Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Works of Sulpitius Severus.: Chapter XXVIII.
At that time Samson ruled over the Hebrews, the Philistines having been subdued by the prowess of a single individual. They, therefore, sought his life by stratagem, not daring to assail him openly, and with this view they bribe his wife (whom he had received after what has been stated took place) to betray to them wherein the strength of her husband lay. She attacked him with female blandishments; and, after he had deceived her, and staved off her purpose for a long time, she persuaded him to tell that his strength was situated in his hair. Presently she cut off his hair stealthily while he was asleep, and thus delivered him up to the Philistines; for although he had often before been given up to them, they had not been able to hold him fast. Then they, having put out his eyes, bound him with fetters, and cast him into prison. But, in course of time, his hair which had been cut off began to grow again, and his strength to return with it. And now Samson, conscious of his recovered strength, was only waiting for an opportunity of righteous revenge. The Philistines had a custom on their festival days of producing Samson as if to make a public spectacle of him, while they mocked their illustrious captive. Accordingly, on a certain day, when they were making a feast in honor of their idol, they ordered Samson to be exhibited. Now, the temple, in which all the people and all the princes of the Philistines feasted, rested on two pillars of remarkable size; and Samson, when brought out, was placed between these pillars. Then he, having first called upon the Lord, seized his opportunity, and threw down the pillars. The whole multitude was overwhelmed in the ruins of the building, and Samson himself died along with his enemies, not without having avenged himself upon them, after he had ruled the Hebrews twenty years. To him Simmichar succeeded, of whom Scripture relates nothing more than that simple fact. For I do not find that even the time when his rule came to an end is mentioned, and I see that the people was for some time without a leader. Accordingly, when civil war arose against the tribe of Benjamin, Judah was chosen as a temporary leader in the war. But most of those who have written about these times note that his rule was only for a single year. On this account, many p. 85 pass him by altogether, and place Eli, the priest, immediately after Samson. We shall leave that point doubtful, as one not positively ascertained.
Next: Chapter XXIX.
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