Judges 16:30
And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Jdg 16:30. Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines — That is, I am content to die, so I can but contribute to the vindication of God’s glory, and the deliverance of God’s people. This is no encouragement to those who wickedly murder themselves: for Samson did not desire or procure his own death voluntarily, but by mere necessity; he was by his office obliged to seek the destruction of these enemies and blasphemers of God, and oppressors of his people; which in these circumstances he could not effect without his own death. Moreover, Samson did this by divine direction, as God’s answer to his prayer manifests, and that he might be a type of Christ, who, by voluntarily undergoing death, destroyed the enemies of God and of his people. They died just when they were insulting over an Israelite, persecuting him whom God had smitten. Nothing fills up the measure of the iniquity of any person or people faster than mocking or misusing the servants of God; yea, though it is by their own folly that they are brought low. Those know not what they do, nor whom they affront, that make sport with the Lord’s servants.

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.At once avenged - "i. e. with one final revenge." These words do not breathe the spirit of the Gospel, but they express a sentiment, natural to the age, knowledge, and character of Samson. 28. Samson called unto the Lord—His penitent and prayerful spirit seems clearly to indicate that this meditated act was not that of a vindictive suicide, and that he regarded himself as putting forth his strength in his capacity of a public magistrate. He must be considered, in fact, as dying for his country's cause. His death was not designed or sought, except as it might be the inevitable consequence of his great effort. His prayer must have been a silent ejaculation, and, from its being revealed to the historian, approved and accepted of God. Let me die with the Philistines, i.e. I am contented to die, so I can but therewith contribute any thing to the vindication of God’s glory, here trampled upon, and to the deliverance of God’s people. This is no example nor encouragement to those that wickedly murder themselves; for Samson did not desire nor procure his own death voluntarily, but only by mere force and necessity, because he did desire, and by his office was obliged to seek, the destruction of these enemies and blasphemers of God, and oppressors of his people; which in these circumstances he could not effect without his own death: and his case was not much unlike theirs, that in the heat of battle run upon the very mouth of the cannon, or other evident and certain danger of death, to execute a design upon the enemy; or theirs, who go in a fire-ship to destroy the enemy’s best ships, though they are sure to perish in the enterprise. Moreover, Samson did this by Divine instinct and approbation, as God’s answer to his prayer manifests, and that he might be a type of Christ, who by voluntarily undergoing death destroyed the enemies of God, and of his people.

And Samson said, let me die with the Philistines,.... He sought their death, and was content to lose his own life to be avenged on them; in neither of which did he act a criminal part as a judge of Israel; and from a public spirit he might desire the death of their enemies, and seek to effect it by all means possible; and was the more justifiable at this time, as they were not only insulting him, the representative of his nation, but were affronting the most high God with their idolatries, being now in the temple of their idol, and sacrificing to him. As for his own death, he did not simply desire that, only as he could not be avenged on his enemies without it, he was willing to submit to it; nor did he lay hands on himself, and cannot be charged with being guilty of suicide, and did no other than what a man of valour and public spirit will do; who for the good of his country will not only expose his life to danger in common, but for the sake of that will engage in a desperate enterprise, when he knows most certainly that he must perish in it. Besides, Samson said this, and did what he did under the direction and influence of the Spirit of God; and herein was a type of Christ, who freely laid down his life for his people, that he might destroy his and their enemies:

and he bowed himself with all his might, having fresh strength, and a large measure of it given him at this instant, which he had faith in, and therefore made the attempt, and for which he is reckoned among the heroes for faith in Hebrews 11:32.

