Judges 16:25
And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) When their hearts were merry.—Comp. Judges 9:27; 1Samuel 25:36; Esther 1:10.

That he may make us sport.—Whether by his forced jests, or by feats of strength, or merely by being made to submit to insults, we cannot tell. Josephus says that they sent for Samson “that they might insult him over their wine.”

He made them sport.—The LXX says (Cod. B), “And he played before them, and they beat him with rods.”

Jdg 16:25. Call for Samson, that he may make us sport — May be the subject of our mirth and derision. Thus Christ was made the subject of the sport and derision of the chief priests and elders, Matthew 26:67-68, and of the Roman soldiers, Matthew 27:29. No doubt they loaded him with bitter scoffs and indignities, and perhaps required of him some proofs of the more than ordinary strength yet remaining in him, like the ruins of a great and goodly building. By this, it seems, he lulled them asleep, until, through this complaisance, he prepared the way for that which he designed.16:25-31 Nothing fills up the sins of any person or people faster than mocking and misusing the servants of God, even thought it is by their own folly that they are brought low. God put it into Samson's heart, as a public person, thus to avenge on them God's quarrel, Israel's, and his own. That strength which he had lost by sin, he recovers by prayer. That it was not from passion or personal revenge, but from holy zeal for the glory of God and Israel, appears from God's accepting and answering the prayer. The house was pulled down, not by the natural strength of Samson, but by the almighty power of God. In his case it was right he should avenge the cause of God and Israel. Nor is he to be accused of self-murder. He sought not his own death, but Israel's deliverance, and the destruction of their enemies. Thus Samson died in bonds, and among the Philistines, as an awful rebuke for his sins; but he died repentant. The effects of his death typified those of the death of Christ, who, of his own will, laid down his life among transgressors, and thus overturned the foundation of Satan's kingdom, and provided for the deliverance of his people. Great as was the sin of Samson, and justly as he deserved the judgments he brought upon himself, he found mercy of the Lord at last; and every penitent shall obtain mercy, who flees for refuge to that Saviour whose blood cleanses from all sin. But here is nothing to encourage any to indulge sin, from a hope they shall at last repent and be saved.That he may make us sport - Rather, "that he may play for us," i. e. dance and make music. At an idolatrous feast, dancing was always accompanied with vocal and instrumental music. Jud 16:23-25. Their Feast to Dagon.

23. the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon—It was a common practice in heathen nations, on the return of their solemn religious festivals, to bring forth their war prisoners from their places of confinement or slavery; and, in heaping on them every species of indignity, they would offer their grateful tribute to the gods by whose aid they had triumphed over their enemies. Dagon was a sea idol, usually represented as having the head and upper parts human, while the rest of the body resembled a fish.

He made them sport; either, first, Passively, being made by them the matter of their sport and derision, and of many bitter scoffs, and other indignities or injuries; or, secondly Actively, by some ridiculous actions, or some proofs of more than ordinary strength yet remaining in him, like the ruins of a great and goodly building; whereby he halted them asleep in security, until by this seeming complaisance he prepared the way for that which he designed; otherwise his generous soul would never have been forced to make them sport, save in order to their destruction. And it came to pass when their hearts were merry,.... With wine, for which Gaza is famous in many writers (w); with eating and drinking, dancing, and music; for it was usual for the Heathens to feast in their temples, and especially no doubt they would on such an occasion as this:

and they said, call for Samson, that he may make us sport; by which it seems that what is before said, "when the people saw him", Judges 16:24 is said by anticipation; for as yet he was not in the temple, but in the prison; and therefore a motion was made by some of the great personages, that he might be fetched from thence, and they might have some diversion with him:

and they called for Samson out of the prison house; sent some messengers to fetch him from thence:

and he made them sport; not actively, but passively; it cannot well be thought, that a man of so great a spirit as Samson was, and in such circumstances as he now was, would ever, either by words or gestures, do anything on purpose to divert his enemies, and make them laugh; but he was the object of their sport and scorn, and he bore it patiently, their cruel mockings, buffetings, and spittings; in which he was a type of Christ. It was a diversion to them to see him in his rattling chains, groping, and blundering along from post to pillar, one perhaps giving him a box of the ear, or a slap of the face, another plucking him by his nose or beard, and another spitting in his face, and others taunting at him, and reproaching him:

and they set him between the pillars; that he might be the better seen, and in which there was the direction of Providence to bring about what follows.

(w) Vid. Rivinum de Majumis, &c. c. 6. sect. 13.

And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he {m} made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.

(m) Thus by God's just judgments they are made slaves to infidels if they neglect their calling to defend the faithful.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
25. he made sport before them] in the court, we may suppose, in front of the house, i.e. the temple of Dagon. When the sport was over, Samson was set among the pillars of the open hall or porch of the temple, where the crowd could satisfy their curiosity by a nearer view.Verse 25. - When their hearts were merry. They would not have acted so imprudently as to bring Samson out of his prison had not their judgment been clouded with drink. That he may make us sport. And he made them sport. The two verbs are not the same in Hebrew, but they have much the same meaning. It is not certain whether the idea conveyed is that of the A.V., that Samson was brought there to be as it were baited by the populace, jeered and jested at, reviled and reproached, perhaps struck or pelted; or whether the words do not simply mean to dance with music, which is certainly the meaning of the latter verb (he made sport before them, A.V. and margin) in 1 Samuel 18:7 (played, A.V.; see ver. 6); 2 Samuel 6:5, 21; 1 Chronicles 13:8; 1 Chronicles 15:29. They set him between the pillars, i.e. when he had done dancing; because he must have been dancing outside the house for the people on the roof to see him. "Then she made him sleep upon her knees, and called to the man," possibly the man lying in wait (Judges 16:9 and Judges 16:12), that she might not be alone with Samson when cutting off his hair; and she cut off the seven plaits of his hair, and began to afflict him, as his strength departed from him now.
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