Judges 16:5: Delilah's Treachery

Verse 5:[1] And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, (Judg. 14:15; see Prov. 2:16-19; 5:3-11; 6:24-26; 7:21-23) 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 (or, humble[2]) him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.

[The Lords of the Philistines] That is, there were five Lords of five satraps, who were joined and united together, and maintained an aristocracy, rather than a monarchy (Serarius).

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.

[In what he has…his fortitude] They had sufficient reason to suspect that that fortitude came from some place other than the natural constitution of his body; and perhaps they had known that Samson sometimes indicated that on some source hidden, and known to no other save himself, that fortitude was depending (Bonfrerius).

[And how we might prevail to overcome him, and him, having bound, to afflict, לְעַנֹּתוֹ] In order to afflict him (Junius and Tremellius); so that we might afflict him (Vatablus); that is, to restrain his great strength, so that he might experience the common lot with other men (Junius): or rather, to exact punishments of him, and to overwhelm him with hardships and labors; as they afterwards did, verse 21 (Malvenda).

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.

[Eleven hundred silvers] That is, more than two hundred and seventy-five talers[3] (Junius). I take the silver pieces here as shekels, as everywhere elsewhere (Bonfrerius). A thousand were offered in the name of each province, and hundred from each Prince for the sake of an augment and honorarium (Menochius out of Montanus’ Commentary). It appears that a silver piece was not of lesser value than a taler (Osiander).

Pieces of silver, that is, shekels, as that phrase is commonly used, as Numbers 7:13,[4] 85; 2 Samuel 18:12;[5] 2 Kings 6:25.[6]

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּעֲל֙וּ אֵלֶ֜יהָ סַרְנֵ֣י פְלִשְׁתִּ֗ים וַיֹּ֙אמְרוּ לָ֜הּ פַּתִּ֣י אוֹת֗וֹ וּרְאִי֙ בַּמֶּה֙ כֹּח֣וֹ גָד֔וֹל וּבַמֶּה֙ נ֣וּכַל ל֔וֹ וַאֲסַרְנֻ֖הוּ לְעַנֹּת֑וֹ וַאֲנַ֙חְנוּ֙ נִתַּן־לָ֔ךְ אִ֕ישׁ אֶ֥לֶף וּמֵאָ֖ה כָּֽסֶף׃

[2] Hebrew: לְעַנֹּתוֹ.

[3] The shekel was probably about eight and a half grams. There were about one thousand shekels in two hundred and fifty royal talers.

[4] Numbers 7:13: “And his offering was one silver charger, the weight thereof was an hundred and thirty (shekels, to be supplied from what follows), one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them were full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering…” So also Numbers 7:85.

[5] 2 Samuel 18:12: “And the man said unto Joab, Though I should receive a thousand (shekels, to be supplied) of silver in mine hand, yet would I not put forth mine hand against the king’s son: for in our hearing the king charged thee and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Beware that none touch the young man Absalom.”

[6] 2 Kings 6:25: “And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass’s head was sold for fourscore (shekels, to be supplied) of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five (skekels, to be supplied) of silver.”

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.




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