הוּחַל שְׁבוּעָתוֹ שֶׁל אֲבִימֶלֶךְ דִּכְתִיב אִם תִּשְׁקֹר לִי וּלְנִינִי וּלְנֶכְדִּי Samson’s parents were being told that the oath of Abimelech, king of the Philistines, was negated, as it is written that Abimelech said to our forefather Abraham: “Now therefore swear unto me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son; but according to the kindness that I have done unto you, you shall do to me, and to the land wherein you have sojourned” (Genesis 21:23). The oath of the descendants of Abraham was no longer binding since the Philistines broke their oath by subjugating the Jewish people.
וַיִּגְדַּל הַנַּעַר וַיְבָרְכֵהוּ ה׳ בַּמֶּה בֵּרְכוֹ אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר רַב שֶׁבֵּרְכוֹ בְּאַמָּתוֹ אַמָּתוֹ כִּבְנֵי אָדָם וְזַרְעוֹ כְּנַחַל שׁוֹטֵף The verse states: “And the woman bore a son, and called his name Samson; and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him” (Judges 13:24). The Gemara asks: With what did He bless him? Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: It means that He blessed him with regard to his penis, that despite his youth his penis should function like that of physically mature men, and that his seed should be like an overflowing river.
וַיִּקְרָא שִׁמְשׁוֹן אֶל ה׳ וַיֹּאמֶר ה׳ אֱלֹהִים זׇכְרֵנִי נָא וְחַזְּקֵנִי נָא אַךְ הַפַּעַם הַזֶּה וְאִנָּקְמָה נְקַם אַחַת מִשְּׁתֵי עֵינַי מִפְּלִשְׁתִּים אָמַר רַב אָמַר שִׁמְשׁוֹן לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם זְכוֹר לִי עֶשְׂרִים וּשְׁתַּיִם שָׁנָה שֶׁשָּׁפַטְתִּי אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא אָמַרְתִּי לְאֶחָד מֵהֶם הַעֲבֵר לִי מַקֵּל מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם Prior to Samson’s death, the verse states: “And Samson called unto the Lord, and said: Lord God, remember me, I pray to You, and strengthen me, I pray to You, only this once, O God, that I may be this once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes” (Judges 16:28). Rav said that Samson said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, remember on my behalf the twenty-two years that I judged the Jewish people without receiving any reward, and I did not even say to any one of them: Move a stick for me from one place to another place.
וַיֵּלֶךְ שִׁמְשׁוֹן וַיִּלְכֹּד שְׁלֹשׁ מֵאוֹת שׁוּעָלִים מַאי שְׁנָא שׁוּעָלִים אָמַר רַבִּי אַיְּבוּ בַּר נַגְדִּי אָמַר רַבִּי חִיָּיא בַּר אַבָּא אָמַר שִׁמְשׁוֹן יָבֹא מִי שֶׁחוֹזֵר לַאֲחוֹרָיו וְיִפָּרַע מִפְּלִשְׁתִּים שֶׁחָזְרוּ בִּשְׁבוּעָתָן The verse states earlier: “And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned tail to tail, and put a torch in the midst between every two tails” (Judges 15:4). The Gemara asks: What is different about foxes than any other animal, that he chose them for this purpose? Rabbi Aivu bar Nagdi says that Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba says: Samson said: Let the animal that goes in reverse when it tries to escape, i.e., the fox, come and exact punishment from the Philistines, who reneged on their oath that Abimelech swore to Abraham.
תַּנְיָא אָמַר רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן הֶחָסִיד בֵּין כְּתֵיפָיו שֶׁל שִׁמְשׁוֹן שִׁשִּׁים אַמָּה הָיָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיִּשְׁכַּב שִׁמְשׁוֹן עַד חֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה וַיָּקׇם בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה וַיֶּאֱחֹז בְּדַלְתוֹת שַׁעַר הָעִיר וּבִשְׁתֵּי הַמְּזוּזוֹת וַיִּסָּעֵם עִם הַבְּרִיחַ וַיָּשֶׂם עַל כְּתֵיפָיו וּגְמִירִי דְּאֵין דַּלְתוֹת עַזָּה פְּחוּתוֹת מִשִּׁשִּׁים אַמָּה It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Shimon the Pious said: The width between the shoulders of Samson was sixty cubits, as it is stated: “And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and grabbed 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” (Judges 16:3). The verse indicates that the width of the gate of the city of Gaza was equal to the width of Samson’s shoulders, and it is learned as a tradition that doors of the gate of Gaza were no less than sixty cubits wide.
וַיְהִי טוֹחֵן בְּבֵית הָאֲסוּרִים אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן אֵין טְחִינָה אֶלָּא לְשׁוֹן עֲבֵירָה וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר תִּטְחַן לְאַחֵר אִשְׁתִּי מְלַמֵּד שֶׁכׇּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד הֵבִיא לוֹ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ לְבֵית הָאֲסוּרִים כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּתְעַבֵּר הֵימֶנּוּ אָמַר רַב פָּפָּא הַיְינוּ דְּאָמְרִי אִינָשֵׁי קַמֵּי דְּשָׁתֵי חַמְרָא חַמְרָא קַמֵּי רָפוֹקָא (גְּרִידְיָא דּוּבְלָא) With regard to Samson’s capture, the verse states: “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” (Judges 16:21). Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Grinding is nothing other than a language of a transgression of sexual intercourse, and so the verse says: “Then let my wife grind unto another man” (Job 31:10). This teaches that each and every Philistine man brought his wife to the prison in order that she should be impregnated by Samson. Rav Pappa said: This is an example of the folk saying that people say: Before a wine drinker, bring wine; before one who digs in the ground, bring figs. So too, Samson, who married Philistine women, was brought more Philistine women while in prison.
וְאָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן כׇּל הַמְזַנֶּה אִשְׁתּוֹ (מְזַנֶּנֶת) [מְזַנָּה] עָלָיו שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אִם נִפְתָּה לִבִּי עַל אִשָּׁה וְעַל פֶּתַח רֵעִי אָרָבְתִּי וּכְתִיב תִּטְחַן לְאַחֵר אִשְׁתִּי וְעָלֶיהָ יִכְרְעוּן אֲחֵרִין וְהַיְינוּ דְּאָמְרִי אִינָשֵׁי אִיהוּ בֵּי קָארֵי וְאִיתְּתֵיהּ בֵּי בוּצִינֵי And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: With regard to anyone who commits adultery, his wife commits adultery against him, as it is stated: “If my heart has been enticed unto a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door” (Job 31:9), and it is written: “Then let my wife grind unto another man and may strangers kneel over her” (Job 31:10). And this explains the folk saying that people say: He is found among the pumpkins [karei] and his wife among the zucchinis [butzinei], which are similar types of vegetables. In other words, she acts the same way that he does.
וְאָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן שִׁמְשׁוֹן דָּן אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל כַּאֲבִיהֶם שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר דָּן יָדִין עַמּוֹ כְּאַחַד וְגוֹ׳ וְאָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן שִׁמְשׁוֹן עַל שְׁמוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא נִקְרָא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר כִּי שֶׁמֶשׁ וּמָגֵן ה׳ אֱלֹהִים וְגוֹ׳ אֶלָּא מֵעַתָּה לֹא יִמָּחֶה אֶלָּא מֵעֵין שְׁמוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מָה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מֵגֵין עַל כׇּל הָעוֹלָם כּוּלּוֹ אַף שִׁמְשׁוֹן מֵגֵין בְּדוֹרוֹ עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Samson judged the Jewish people as their Father in Heaven does, with complete justice, as it is stated: “Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel” (Genesis 49:16), which is interpreted to mean that Samson, from the tribe of Dan, judges his people just as God, Who is “One.” And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Samson [Shimshon] is called by the name of the Holy One, Blessed be He, as it is stated: “For the Lord God is a sun [shemesh] and a shield” (Psalms 84:12). The Gemara comments: If that is so, then his name should not be erased just like other sanctified names are not erased. Rather, he is not called by the name of God but his name is akin to the name of the Holy One, Blessed be He, for just as the Holy One, Blessed be He, protects the entire world, so too Samson, in his generation, protected all the Jewish people.
וְאָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן בִּלְעָם חִיגֵּר בְּרַגְלוֹ אַחַת הָיָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיֵּלֶךְ שֶׁפִי שִׁמְשׁוֹן חִיגֵּר בִּשְׁתֵּי רַגְלָיו הָיָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר שְׁפִיפֹן עֲלֵי אֹרַח And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Balaam was lame in one of his legs, as it is stated with regard to him: “And he went, limping [shefi]” (Numbers 23:3). Samson was lame in both of his two legs, as it is stated that when Jacob mentioned the tribe of Dan in the prophecy that pertained to Samson, he referred to him as: “Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a horned snake [shefifon] in the path” (Genesis 49:17), which is double shefi, i.e., doubly lame.
תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן חֲמִשָּׁה נִבְרְאוּ מֵעֵין דּוּגְמָא שֶׁל מַעְלָה וְכוּלָּן לָקוּ בָּהֶן שִׁמְשׁוֹן בְּכֹחוֹ שָׁאוּל בְּצַוָּארוֹ אַבְשָׁלוֹם בִּשְׂעָרוֹ צִדְקִיָּה בְּעֵינָיו אָסָא בְּרַגְלָיו § The Sages taught in a baraita: Five individuals were created with a characteristic that is akin to a representation of the One on High, and they were all stricken by that characteristic. Samson was glorified in his strength, Saul in his neck (see I Samuel 9:2), Absalom in his hair, Zedekiah in his eyes, and Asa in his feet.
שִׁמְשׁוֹן בְּכֹחוֹ דִּכְתִיב וַיָּסַר כֹּחוֹ מֵעָלָיו The Gemara clarifies: Samson was stricken by his strength, which led to his demise, as it is written: “And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man and had the seven locks of his head shaved off; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him” (Judges 16:19).
שָׁאוּל בְּצַוָּארוֹ דִּכְתִיב וַיִּקַּח שָׁאוּל אֶת הַחֶרֶב וַיִּפֹּל עָלֶיהָ Saul was smitten in his neck, as it is written: “Then said Saul to his armor-bearer: Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and make a mock of me. But his armor-bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore, Saul took his sword and fell upon it” (I Samuel 31:4); he fell with his neck upon the sword.
אַבְשָׁלוֹם בִּשְׂעָרוֹ כִּדְבָעֵינַן לְמֵימַר קַמַּן צִדְקִיָּה בְּעֵינָיו דִּכְתִיב וְאֶת עֵינֵי צִדְקִיָּהוּ עִוֵּר Absalom was stricken in his hair, as we will state later. Zedekiah was stricken in his eyes, as it is written: “And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him in fetters, and carried him to Babylon” (II Kings 25:7).
אָסָא בְּרַגְלָיו דִּכְתִיב רַק לְעֵת זִקְנָתוֹ חָלָה אֶת רַגְלָיו וְאָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר רַב שֶׁאֲחָזַתּוּ פָּדַגְרָא אֲמַר לֵיהּ מָר זוּטְרָא בְּרֵיהּ דְּרַב נַחְמָן לְרַב נַחְמָן הֵיכִי דָּמֵי פָּדַגְרָא אֲמַר לֵיהּ כְּמַחַט בִּבְשַׂר הַחַי מְנָא יָדַע אִיכָּא דְּאָמְרִי מֵיחַשׁ הֲוָה חָשׁ בֵּיהּ וְאִיכָּא דְּאָמְרִי מֵרַבֵּיהּ שְׁמַע לֵיהּ וְאִיכָּא דְּאָמְרִי סוֹד ה׳ לִירֵאָיו וּבְרִיתוֹ לְהוֹדִיעָם Asa was stricken in his feet, as it is written: “Now the rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he did, and the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? But in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet” (I Kings 15:23). And Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: This indicates that gout [padagra] grabbed hold of him. Mar Zutra, son of Rav Naḥman, said to Rav Naḥman: What are the circumstances of gout? What pain does it involve? He said to him: It feels like a needle inserted into living flesh. The Gemara asks: From where did he know this? The Gemara answers: Some say that he himself suffered from this condition, and some say that he heard it from his teacher, and some say that he knew it through divine inspiration, as it stated: “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and His covenant, to make them know it” (Psalms 25:14).
