|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:18-21 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.
Verse 21. - Put out his eyes. One of the cruel punishments of those times (see Numbers 16:14; 2 Kings 25:7), and still, or till quite lately, practised by Oriental despots to make their rivals incapable of reigning. So King John, in Shakespeare, ordered Arthur s eyes to be put out with a hot iron (King John, Act IV. scene 1.). Herodotus (Melp. 4:2) says that the Scythians used to put out the eyes of all their slaves. He did grind - the most degrading form of labour, the punishment of slaves among the Greeks and Romans (see too Isaiah 47:2).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
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" (i) 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 (k), 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 (l) 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 and Samson being a strong man, they might expect much service from him this way. The Talmudists (m) understand this in a criminal sense, as they do Job 31:10 but this is justly rejected by Kimchi.
(i) "effoderant", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremelius, Piscator (k) Misn. Sotah. c. sect. 8. (l) De Situ Orbis, l. 1. c. 11. (m) T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 10. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Jud 16:21, 22. The Philistines Took Him and Put Out His Eyes.
21. the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes—To this cruel privation prisoners of rank and consequence have commonly been subjected in the East. The punishment is inflicted in various ways, by scooping out the eyeballs, by piercing the eye, or destroying the sight by holding a red-hot iron before the eyes. His security was made doubly sure by his being bound with fetters of brass (copper), not of leather, like other captives.
he did grind in the prison-house—This grinding with hand-millstones being the employment of menials, he was set to it as the deepest degradation.
Judges 16:21 Parallel Commentaries
Judges 16:21 NIV
Judges 16:21 NLT
Judges 16:21 ESV
Judges 16:21 NASB
Judges 16:21 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible