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Judges 16:28: Samson's Dying Prayer

Verse 28:[1] And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, (Jer. 15:15) remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.



[O Lord God, אֲדֹנָ֣י יֱהֹוִ֡ה] The name יְהוָה/Jehovah has here the points of the name אֱלֹהִים/Elohim, because אֲדֹנָי/Adonai immediately precedes: Now, since אֲדֹנָי/Adonai was wont to be read in the place of יְהוָה/Jehovah, when the former name either preceded or followed, they read אֱלֹהִים/Elohim in the place of יְהוָה/Jehovah (Piscator).


[Restore to me now my former strength] In the Hebrew it is, strengthen me, I ask, only this time.[2] Hence I gather that his strength (if he had escaped) was not going to be perpetual, as previously, since he tries to obtain it only for this occasion (Bonfrerius).



[So that I might avenge myself, etc., וְאִנָּקְמָ֧ה נְקַם־אַחַ֛ת מִשְּׁתֵ֥י עֵינַ֖י] So that I might avenge one vengeance for my two eyes (Munster, Tigurinus, similarly Pagnine, Septuagint); so that I might taken vengeance once because of both my eyes (Junius and Tremellius). Hebrew: vengeance of one, that is, of one occasion, that is, a single vengeance (Piscator). Others: And I will avenge a vengeance of one because of my two eyes (Vatablus, Montanus), that is, from the loss of one, etc. (Vatablus); that is to say, at least of one eye of the two which the Philistines gouged out (Malvenda). Which is to say, When now I have come into this crowd of Philistines, whom I, deprived of my eyes, am not able to seek, just as such great aptness of explaining the strength, which thou renewest unto me, is offered; act so that they might now finally be held responsible for this injury inflicted upon me by the digging out of my eyes, wherewith they afflicted me to hinder thy vengeances (Malvenda out of Junius). Question: Whether he was able lawfully to desire this vengeance, since it appears to have been private? Response: Samson had regard to the avenging of the people of Israel, and of the true God, whom in the festival and temple of Dagon they had afflicted with insults: but, with these things passed over in silence, he mentions only the gouging out of his eyes, whereby he had been hindered from seeking and smiting the Philistines (Serarius). In the next place, this injury was public, as inflicted upon a public person, namely, Samson. It also belongs to a Prince to avenge the injuries of his citizens. Add, that God appears to have sufficiently approved this vengeance, since He restored His strength unto this end (Bonfrerius).



O Lord GOD, etc.: This prayer was not an act of malice and revenge, but of faith and zeal for God, who was there publicly dishonoured; and justice, in punishing their insolences, and vindicating the whole commonwealth of Israel, which was his duty, as he was judge, to do. And this is manifest from hence, because God, who heareth not sinners, and would never use his omnipotency to gratify any man’s impotent malice, did manifest by the effect that he accepted and owned his prayer, as the dictate of his own Spirit. And that in this prayer he mentions only his personal injury, the loss of his eyes, and not their indignities to God and his people, must be ascribed to that prudent care which he had, and declared upon former occasions, of deriving the rage and hatred of the Philistines upon himself alone, and diverting it from the people. For which end I conceive this prayer was made with an audible voice, though he knew they would entertain it only with scorn and laughter, which also he knew would quickly be turned into mourning.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּקְרָ֥א שִׁמְשׁ֛וֹן אֶל־יְהוָ֖ה וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אֲדֹנָ֣י יֱהֹוִ֡ה זָכְרֵ֣נִי נָא֩ וְחַזְּקֵ֙נִי נָ֜א אַ֣ךְ הַפַּ֤עַם הַזֶּה֙ הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים וְאִנָּקְמָ֧ה נְקַם־אַחַ֛ת מִשְּׁתֵ֥י עֵינַ֖י מִפְּלִשְׁתִּֽים׃


[2] Hebrew: וְחַזְּקֵ֙נִי נָ֜א אַ֣ךְ הַפַּ֤עַם הַזֶּה֙.

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Great post this morning, Dr. Dilday. I agree with Fisher's Catechism 69.6, that this was not an act of suicide because of some kind of despair or loss of faith in Samson; no, Samson called personally upon God because he remembered he had a purpose to fulfill. This is a reminder that it is never too late to be used by the Lord and to carry out His purposes for His glory. The Hebrew word that sticks out to me is קָרָא , which is used here in the text as an Imperfect verb. The words means to cry out, and to cry with a loud voice; further, it carries the idea to summon someone or invite. Augustine's Exaudi D…

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Feb 21, 2019

John Calvin's Institutes: 'Scripture relates that God sometimes complied with certain prayers which had been dictated by minds not duly calmed or regulated. It is true, that the cause for which Jotham imprecated on the inhabitants of Shechem the disaster which afterwards befell them was well founded; but still he was inflamed with anger and revenge (Judges 9:20); and hence God, by complying with the execration, seems to approve of passionate impulses. Similar fervor also seized Samson when he prayed, "Strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes," (Judges 16:28). For although there was some mixture of good zeal, yet his ruling feeling wa…

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Feb 21, 2019

Fisher's Catechism 69.6. Was not Samson (who was a good man, Heb 11:32,) guilty of this heinous crime [suicide]? Judges 16:30.


Answer. When Samson pulled down the house upon himself, and upon all the lords of the Philistines, with about three thousand men and women that were in it, he did not intend his own death any farther than as an inevitable consequence of destroying so many of the church's enemies, to which he was called and strengthened in an extraordinary manner by God, as the Lord of life and death, whom he also supplicated for this extraordinary strength, Judges 16:28: and herein he was an eminent type of Christ, "who, through death, destroyed him that had the power of…

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Feb 21, 2019

Matthew Henry: 'How [the Philistines] were destroyed. Samson pulled the house down upon them, God no doubt putting it into his heart, as a public person, thus to avenge God's quarrel with them, Israel's, and his own.... He gained strength to do it by prayer, Judges 16:28. That strength which he had lost by sin he, like a true penitent, recovers by prayer; as David, who, when he had provoked the Spirit of grace to withdraw, prayed (Psalm 51:12), Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free Spirit. We may suppose that this was only a mental prayer, and that his voice was not heard (for it was made in a noisy clamorous cro…

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Feb 21, 2019

A really interesting Hebrew point today:


Review Piscator's comments on the irregular pointing of the Divine Name.


Then, read De Moor's defense of the Masoretic pointing: https://www.fromreformationtoreformation.com/blog/de-moor-iv-6-defense-of-the-masoretic-pointing-and-pronunciation-of-%D7%99-%D7%94%D7%95-%D7%94-jehovah.


Who has the better part of this argument?

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