דָּרֵשׁ רָבָא מִפְּנֵי מָה נֶעֱנַשׁ אָסָא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁעָשָׂה אַנְגַּרְיָא בְּתַלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְהַמֶּלֶךְ אָסָא הִשְׁמִיעַ אֶת כׇּל יְהוּדָה אֵין נָקִי מַאי אֵין נָקִי אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר רַב אֲפִילּוּ חָתָן מֵחֶדְרוֹ וְכַלָּה מֵחוּפָּתָהּ Rava taught: For what reason was Asa punished in his feet? Because he made Torah scholars perform forced labor [angarya], as it is stated: “Then King Asa made a proclamation unto all Judah; none was exempted; and they carried away the stones of Ramah and the timber thereof, with which Baasa had built, and King Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah” (I Kings 15:22). The superfluous expression “unto all” indicates that the proclamation was issued to everyone, including Torah scholars. The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the next phrase in the verse: “None was exempted [ein naki]”? Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: This includes even a bridegroom from his chamber and a bride from her canopy, as the verse states with regard to a bridegroom: “He shall be free [naki] for his house one year” (Deuteronomy 24:5).
כְּתִיב וַיֵּרֶד שִׁמְשׁוֹן תִּמְנָתָה וּכְתִיב הִנֵּה חָמִיךְ עֹלֶה תִמְנָתָה אָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר שִׁמְשׁוֹן שֶׁנִּתְגַּנָּה בָּהּ כְּתִיב בֵּיהּ יְרִידָה יְהוּדָה שֶׁנִּתְעַלָּה בָּהּ כְּתִיב בֵּיהּ עֲלִיָּה § It is written with regard to Samson: “And Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines” (Judges 14:1), and it is written in the Torah passage concerning the incident of Judah and Tamar: “And it was told to Tamar, saying: Behold, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to sheer his sheep” (Genesis 38:13). The verses contain an apparent contradiction as to whether Timnah was a place to which one must descend or a place to which one must ascend. Rabbi Elazar says: These terms do not refer to the manner of traveling to Timnah but are used figuratively. Concerning Samson, who was disgraced there in Timnah, the term indicating descent is written with regard to his journey. Concerning Judah, who was elevated there, the term indicating ascent is written with regard to his journey.
רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל בַּר נַחְמָנִי אָמַר שְׁתֵּי תִּמְנָאוֹת הָיוּ חֲדָא בִּירִידָה וַחֲדָא בַּעֲלִיָּה Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says differently: There were two cities named Timnah, one was reached by descent into a valley, and one was reached by ascent.
רַב פָּפָּא אָמַר חֲדָא תִּמְנָה הֲוַאי דְּאָתֵי מֵהַאי גִּיסָא יְרִידָה וּדְאָתֵי מֵהַאי גִּיסָא עֲלִיָּה כְּגוֹן וַרְדּוֹנְיָא וּבֵי בָארֵי וְשׁוּקָא דְנַרֶשׁ Rav Pappa said differently: There was one Timnah, and it was located on the slope of a mountain. One who came from this side reached it by descent, and one who came from that side reached it by ascent. The Gemara presents examples of such cities: For example: Vardonia, and Bei Varei, and the market of Neresh.
