Judges 16:9
Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known.
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(9) Men lying in wait.—Literally, and the spy sat in the room for her, i.e., to help her. It is doubtful whether there was more than one spy, who could be easily concealed. It is implied that she bound Samson while he slept, as in Judges 16:19.

When it toucheth the fire.—Literally, when it smelleth the fire. (See Note on Judges 15:14.) So in Job 14:9 : “through the scent of water it will bud.” Of course the writer leaves us to infer that the spy or spies did not appear, seeing that the plan had failed.

Jdg 16:9. There were men abiding with her in the chamber — In some closet, probably, or adjoining room; for it cannot be well imagined, that they could be in the very same chamber without being discovered by Samson. It appears the Philistines were rather desirous of taking him alive than killing him. Probably they thought to employ him in some laborious works for the public, wherein his great strength might be of use to them, if they could but take him alive. Otherwise the liers in wait might have taken the opportunity of killing him while he was asleep, if their orders had not been to take him alive.

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.

9. there were men lying in wait, abiding … in the chamber—The Hebrew, literally rendered, is, "in the inner," or "most secret part of the house." With her in the chamber; with her, i.e. in the same house, in a chamber, i.e. in a secret chamber within her call. Nor is it strange that they did not fall upon him in his sleep; partly because they feared to awake a sleeping lion; and partly because they expect an opportunity for doing their work more certainly, and with less danger.

Now there were men lying in wait,.... Very likely some of the servants of the lords of the Philistines, who were placed privately on purpose, that when an opportunity offered, they might rush out, and fall upon Samson; Josephus (y) calls them soldiers:

abiding with her in the chamber; in a private part of it, or otherwise they could not be said to lie in wait; in it may mean near it; perhaps it was in the next apartment to hers, where they were set:

and she said unto him, the Philistines be upon thee, Samson; are just ready to fall upon thee, and seize thee; this she said to arouse him, and try whether he could break the withs or not, before she called in the men that lay in wait, and whether he had told her the truth or not:

and he brake the withs as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire; or "smells it" (z); as soon as it comes near it; a thread of tow or linen catches the fire presently, it being so weak that it cannot stand before the least force of it; so easily did the withs give way, and were broken, when Samson did but just stir himself, and move his arms:

so his strength was not known; by Delilah, nor by the Philistines; that is, where it lay, so as that it might be weakened; for otherwise it was known by the easy breaking of the withs.

(y) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 8. sect. 11. (z) "cum olfecerit", Drusius, so Piscator.

Now there were {d} men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when {e} it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known.

(d) Certain Philistines in a secret chamber.

(e) When fire comes near it.

Verse 9. - There were men lying in wait - literally, and the liers in wait were abiding for her in the chamber. She had hid some three or four men in the chamber unknown to Samson, that they might be ready to fall upon him should his strength really have departed from him. The word for liers in wait is in the singular number, but is to be taken collectively, as in Judges 20:33, 36-38. In Judges 20:37 it is joined to a plural verb. It is to be presumed that through some concerted signal the liers in wait did not discover themselves. Judges 16:9When Delilah told this to the princes of the Philistines, they brought the seven strings required, and Delilah bound Samson with them. "And the spy sat in the room (להּ, dat. com., lit. 'to her,' i.e.) to help her." namely, without Samson knowing it, as Delilah had certainly not told him that she should betray the secret of his strength to the Philistines. He was there, no doubt, that he might be at hand and overpower the fettered giant as soon as it became apparent that his strength was gone. She then cried out to him, "Philistines upon thee, Samson!" And he snapped the strings as one would snap a cord in two "when it smells fire," i.e., is held to the fire.
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