Judges 16

* Samson's escape from Gaza. (1-3) Samson enticed to declare his

strength lay. (4-17) The Philistines take Samson, and put out

his eyes. (18-21) Samson's strength is renewed. (22-24) He

destroys many of the Philistines. (25-31)

1-3 Hitherto Samson's character has appeared glorious, though

uncommon. In this chapter we find him behaving in so wicked a

manner, that many question whether or not he were a godly man.

But the apostle has determined this, #Heb 11:32|. By adverting

to the doctrines and examples of Scripture, the artifices of

Satan, the deceitfulness of the human heart, and the methods in

which the Lord frequently deals with his people, we may learn

useful lessons from this history, at which some needlessly

stumble, while others cavil and object. The peculiar time in

which Samson lived may account for many things, which, if done

in our time, and without the special appointment of Heaven,

would be highly criminal. And there might have been in him many

exercises of piety, which, if recorded, would have reflected a

different light upon his character. Observe Samson's danger. Oh

that all who indulge their sensual appetites in drunkenness, or

any fleshly lusts, would see themselves thus surrounded,

way-laid, and marked for ruin by their spiritual enemies! The

faster they sleep, the more secure they feel, the greater their

danger. We hope it was with a pious resolution not to return to

his sin, that he rose under a fear of the danger he was in. Can

I be safe under this guilt? It was bad that he lay down without

such checks; but it would have been worse, if he had laid still

under them.
4-17 Samson had been more than once brought into mischief and

danger by the love of women, yet he would not take warning, but

is again taken in the same snare, and this third time is fatal.

Licentiousness is one of the things that take away the heart.

This is a deep pit into which many have fallen; but from which

few have escaped, and those by a miracle of mercy, with the loss

of reputation and usefulness, of almost all, except their souls.

The anguish of the suffering is ten thousand times greater than

all the pleasures of the sin.
18-21 See the fatal effects of false security. Satan ruins men

by flattering them into a good opinion of their own safety, and

so bringing them to mind nothing, and fear nothing; and then he

robs them of their strength and honour, and leads them captive

at his will. When we sleep our spiritual enemies do not.

Samson's eyes were the inlets of his sin, (ver. #1|,) and now

his punishment began there. Now the Philistines blinded him, he

had time to remember how his own lust had before blinded him.

The best way to preserve the eyes, is, to turn them away from

beholding vanity. Take warning by his fall, carefully to watch

against all fleshly lusts; for all our glory is gone, and our

defence departed from us, when our separation to God, as

spiritual Nazarites, is profaned.
22-24 Samson's afflictions were the means of bringing him to

deep repentance. By the loss of his bodily sight the eyes of his

understanding were opened; and by depriving him of bodily

strength, the Lord was pleased to renew his spiritual strength.

The Lord permits some few to wander wide and sink deep, yet he

recovers them at last, and marking his displeasure at sin in

their severe temporal sufferings, preserves them from sinking

into the pit of destruction. Hypocrites may abuse these

examples, and infidels mock at them, but true Christians will

thereby be rendered more humble, watchful, and circumspect; more

simple in their dependence on the Lord, more fervent in prayer

to be kept from falling, and in praise for being preserved; and,

if they fall, they will be kept from sinking into despair.
25-31 Nothing fills up the sins of any person or people faster

than mocking and misusing the servants of God, even thought it

is by their own folly that they are brought low. God put it into

Samson's heart, as a public person, thus to avenge on them God's

quarrel, Israel's, and his own. That strength which he had lost

by sin, he recovers by prayer. That it was not from passion or

personal revenge, but from holy zeal for the glory of God and

Israel, appears from God's accepting and answering the prayer.

The house was pulled down, not by the natural strength of

Samson, but by the almighty power of God. In his case it was

right he should avenge the cause of God and Israel. Nor is he to

be accused of self-murder. He sought not his own death, but

Israel's deliverance, and the destruction of their enemies. Thus

Samson died in bonds, and among the Philistines, as an awful

rebuke for his sins; but he died repentant. The effects of his

death typified those of the death of Christ, who, of his own

will, laid down his life among transgressors, and thus

overturned the foundation of Satan's kingdom, and provided for

the deliverance of his people. Great as was the sin of Samson,

and justly as he deserved the judgments he brought upon himself,

he found mercy of the Lord at last; and every penitent shall

obtain mercy, who flees for refuge to that Saviour whose blood

cleanses from all sin. But here is nothing to encourage any to

indulge sin, from a hope they shall at last repent and be saved.

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