1. Judges 16:25 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

What did the entertainment consist of?

Judges 16:25 (ESV)

25 And when their hearts were merry, they said, “Call Samson, that he may entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. They made him stand between the pillars.

The text gives us very little detail about the entertainment Samson gave the Philistines. The text uses two Hebrew words for entertain. When the Philistines call for Samson that he may entertain us, the word that is used will often have the meanings of to make sport and to play (including instruments, singing, and dancing; e.g., 2 Samuel 6:5; Jeremiah 30:19; Jeremiah 31:4; Job 40:20; Proverbs 31:25). When the narrator says that Samson entertained them, he uses a word that has the basic meaning of to laugh, as well as to make sport, “to joke and to make fun of." So it is commonly proposed that Samson was made to dance or sing for the crowd’s amusement.1 What we can know for sure that the powerless, pitiful, and blind Samson is brought out of prison, placed between the pillars, appearing before the enemy as a pathetic shell of his former self. The Philistines had always wanted to bind Samson so that they could torment him (Judges 16:5–6, Judges 16:19). Now that desire is given satisfaction.2