|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:1-3 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.
Verse 1. - Then. It should be and. There is nothing to show when the incident occurred. It may have been many years after his victory at hal-Lechi, towards the latter part of his twenty years' judgeship. Gaza, now Ghuzzeh, one of the five chief cities of the Philistines, once a strong place, but now a large open town. It was the last town in South-West Palestine on the road from Jerusalem to Egypt (Acts 8:26, 27). It played an important part in history in all ages - in the times, of the Pharaohs, the Seleucidae, the Maccabees, the Romans, the Khalifs, and the Crusaders. It was within the limits of the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:47). It is first mentioned in Genesis 10:19, as the south-west border of the Canaanites. Its real transliteration from the Hebrew is Azzah, as it is actually expressed in the A.V. of Deuteronomy 2:23, and 1 Kings 4:24. Gaza is the Greek form.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then went Samson to Gaza,.... One of the five principalities of the Philistines, which was ten miles from Ashkelon, as Sandys (q) says; who also describes (r) 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 (s), forty two miles from Ramathlehi, the place where we last hear of him; see Gill on Amos 1:6, 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.
(q) Travels, l. 3. p. 118. (r) Travels, l. 3. p. 116. (s) Ut supra. (Travels, l. 3. p. 118.)
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Jud 16:1-3. Samson Carries Away the Gates of Gaza.
1, 2. Gaza—now Guzzah, the capital of the largest of the five Philistine principal cities, about fifteen miles southwest of Ashkelon. The object of this visit to this city is not recorded, and unless he had gone in disguise, it was a perilous exposure of his life in one of the enemy's strongholds. It soon became known that he was there; and it was immediately resolved to secure him. But deeming themselves certain of their prey, the Gazites deferred the execution of their measure till the morning.
Judges 16:1 Parallel Commentaries
Judges 16:1 NIV
Judges 16:1 NLT
Judges 16:1 ESV
Judges 16:1 NASB
Judges 16:1 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible