Judicum 16

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1 Abiit quoque in Gazam, et vidit ibi mulierem meretricem, ingressusque est ad eam.

2 Quod cum audissent Philisthiim, et percrebruisset apud eos, intrasse urbem Samson, circumdederunt eum, positis in porta civitatis custodibus : et ibi tota nocte cum silentio præstolantes, ut facto mane exeuntem occiderent.

3 Dormivit autem Samson usque ad medium noctem : et inde consurgens, apprehendit ambas portæ fores cum postibus suis et sera, impositasque humeris suis portavit ad verticem montis, qui respicit Hebron.

4 Post hæc amavit mulierem, quæ habitabat in valle Sorec, et vocabatur Dalila.

5 Veneruntque ad eam principes Philisthinorum, atque dixerunt : Decipe eum, et disce ab illo, in quo habeat tantam fortitudinem, et quomodo eam superare valeamus, et vinctum affligere : quod si feceris, dabimus tibi singuli mille et centum argenteos.

6 Locuta est ergo Dalila ad Samson : Dic mihi, obsecro, in quo sit tua maxima fortitudo, et quid sit quo ligatus erumpere nequeas ?

7 Cui respondit Samson : Si septem nerviceis funibus necdum siccis, et adhuc humentibus, ligatus fuero, infirmus ero ut ceteri homines.

8 Attuleruntque ad eam satrapæ Philisthinorum septem funes, ut dixerat : quibus vinxit eam,

9 latentibus apud se insidiis, et in cubiculo finem rei expectantibus, clamavitque ad eum : Philisthiim super te, Samson. Qui rupit vincula, quomodo si rumpat quis filum de stuppæ tortum putamine, cum odorem ignis acceperit : et non est cognitum in quo esset fortitudo ejus.

10 Dixitque ad eum Dalila : Ecce illusisti mihi, et falsum locutus es : saltem nunc indica mihi quo ligari debeas.

11 Cui ille respondit : Si ligatus fuero novis funibus, qui numquam fuerunt in opere, infirmus ero, et aliorum hominum similis.

12 Quibus rursum Dalila vinxit eum, et clamavit : Philisthiim super te, Samson : in cubiculo insidiis præparatis. Qui ita rupit vincula quasi fila telarum.

13 Dixitque Dalila rursum ad eum : Usquequo decipis me, et falsum loqueris ? ostende quo vinciri debeas. Cui respondit Samson : Si septem crines capitis mei cum licio plexueris, et clavum his circumligatum terræ fixeris, infirmus ero.

14 Quod cum fecisset Dalila, dixit ad eum : Philisthiim super te, Samson. Qui consurgens de somno extraxit clavum cum crinibus et licio.

15 Dixitque ad eum Dalila : Quomodo dicis quod amas me, cum animus tuus non sit mecum ? Per tres vices mentitus es mihi, et noluisti dicere in quo sit maxima fortitudo tua.

16 Cumque molesta esset ei, et per multos dies jugiter adhæreret, spatium ad quietem non tribuens, defecit anima ejus, et ad mortem usque lassata est.

17 Tunc aperiens veritatem rei, dixit ad eam : Ferrum numquam ascendit super caput meum, quia nazaræus, id est, consecratus Deo sum de utero matris meæ : si rasum fuerit caput meum, recedet a me fortitudo mea, et deficiam, eroque sicut ceteri homines.

18 Vidensque illa quod confessus ei esset omnem animum suum, misit ad principes Philisthinorum ac mandavit : Ascende adhuc semel, quia nunc mihi aperuit cor suum. Qui ascenderunt assumpta pecunia, quam promiserant.

19 At illa dormire eum fecit super genua sua, et in sinu suo reclinare caput. Vocavitque tonsorem, et rasit septem crines ejus, et cœpit abigere eum, et a se repellere : statim enim ab eo fortitudo discessit.

20 Dixitque : Philisthiim super te, Samson. Qui de somno consurgens, dixit in animo suo : Egrediar sicut ante feci, et me excutiam, nesciens quod recessisset ab eo Dominus.

21 Quem cum apprehendissent Philisthiim, statim eruerunt oculos ejus, et duxerunt Gazam vinctum catenis, et clausum in carcere molere fecerunt.

22 Jamque capilli ejus renasci cœperunt,

23 principes Philisthinorum convenerunt in unum ut immolarent hostias magnificas Dagon deo suo, et epularentur, dicentes : Tradidit deus noster inimicum nostrum Samson in manus nostras.

24 Quod etiam populus videns, laudabat deum suum, eademque dicebat : Tradidit deus noster adversarium nostrum in manus nostras, qui delevit terram nostram, et occidit plurimos.

25 Lætantesque per convivia, sumptis jam epulis, præceperunt ut vocaretur Samson, et ante eos luderet. Qui adductus de carcere ludebat ante eos, feceruntque eum stare inter duas columnas.

26 Qui dixit puero regenti gressus suos : Dimitte me, ut tangam columnas, quibus omnis imminet domus, et recliner super eas, et paululum requiescam.

27 Domus autem erat plena virorum ac mulierum, et erant ibi omnes principes Philisthinorum, ac de tecto et solario circiter tria millia utriusque sexus spectantes ludentem Samson.

28 At ille invocato Domino ait : Domine Deus, memento mei, et redde mihi nunc fortitudinem pristinam, Deus meus, ut ulciscar me de hostibus meis, et pro amissione duorum luminum unam ultionem recipiam.

29 Et apprehendens ambas columnas, quibus innitebatur domus, alteramque earum dextera, et alteram læva tenens,

30 ait : Moriatur anima mea cum Philisthiim. Concussisque fortiter columnis, cecidit domus super omnes principes, et ceteram multitudinem, quæ ibi erat : multoque plures interfecit moriens, quam ante vivus occiderat.

31 Descendentes autem fratres ejus et universa cognatio, tulerunt corpus ejus, et sepelierunt inter Saraa et Esthaol in sepulchro patris sui Manue : judicavitque Israël viginti annis.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Judicum 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.

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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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