Judges 16 Bible Commentary

John Darby’s Synopsis

(Read all of Judges 16)
The secret of Samson's strength

Samson sins again through his intercourse with "the daughter of a strange god"; he connects himself again with women of the Philistines, amongst whom his father's house and the tribe of Dan were placed. But he retains his strength until the influence of these connections becomes so great that he reveals the secret of his strength in God. His heart, far from God, places that confidence in a Philistine which should have existed only between his soul and God (chap. 16).

To possess and keep a secret proves intimacy with a friend. But the secret of God, the possession of His confidence, is the highest of all privileges. To betray it to a stranger, be he who he may, is to despise the precious position in which His grace has placed us; it is to lose it. What have the enemies of God to do with the secret of God? It was thus that Samson gave himself up to his enemies. All attempts were powerless against him so long as he maintained his Nazariteship. This separation once lost, although Samson was apparently as strong, and his exterior as goodly as before, yet Jehovah was no longer with him. "I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that Jehovah was departed from him."

Samson's folly and his loss

We can scarcely imagine a greater folly than that of confiding his secret to Delilah, after having so many times been seized by the Philistines at the moment she awoke him. And thus it is with the assembly: when it yields itself to the world, it loses all its wisdom, even that which is common to man. Poor Samson! his strength may be restored, but he has lost his sight for ever.

But who has ever hardened himself against the Lord, and prospered? Job 9: 4.

Sharing the judgment of the world

The Philistines ascribe their success to their false god. God remembers His own glory, and His poor servant humbled under the chastisement of his sin. The Philistines assemble to enjoy their victory and glorify their false gods. But Jehovah had His eye on all this. In his humiliation, the thought of the Lord had more power over the heart of Samson; his Nazariteship was regaining strength. He makes his touching appeal to God. Who would fear a blind and afflicted prisoner? but who amongst this world knows the secret of Jehovah? A slave and for ever deprived of sight, his condition affords an opportunity, which his strength had not been able to obtain, before his unfaithfulness deprived him of it. But he is blind and enslaved, and he must perish himself in the judgment which he brings upon the impiety of his enemies. He had identified himself with the world by hearkening to it, and he must share the judgment which falls upon the world [1].

If the unfaithfulness of the assembly has given the world power over it, the world has on the other hand assailed the rights of God by corrupting the assembly, and therefore brings down judgment upon itself at the moment of its greatest triumph: a judgment which, if it puts an end to the existence, as well as to the misery of the Nazarite, destroys at the same time in one common ruin the whole glory of the world.

In the details of prophecy this applies to the closing history of the Jewish people [2]. Only there the remnant is preserved, to be established on a new base for the accomplishment of the purposes of God.

[1] There was something of this, though in a very different form and manner, in Jonathan. His faith was not perfect. He held the world with one hand and David with the other, though the excuse of natural relationship might be there.

[2] As to the professing church it is somewhat different, because the saints are taken away to glory, and the rest, being apostate, are judged; but the fact of judgment on the world is identical.