Judges 15:18
And he was sore athirst, and called on the LORD, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?
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(18) He was sore athirst.—It was in the heat of harvest time, and he had pursued the Philistines till he was exhausted.

Into the hand.—Rather, by the hand.

15:18-20 So little notice did the men of Judah take of their deliverer, that he was ready to perish for want of a draught of water. Thus are the greatest slights often put upon those who do the greatest services. Samson prayed to God in this distress. Those that forget to attend God their praises, may be compelled to attend him with their prayers. Past experiences of God's power and goodness, are excellent pleas in prayer for further mercy. He pleads his being exposed to God's enemies; our best pleas are taken from God's glory. The Lord sent him seasonable relief. The place of this action was, from the jaw-bone, called Lehi. And in the place thus called, God caused a fountain suddenly and seasonably to open, close by Samson. We should be more thankful for the mercy of water, did we consider how ill we can spare it. Israel submitted to him whom they had betrayed. God was with him; henceforward they were directed by him as their judge.Ramath-lehi - Either the "height or hill of Lehi," or, "of the jaw-bone;" or, as in the margin, "the crestlag away of the jaw-bone," with allusion to Samson casting it out of his hand, when he had finished his war-song. 16. With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men—The inadequacy of the weapon plainly shows this to have been a miraculous feat, "a case of supernatural strength," just as the gift of prophecy is a case of supernatural knowledge [Chalmers]. He was sore athirst, so as he was ready to faint and die with thirst; which was partly natural, from his excessive toil and heat; partly sent by God, that by the experience of his own impotency he might be forced to ascribe the victory to God only, and not to himself.

Now shall I die for thirst? Wilt thou not finish what thou hast begun? Wilt thou undo what thou hast done?

And he was sore athirst,.... Which Josephus (n) thinks came upon him as a rebuke unto him, for ascribing the victory he had obtained to his own strength, and not to the Lord, whereby he was shown his own weakness, and how easily his strength could be reduced; but for this there seems to be no foundation; it is not to wondered at, in a natural way, that he should be athirst after he had been bound with cords, after he had so exerted himself, and slain 1000 men with his own hand, and after he had celebrated this victory with a triumphant song; and it may also be observed, that it was so ordered in Providence, that he might in this be a type of the Messiah, who on the cross, as he was spoiling principalities and powers, and triumphing over them in it, said, "I thirst", John 19:28.

and called on the Lord, and said; in prayer to him:

thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant; he owns the deliverance to be great, as indeed, it was, and that it was of the Lord, and he only his servant and instrument in it:

and now shall I die for thirst; when my life has been saved in so wonderful a manner, and so great a salvation has been wrought by my hands, as an instrument:

and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised? which would be matter of joy and triumph to them, and mar the glory of the deliverance wrought.

(n) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 8. sect. 9.

And he was sore athirst, and {k} called on the LORD, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?

(k) By which it appears that he did these things in faith, and so with a true zeal to glorify God, and deliver his country.

18. Samson becomes religious when he is in straits; cf. Jdg 16:28.

great deliverance] Cf. 1 Samuel 19:5, 2 Samuel 23:10; 2 Samuel 23:12.

Verse 18. - He was sore athirst. The incredible exertions which he had made in pursuing and slaying the Philistines put him in danger of his life from thirst. He thought he should die, and be found and abused by his uncircumcised foes. His only resource was prayer to God, who had helped him hitherto, We may note by the way that the more God gives, the more he encourages us to ask. Judges 15:18The pursuit of the Philistines, however, and the conflict with them, had exhausted Samson, so that he was very thirsty, and feared that he might die from exhaustion; for it was about the time of the wheat-harvest (Judges 15:1), and therefore hot summer weather. Then he called to the Lord, "Thou hast through (בּיד) "Thy servant given this great deliverance; and now I shall die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised!" From this prayer we may see that Samson was fully conscious that he was fighting for the cause of the Lord. And the Lord helped him out of this trouble. God split the hollow place at Lechi, so that water came out of it, as at Horeb and Kadesh (Exodus 17:6, and Numbers 20:8, Numbers 20:11). The word מכתּשׁ, which is used in Proverbs 27:22 to signify a mortar, is explained by rabbinical expositors as denoting the socket of the teeth, or the hollow place in which the teeth are fixed, like the Greek ὁλμίσκος, mortariolum, according to Pollux, Onom. ii. c. 4, 21. Accordingly many have understood the statement made here, as meaning that God caused a fountain to flow miraculously out of the socket of a tooth in the jaw-bone which Samson had thrown away, and thus provided for his thirst. This view is the one upon which Luther's rendering, "God split a tooth in the jaw, so that water came out," is founded, and is has been voluminously defended by Bochart (Hieroz. l. ii. c. 15). But the expression בּלּחי אשׁר, "the maktesh which is at Lechi," is opposed to this view, since the tooth-socket in the jaw-bone of the ass would be simply called הלּחי מכתּשׁ or בּלּחי מכתּשׁ; and so is also the remark that this fountain was still in existence in the historian's own time. And the article proves nothing to the contrary, as many proper names are written with it (see Ewald, 277, c.). Consequently we must follow Josephus (Ant. v. 8), who takes המּכתּשׁ as the name given to the opening of the rock, which was cleft by God to let water flow out. "If a rocky precipice bore the name of jaw-bone (lechi) on account of its shape, it was a natural consequence of this figurative epithet, that the name tooth-hollow should be given to a hole or gap in the rock" (Studer). Moreover, the same name, Maktesh, occurs again in Zephaniah 1:11, where it is applied to a locality in or near Jerusalem. The hollow place was split by Elohim, although it was to Jehovah that Samson had prayed, to indicate that the miracle was wrought by God as the Creator and Lord of nature. Samson drank, and his spirit returned, so that he revived again. Hence the fountain received the name of En-hakkore, "the crier's well which is at Lechi," unto this day. According to the accents, the last clause does not belong to בּלּחי (in Lechi), but to וגו קרא (he called, etc.). It received the name given to it unto this day. This implies, of course, that the spring itself was in existence when our book was composed. - In Judges 15:20 the account of the judicial labours of Samson are brought to a close, with the remark that Samson judged Israel in the days of the Philistines, i.e., during their rule, for twenty years. What more is recorded of him in Judges 16 relates to his fall and ruin; and although even in this he avenged himself upon the Philistines, he procured no further deliverance for Israel. It is impossible to draw any critical conclusions from the position in which this remark occurs, as to a plurality of sources for the history of Samson.
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