Judges 16:13
And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web.
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(13) If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web.—The illustrious and “sunny locks of the Nazarite” did not, as Milton imagines, “lie waving and curling about his god-like shoulders,” but were plaited into seven locks. The word for “locks”—machelephoth—occurs here only. The LXX. render it “curls(bostruchous) and seiras, which appears to mean “plaits,” like the Greek plokamous. The word for “web” is a technical word, and perhaps means warp. The LXX. and the Vulg. add, “and drive them with the peg into the wall,” which is implied in the next verse. With almost incredible levity and folly, Samson here goes to the very verge of the true secret, and suffers his sacred hair to be woven in a harlot’s loom. (Tertio de mysterio deprompsit jam lapsuro propior. St. Ambrose.)

Jdg 16:13. If thou weavest the seven locks of my head — If my hair, which is all divided into seven locks, be fastened about a weaver’s beam, or interwoven with weavers’ threads, then I shall be weak as another man. It is probable there was some loom or instrument of weaving in the room where Samson now was, which put him upon saying this to Delilah, to get rid of her importunity.

16:4-17 Samson had been more than once brought into mischief and danger by the love of women, yet he would not take warning, but is again taken in the same snare, and this third time is fatal. Licentiousness is one of the things that take away the heart. This is a deep pit into which many have fallen; but from which few have escaped, and those by a miracle of mercy, with the loss of reputation and usefulness, of almost all, except their souls. The anguish of the suffering is ten thousand times greater than all the pleasures of the sin.Occupied - The margin, "wherewith work hath not been done," is better. 13. If thou weavest the seven locks of my head—braids or tresses, into which, like many in the East, he chose to plait his hair. Working at the loom was a female employment; and Delilah's appears to have been close at hand. It was of a very simple construction; the woof was driven into the warp, not by a reed, but by a wooden spatula. The extremity of the web was fastened to a pin or stake fixed in the wall or ground; and while Delilah sat squatting at her loom, Samson lay stretched on the floor, with his head reclining on her lap—a position very common in the East. Or, thread which is woven about a weaver’s loom; or,

with a weaver’s beam. If my hair, which is all divided into seven locks, be fastened about a weaver’s beam, or interwoven with weavers’ threads; understand out of the foregoing verses, then I shall be weak as another man.

And Delilah said unto Samson,.... At another time, when she thought it most proper to upbraid him with his deception of her:

hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies; both the times that she had solicited him to impart the secret of his strength to her:

tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound; tell me the real truth, and deceive me no more:

and he said unto her, if thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web; it seems that Samson's hair was parted into seven locks, which no doubt hung down very long; and now he tells her, that if these were interwoven with the warp which was upon the beam in a loom near by; perhaps in the same room, where Delilah used to weave, as was the custom of those times, and in various nations (a); his strength would be weakened; for Braunius (b) is mistaken in supposing this to be the beam about which the web was rolled, as he is also in the pin next mentioned, which he takes to be the "spatha", or lathe, with which the threads are knocked together.

(a) "Arguto conjux", &c. Virgil. Georgie. l. 1. v. 294. So Penelope in Homer, Minerva & Arachne in Ovid. Metamorph. l. 6. fab. 1. v. 55, &c. Vid. Pignorium de servis, p. 418. Braunium de Vest. Sacerd. Hebr. l. 1. c. 17. sect. 33. (b) "De Vest". Sacerd. Hebr. l. 1. c. 16. sect. 8.

And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. {g} And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web.

(g) It is impossible if we give place to our wicked affections, for eventually we will be destroyed.

13. If thou weavest the seven locks … web] plaits … warp. Weaving was the work of women as well as of men; see the illustration from the Egyptian tombs at Beni Hasan dating from the Middle Kingdom, Benzinger, Hebr. Archäol.2, p. 151; Delîlah has a loom in her house. This was a horizontal loom fastened into the ground, as in the illustration referred to1[56]

[56] It looks as if it were upright; but this is due to the absence of perspective in Egyptian drawing.

; hence it would be easy to weave the hair of a person lying asleep upon the floor into the warp, i.e. the horizontal threads which are intersected at right angles by the weft, in this case Samson’s hair. To form the web, i.e. the woven cloth, a further operation is necessary, the beating up of the weft with a flat rod or batten, here rendered pin (Jdg 16:14); the word usually means peg, esp. a tent-peg (see Jdg 5:26 mg.), but that it could also be used of a flat stick appears from Deuteronomy 23:13 (paddle or spade).

