But God split an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water out of there; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: why he called the name thereof Enhakkore, which is in Lehi to this day.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.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.
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. 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.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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.
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