Judges 16:7
And Samson said to her, If they bind me with seven green thongs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Green withs.—The meaning of the words is uncertain. Probably the LXX. and the Vulg. are right in taking them to mean moist, i.e., fresh sinews (Psalm 11:2) (LAX., Neurais hugrais; Vulg., Nerviceis funibus necdum siccis et adhuc humentibus). Josephus says “vine shoots,” but fresh vine shoots would be ridiculously inadequate. The number seven is used as the sacred number implying perfectness; and it is one of the signs that even thus early Samson is playing about on the confines of his secret.

As another man.—Literally, as one man, i.e., as an ordinary man.

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.

7. Samson said …, If they bind me with seven green withs—Vine tendrils, pliant twigs, or twists made of crude vegetable stalks are used in many Eastern countries for ropes at the present day. Samson is guilty both of the sin of lying, though he dress up the lie in such circumstances as might make it most probable; and of great folly, in encouraging her inquiries, which he should at first have checked: but as he had forsaken God, so God had now forsaken him, and deprived him of common prudence; otherwise the frequent repetition and vehement urging of this question might easily have raised suspicion in him. And Samson said unto her,.... In answer to her pressing solicitations:

if they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried; the word is sometimes used for nerves, and cords or ropes; but neither of these can be here meant, since these, if moistened or made wet, are the less fit to bind with, and the drier the better; but rods or branches of trees just cut off, such as faggots are bound up with, or green osiers, which are easily bent and twisted, and may bind with; Josephus (u) calls them vine branches:

then shall I be weak, and be as another man; which cannot well be excused from a lie; for Samson knew full well that being bound would not weaken his strength; but as he had fallen into one sin, it is no wonder he was drawn into another: unless this can be understood, as it is by some, as jesting with her; however, it shows that he was "compos mentis", as Josephus (w) observes, and was upon his guard with respect to the secret of his strength.

(u) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 5. c. 8. sect. 9.) (w) Ibid.

And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withes that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. seven green withes] Follow marg.; similarly LXX and Vulgate The cords (cf. Psalm 11:2; Psalm 21:12) were to be made of fresh or moist gut. Elsewhere the adjective is applied to trees or fruit, hence the rendering of EV; withes = flexible twigs, esp. of willow; Josephus thinks of vine stalks. There may have been a magic charm in the number seven here and in Jdg 16:13.Verse 7. - As another man - literally, as one of men, i.e. of mankind, not different from other men. As regards the word rendered withs, it is not certain whether strings of cat-gut are not meant In Psalm 11:2 the same word is used of a bow-string. The word rendered green means fresh or new, and might be equally applied to catgut strings or withs. His Heroic Deed at Gaza. - Samson went to Gaza in the full consciousness of his superiority in strength to the Philistines, and there went in unto a harlot whom he saw. For Gaza, see Joshua 13:3. אל כּוא is used in the same sense as in Genesis 6:4 and Genesis 38:16. It is not stated in this instance, as in Judges 14:4, that it was of the Lord.
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