1. Judges 16:3 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Why is this brief story here?

Judges 16:3 (ESV)

3 But Samson lay till midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts, and pulled them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron.

Why is it that among all the exploits during Samson’s twenty years of judging that the author singled out this particular episode? It seems to be that the author includes this story because of the presence of the woman. The author is presenting a pattern that highlights a central part of Samson’s life. Robert Alter points out, Samson passes through a series of three women who mark the spectrum of female sexual partners-wife, whore, and mistress [a pattern of] two protracted involvements sandwiching a one-night stand.1 Judges 16:1–3 fits in with what goes before and after. It is the pivot on which the entire account of Samson’s adult life turns. It cements for us who Samson is: a promiscuous, pleasure-seeking man, who is virtually unstoppable.2