and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein; who were all killed, and Samson himself; an emblem this of the destruction of Satan, and his principalities and powers, by the death of Christ:

so the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life; for besides the lords, and they that were in the house, there were 3000 men and women on the roof, which fell in, and lost their lives also, so that it is very likely there were at least 6000 or 7000 slain; Philo Byblius says 40,000, which is not probable; whereas in his life we only read of 1000 slain by him with the jawbone, besides thirty men at Ashkelon, and the slaughter made when he smote hip and thigh, the number of which is not known. As this house pulled down by Samson is generally thought to be the temple of Dagon, a traveller (a) in those parts tells us, that there is now extant the temple of Dagon in half demolished, and the pillars of it are yet to be seen; but he doubtless mistakes an edifice of a later construction for it: and another traveller (b) of our own country says, on the northeast corner and summit of the hill (on which the city is built) are the ruins of huge arches sunk low in the earth, and other foundations of a stately building; the Jews, adds he, do fable this place to have been the theatre of Samson pulled down on the heads of the Philistines; but he takes it to be the ruins of a later building; See Gill on 1 Samuel 5:2.

(a) Baumgarten. Perogrinatio, l. 2. c. 3. p. 27. Vid. Adrichom. Theatrum Terrae S. p. 134. (b) Sandy's Travels, l. 3. p. 116.

And Samson said, {o} Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.

(o) He does not speak out of despair, but humbling himself for neglecting his office and the offence thereby given.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
30. Let me die] lit. ‘let my soul die.’ In the O.T. the soul is not the immortal, but the mortal, element in man: it is that which breathes, the principle of life. When a person dies the soul goes out (Genesis 35:18, cf. Jeremiah 15:9) and exists no more.

the dead which he slew]

‘Samson hath quit himself

Like Samson.’—Milton, S. Agonistes, 1709 f.

Verse 30. - Let me die, or, my life shall perish with the Philistines. He knew it was certain death to himself, but he did not shrink from it. His last act should be to destroy the oppressors of his country. So the dead which he slew, etc. The words sound like the snatch of some song or proverb in which Samson's death was described. Judges 16:30After he had prayed to the Lord for strength for this last great deed, he embraced the two middle pillars upon which the building was erected, leant upon them, one with his right hand, the other with the left (viz., embracing them with his hands, as these words also belong to ילפּת), and said, "let my soul die with the Philistines." He then bent (the two pillars) with force, and the house fell upon the princes and all the people who were within. So far as the fact itself is concerned, there is no ground nor questioning the possibility of Samson's bringing down the whole building with so many men inside by pulling down two middle columns, as we have no accurate acquaintance with the style of its architecture. In all probability we have to picture this temple of Dagon as resembling the modern Turkish kiosks, namely as consisting of a "spacious hall, the roof of which rested in front upon four columns, two of them standing at the ends, and two close together in the centre. Under this hall the leading men of the Philistines celebrated a sacrificial meal, whilst the people were assembled above upon the top of the roof, which was surrounded by a balustrade" (Faber, Archol. der. Hebr. p. 444, cf. pp. 436-7; and Shaw, Reisen, p. 190). The ancients enter very fully into the discussion of the question whether Samson committed suicide or not, though without arriving at any satisfactory conclusion. O. v. Gerlach, however, has given the true answer. "Samson's deed," he says, "was not suicide, but the act of a hero, who sees that it is necessary for him to plunge into the midst of his enemies with the inevitable certainty of death, in order to effect the deliverance of his people and decide the victory which he has still to achieve. Samson would be all the more certain that this was the will of the Lord, when he considered that even if he should deliver himself in any other way cut of the hands of the Philistines, he would always carry about with him the mark of his shame in the blindness of his eyes-a mark of his unfaithfulness as the servant of God quite as much as of the double triumph of his foes, who had gained a spiritual as well as a corporeal victory over him." Such a triumph as this the God of Israel could not permit His enemies and their idols to gain. The Lord must prove to them, even through Samson's death, that the shame of his sin was taken from him, and that the Philistines had no cause to triumph over him. Thus Samson gained the greatest victory over his foes in the moment of his own death. The terror of the Philistines when living, he became a destroyer of the temple of their idol when he died. Through this last act of his he vindicated the honour of Jehovah the God of Israel, against Dagon the idol of the Philistines. "The dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life."
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