Judges 15:19
But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof Enhakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(19) Clave an hollow place that was in the jaw.—Rather, the (fountain called the) “socket,” which is in Lehi. The notion that God made a miraculous fountain in one of the tooth-sockets of the jawbone of the ass is one of the childish misinterpretations with which Scripture exegesis is constantly defaced. Lehi is here the name of the place, and if the fountain is said to have sprung up in Hammaktesh, “the tooth-socket” (Vulg., molarem), that is only due to the play on words which characterises the narrative. When the cliff had got the name of “Jawbone,” the spring would naturally be called a tooth-socket.” The word maktesh properly means “a mortar” (Greek, holmiskos; Lat., mortariolum) (Proverbs 27:22), and this name was transferred to the sockets of teeth. We find another place with the same name in Zephaniah 1:11. Milton understood the passage rightly:—

“God, who caused a fountain at thy prayer

From the dry ground to spring thy thirst to allay.”

For similar instances in the Bible, see Genesis 21:19 (Hagar); Exodus 17:6 (the smitten rock); Isaiah 41:17-18 (“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys . . . I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water”). Josephus says that God caused to spring up for Samson “a plentiful fountain of sweet water at a certain rock.”

He called the name thereof.—Rather, the name thereof was called.

En-hakkore.The Spring of the Crier. These names have vanished, but perhaps traces of them may still be discovered “in the abundant springs and numerous eminences of the district round Urtas,” the place from which Solomon’s pleasure-gardens and the Temple and Bethlehem were supplied with water.

Jdg 15:19. God clave a hollow place in the jaw — Or rather, a cavity that was in Lehi, as he had just named the place, Jdg 15:17, and as the same word is rendered in the latter part of this verse. “It is very evident,” says Dr. Dodd, “from what follows, that our translation” (namely, in the former part of the verse) “is erroneous; since, if God had caused water to come from the jaw, only for the present satisfying of Samson’s necessities, it is reasonable to suppose that Samson would have given it the name of a well, or fountain, or that the sacred historian would have told us that it remained in Lehi unto this day. The rendering, therefore, of the margin, which is followed by Dr. Waterland, is far the best. Houbigant observes, very properly, that the word rendered hollow place (מכתשׁ, miktesh,) signifies a rock; and he renders the verse thus: ‘Then God clave the rock which was in Lehi, and there came water from thence; which when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived; therefore Samson called the fountain, the fountain of the implorer, which fountain is in Lehi unto this day.’ Modern travellers inform us, that in the suburbs of Eleutheropolis, (in all probability the ancient Lehi,) the fountain which flowed upon this occasion is still remaining, and called to this day the fountain of the jaw; an observation which abundantly confirms the interpretation we have given.” He called the name thereof En-hakkore; that is, the fountain of him that cried for thirst; or, that called on God for deliverance; or, the fountain that was given in answer to prayer. Which is in Lehi — So that our translators take Lehi here to be the name of a place.

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.An hollow place that was in the jaw - The right translation is, "the hollow place which is in Lehi." The word translated "hollow place," means a "mortar" Proverbs 27:22, and is here evidently a hollow or basin among the cliffs of Lehi, which, from its shape, was called "the mortar." A spring, on the way from Socho to Eleutheropolis, was commonly called Samson's spring in the time of Jerome and writers in the 7th, 12th, and 14th centuries. 19. a hollow place … in the jaw—"in Lehi"—taking the word as a proper noun, marking the place.

there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again—His strength, exhausted by the violent and long-continued exertion, was recruited by the refreshing draft from the spring; and it was called

En-hakkore—the "supplication well," a name which records the piety of this heroic champion.

Clave an hollow place, i.e. by cleaving a place, made it hollow; an expression like that Isaiah 47:2, grind meal, i.e. grind corn into meal; and that Psalm 74:15, thou didst cleave the fountain, i.e. cleave the rock so as to make a fountain in it.

In the jaw; in the jawbone which he had used, which God could easily effect, either by causing the jawbone to send forth water, as the rock formerly did, the miracle being in effect the same, though in a differing subject, causing a spring to break forth in Lehi: or, in that Lehi mentioned before, Judges 15:14; for Lehi is both the name of a place, and signifies a jawbone. En-hakkore, i.e. the fountain of him that cried for thirst; or, that called upon God for deliverance; i.e. the fountain or well which was given in answer to my prayer.

Which is in Lehi unto this day. According to this translation, Lehi is the name of a place, and not a jawbone, because it seems improbable that a jawbone should continue there so long, which every traveller might take away, and would be forward enough to carry a fountain with them in those hot countries; although it is not incredible that passengers would generally forbear to meddle with or remove so great a monument of God’s power and goodness; or that the same God who made it instrumental to so great a wonder, should add one circumstance more, to wit, fix it in the earth, as a testimony to posterity of the truth of this glorious work. But these words may be otherwise rendered thus, which fountain was in that jawbone; and for the following words, unto this day, they may not be joined with the words next and immediately foregoing, as if the fountain was there to this day; but with the former words, he called, &c., and so the sense may be this, that it was so called unto this day; and the place may be thus read, he called the name thereof, or, the name thereof was called, (such active verbs being frequently put passively and impersonally,) The well or fountain of him that called or cried (which was in Lehi) unto this day.

