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Judges 16:23-31

Context
Samson’s Death and Burial

16:23 The rulers of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate. They said, “Our god has handed Samson, our enemy, over to us.” 16:24 When the people saw him, 1  they praised their god, saying, “Our god has handed our enemy over to us, the one who ruined our land and killed so many of us!” 2 

16:25 When they really started celebrating, 3  they said, “Call for Samson so he can entertain us!” So they summoned Samson from the prison and he entertained them. 4  They made him stand between two pillars. 16:26 Samson said to the young man who held his hand, “Position me so I can touch the pillars that support the temple. 5  Then I can lean on them.” 16:27 Now the temple 6  was filled with men and women, and all the rulers of the Philistines were there. There were three thousand men and women on the roof watching Samson entertain. 16:28 Samson called to the Lord, “O Master, Lord, 7  remember me! Strengthen me just one more time, O God, so I can get swift revenge 8  against the Philistines for my two eyes!” 16:29 Samson took hold of the two middle pillars that supported the temple 9  and he leaned against them, with his right hand on one and his left hand on the other. 16:30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” He pushed hard 10  and the temple collapsed on the rulers and all the people in it. He killed many more people in his death than he had killed during his life. 11  16:31 His brothers and all his family 12  went down and brought him back. 13  They buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had led 14  Israel for twenty years.

1 tn Most interpret this as a reference to Samson, but this seems premature, since v. 25 suggests he was not yet standing before them. Consequently some prefer to see this statement as displaced and move it to v. 25 (see C. F. Burney, Judges, 387). It seems more likely that the pronoun refers to an image of Dagon.

2 tn Heb “multiplied our dead.”

3 tn Heb “When their heart was good.”

4 tn Heb “before them.”

5 tn Heb “the pillars upon which the house is founded.”

6 tn Heb “house.”

7 tn The Hebrew has אֲדֹנָי יֱהֹוִה (’adonay yehovih, “Lord Yahweh”).

8 tn Heb “so I can get revenge with one act of vengeance.”

9 tn Heb “the pillars upon which the house was founded.”

10 tn Heb “he stretched out with strength.”

11 tn Heb “And the ones whom he killed in his death were many more than he killed in his life.”

12 tn Heb “and all the house of his father.”

13 tn Heb “and lifted him up and brought up.”

14 tn Traditionally, “judged.”



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