Judges 16:5
And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.
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(5) The lords of the Philistines.—The five “satraps.” (See Note on Judges 3:3.) If she were what Josephus asserts, the Philistines might both get access to her, and tempt the cupidity of an unprincipled and degraded mind. Had she been of their own race, threats would probably have been even more effectual with her than with the lady of Timnath (Judges 13:15). The LXX. here begin to call the Philistines allophuloi, or “aliens.”

Entice him.—See Proverbs 2:16; Proverbs 2:18-19.

Wherein his great strength lieth.—Rather, wherein his strength is great. They attributed his strength to some amulet which might be removed.

Eleven hundred pieces of silver.—That is, “eleven hundred silver shekels.” The same sum recurs in Judges 17:2 as the amount laid by for the construction of teraphim by the mother of Micah. If the five lords each gave 1,100 shekels, the amount would be nearly two talents of silver (Exodus 38:25-26)—a most enormous bribe for that age, and especially to such a woman as Delilah. It may be regarded as an almost conclusive proof that Milton is mistaken in making her a Philistine.

Jdg 16:5. The lords of the Philistines came unto her — The lords of their five principal cities, which were leagued together against him as their common enemy. See wherein his great strength lieth — They probably imagined that Samson attained his great strength by the use of some magic art; that we may bind him to afflict him — To chastise him for his injuries to us. They meant to punish him severely, but they expressed it in mild words, lest it might move her to pity him. Every one eleven hundred pieces of silver — That is, shekels, as that phrase commonly signifies.

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.And the lords of the Philistines - See Judges 3:3 note.

His great strength lieth - Rather, "wherein his strength is great."

Eleven hundred pieces of silver - The greatness of the bribe offered to Delilah, 5,500 shekels of silver, nearly two talents (Exodus 38:24, note), shows the importance attached to Samson's capture.

5. the lords of the Philistines—The five rulers deemed no means beneath their dignity to overcome this national enemy.

Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth—They probably imagined that he carried some amulet about his person, or was in the possession of some important secret by which he had acquired such herculean strength; and they bribed Delilah, doubtless by a large reward, to discover it for them. She undertook the service and made several attempts, plying all her arts of persuasion or blandishment in his soft and communicative moods, to extract his secret.

The lords of the Philistines; the lords of their five principal cities, who seem to have been united together at this time in one aristocratical government; or at least were leagued together against him as their common enemy. To afflict him; to chastise him for his injuries done to us. They mean to punish him severely, as they did; but they express it in mild words, lest the horror of it might move her to pity him.

Pieces of silver, i.e. shekels, as that phrase is commonly used, as Numbers 7:13,85 2 Samuel 18:12 2 Kings 6:25.

And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her,.... Having heard that Samson kept company with her, she being a noted strumpet, like Lais among the Grecians. These were in number five, as appears from Judges 3:3 and had under them five principalities, into which Palestine was divided; and these, if not united in their government, which possibly might be the case at this time, yet were united against their common enemy Samson; and being great personages, it is thought by some they came not themselves to this harlot's house, but sent a deputation of five persons in their names, though the text is very express here and after: they are said to come up to her, because their country lay on the shore of the sea, and lower than Judea:

and said unto her, entice him; persuade him with soothing and flattering words; take an opportunity when in an amorous mood to improve her interest in his affections:

and see wherein his great strength lieth; for it might not appear by the size of his body, or from his natural constitution, and in the common actions of life, but only at certain times, and as it should seem when he pleased; and he might have been heard to say that it was a secret he kept to himself, and no man knew it; or they might suspect something of magic in the case, that he carried something about with him, which, if it could be gotten from him, would deprive him of his strength:

and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him; to humble him, bring him low, and reduce him to the common condition of men; they did not propose to kill him, which they might think she would not agree to, and so reject their proposal at once, but at most to distress him, and to chastise him with mockings and scourgings, bonds and imprisonment, for the mischief he had indeed done them, and prevent him from doing more:

and we will give thee, everyone of us, eleven hundred pieces of silver or shekels; it may seem strange that they should promise each 1100: some think their principalities offered each 1000 shekels, and the princes themselves one hundred; but Abarbinel supposes that this was, on some account or another, in those times an usual sum or computation, since the same is mentioned in the following chapter; though it may be observed that these five several sums put together make a round number, 5500 pieces of silver; which, taking them to be shekels, according to Waserus (d): they amounted to 1375 rix dollars, and of Helvetian money 3666 pounds, and a little more, and of our money near seven hundred pounds sterling; a considerable bribe, and very tempting to a person of such a character, and which she readily embraced, as appears by what follows.

(d) De Antiquis Numis, l. 2. c. 5.

And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred {c} pieces of silver.

(c) Of the value of a shekel, read Ge 23:15.

5. his great strength lieth] his strength is great; render similarly in Jdg 16:6; Jdg 16:15.

eleven hundred pieces of silver] in uncoined metal, calculated by the scales (Genesis 23:16): a large bribe when multiplied by five (Jdg 3:3). The odd number means a full thousand, cf. Jdg 17:2. In Jdg 14:15 the Philistines work upon the woman’s fear; now they appeal to the cupidity of the courtezan.

Verse 5. - Lords. See Judges 3:3, note,' His great strength lieth - literally, wherein (or by what means) his strength is great. They guessed that it was through some charm or secret amulet that his Herculean might was nourished. Eleven hundred pieces, or shekels, of silver. The whole sum promised by the five lords would be no less than 5500 shekels, equal to about £620 of our money. The curious notation, eleven hundred pieces, occurs again Judges 17:2. The reason of it is unknown. Judges 16:5The princes of the Philistines offered Delilah a considerable sum (they would give her one thousand and one hundred shekels of silver each, i.e., a thousand shekels or more: cf. Judges 17:2) if she would persuade Samson, and bring out from him "whereby his strength was great," and whereby they could overpower and bind him, לענּותו, to bend him, i.e., to oppress him. The Philistine princes thought that Samson's supernatural strength arose from something external, which he wore or carried about with him as an amulet. There was a certain truth at the foundation of this heathen superstition, inasmuch as this gift of divine grace was really bound up with the possession of a corporeal pledge, the loss of which was followed by the immediate loss of the gift of God (see at Judges 16:17).
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