Judges 4:11: Samson's Companions (or Keepers!)

Verse 11:[1] And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him.


[When they had seen him, כִּרְאוֹתָ֣ם אוֹת֑וֹ] According to their seeing of him (Montanus). When they had considered what sort of man he was (Junius). When they had considered (רָאָה signifies this in Genesis 27:27;[2] Psalm 10:14;[3] and elsewhere) him, that is, the strength and countenance of the man (Piscator); of what sort and how great he was: they think it necessary that he be observed by their own (Malvenda out of Junius).


When they saw him, or, observed or considered him, his stature, and strength, and countenance, and carriage, which were extraordinary.


[They gave to him thirty companions] 1. So that they might stir up joy at the wedding. These were called the friends, or sons, of the bridegroom, Matthew 9:15; Mark 2:19 (Menochius). 2. For the sake of honor, as it was wont to be done for new husbands. See Judges 14:20, and what things are on John 3:29 (Grotius, thus Junius, Piscator, Bonfrerius, Menochius). 3. Actually, so that they might keep watch over him (Menochius). With the appearance of honor, but for the sake of caution (Junius, Piscator). They say in verse 15 that they were called to the wedding. It is possible that Samson in general and indiscriminately invited the young men of this place, but that the magistrate of the place limited this number (Bonfrerius).


They brought thirty companions to be with him; partly in compliance with the custom of having brides-men; of which see Matthew 9:15; Mark 2:19; John 3:29, though they were not so numerous; and principally by way of caution, and as a guard put upon him under a pretence of respect and affection.

[1] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֖י כִּרְאוֹתָ֣ם אוֹת֑וֹ וַיִּקְחוּ֙ שְׁלֹשִׁ֣ים מֵֽרֵעִ֔ים וַיִּהְי֖וּ אִתּֽוֹ׃


[2] Genesis 27:27: “And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See (רְאֵה), the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed…”


[3] Psalm 10:14a: “Thou hast seen (רָאִתָה) it; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thy hand…”

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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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