Judges 15:14
And when he came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily on him, and the cords that were on his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.
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(14) Shouted against him.—Rather, cheered as they came to meet him (LXX., ἠλάλαξαν εἰς συνάντησιν αὐτοῦ; Vulg., cum vociferantes occurrissent ei). The verb heerioo is an onomatopœia, like our “hurrah.” This was not a war cry, as in 1Samuel 17:20, but a shout of


The cords that were upon his arms became as flax.—It seems clear that the poetical colour and rhythmic structure of the narrative are influenced by some poem which described the deeds of Samson.

That was burnt with fire.—In both the LXX. and the Vulg. we find the metaphor, “flax when it has smelt the fire.”

His bands loosed.—Literally, melted, or flowed off, a highly poetic expression. A legend of Hercules in Egypt, who suddenly burst his bonds and slew the Egyptians who were leading him to sacrifice, may possibly have been coloured by this event in the life of Samson. (See Rawlinson’s Herodotus, 2, p. 70.)

Jdg 15:14. The Philistines shouted against him — Because they had now, as they supposed, their enemy in their hands. The cords became as flax, &c. — As easily broken by him. His bands loosed from off his hands — Hebrew, were melted; that is, were dissolved as things which are melted in the fire. “This,” says Henry, “typified the resurrection of Christ, by the power of the Spirit of holiness. In this he loosed the bands of death, it being impossible he should be holden of them. And thus he triumphed over the power of darkness, which had shouted against him.”15:9-17 Sin dispirits men, it hides from their eyes the things that belong to their peace. The Israelites blamed Samson for what he had done against the Philistines, as if he had done them a great injury. Thus our Lord Jesus did many good works, and for those the Jews were ready to stone him. When the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson, his cords were loosed: where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, and those are free indeed who are thus set free. Thus Christ triumphed over the powers of darkness that shouted against him, as if they had him in their power. Samson made great destruction among the Philistines. To take the bone of an ass for this, was to do wonders by the foolish things of the world, that the excellency of the power might be of God, not of man. This victory was not in the weapon, was not in the arm; but it was in the Spirit of God, which moved the weapon by the arm. We can do all things through Him that strengtheneth us. Seest thou a poor Christian, who is enabled to overcome a temptation by weak, feeble counsel, there is the Philistine vanquished by a sorry jaw-bone.The cords ... became as flax ... - i. e. were as weak against his strength as half-burned flax which yields to the least pressure. Jud 15:9-13. He Is Bound by the Men of Judah, and Delivered to the Philistines.

9-17. Then the Philistines went up—to the high land of Judah.

and spread themselves in Lehi—now El-Lekieh, abounding with limestone cliffs; the sides of which are perforated with caves. The object of the Philistines in this expedition was to apprehend Samson, in revenge for the great slaughter he had committed on their people. With a view of freeing his own countrymen from all danger from the infuriated Philistines, he allowed himself to be bound and surrendered a fettered prisoner into their power. Exulting with joy at the near prospect of riddance from so formidable an enemy, they went to meet him. But he exerted his superhuman strength, and finding a new (or moist) jawbone of an ass, he laid hold of it, and with no other weapon, slew a thousand men at a place which he called Ramath-lehi—that is, "the hill of the jawbone."

The Philistines shouted against him, for joy and triumph, because they had now their great enemy, as they supposed, in their hands.

His bands loosed, Heb. were melted, i.e. were dissolved, as things are which are melted in the fire. And when he came unto Lehi,.... The place which was afterwards so called, from what happened there at this time, and where the Philistines were spread, Judges 15:9 this, according to Bunting (k), was six miles from Etam:

the Philistines shouted against him: for joy that they had got him into their hands, and in the circumstances he was, being bound, so that they had nothing to fear from him:

and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him: as it at times did, and had done before; the Targum is,"the Spirit of might from the Lord,''which gave him courage and resolution of mind, and great strength of body, even while he was speaking, as a token of the wonders God more than he had at other times:

and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire; as easily parted as the flax when fire takes it, which is consumed at once:

and his bonds loosed off from his hands; by which it appears that both arms and hands were bound with the cords; his arms were pinioned close to his body, as well as his hands were tied together; and these, as in the original, "melted away" (l), like wax before the fire, or snow before the sun, so easily were these bands separated from him; this may be an emblem of Christ's loosing himself from the cords of death, Acts 2:24.

(k) Travels, p. 116. (l) "diffuxerunt", Tigurine version; "liquefacta sunt", Piscator.

And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.
14. See on Jdg 14:19.Verse 14. - When he came, i.e. as soon as he was come to Lehi, where the Philistine camp was (ver. 9). Shouted against him. Rather, shouted as they ran out to meet him. It expresses concisely the double action of their all going out to meet him, and shouting with joy when they saw him bound and, as they thought, in their power. "Then he smote them hip and thigh (lit. 'thigh upon hip;' על as in Genesis 32:12), a great slaughter." שׁוק, thigh, strengthened by על־ירך, is a second accusative governed by the verb, and added to define the word אותם more minutely, in the sense of "on hip and thigh;" whilst the expression which follows, גדולה מכּה, is added as an adverbial accusative to strengthen the verb ויּך. Smiting hip and thigh is a proverbial expression for a cruel, unsparing slaughter, like the German "cutting arm and leg in two," or the Arabic "war in thigh fashion" (see Bertheau in loc.). After smiting the Philistines, Samson went down and dwelt in the cleft of the rock Etam. There is a town of Etam mentioned in 2 Chronicles 11:6, between Bethlehem and Tekoah, which was fortified by Rehoboam, and stood in all probability to the south of Jerusalem, upon the mountains of Judah. But this Etam, which Robinson (Pal. ii. 168) supposes to be the village of Urtas, a place still inhabited, though lying in ruins, is not to be thought of here, as the Philistines did not go up to the mountains of Judah (Judges 15:9), as Bertheau imagines, but simply came forward and encamped in Judah. The Etam of this verse is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:32, along with Ain Rimmon and other Simeonitish towns, and is to be sought for on the border of the Negeb and of the mountains of Judah, in the neighbourhood of Khuweilifeh (see V. de Velde, Mem. p. 311). The expression "he went down" suits this place very well, but not the Etam on the mountains of Judah, to which he would have had to go up, and not down, from Timnath.
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