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Judges 15:17: Samson's Exploit Memorialized

Verse 17:[1] And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramath-lehi (that is, the lifting up of the jawbone, or, casting away of the jawbone[2]).

[Ramath-Lehi (thus Pagnine, Montanus)] The lifting up of the jawbone (Septuagint). Thus the place was called, because he had lifted up the jawbone to slaughter the Philistines (Bonfrerius, Serarius, Tirinus). Others: The casting forth, or casting away, of the jawbone (Munster, Junius, Tigurinus Notes, Bochart’s Sacred Catalogue of Animals, Drusius), from רָמָה, to cast forth (thus the Chaldean and Kimchi in Bochart’s Sacred Catalogue of Animals). The name is from the event: for he had cast it away from himself (Drusius). Others: Blood of the jawbone (Syriac, Arabic); in the place of רָמָא they read דָמָא/blood, a ד/ Daleth instead of a ר/Resh. Moreover, Ramath-Lehi is contracted into Lehi in verse 14. For often in composite names of places, the former part, for the sake of brevity, is omitted: as it is in the case of Salem, in the place of Jerusalem, Psalm 76:2; Jemini, in the place of Benjamin, Esther 2:5;[3] Sheba, in the place of Beer-sheba, Joshua 19:2; Shittim, in the place of Abel-shittim, Numbers 25:1;[4] Hermon, in the place of Baal-hermon,[5] and Tolad, in the place of El-tolad, 1 Chronicles 4:29;[6] and Ataroth, Joshua 16:5, 7, in the place of Archi-ataroth.[7] See more things in our “Phaleg” 2:24 (Bochart’s Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:25).

Ramath-lehi: And by contraction, Lehi, verse 14, it being usual so to contract proper names; as Salem is put for Jerusalem, Psalm 76:2; Sheba for Beer-sheba, Joshua 19:2; and many other.

[1] Hebrew: וַֽיְהִי֙ כְּכַלֹּת֣וֹ לְדַבֵּ֔ר וַיַּשְׁלֵ֥ךְ הַלְּחִ֖י מִיָּד֑וֹ וַיִּקְרָ֛א לַמָּק֥וֹם הַה֖וּא רָ֥מַת לֶֽחִי׃

[2] Hebrew: רָ֥מַת לֶֽחִי׃.

[3] Esther 2:5: “Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite (יְמִינִי)…”

[4] Compare with Numbers 33:49.

[5] See Judges 3:3; 1 Chronicles 5:23.

[6] Compare with Joshua 15:30; 19:4.

[7] See Joshua 16:2.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Jan 20, 2019

Matthew Henry: 'Samson celebrating his own victory, since the men of Judah would not do even that for him. He composed a short song... He also gave a name to the place, to perpetuate the Philistines' disgrace, Judges 15:17. Ramath-lehi, the lifting up of the jawbone. Yet he did not vaingloriously carry the bone about with him for a show, but threw it away when he had done with it. So little were relics valued then.'


Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Jan 20, 2019

Noteworthy in the Hebrew:

1. The aetiology of the place name, Ramath-Lehi.

2. The common contraction of Hebrew place names.

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