Judges 14:19
And the Spirit of the LORD came on him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments to them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) To Ashkelon.—Probably he seized the opportunity of some great feast to Dagon, or even of another marriage festival, since the linen robes and rich garments would not be such as would be worn every day.

Took their spoil.—The Hebrew word chalîsah is rendered “armour” in 2Samuel 2:21 (LXX.,panoplia), and the Targum on Judges 14:13 seems to understand “suits of armour.”

Gave . . . unto them which expounded the riddle.—They were unaware whence he had obtained the means to discharge his wager. The morality of the act can, of course, only be judged from the standpoint of the time.

14:10-20 Samson's riddle literally meant no more than that he had got honey, for food and for pleasure, from the lion, which in its strength and fury was ready to devour him. But the victory of Christ over Satan, by means of his humiliation, agonies, and death, and the exaltation that followed to him, with the glory thence to the Father, and spiritual advantages to his people, seem directly alluded to. And even death, that devouring monster, being robbed of his sting, and stripped of his horror, forwards the soul to the realms of bliss. In these and other senses, out of the eater comes forth meat, and out of the strong, sweetness. Samson's companions obliged his wife to get the explanation from him. A worldly wife, or a worldly friend, is to a godly man as an enemy in the camp, who will watch every opportunity to betray him. No union can be comfortable or lasting, where secrets cannot be intrusted, without danger of being divulged. Satan, in his temptations, could not do us the mischief he does, if he did not plough with the heifer of our corrupt nature. His chief advantage against us arises from his correspondence with our deceitful hearts and inbred lusts. This proved an occasion of weaning Samson from his new relations. It were well for us, if the unkindness we meet with from the world, and our disappointments in it, obliged us by faith and prayer to return to our heavenly Father's house, and to rest there. See how little confidence is to be put in man. Whatever pretence of friendship may be made, a real Philistine will soon be weary of a true Israelite.They try to give the answer in a way to make it appear that they had guessed it. Samson saw at once that she had betrayed him. He lets them know in a speech, which was of the nature of a riddle, that he had discovered the treachery. Jud 14:19, 20. He Slays Thirty Philistines.

19, 20. went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them—This town was about twenty-four miles west by southwest from Timnah; and his selection of this place, which was dictated by the Divine Spirit, was probably owing to its bitter hostility to Israel.

took their spoil—The custom of stripping a slain enemy was unknown in Hebrew warfare.

The Spirit of the Lord came upon him; though he had a constant habit of eminent strength and courage, yet that was exceedingly increased upon special occasions, by the extraordinary influences of God’s Spirit.

To Ashkelon; either to the territory, which oft comes under the name of the city; or to the city itself, where he had both strength and courage enough to attempt what here follows; and upon the doing hereof they were doubtless struck with such a terror, that every one sought only to preserve himself, and none durst oppose or pursue him.

Change of garments, together with their sheets or shirts, which it sufficed to imply here, being expressed above, Judges 14:13.

His anger was kindled, for the treachery of his wife and companions.

And he went up, to wit, alone, or without his wife. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him,.... The Spirit of might from the Lord, as the Targum; which filled him with zeal and courage, animating him to the following undertaking, and increased his bodily strength to perform it:

and he went down to Ashkelon; one of the five principal cities of the Philistines; it lay near the Mediterranean sea, and, according to Bunting (r), was twenty four miles from Timnath; why he went so far, is not easy to say; some think there was some grand solemnity or festival observed there at this time, which he knew of, when persons put on their best suits of apparel, and such he wanted: and slew thirty men of them; in vindication of which, it may be observed, that Samson was now raised up of God to be judge of Israel; and that he acted now as such, and under the direction and impulse of the Spirit of God, and the persons he slew were the common enemies of Israel; and if now observing a festival in honour of their gods, they were justly cut off for their idolatry:

and took their spoil; their clothes off their backs, stripped them of their apparel, and even of their shirts, all which he brought away with him: and here it may be observed, that though Samson was a Nazarite, yet not a common one, and was an extraordinary person, and not in all things bound to the law of the Nazarites; at least that law was dispensed with in various instances relative to him, as taking honey out of the carcass of the lion, and here stripping dead bodies which were defiling, and other things:

and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle; to the thirty companions, to whom it was proposed, each man a suit of apparel taken from the thirty men he slew at Ashkelon, and sheets or shirts also no doubt, though not expressed. Indeed some have thought, because they did not find out the riddle of themselves, he did not give them the whole premium, and that by their own consent:

and his anger was kindled; against his wife, for her treachery and unfaithfulness to him, and against his companions for their deceitful usage of him, and against the citizens of the place, who perhaps laughed at him, being thus tricked and deceived:

and he went up to his father's house; left his wife, and her relations, and his companions, and the men of Timnath, and betook himself to his father's house again, as if he had been never married; his parents very probably had returned before him.

(r) Travels of the Patriarchs, &c. p. 116.

And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down {l} to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house.

(l) Which was one of the five chief cities of the Philistines.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. The sudden access of superhuman power seems to coincide with the outburst of natural passion, as in Jdg 14:6, Jdg 15:14.

Ashkelon] Perhaps Khirbet ‘Asḳalûn, about 4 m. S. of Tibneh (Timnah), rather than the well-known Ashkelon on the sea-coast, 24 m. or 8 hours distant. The anger ought to precede rather than follow the exploit; but the writer probably did not trouble about logical sequence in his narrative of marvels. There is no need to regard the feat at Ashkelon as a later addition (Moore, Budde, Nowack) because it leads to nothing in the sequel.

their spoil] lit. things stripped off a dead enemy, exuviae; only again 2 Samuel 2:21.

he went up] without consummating the marriage, as the previous verses seem to imply (esp. Jdg 14:18); although it is true that sometimes the consummation took place on the first and not on the last day of the feast, Genesis 29:23.Verse 19. - The Spirit of the Lord, etc. - as in ver. 6 and Judges 13:25, where see notes. The verb here, came upon him, is the same as in ver. 6. Thirty men - the number of the companions to whom he felt bound to pay the thirty changes of garment. Ashkelon (Judges 1:18) - one of the five Philistine cities, but the least often mentioned, owing, it is thought, to its remote situation "on the extreme edge of the shore of the Mediterranean, far down in the south." It still preserves its ancient name, and was famous in the time of the Crusaders. "Within the walls and towers now standing Richard (Coeur de Lion) held his court." The onion called eschalot, or shallot, is named from Eshkalon, or Ashkalon. Their spoil - that which was stripped from them. His anger was kindled - against the Philistines in general, and his wife in particular, so that he went back to his father s house without her. At the wedding feast Samson said to the guests, "I will give you a riddle. If you show it to me during the seven days of the meal (the wedding festival), and guess it, I will give you thirty sedinim (σινδόνες, tunicae, i.e., clothes worn next to the skin) and thirty changes of garments (costly dresses, that were frequently changed: see at Genesis 45:22); but if ye cannot show it to me, ye shall give me the same number of garments." The custom or proposing riddles at banquets by way of entertainment is also to be met with among the ancient Grecians. (For proofs from Athenaeus, Pollux, Gellius, see Bochart, Hieroz. P. ii. l. ii. c. 12; and K. O. Mller, Dorier, ii. p. 392). As the guests consented to this proposal, Samson gave them the following riddle (Judges 14:14): "Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness." This riddle they could not show, i.e., solve, for three days. That is to say, they occupied themselves for three days in trying to find the solution; after that they let the matter rest until the appointed term was drawing near.
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