士師記 16

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1 參孫在迦薩參孫往迦薩去,在那裡見一個妓女,就進去與她親近。

2 有人告訴迦薩人:“參孫到這裡來了。”他們就把他圍住,整夜在城門口埋伏著,整夜默不作聲,心裡:“等到早晨天亮,我們才他。”

3 參孫睡到夜,就在起來,抓緊城兩邊門柱,把它們與閂一起拔起來,放在自己的上,扛到希伯崙對面的頂去。

4 參孫和大利拉來參孫在梭烈谷又上了一個婦人,名叫大利拉。

5 非利士人的領袖上到婦人那裡去,對她:“請你引誘他,他因甚麼緣故有這樣的力氣,我們用甚麼方法才能勝過他,把他捆綁,好制伏他;我們每人就你十二公斤子。”

6 利拉對參孫:“求你告訴我,你因甚麼緣故有這樣的力氣,要用甚麼方法才能捆綁你,好把你制伏。”

7 參孫對她:“如果人用條未乾的青繩子捆綁我,我就會軟弱無力,像平常人樣。”

8 於是非利士人的領袖把條未乾的青繩子,帶上來給那婦人,她就用那些繩子把參孫捆綁起來。

9 有人埋伏在她的內室裡等候著;她對參孫:“參孫哪,非利士人上來捉你了!”參孫就掙斷繩子,像麻線被燒斷一樣。這樣,他力氣的由來,還是沒有人知道

10 大利拉對參孫:“你作弄我,向我謊;現在求你告訴我,用甚麼東西才能把你捆綁。”

11 參孫對她:“如果人用從未使用過的新繩子把我緊緊地捆綁起來,我就軟弱無力,像平常人樣。”

12 於是大利拉把新繩子拿了來,把參孫捆綁了,對他:“參孫哪,非利士人上來捉你了!”當時有人埋伏在她的內室裡等候著。參孫把繩子從手上掙斷下來,像掙斷一根線一樣。

13 大利拉對參孫:“到現在你還是作弄我,向我謊;求你告訴我,人怎樣才能捆綁你。”參孫對她:“如果你把我上的條髮辮與織布機上的緯線編織在一起就可以了。”

14 於是大利拉把他的髮辮與織布機上的緯線同織在一起,再用木橛緊,對參孫:“參孫哪,非利士人上來捉你了!”參孫從睡夢中醒來,竟把織布機上的木橛,和緯線都拔了出來。

15 利拉對參孫:“你既然對我不真,你怎能:‘我你’?你這三次作弄我,沒有告訴我你這麼的力氣是哪裡來的。”

16 大利拉逼他,催他,以致他的心煩得要

17 參孫就把他中的一切告訴了她,對她:“向來沒有人用剃刀剃過我的,因為我自出母胎就歸作拿細耳人,如果人剃去我的髮,我的力氣就離開了我,我就軟弱無力,像所有人一樣。”

18 大利拉見參孫把中的一切都告訴了她,就派人去請非利士人的領袖來,說:“這一次你們上來吧!因為他已經把中的一切都告訴了我。”於是非利士人的領袖上到婦人那裡,裡帶著子上去。

19 大利拉使參孫睡在自己的膝上,又了一個來,把參孫上的條髮辮都剃去;大利拉就克制了他,因他的力氣離開了他。

20 大利拉:“參孫哪,非利士人上來捉你了!”參孫從睡夢中醒來,心裡:“我要像前幾次一樣掙扎出去,必能脫身。”但他不知道耶和華已經離開他了。

21 非利士人把他捉住,剜去了他的眼睛,帶他到迦薩,用銅鍊捆綁著他,他就在監牢裡推磨。

22 但是他的頭髮被剃去以後,又開始生長起來了。

23 參孫之報復與死亡非利士人的領袖聚集起來,要他們的袞獻祭,並且歡樂慶祝;他們:“我們的把我們的仇敵參孫交在我們中了。”

24 眾人見了參孫,就讚美他們的:“我們我們的仇敵,就是那毀壞我們的地,又殺我們很多人的,交在我們中了。”

25 他們裡正在高興的時候,就:“參孫來,給我們耍耍把戲。”於是有人把參孫從監牢裡出來;參孫就在他們面前耍把戲,他們又把他放在兩根子中間。

26 參孫對拉著他的童子:“請你讓我摸摸支撐著這廟宇的子,我要在子上靠一靠。”

27 那時房子裡滿了女女,非利士人的領袖也在那裡;在房子的平頂上約有女,都在觀參孫耍把戲。

28 參孫呼求耶和華:“耶和華啊,求你記念我;啊,求你加強我這次的力量,只這次罷了,使我盡次在非利士人身上報那剜我雙眼的仇!”

