Judges 16:2
And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him.
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(2) And it was told.—Our version rightly supplies these words. They are found in all the versions, and there can be no doubt that the word vayyuggar (Genesis 22:20) has in this case accidentally dropped out of the text.

They compassed him in.—They apparently did not know in what house he was. The word might mean “they went round the city” (Psalm 59:7), i.e., to look for him.

Were quiet—i.e., they made no attack. Thinking that they had secured him, they seem to have retired to rest. (Comp. Acts 9:23-24.)

Jdg 16:2. It was told the Gazites, Samson is come hither — The arrival of so extraordinary a man could not be long concealed. And his enemies were willing to improve so favourable an opportunity to destroy him. They compassed him in, &c. — They either beset the house, or lay in wait at the gate of the city; saying, In the morning we will kill him — This, it is probable, they chose to do, rather than to seize upon him in his bed by night; either, because they knew not certainly in what house he was; or, because they thought to do that might cause great terror, and confusion, and mischief among their own people; whereas in the day-time they might more fully discover him, and more certainly use their weapons against him. O that all who indulge any unholy desire might see themselves thus surrounded, and marked for destruction by their spiritual enemies! The more secure they are, the greater is their danger.

16:1-3 Hitherto Samson's character has appeared glorious, though uncommon. In this chapter we find him behaving in so wicked a manner, that many question whether or not he were a godly man. But the apostle has determined this, Heb 11:32. By adverting to the doctrines and examples of Scripture, the artifices of Satan, the deceitfulness of the human heart, and the methods in which the Lord frequently deals with his people, we may learn useful lessons from this history, at which some needlessly stumble, while others cavil and object. The peculiar time in which Samson lived may account for many things, which, if done in our time, and without the special appointment of Heaven, would be highly criminal. And there might have been in him many exercises of piety, which, if recorded, would have reflected a different light upon his character. Observe Samson's danger. Oh that all who indulge their sensual appetites in drunkenness, or any fleshly lusts, would see themselves thus surrounded, way-laid, and marked for ruin by their spiritual enemies! The faster they sleep, the more secure they feel, the greater their danger. We hope it was with a pious resolution not to return to his sin, that he rose under a fear of the danger he was in. Can I be safe under this guilt? It was bad that he lay down without such checks; but it would have been worse, if he had laid still under them.Gaza - About 8 hours from Eleutheropolis, and one of the chief strong-holds of the Philistines. CHAPTER 16

Jud 16:1-3. Samson Carries Away the Gates of Gaza.

1, 2. Gaza—now Guzzah, the capital of the largest of the five Philistine principal cities, about fifteen miles southwest of Ashkelon. The object of this visit to this city is not recorded, and unless he had gone in disguise, it was a perilous exposure of his life in one of the enemy's strongholds. It soon became known that he was there; and it was immediately resolved to secure him. But deeming themselves certain of their prey, the Gazites deferred the execution of their measure till the morning.

This they chose to do, rather than to seize upon him in his house and bed by night; either because they knew not certainly in what house or place he was; or because they thought that might cause great terror, and confusion, and mischief among their own people; whereas in the day time they might more fully discover him, and more unexpectedly surprise him, and more certainly direct their blows and use their weapons against him.

And it was told the Gazites,.... The inhabitants of Gaza, the principal ones of it, the magistrates of the city, either by some persons that saw him come in, who knew him, or by the harlot into whose company he fell, to whom he made himself known:

saying, Samson is come hither; the man so famous for his strength, and such an enemy to the Philistines; his name was well known for his great exploits, and rung throughout Palestine, and was a terror to the whole country:

and they compassed him in; not that they surrounded the house where he was, which perhaps they might not certainly know, but they secured all the avenues and gates of the city, made them fast, and placed guards there, that he might not escape their hands:

and laid wait for him all night in the gate; particularly at that gate, where, if he went out for his country, he must pass:

and were quiet all the night; did not attempt to disturb Samson, or seize on him, if they knew where he was; knowing his great strength, and what a tumult might be raised in the city, they said nothing of it to anybody that passed, what they were placed there for, lest it should come to his ears; they made as if they were deaf and dumb, as some interpret it, and heard and knew nothing:

saying, in the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him; when they should better know him, and make sure their blow at him, and do it suddenly, unawares to him, as he came to the gate, to pass through it.

And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him.
2. And it was told the Gazites] The verb has fallen out by accident; the LXX read it in the text.

all night in the gate] The text makes the Philistines lie in wait all the night, and keep quiet all the night; but there would be no need to keep watch in the gate at night, for the gate would be shut. To relieve the confusion the simplest plan is either to omit the first all the night, or to read all the day. The Philistines patrolled the town and lay in wait [during the day], hoping to catch Samson at the city gate when he went out; at night they could only keep quiet until the morning, and then fall upon their enemy. The last cl. = lit. until the morning dawns and we kill him, until implying the verb wait; for the Hebr. idiom see Driver, Tenses, p. 135, and cf. 1 Samuel 1:22 etc. Hebrew coordinates clauses which are really subordinate. The marg. ‘or Before’ is not right.

Verse 2. - And it was told. These words have no doubt accidentally fallen out of the Hebrew text, but they are necessary to the sense, and are expressed in all the ancient versions. We have no clue as to the motive of Samson's visit to Gaza, whether he was meditating its conquest, or an assault upon its inhabitants, or whether he came merely in the wild spirit of adventure, or upon civil business. We only know that he came there, that, with his usual weakness, he fell into the snare of female blandishments, that the Philistines thought to have caught him and killed him, but that he escaped by his supernatural strength. Gaza is about thirteen hours' march from Thimnathah. They compassed him in. The Hebrew does not express this idea, nor is it what the Gazites did. It should be rendered, They went about and lay in wait for him. Instead of attacking him directly, they took a round-about course, and set an ambush for him in the city gates, probably in the guard-room by the side of the gate, intending when he came forth unsuspectingly in the morning, at the hour of opening the gates, to rush upon him and kill him. Judges 16:2When this was told to the Gazites, they surrounded him (the object to the verb is to be supplied from the following word לו) and laid wait for him all night at the city gate, but they kept themselves quiet during the night, saying, "Till the dawning (אור, infin.) of the morning," sc., we can wait, "then will we kill him." For this construction, see 1 Samuel 1:22. The verb ויּגּד, "it was told" (according to the lxx and Chald.: cf. Genesis 22:20), or ויּאמרוּ, "they said," is wanting before לעזּתים, and must have fallen out through a copyist's error. The verb התחרשׁ has evidently the subordinate idea of giving themselves up to careless repose; for if the watchmen who were posted at the city gate had but watched in a regular manner, Samson could not have lifted out the closed gates and carried them away. But as they supposed that he would not leave the harlot before daybreak, they relied upon the fact that the gate was shut, and probably feel asleep.
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