|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
15:1-8 When there are differences between relations, let those be reckoned the wisest and best, who are most forward to forgive or forget, and most willing to stoop and yield for the sake of peace. In the means which Samson employed, we must look at the power of God supplying them, and making them successful, to mortify the pride and punish the wickedness of the Philistines. The Philistines threatened Samson's wife that they would burn her and her father's house. She, to save herself and oblige her countrymen, betrayed her husband; and the very thing that she feared, and by sin sought to avoid, came upon her! She, and her father's house, were burnt with fire, and by her countrymen, whom she thought to oblige by the wrong she did to her husband. The mischief we seek to escape by any unlawful practices, we often pull down upon our own heads.
Verse 8. - He smote them hip and thigh, etc. A proverbial expression, the origin of which is uncertain; it means, he smote them with a great and complete slaughter. It is reasonable to suppose that he had gathered a few Hebrews round him to help him. He went down, etc. This shows that Etam must have been situated lower than Tinmath, and seems to preclude its identification with Urtas, in the hill country of Judah, between Bethlehem and Tekoah, which apparently represents the Etam of 2 Chronicles 11:6. But there is another Etam in the tribe of Simeon (1 Chronicles 4:32), which may possibly be the Etam of our text. In the top of the rock. Rather, the cleft or fissure of the rock - some narrow and inaccessible ravine. The site has not been identified.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter,.... Either smote them on their hips and thighs with his hands (for it does not appear he had any weapon of war), so that they were sadly bruised, and maimed, and lamed, that they could not stir, and of which blows and bruises multitudes died: or he smote them with his legs on their thighs, kicked them about at pleasure, which kicks numbers of them never got over; or the meaning of the proverbial expression is, he laid on them at a great rate, and smote them here and there, and any where, which issued in the death of many of them: the Targum is,"he smote them horse and foot,''their cavalry and infantry, destroyed them both; but it does not appear that they came out in an hostile manner unto him, and much less in the form of a regular army:
and he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam. Josephus says (e), that Samson having slain many in the fields of the Philistines, went and dwelt at Etam, a strong rock in the tribe of Judah; and which agrees with 2 Chronicles 11:6, where mention is made of the city Etam, along with Bethlehem and Tekoah, cities in that tribe, which had its name either from this rock, or the rock from that. The Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions read,"in a cave of the rock of Etam;''and the Syriac and Arabic versions, in Sahaph, which is on the rock of Etam, as if Sahaph was the name of a city there; hither Samson went, not through fear, or for safety, but to wait for another opportunity of further avenging the injuries of Israel on the Philistines.
(e) Ibid. (Antiqu. l. 5. c. 8.) sect. 8.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. smote them hip and thigh—a proverbial expression for a merciless slaughter.
he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam—rather went down and dwelt in the cleft—that is, the cave or cavern of the cliff Etam.
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