士师记 16

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1 参孙到了迦萨,在那里见一个妓女,就与他亲近。

2 有人告诉迦萨人参孙到这里来了!他们就把他团团围住,终夜在城悄悄埋伏,:等到天亮我们便他。

3 参孙睡到夜,起来,将城扇、框、闩,一齐拆下来,扛在上,扛到希伯仑前的顶上。

4 来,参孙在梭烈谷喜一个妇人,名叫大利拉。

5 非利士人的首领上去见那妇人,对他:求你诓哄参孙,探探他因何有这麽的力气,我们用何法能胜他,捆绑克制他。我们就每人你一舍客勒子。

6 利拉对参孙:求你告诉我,你因何有这麽的力气,当用何法捆绑克制你。

7 参孙回答:人若用条未乾的青绳子捆绑我,我就软弱像别人样。

8 於是非利士人的首领拿了条未乾的青绳子来,交给妇人,他就用绳子捆绑参孙。

9 有人预先埋伏在妇人的内室里。妇人参孙哪,非利士人拿你来了!参孙就挣断绳子,如挣断经的麻线一般。这样,他力气的根由人还是不知道

10 大利拉对参孙:你欺哄我,向我谎言。现在求你告诉我当用何法捆绑你。

11 参孙回答:人若用没有使过的新绳捆绑我,我就软弱像别人样。

12 大利拉就用新绳捆绑他,对他参孙哪,非利士人拿你来了!有人预先埋伏在内室里。参孙上的绳挣断了,如挣断一条线一样。

13 大利拉对参孙:你到如今还是欺哄我,向我谎言。求你告诉我,当用何法捆绑你。参孙回答:你若将我上的条发绺,与纬线同织就可以了。

14 於是大利拉将他的发绺与纬线同织,用橛子住,对他参孙哪,非利士人拿你来了!参孙从睡中醒来,将机上的橛子和纬线一齐都拔出来了。

15 利拉对参孙:你既不与我同,怎麽我呢?你这三次欺哄我,没有告诉我,你因何有这麽的力气。

16 大利拉催逼他,甚至他心里烦闷要

17 参孙就把中所藏的都告诉了他,对他:向来人没有用剃刀剃我的,因为我自出母胎就归作拿细耳人;若剃了我的发,我的力气就离开我,我便软弱像别人一样。

18 大利拉见他把中所藏的都告诉了他,就打发人到非利士人的首领那里,对他们说:他已经把中所藏的都告诉了我,请你们再上来一次。於是非利士人的首领里拿着子,上到妇人那里。

19 大利拉使参孙枕着他的膝睡觉,了一个来剃除他上的条发绺。於是大利拉克制他,他的力气就离开他了。

20 大利拉参孙哪,非利士人拿你来了!参孙从睡中醒来,心里:我要像前几次出去活动身体;他却不知道耶和华已经离开他了。

21 非利士人将他拿住,剜了他的眼睛,带他到迦萨,用铜炼拘索他;他就在监里推磨。

22 然而他的头发被剃之後,又渐渐长起来了。

23 非利士人的首领聚集,要他们的衮献祭,并且欢乐,因为他们:我们的将我们的仇敌参孙交在我们中了。

24 众人见参孙,就赞美他们的我们将毁坏我们地、杀害我们许多人的仇敌交在我们中了。

25 他们正宴乐的时候,就参孙来,在我们面前戏耍戏耍。於是将参孙从监里提出来,他就在众人面前戏耍。他们使他站在两中间。

26 参孙向拉他的童子:求你让我摸着托房的子,我要靠一靠。

27 那时房内充满女,非利士人的众首领也都在那里。房的平顶上约有女观参孙戏耍。

28 参孙求告耶和华耶和华啊,求你眷念我。啊,求你赐我这次的力量,使我在非利士人身上报那剜我双眼的仇。

29 参孙就抱住托房的那两根子:左手抱根,右手抱根,

30 :我情愿与非利士人!就尽力屈身,房子倒塌,压住首领和房内的众人。这样,参孙时所杀的人比活着所杀的还多。

31 参孙的弟兄和他父的全家都去取他的尸首,抬上来葬在琐拉和以实陶中间,在他父玛挪亚的坟墓里。参孙作以色列的士师二十年。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士师记 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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