Judges 16



1 And Samson went to Gaza, and saw there a harlot, and went in unto her.

2 [And it was told] the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, [Let be] till morning light, then we will kill him.

3 And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and laid hold of the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and plucked them up, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of the mountain that is before Hebron.

4 And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.

5 And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred [pieces] of silver.

6 And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.

7 And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withes that were never dried, then shall I become weak, and be as another man.

8 Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withes which had not been dried, and she bound him with them.

9 Now she had liers-in-wait abiding in the inner chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines are upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withes, as a string of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known.

10 And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound.

11 And he said unto her, If they only bind me with new ropes wherewith no work hath been done, then shall I become weak, and be as another man.

12 So Delilah took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines are upon thee, Samson. And the liers-in-wait were abiding in the inner chamber. And he brake them off his arms like a thread.

13 And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web.

14 And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines are upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and plucked away the pin of the beam, and the web.

15 And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thy heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth.

16 And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, that his soul was vexed unto death.

17 And he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon my head; for I have been a Nazirite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.

18 And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath told me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought the money in their hand.

19 And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and shaved off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.

20 And she said, The Philistines are upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times, and shake myself free. But he knew not that Jehovah was departed from him.

21 And the Philistines laid hold on him, and put out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison-house.

22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.

23 And the lords of the Philistines gathered them together to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice; for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.

24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god; for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hand our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, who hath slain many of us.

25 And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison-house; and he made sport before them. And they set him between the pillars:

26 and Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house resteth, that I may lean upon them.

27 Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.

28 And Samson called unto Jehovah, and said, O Lord Jehovah, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.

29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house rested, and leaned upon them, the one with his right hand, and the other with his left.

30 And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead that he slew at his death were more than they that he slew in his life.

31 Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the burying-place of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.




Exploring the Meaning of Judges 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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Arcana Coelestia # 10303

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10303. 'And you shall beat some of it very fine' means the arrangement of truths into their own series. This is clear from the meaning of 'beating very small' - when it refers to the frankincense and spices, by which levels of truth are meant - as the arrangement of truths into their own series; for much the same is meant by 'beating' as by 'grinding', though 'grinding' is used in reference to wheat, barley, and spelt, whereas 'beating' is used in reference to oil, frankincense, and spices.

[2] What is meant specifically by 'beating' and 'grinding' no one can know without knowledge of what a person is like when the different kinds of good and truth meant by wheat, barley, flour, fine flour, oil, frankincense, and spices have been arranged into order for the uses they are to serve. For 'grinding' and 'beating' mean arranging them so that they may serve a use. When 'grinding' has reference to different kinds of good, which are meant by 'wheat' or 'barley', it means the way that good is arranged and brought forward in the form of truths, and its application in this form to one use or another. Good furthermore never presents itself within useful services except through truths; for good is arranged into order in the form of truths and in this way acquires specific quality. Unless it has been arranged in the form of truths good has no specific quality; and when it is arranged in the form of truths it is arranged into series, depending on the item under discussion, in accord with the use that item serves. The good enters those items as an affection belonging to love, and this gives rise to what is enjoyable, lovely, and pleasing. Something similar is meant here by 'beating very fine', for 'pure frankincense' means spiritual good, 10296, and the kinds of truth that are arranged into order by the good are the spices stacte, onycha, and galbanum, 10292-10294.

[3] What being arranged into series is must also be stated briefly. Truths are said to have been arranged into series when they have been arranged in accordance with the form of heaven, which consists of angelic communities. The character of that form is clear from the correspondence of all the members, internal organs, and other organs of the human being with the Grand Man, which is heaven. Regarding that correspondence, see in the places referred to in 10030(end). Within those members and organs all the individual parts are arranged into series and into series of series. Fibres and vessels form them, as is well known to those who are acquainted from anatomy with the weavings and interweavings of the more internal constituents of the body. The truths from good present in a person are arranged into similar series.

[4] So it is that a person who has been regenerated is heaven in its smallest form, corresponding to the Grand Man; and that the person's truth and good make him wholly and completely what he is.

A person who has been regenerated is heaven in its smallest form, see in the places referred to 9279.

His truth and his good constitute a person, 10298 above.

The truths with regenerate people have been arranged into series in accord with the arrangement in which angelic communities exist, 5339, 5343, 5530.

The series into which the truths with those who are good have been arranged, and the series into which the falsities with those who are evil have been arranged are meant in the Word by 'sheafs' and 'bundles', as in Leviticus 23:9-15; Psalms 126:6; 129:7; Amos 2:13; Micah 4:12; Jeremiah 9:22; Zechariah 12:6; Matthew 13:30.

[5] When therefore it is evident what 'beating' and 'grinding' mean one can know the meaning in the internal sense of the description stating that the children of Israel ground the manna in mills or beat it in mortars, and made it into cakes, Numbers 11:8. 'The manna' was a sign of celestial and spiritual good, 8464, and 'grinding' and 'beating' arranging it to serve useful purposes; for whatever is mentioned in the Word is a sign of the kinds of realities that exist in heaven and in the Church. Every detail there has an inner meaning. One can also know the meaning when it says that they should not take as a pledge the mill or the milling stone, for anyone who does so takes the [person's] soul as a pledge, Deuteronomy 24:6. 'The mill' and 'the milling stone' mean that which prepares good so that it may be applicable to one use or another. 'Barley' too and 'wheat' mean good, and 'flour' and 'fine flour' truths; and its own truths are the means by which good is applied to any such use, as stated above.

[6] From all this it may be seen what 'mill', 'millstone', and 'sitting at the mill' mean in the following places: In Matthew,

At that time two women will be grinding; one will be taken, the other left. Matthew 24:41.

In the same gospel,

Whoever causes one of these little ones believing in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if an ass's millstone 1 were hung onto his neck and he were plunged into the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6; Mark 9:42.

In the Book of Revelation,

A mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus will Babylon be thrown down with violence; no sound of a mill will be heard in it any more. Revelation 18:21-22.

In Jeremiah,

I will take away from them the voice of joy, the sound of mills, and the light of the lamp. Jeremiah 25:10.

And in Isaiah,

O daughter of Babel, sit on the ground; without a throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans. Take a mill and grind flour. Isaiah 47:1-2.

Even as 'mill' and 'grinding' in the good sense mean application to good purposes, so in the contrary sense they mean application to evil ones. Consequently when Babel and Chaldea are the subject they mean the application [of what is good and true] in favour of their own loves, which are self-love and love of the world; for with them 'barley' and 'wheat' mean adulterated good, and 'flour' the resulting falsified truth. The profanation of goodness and truth through applying them to those loves is also meant by the action of Moses when he ground up the golden calf into tiny pieces, sprinkled them on the water coming down from Mount Sinai, and made the children of Israel drink it, Exodus 32:20; Deuteronomy 9:21.


1. i.e. the upper, rotating stone of an ass-driven mill

(Odkazy: Exodus 30:36)

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.