Judges 15:20
And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) And he judged Israel.—Probably, as Jephthah had done, with the sort of vague prerogatives of a military hero. Why the verse is found here, as though to close the narrative (comp. Judges 12:7, &c.), and is again repeated in Judges 16:31, we cannot say. The next chapter belongs mainly to Samson’s fall and humiliation. These twenty years probably fell within the contemporary judgeship of Eli.

Jdg 15:20. He judged Israel — That is, he pleaded their cause, and avenged them against the Philistines. In the days of the Philistines — That is, while the Philistines had the power and dominion, from which he was not able fully to deliver, but only to begin to deliver them. From this place it is manifest that, in the computation of the times of the judges, the years of servitude or oppression are not to be separated from the years of the judges, but are comprehended within them; which proposition is of great importance for clearing this difficult part of Scripture chronology. 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.

i.e. He pleaded their cause, and avenged them against the Philistines.

In the days of the Philistines, i.e. whilst the Philistines had the power and dominion, from which he was not fully to deliver, but only to begin to deliver them, as it was foretold, Judges 13:5. From this place it is manifest, that in the computation of the times of the judges, the years of servitude or oppression are not to be separated from the years of the judges, and added to them, but are comprehended within them; which proposition is of great importance for clearing this difficult part of Scripture chronology, and for justifying that account of times given 1 Kings 6:1. And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years. While they had the power over the Israelites, who were not entirely delivered out of their hands by Samson, he only began to deliver them, but did not completely do it; though he got many advantages over them, and wrought many salvations and deliverances, yet was not the author of perfect salvation, see Judges 13:5 however, he was a check upon the Philistines, and protected the Israelites from heavier oppressions, which otherwise they would have come under; and no doubt administered justice and judgment among them, and was an instrument of their reformation, and of preserving them from idolatry; for in such things the work of a judge chiefly lay: some from hence observe, that this shows the years of servitude and bondage are included in the years of the judges. And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. The Dtc. editor’s formula, usually at the close of a judge’s history, comes curiously here before the end; perhaps because the editor felt that the end was not a suitable place for a statement of this kind. The words now standing in Jdg 16:31 b are merely a briefer repetition of the present verse, and may have been added by some later hand. The alternative is to suppose that the Dtc. editor closed the story of Samson here, and left out ch. 16 as contributing nothing to his purpose; ch. 16 was afterwards restored to its place, with the concluding formula (so Budde, Moore, Nowack). See Introduction § 2 C.

twenty years] out of the forty, Jdg 13:1. In the Rabbinic schools it was proposed to correct the reading here to forty, Talm. Jer. Sota Jdg 1:8.Verse 20. - And he judged Israel, etc. See ch. 16:81. It looks as if it had been the intention to close the history of Samson with these Words, but that ch. 16. was subsequently added, possibly from other sources. Compare the close of chs. 20. and 21. of the Gospel of St. John. A possible explanation, however, of this verse being placed here is that it results from the statement in ver. 19, that Samson's spirit came again, and he revived, or came to life again, after being on the very point of death; and, adds the writer, he judged Israel after this for twenty years.



But when he came to Lechi, and the Philistines shouted with joy as they came to meet him, the Spirit of Jehovah came upon him, "and the cords on his arms became like two that had been burnt with fire, and his fetters melted from his hands." The description rises up to a poetical parallelism, to depict the triumph which Samson celebrated over the Philistines in the power of the Spirit of Jehovah.
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