the Israelites by their judges, that the heroes and

grand events of fable owe their origin; to which time, indeed,

they are referred by the common consent of authors, sacred and

profane.

"Every ancient nation, which had writers who left monuments of

their country's glory, had a Hercules of its own, forged on the

same plan. Varro reckons more than forty, and Cicero reckons six.

(Book iii. De Natura Deorum.)

"Herodotus, (book ii., entitled Euterpe,) only speaks of the

Egyptian and Greek Hercules. Although a Greek himself, this father

of history, as Cicero calls him, who lived the nearest of any of

these writers to the period he describes, informs us that Greece

had borrowed its Hercules from Egypt, and that Amphitryon his

father, and Alcmena his mother, were both Egyptians; so that,

notwithstanding the desire the Greeks had to make Hercules a

native of their country, they could not conceal his origin, which

was either Egyptian or Hebrew; for the Greeks and Phoenicians

looked upon the Israelites, who were settled in Canaan or

Phoenicia, as Egyptians, whose ancestors, after residing in Egypt

some centuries, had certainly come from that country.

"M. Jaquelot, in his 'Treatise on the Existence of God,'

believes that the Tyrian Hercules, who was the most ancient, was

no other than Joshua. But St. Augustine (City of God, book xviii.,

chap. 19.) has made it appear that it was after Samson (because of

his prodigious and incomparable strength) that they forged their

Hercules; first in Egypt, afterwards in Phoenicia, and lastly in

Greece, each of whose writers has united in him all the miraculous

actions of the others. In fact, it appears that Samson, judge of

the Israelites from about A.M. 2867 to 2887, celebrated in the

book of Judges, and mentioned by Josephus in his history, is the

original and essential Hercules of fable: and although the poets

have united these several particulars, drawn from Moses and

Joshua, and have added their own inventions; yet the most capital

and considerable belong to Samson, and are distinguished by

characteristics so peculiar to him, as to render him easily

discerned throughout the whole.

"In Hebrew the name of Samson () signifies the sun, and in

Syriac (servitium vel ministerium ejus) subjection to some one,

servitude. Macrobius says that the name of Hercules signifies only

the sun; for, he adds, in Greek Hercules means, it is glory of the

air, or the light of the sun. The Greeks and Egyptians have

exactly followed the Syriac signification by imposing on their

Hercules, during the whole of his life, a subjection to Eurystheus

in all his exploits, and who appointed him his famous enterprises.

This necessity they attribute to fate and the law of his birth.

Having spoken of his name, we will now examine the circumstances

of his birth, as mentioned in the sacred writings, Judges,

Jud 13:2-24, and in the History of the Jews, chap. x.

"Manoah, of the tribe of Dan, had married a woman who was

barren, which led them to pray earnestly that the Lord would bless

them with an offspring. One day, this woman being alone, an angel

appeared to her, and told her he was sent by God to inform her she

should have a son of the most extraordinary strength, who was to

raise the glory of their nation, and to humble their enemies. Upon

the arrival of her husband, she imparted to him the message and

discourse of the angel. Some time after this heavenly messenger

showed himself to them both as they were in the house together,

and ascended up to heaven in their sight, after having confirmed

the promises made before to the woman, who soon after became

pregnant, and was in due time delivered of Samson.

"The singular birth of Hercules, in fable, is similar to the

above account, with a trifling alteration taken from the ideas the

poets entertained of their gods. Amphitryon, the most considerable

person and the chief of the Thebans, had married Alcmena, whom he

loved to distraction, but had not any children by her. Jupiter,

desirous of making her the mother of Hercules, repaired to Alcmena

one night, in the absence and under the figure of her husband. On

Amphitryon's return, his wife said she had seen him before, on

such a night mentioning the visit she had received. Amphitryon,

transported with jealousy, and enraged with his wife, whatever

good opinion he might entertain of her virtue, would neither be

appeased nor consoled till Jupiter appeared to vindicate her

conduct; and, in order to convince Amphitryon of his being a god,

visibly ascended up to heaven, after informing him that he alone

had visited Alcmena, assuring him of her virtue, and promising him

a son, who was to be distinguished for his strength; whose glory

was to confer honour on his race and family; who was to humble

their enemies; and who, finally, was to be immortal.

"The Spirit of God, with which Samson was from the very first

endowed, caused him, even in his youth, to effect prodigies of

strength. He once met with a furious young lion which attacked

him; Samson, then unarmed, immediately rent the lion in pieces, as

if it had been a lamb; and, resolving to revenge himself upon the

Philistines, who had grievously afflicted the children of Israel,

he slew vast numbers of them at different times, weakened them

excessively, and thus began to deliver Israel out of the hands of

their enemies as the angel had predicted.

"Fable, likewise, causes Hercules to perform exploits requiring

prodigious strength; but, as its exaggerations are beyond all

bounds, it attributes to him, while still an infant, the

strangling enormous serpents which fell upon him in his cradle,

and the first and most illustrious exploit of his youth was the

defeat of a terrible lion in the Nemaean forest, which he slew

without the help of any weapon of defence: the skin of this lion

he afterwards wore as a garment. He likewise formed and executed

the design of delivering his country from the tyrannic oppression

of the Myrmidons. We ought not to be surprised that fable, which

disfigures so many events by transforming them to its fancy, has

altered the other adventures of Samson; that it has added to them

others of its own invention; that it attributes to him the actions

of other chiefs and heroes, and ascribes some of the performances

of Samson to other persons than Hercules; for this reason we find

the account of the foxes Samson caught and tied by the tail

preserved indeed, but transferred to another country.