וַתֵּשֶׁב בְּפֶתַח עֵינַיִם אָמַר רַבִּי אֲלֶכְּסַנְדְּרִי מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהָלְכָה וְיָשְׁבָה לָהּ בְּפִתְחוֹ שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ מָקוֹם שֶׁכׇּל עֵינַיִם צוֹפוֹת לִרְאוֹתוֹ רַבִּי חָנִין אָמַר רַב מָקוֹם הוּא שֶׁשְּׁמוֹ עֵינַיִם וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר תַּפּוּחַ וְהָעֵינָם The verse states with regard to Tamar: “And she put off from her the garments of her widowhood, and covered herself with her veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the entrance of Enaim [befetaḥ einayim], which is by the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she was not given unto him to wife” (Genesis 38:14). The amora’im dispute the meaning of the word einayim. Rabbi Alexandri says: This teaches that she went and she sat at the entrance of the home of Abraham our forefather, a place that all eyes hope to see it, as she was certain that Judah would pass there. Rabbi Ḥanin says that Rav says: It is a place called Enaim, and similarly the verse states in the list of cities in Eretz Yisrael in the portion of Judah: “Tappuah and Enam” (Joshua 15:34).
רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל בַּר נַחְמָנִי אָמַר שֶׁנָּתְנָה עֵינַיִם לִדְבָרֶיהָ כְּשֶׁתְּבָעָהּ אָמַר לָהּ שֶׁמָּא נׇכְרִית אַתְּ אָמְרָה לֵיהּ גִּיּוֹרֶת אֲנִי שֶׁמָּא אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ אַתְּ אָמְרָה לֵיהּ פְּנוּיָה אֲנִי שֶׁמָּא קִיבֵּל בִּךְ אָבִיךָ קִידּוּשִׁין אָמְרָה לֵיהּ יְתוֹמָה אֲנִי שֶׁמָּא טְמֵאָה אַתְּ אָמְרָה לֵיהּ טְהוֹרָה אֲנִי Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says: She provided eyes [einayim] for her statements, i.e., with her words she provided an opening [petaḥ] for Judah to solicit her. When Judah solicited her to engage in sexual intercourse with him, he first attempted to verify her status and said to her: Are you perhaps are a gentile? She said to him: I am a convert. He asked: Perhaps you are a married woman? She said to him: I am an unmarried woman. He asked: Perhaps your father accepted betrothal for you and you are unaware of it? She said to him: I am an orphan. He asked: Maybe you are impure? She said to him: I am pure.
וַיִּטַּע אֶשֶׁל בִּבְאֵר שָׁבַע אָמַר רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ מְלַמֵּד שֶׁעָשָׂה פַּרְדֵּס וְנָטַע בּוֹ כׇּל מִינֵי מְגָדִים The Gemara discusses Abraham’s house: It is written: “And he planted an eshel in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God” (Genesis 21:33). Reish Lakish says: This teaches that Abraham made an orchard and planted in it all kinds of sweet things.
רַבִּי יְהוּדָה וְרַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה חַד אָמַר פַּרְדֵּס וְחַד אָמַר פּוּנְדָּק בִּשְׁלָמָא לְמַאן דְּאָמַר פַּרְדֵּס הַיְינוּ דִּכְתִיב וַיִּטַּע אֶלָּא לְמַאן דְּאָמַר פּוּנְדָּק מַאי וַיִּטַּע כְּדִכְתִיב וַיִּטַּע אׇהֳלֵי אַפַּדְנוֹ וְגוֹ׳ The tanna’im Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Neḥemya disagree as to the meaning of the word “eshel.” One said that it means an orchard [pardes], and one said that it means an inn [pundak]. The Gemara continues: Granted, according to the one who said that it means an orchard, this is what is written: “And he planted,” and this is suitable language for an orchard. But according to the one who said that he opened an inn, what is the meaning of the phrase “and he planted”? The Gemara answers: As it is written: “And he shall plant [vayitta] the tents of his palace between the seas and the beauteous holy mountain; and he shall come to his end, and none shall help him” (Daniel 11:45), indicating that the word vayitta, and he planted, is also used to indicate pitching tents.
וַיִּקְרָא שָׁם בְּשֵׁם ה׳ אֵל עוֹלָם אָמַר רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ אַל תִּיקְרֵי וַיִּקְרָא The verse there states: “And he planted an eshel in Beersheba, and called there [vayyikra] on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God” (Genesis 21:33). Reish Lakish said: Do not read this word literally as “vayyikra,” and he called,