The sentences needed to complete Jdg 16:13 and to provide the proper beginning of Jdg 16:14 have accidentally fallen out. With the help of the Greek versions the gap may be filled thus: “If thou weavest the seven plaits of my head with the warp, and beatest them up with the batten, then shall I become weak and be as any other man. So she made him sleep, and wove the seven plaits of his head with the warp, and beat them up with the batten.” It will be noticed that the existing text and the restored text both end in the same way. The eye of the copyist passed from the first with the warp to the second, and overlooked the intervening lines: a good instance of the source of textual mistakes known as homoioteleuton. The seven locks may have something to do with solar mythology. The Babyl. Gilgămesh had seven locks; in later Greek art Helios is usually represented with the same number.

Verse 13. - The seven locks, by which we learn that his mass of hair as a Nazarite was arranged in seven locks or plaits. His resistance was becoming weaker, and he now approached the dangerous ground of his unshorn hair. With the web. This must mean the warp, which was already fastened in the loom, and across which Samson s locks were to be woven as the woof. Judges 16:13The third deception: "If thou weavest together the seven locks of my hair with the warp. And she drove it in with the plug." These words are difficult to explain, partly because several technical terms are used which have more than one meaning, and partly because the account itself is contracted, both Samson's advice and her fulfilment of it being only given in a partial form, so that the one has to be completed from the other. In Judges 16:19, the only other passage in which מחלפות occurs, it no doubt means the plaits into which Samson's long flowing hair was plaited. המּסּכת only occurs here (Judges 16:13 and Judges 16:14), and probably means the woven cloth, or rather what was still upon the loom, the warp of the cloth, δίασμα (lxx). Accordingly the meaning of the verse would be this: If thou weavest the seven plaits of my hair along with the warp upon the loom. The commentators are all agreed that, according to these words, there must be something wanting in the account, though they are not of one opinion as to whether the binding of Samson is fully given here, and all that has to be supplied is the clause "Then shall I be weal," etc. (as in Judges 16:7 and Judges 16:11), or whether the words בּיּתד ותּתקע add another fact which was necessary to the completeness of the binding, and if so, how these words are to be understood. In Bertheau's opinion, the words "and she thrust with the plug" probably mean nothing more than that she made a noise to wake the sleeping Samson, because it is neither stated here that she forced the plug into the wall or into the earth to fasten the plaits with (lxx, Jerome), nor that her thrusting with the plug contributed in any way to the further fastening of the hair. These arguments are sound no doubt, but they do not prove what is intended. When it is stated in Judges 16:14, that "he tore out the weaver's plug and the cloth," it is certainly evident that the plug served to fasten the hair to the cloth or to the loom. Moreover, not only would any knocking with the plug to waken Samson with the noise have been altogether superfluous, as the loud cry, "Philistines upon thee, Samson," would be amply sufficient for this; but it is extremely improbable that a fact with so little bearing upon the main facts would be introduced here at all. We come therefore to the same conclusion as the majority of commentators, viz., that the words in question are to be understood as referring to something that was done to fasten Samson still more securely. היּתד equals הארג היתד (Judges 16:14) does not mean the roller or weaver's beam, to which the threads of the warp were fastened, and round which the cloth was rolled when finished, as Bertheau supposes, for this is called ארגים מנור in 1 Samuel 17:7; nor the σπάθη of the Greeks, a flat piece of wood like a knife, which was used in the upright loom for the same purpose as our comb or press, viz., to press the weft together, and so increase the substance of the cloth (Braun, de vestitu Sacerd. p. 253); but the comb or press itself which was fastened to the loom, so that it could only be torn out by force. To complete the account, therefore, we must supply between Judges 16:13 and Judges 16:14, "And if thou fastenest it (the woven cloth) with the plug (the weaver's comb), I shall be weak like one of the other men; and she wove the seven plaits of his hair into the warp of the loom." Then follows in Judges 16:14, "and fastened the cloth with the weaver's comb." There is no need, however, to assume that what has to be supplied fell out in copying. We have simply an ellipsis, such as we often meet with. When Samson as wakened out of his sleep by the cry of "Philistines upon thee," he tore out the weaver's comb and the warp (sc.,) from the loom, with his plaits of hair that had been woven in. The reference to his sleeping warrants the assumption that Delilah had also performed the other acts of binding while he was asleep. We must not understand the account, however, as implying that the three acts of binding followed close upon one another on the very same day. Several days may very probably have elapsed between them. In this third deception Samson had already gone so far in his presumptuous trifling with the divine gift entrusted to him, as to suffer the hair of his head to be meddled with, though it was sanctified to the Lord. "It would seem as though this act of sin ought to have brought him to reflection. But as that was not the case, there remained but one short step more to bring him to thorough treachery towards the Lord" (O. v. Gerlach).
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