And God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout,.... A socket in which was fastened one of the teeth, and was in the form of a mortar; so Jarchi and Ben Melech, as the word for an hollow place signifies; one of the grinders was knocked out, and so the place where it had been was left hollow, and out of that sprung a stream or flow of water; which was very wonderful, since out of such a place rather blood, or purulent matter, would naturally have issued; the Targum is,"the Lord clave the rock which was in the jaw;''which Kimchi interprets thus, the rock was under the jaw and the rock was made as a hollow place, and therefore they call it "mactes", a mortar: the sense seems to be this, that the place on which Samson cast the jawbone was a rock, and there God clave an hollow place, out of which water sprung, and which perhaps was under the jawbone, and sprung under it, and through it; and so Josephus says (o), that God at his prayer brought a sweet and large fountain out of a certain rock; and the words of the text will bear to be rendered, "and God clave, an hollow place, which is in Lehi"; that is, in the place called Lehi, Judges 15:9 and not in the jawbone itself:

and when he had drank, his spirit came again, and he revived; his spirit was sunk and gone, as it were, but upon drinking a draught of this water he was refreshed and cheered, recovered his spirits, and became brisk and lively:

wherefore he called the name thereof Enhakkore; that is,"the fountain of him that was calling;''of Samson that called upon God in prayer, and was heard, in memory of which he gave it this name; so the Targum,"therefore its name was called the fountain that was given through the prayer of Samson:"

which is in Lehi unto this day; or in the jawbone: not that the jawbone continued unto the time of the writer of this book, but the name of the place where this miracle was wrought, which was in Lehi, continued to be called Enhakkore unto that time, and it may be the fountain itself continued also; nay, Giycas (p) says, who lived but about six hundred years ago, that the fountain continued unto his time, and was to be seen in the suburbs of Eleutheropolis, and was called the fountain of the jawbone.

(o) Ibid. (Antiqu. l. 5. c. 8. sect. 9.) (p) Annal. par. 2. p. 164. apud Reland. Palestin. Illustrat. p. 872.

But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof Enhakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day.
19. the hollow place that is in Lehi] the Mortar which is in L., i.e. a mortar-shaped basin in the hill side. The word comes from a root meaning, not ‘to be hollow,’ but to pound (cf. in Aram. NSI., p. 171, and the Palmyrene pr. n. Maktash = ‘the pounder’); so maktçsh = ‘pounding place,’ i.e. mortar, Proverbs 27:22, Zephaniah 1:11 (the name of a quarter in Jerusalem). The old interpretation, represented by the marg., went wrong by translating Lehi instead of taking it as a pr. n.; maktçsh was then understood to mean a hollow place in the jaw, or the hole of a tooth, through which the spring rose, as many Fathers and Rabbis imagine (see Ber. Rab § 98, Rashi, Ḳimḥi etc.). Some of the Greek versions render the word by ὅλμος, which can mean both a mortar and the hollow of a double tooth; Symmachus likewise translates the grinder (τὴν μύλην); and thus arose another way of understanding the word, viz. the molar tooth, so Vulgate The LXX transl. as RV. ‘the hole which is in Siagon.’

his spirit … revived] Cf. Genesis 45:27.

The spring, which was pointed out in the writer’s day, and therefore could not have had anything to do with a jawbone, was known as En-hakkore, i.e. the Spring of the Partridge (lit. the crier, 1 Samuel 26:20, Jeremiah 17:11); playing on the word, the story-tellers connected it with Samson’s cry to God in his thirst.

Verse 19. - But (or, and) God clave, etc. Cf. Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:8, 11. The A.V. (as the Septuagint and Vulgate seem to have done, and Luther and others) has quite misconceived the statement in the text, as if God had cloven a hollow place in the jawbone, and brought out the water thence; whereas the statement is quite clear that God clave the hollow place which is in Lehi (hal-Lehi, ver. 9, note), and that a spring of water came out, to which Samson gave the name En-hakkorch, the spring of him that called upon God, which name continued till the time of the writer. The spring apparently continued till the time of St. Jerome, and of other later writers, in the seventh, twelfth, and fourteenth centuries; but Robinson was unable to identify it with any certainty ('B.R.,' 2:64). The word translated the (not a) hollow place (ham-maktesh) means a mortar; also the cavity in the jaw from which the molar teeth grow. The hollow ground from which the spring rose, with which Samson quenched his thirst, from its shape and from the connection with hal-Lechi (the jawbone) was called hammaktech. In Zephaniah 1:11 it is also a proper name, apparently of some spot near Jerusalem. The name thereof, i.e. of the fountain, with which thereof, which is in the feminine gender, agrees. Which is in Lehi unto this day. This punctuation does not agree with the Hebrew accents, which put a strong stop after Lehi. The Hebrew accents rather convey the sense that the name En-kakkoreh continued to be the name of the well unto the day of the writer. Judges 15:19The 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.
Judges 15:19 Interlinear
Judges 15:19 Parallel Texts

Judges 15:19 NIV
Judges 15:19 NLT
Judges 15:19 ESV
Judges 15:19 NASB
Judges 15:19 KJV

Judges 15:19 Bible Apps
Judges 15:19 Parallel
Judges 15:19 Biblia Paralela
Judges 15:19 Chinese Bible
Judges 15:19 French Bible
Judges 15:19 German Bible

Bible Hub

Judges 15:18
Top of Page
Top of Page