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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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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