士師記 16

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1 參孫到了迦薩,在那裡見一個妓女,就與他親近。

2 有人告訴迦薩人參孫到這裡來了!他們就把他團團圍住,終夜在城悄悄埋伏,:等到天亮我們便他。

3 參孫睡到夜,起來,將城扇、框、閂,一齊拆下來,扛在上,扛到希伯崙前的頂上。

4 來,參孫在梭烈谷喜一個婦人,名叫大利拉。

5 非利士人的首領上去見那婦人,對他:求你誆哄參孫,探探他因何有這麼的力氣,我們用何法能勝他,捆綁剋制他。我們就每人你一舍客勒子。

6 利拉對參孫:求你告訴我,你因何有這麼的力氣,當用何法捆綁剋制你。

7 參孫回答:人若用條未乾的青繩子捆綁我,我就軟弱像別人樣。

8 於是非利士人的首領拿了條未乾的青繩子來,交給婦人,他就用繩子捆綁參孫。

9 有人預先埋伏在婦人的內室裡。婦人參孫哪,非利士人拿你來了!參孫就掙斷繩子,如掙斷經的麻線一般。這樣,他力氣的根由人還是不知道

10 大利拉對參孫:你欺哄我,向我謊言。現在求你告訴我當用何法捆綁你。

11 參孫回答:人若用沒有使過的新繩捆綁我,我就軟弱像別人樣。

12 大利拉就用新繩捆綁他,對他參孫哪,非利士人拿你來了!有人預先埋伏在內室裡。參孫上的繩掙斷了,如掙斷一條線一樣。

13 大利拉對參孫:你到如今還是欺哄我,向我謊言。求你告訴我,當用何法捆綁你。參孫回答:你若將我上的條髮綹,與緯線同織就可以了。

14 於是大利拉將他的髮綹與緯線同織,用橛子住,對他參孫哪,非利士人拿你來了!參孫從睡中醒來,將機上的橛子和緯線一齊都拔出來了。

15 利拉對參孫:你既不與我同,怎麼我呢?你這三次欺哄我,沒有告訴我,你因何有這麼的力氣。

16 大利拉催逼他,甚至他心裡煩悶要

17 參孫就把中所藏的都告訴了他,對他:向來人沒有用剃刀剃我的,因為我自出母胎就歸作拿細耳人;若剃了我的髮,我的力氣就離開我,我便軟弱像別人一樣。

18 大利拉見他把中所藏的都告訴了他,就打發人到非利士人的首領那裡,對他們說:他已經把中所藏的都告訴了我,請你們再上來一次。於是非利士人的首領裡拿著子,上到婦人那裡。

19 大利拉使參孫枕著他的膝睡覺,了一個來剃除他上的條髮綹。於是大利拉剋制他,他的力氣就離開他了。

20 大利拉參孫哪,非利士人拿你來了!參孫從睡中醒來,心裡:我要像前幾次出去活動身體;他卻不知道耶和華已經離開他了。

21 非利士人將他拿住,剜了他的眼睛,帶他到迦薩,用銅鍊拘索他;他就在監裡推磨。

22 然而他的頭髮被剃之後,又漸漸長起來了。

23 非利士人的首領聚集,要他們的袞獻祭,並且歡樂,因為他們:我們的將我們的仇敵參孫交在我們中了。

24 眾人見參孫,就讚美他們的我們將毀壞我們地、殺害我們許多人的仇敵交在我們中了。

25 他們正宴樂的時候,就參孫來,在我們面前戲耍戲耍。於是將參孫從監裡提出來,他就在眾人面前戲耍。他們使他站在兩中間。

26 參孫向拉他的童子:求你讓我摸著托房的子,我要靠一靠。

27 那時房內充滿女,非利士人的眾首領也都在那裡。房的平頂上約有女觀參孫戲耍。

28 參孫求告耶和華耶和華啊,求你眷念我。啊,求你賜我這次的力量,使我在非利士人身上報那剜我雙眼的仇。

29 參孫就抱住托房的那兩根子:左手抱根,右手抱根,

30 :我情願與非利士人!就盡力屈身,房子倒塌,壓住首領和房內的眾人。這樣,參孫時所殺的人比活著所殺的還多。

31 參孫的弟兄和他父的全家都去取他的屍首,抬上來葬在瑣拉和以實陶中間,在他父瑪挪亞的墳墓裡。參孫作以色列的士師二十年。

  

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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