"Fable then borrows in favour of our hero, Hercules, the miracle

which God wrought for Joshua, when he assisted the Gibeonites

against the five kings of the Amorites, when the Lord cast down

great stones upon them from heaven, so that more of those who fled

from the Israelites perished by the hail than did by the sword. In

imitation of this miracle, fable says (Pliny, book iii., chap.

iv.; Pomponius Mela, De Situ Orbis, book 2:, chap. v.) that when

Hercules was engaged in a combat with the Ligurians, Jupiter

assisted him by sending him a shower of stones. The quantity of

stones which are still to be seen on the plains of Crau (called by

the ancients Campi Lapidei) in Provence, has occasioned the poets

to consider this place as the theatre of the above miracle.

"The jaw-bone of the ass, rendered so famous from Samson having

slain one thousand Philistines with it, has been changed into the

celebrated club of Hercules with which he defeated giants, and

slew the many enemies that opposed him. The similarity of the

Greek words κορρη and κορυνη may have given rise to this

alteration; corre signifying jaw, and coronae, a mace or

club. The change of one of these words for the other is not

difficult, especially as it seemed more suitable to arm Hercules

with a club than with the jaw-bone of an ass. But fable has,

however, more clearly preserved the miracle of the spring of water

that God produced in this bone, to preserve Samson from perishing

with thirst, after the defeat of the Philistines; for it relates

that when Hercules had slain the dragon that guarded the golden

apples in the garden of the Hesperides, and he was in danger of

perishing with thirst in the scorching deserts of Libya, the gods

caused a fountain to issue from a rock he struck with his foot;

Apol. book xxxvi. of Argonauts, ver. 1446.

"The extraordinary strength of Samson was accompanied with a

constant and surprising weakness, viz., his love for women. These

two characteristics compose his history, and are equally

conspicuous throughout the whole of his life: the latter however

predominated; and after having frequently exposed him to great

danger, at length completed his ruin. Fable has not omitted this

characteristic weakness in its Hercules; in him this passion was

excited by every woman that presented herself to his view; it led

him to the performance of many base actions, and, after

precipitating him into several dangers, at length put an end to

his miserable existence. Samson, who well knew that his strength

depended upon the preservation of his hair, was so imprudent as to

impart this secret to Delilah, his mistress. This woman, whose

sole design in importuning him was to betray him, cut his hair off

while asleep, and delivered him, thus deprived of all his

strength, into the hands of the Philistines, who took from him

both his liberty and eyesight, and treated him as the vilest and

most wretched of slaves. Tradition, which spoils and disfigures

the ancient histories and those of distant countries, has

transferred this adventure to Nisus, king of Megara, and his

daughter Scylla. Megara was also the name of one of Hercules'

wives the daughter of Creon, king of Thebes. The name of Scylla is

taken from the crime and impiety of the daughter of Nisus, from

the Greek verb συλαω, sulao, which signifies to rob or strip with

impiety. The destiny or welfare of Nisus depended on the

preservation of a lock of purple hair which grew on his head.

Scylla, having conceived an affection for Minos, who was at that

time besieging the capital of her father's kingdom, betrayed her

parent, cut off this lock of purple hair while he was asleep, and

delivered him into the hands of his enemy. Nisus lost both his

senses and his life, and according to fable, was changed into a

bird.-Ovid, Met., book viii.

"But the most remarkable and striking event In the history of

Samson, is that by which he lost his life. The Philistines, when

offering solemn sacrifices to their god, by way of thanksgiving

for his having delivered into their hands their formidable enemy,

caused Samson to be brought out of prison, in order to make a

laughing-stock of him. Samson, as though wishing to rest himself,

requested his conductors to let him lean against the pillars which

supported the temple, which was at that time filled with a great

multitude of persons, among whom were many princes of the

Philistines. Samson then, invoking the Lord, and exerting all his

strength, which was returning with the growth of his hair, laid

hold of the pillars with both his hands, and shook them so

violently as to pull the building down upon the whole multitude

therein assembled. By this fatal catastrophe Samson killed a

greater number of Philistines than he had done during his life.

"Fable and tradition could not efface this event in the copy of

Samson, which is Hercules. Herodotus relates it as a fabulous

tradition, invented by the Greeks, and rejects it as having no

foundation either in the history itself, or in the manners and

customs of the Egyptians; among whom the Greeks say this event had

happened. They relate (says this historian, book ii., entitled

Euterpe, p. 47) that Hercules, having fallen into the hands of

the Egyptians, was condemned to be sacrificed to Jupiter. He was

adorned like a victim, and led with much pomp to the foot of the

altar: after permitting himself to be conducted thus far, and

stopping a moment to collect his strength, he fell upon and

massacred all those who were assembled to be either actors in, or

spectators of, this pompous sacrifice, to the number of many

thousands.

"The conformity between these adventures of Samson and Hercules

is self-evident, and proves beyond a doubt that the fable of the

one was composed from the history of the other. The remark of

Herodotus respecting the impossibility of this last adventure,

according to the Greek tradition, and the folly of attributing it

to the Egyptians, serves to confirm the truth of its having been

borrowed, and of its being but a disfigured copy, whose original

must be sought for elsewhere.

"In fact, it appears that Samson, judge of the Israelites,

particularly mentioned in the book of Judges, and by Josephus,

Ant. lib. v., c. 10, is the original and essential Hercules of

fable; and although the poets have united some particulars drawn

from Moses and Joshua, and have added their own inventions, yet

the most capital and considerable belong to Samson, and are

distinguished by characteristics so peculiar to him, as render him

easily discernible throughout the whole."

The above is the substance of what M. De Lavaur has written on

the subject, and contains, as some think, a very clear case; and

is an additional proof how much the heathens have been indebted to

the Bible.

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