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Judges 16:4: Samson and Delilah, or the Little Sun Meets the Woman of the Night

Verse 4:[1] And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley (or, by the brook[2]) of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.

[In the vally of Sorek] Where were vines and the most excellent wine (Lapide). Some confound it with the valley of Eshcol/grapes, Numbers 32:9. But that was on the extreme borders of Canaan to the South; while the valley of Sorek was to the North of Eleutheropolis according to Jerome,[3] and it is likely, as Adrichomius asserts, that it was in the tribe of Dan (Bonfrerius).

[Delilah] That this was Samson’s wife some weighty authors think (Menochius). Thus some Rabbis, Chrysostom, Prosper,[4] and Pererius[5] (Lapide). This does not satisfy. 1. Then the Philistines would not have so boldly dared to solicit her to betray her husband. 2. Armed men would not have hidden themselves in Samson’s own house so often and for so long (Tirinus out of Serarius). 3. Then Samson would have taken her into his house, and he would not have turned aside unto her house (Lapide). The Hebrews say that Delilah was educated by Samson in the Law of Moses before he had intercourse with her (Vatablus). Others maintain that she was a harlot (thus Josephus, Tostatus, Serarius, Lapide, Bonfrerius, Tirinus). She extended the love of a harlot, that is, an insincere love, not the love of a wife (Bonfrerius).

He loved a woman; either, first, With conjugal love, so as to marry her, as divers both Jews and Christians have thought. Or, secondly, With lustful love, as a harlot; which though not certain, because the phrase is here ambiguous, she being neither called a harlot, as she of Gaza was, verse 1, nor yet his wife, as she of Timnath was, Judges 14:2, 3, 20, yet it may seem more probable; partly, because the dreadful punishment now inflicted upon Samson for this sin, whom God spared for the first offence, is an intimation that this sin was not inferior to the former; partly, because the confidence which the Philistine lords had in her, and their bold and frequent treating with her, and the whole course of her carriage towards Samson, show her to be a mercenary and perfidious harlot, and not a wife, whose affection and interest would have obliged her to better things; and partly, because Samson did not carry her home to his house, as husbands use to do their wives; but lodged in her house, as appears from the whole story.

[1] Hebrew: וַֽיְהִי֙ אַחֲרֵי־כֵ֔ן וַיֶּאֱהַ֥ב אִשָּׁ֖ה בְּנַ֣חַל שֹׂרֵ֑ק וּשְׁמָ֖הּ דְּלִילָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: בְּנַחַל.

[3] Onomasticon.

[4] Prosper of Aquitaine (403-463) was a student of Augustine, and, like his teacher, he was an opponent of Pelagianism.

[5] Benedictus Pererius (1535-1610) was a Spanish Jesuit theologian and commentator. He also wrote extensively on Genesis, Exodus, Daniel, John, Romans, and Revelation.

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