Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The vineyards of Timnath.—All this part of Palestine, and especially the neighbouring valley of Sorek (Judges 16:4), was famous for its vines (Isaiah 5:2; Jeremiah 2:21). The hills of Judah, which at that time were laboriously terraced up to the summit, like the hill-sides of the Italian valleys, were peculiarly favourable for vineyards (Genesis 49:11). Now they are bleak and bare by the denudation of centuries, but might by labour be once more rendered beautiful and fruitful.
A young lion.—Literally, a lion of lions, like “a kid of goats” (Judges xiii, 15). That lions and other wild beasts were still common in Palestine, we see, both from the direct statement of the fact (1Kings 10:19; 2Kings 17:25, &c.), from the incidents which show it to have been so (1Samuel 17:34; 2Samuel 23:20; 1Kings 13:25; 1Kings 20:36), and from the names Arieh (2Kings 15:6), Lebaoth (“lionesses,” Joshua 15:32), Beth Lebaoth (Joshua 19:6), Shaalbim (“jackals”), Zeboim (“hyenas”), &c.Jdg 14:5-6. And his father and mother — Who accompanied him, either because they were now acquainted with his design, or to order the circumstances of that action which they saw he was set upon. The Spirit of the Lord came mightily — Increased his courage and bodily strength. As he would have rent a kid — As soon and as safely. Told not, &c. — Lest by their means it should be publicly known; for he wisely considered, that it was not yet a fit time to awaken the jealousies and fears of the Philistines concerning him, as this would have done.
5-9. a young lion—Hebrew, a lion in the pride of his youthful prime. The wild mountain passes of Judah were the lairs of savage beasts; and most or all the "lions" of Scripture occur in that wild country. His rending and killing the shaggy monster, without any weapon in his hand, were accomplished by that superhuman courage and strength which the occasional influences of the Spirit enabled him to put forth, and by the exertion of which, in such private incidental circumstances, he was gradually trained to confide in them for the more public work to which he was destined.His father and his mother accompanied him, either because they were now acquainted with his design, or to order the circumstances of that action which they saw he was set upon, or to watch if they could find any occasion to take him off from his intention.
Came to the vineyards of Timnath, whither he had turned aside, either by a Divine impulse, or upon some real or pretended occasion.
and came to the vineyards of Timnath; the land of Canaan was a land of vineyards, and particularly that part of it which was inhabited by the Philistines and Phoenicians; and though we nowhere read of the wine of Timnath, yet frequent mention is made in authors of the wine of Ashkelon, Gaza, and Sarepta, inhabited by the above people; these vineyards seem to have lain somewhat out of Samson's way; but hither he turned on some account or another from his parents, perhaps to eat some grapes:
and, behold, a young lion roared against him; not a whelp, that is expressed by another word, but one more grown, and is afterwards called a lion simply; and, by the Targum, a lion, the son of lions or lionesses; which seeing him in the vineyards, where he was lurking, came out to meet him, and roared at him in a hideous manner, and came up to him to destroy him: these creatures, though now more rare in those parts, were at this time frequent, and in later times: see 1 Samuel 17:34 and several writers (y) make mention of lions in Mesopotamia and Syria; and Strabo (z), and Pliny (a) speak of a city in Phoenicia near Sidon, called the city of lions, because perhaps it had been much infested with them; and for a like reason it may be some cities in the tribes of Judah and Simeon were called Lebaoth and Bethlebaoth, Joshua 15:32.Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. and his father and his mother] A later addition made for the purpose of conforming Samson’s marriage to the ordinary type, in which the preliminaries were arranged by the parents. The encounter with the lion and the interview with the woman clearly shew that Samson was alone.
a young lion] The lion was once common in Palestine, especially in the desert S. of Judah (Isaiah 30:6), and in the valley of the Jordan; it has disappeared since the time of the crusades.Verse 5. - Went down, showing that Timnath was on lower ground than Zorah; it was in fact in the Shephelah. The vineyards of Timnath. The valley of Sorek (Judges 16:4), so famous for its vines (Isaiah 5:2; Jeremiah 2:21), from which it derived its name (Sorek, translated in the above passages the choicest vine, and a noble vine), is thought to have been in the immediate neighbourhood. Probably the whole district under the hills was a succession of vineyards, like the country round Bordeaux. Samson had left the road along which his father and mother were walking, at a pace, perhaps, too slow for his youthful energy, and had plunged into the vineyards. Of a sudden a young lion, - a term designating a lion between the age of a cub and a full-grown lion, - brought there, perhaps, in pursuit of the foxes or jackals, which often had their holes in vineyards (Song of Solomon 2:15), roared against him. 1 Samuel 2:21).
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