29 參孫就抱住那支撐著房子中間的兩根子,右手抱根,左手抱根。

30 然後參孫:“讓我與非利士人同歸於盡吧!”於是盡力屈身,房子就倒塌,壓在眾領袖和房子裡所有的人身上。這樣,參孫的時候殺的人,比他活著的時候殺的人還多。

31 參孫的眾兄弟和他父親的全家都來,收殮他的屍體,把他抬上去,埋葬在瑣拉和以實陶之間,在他父親瑪挪亞的墳墓裡。參孫治理了以色列人二十年。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士師記 16      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 16: Samson and Delilah; Samson dies with the Philistines.

In this final chapter about Samson, he becomes involved with two women, and both episodes lead him to fight for his life.

The first woman was a prostitute from Gaza, a Philistine town. When the men of Gaza heard that Samson was visiting this woman, they lay in wait for him all night, so that they could kill him in the morning. Samson foiled their plot by sneaking out at midnight. As he was leaving, he took the gates of the city and its two posts, put them upon his shoulders, and took them to the top of a hill facing Hebron, a town in Israel.

Some time later, Samson began to love an Israelite woman called Delilah, whose name means “lustful pining”. The lords of the Philistines bribed her to find out the source of Samson’s strength, so that they could take him prisoner. After deceiving her three times and evading her almost-daily questions, Samson finally admitted that his strength lay in his hair; if it were cut, he would be like any other man.

Delilah told this to the the lords of the Philistines, and they paid her the bribe. She lulled Samson to sleep, and had a man shave off all of Samson’s hair. She called out as she had the first three times: “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” He awoke, but he was as weak as a normal man. The Philistines took him captive, gouged out his eyes, and forced him to work as a mill grinder in prison. However, while he was in prison, his hair began to grow back.

When the Philistines gathered to make a great sacrifice in the temple of their god, Dagon, to celebrate the capture of Samson, 3000 Philistine men and women were there, plus all of their kings. Samson was brought in as a spectacle to be mocked. He could feel his strength returning, and asked the boy leading him to let him lean against the two central columns of the temple. Samson prayed to the Lord, and pushed the columns until the temple collapsed, killing everyone there. That day, Samson brought about the death of more Philistines than he had in his life. His family took his body, and buried him between Zorah (“stricken”) and Eshtaol (“supplication”) in his father’s tomb.

*****

This chapter demonstrates the temptations and potential pitfalls of faith-alone spirituality, specifically through the women that Samson was involved with. Both of these episodes - the first with the prostitute from Gaza, and the second with Delilah - highlight Samson’s brazen passions and his apparent faults and weaknesses. Samson represents our determination to overcome the draw of faith alone, which the hells employ in order to ensnare us, and then rule us. The Lord’s teachings through the Word often precipitate a struggle within us between our lusts from the hells and our spiritual intentions (see Swedenborg’s work, Apocalypse Revealed 678[2] and Apocalypse Revealed 798[2]).

Seizing the gates and gateposts stands for changing the focus of our spiritual view. Gates represent the entry and exit points to our hearts and minds, through which we receive the Lord and the Word, but also the influences of hell (see Swedenborg’s work, Divine Providence 119). The top of the hill stands for a mind raised up toward God, and ‘facing Hebron’ is representative of a new focus on the unity between us and the Word, for Hebron means ‘joined, brotherhood, unity’.

After three failed attempts, Delilah discovered that Samson’s strength lay in his hair, which had never been cut. Hair stands for the power and beauty of the Word in its literal sense, and our faithfulness in abiding by its truths (see Swedenborg’s works, Arcana Caelestia 9836[2] and Doctrine of the Lord 15[8]).

Samson’s imprisonment and abuse by the Philistines symbolize a period of spiritual turmoil, during which we are misled by the hells. Blindness corresponds to our inability to see or recognize truths; ‘grinding grain at the mill’ is like molding truths from the Word to support our own purposes - in this case, faith alone spirituality (Arcana Caelestia 10303[5] and Arcana Caelestia 10303[6]). Yet all the while, our ability to follow the Lord will gradually restrengthen, represented by Samson’s hair growing back.

In the last moments of his life, Samson brought down the temple of Dagon, killing three thousand of the Philistines at once. The two supporting columns of the Philistine temple stand for what is evil and what is false; when evil and falsity are toppled, the whole system of belief collapses. In sacrificing his life, Samson demonstrated the highest of all divine and heavenly loves (see Arcana Caelestia 2077[2]).

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