Judges 16:25 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 16:25, NIV: While they were in high spirits, they shouted, 'Bring out Samson to entertain us.' So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. When they stood him among the pillars,

Judges 16:25, ESV: 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.

Judges 16:25, KJV: And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.

Judges 16:25, NASB: It so happened when they were in high spirits, that they said, 'Call for Samson, that he may amuse us.' So they called for Samson from the prison, and he entertained them. And they made him stand between the pillars.

Judges 16:25, NLT: Half drunk by now, the people demanded, 'Bring out Samson so he can amuse us!' So he was brought from the prison to amuse them, and they had him stand between the pillars supporting the roof.

Judges 16:25, CSB: When they were in good spirits, they said, "Bring Samson here to entertain us." So they brought Samson from prison, and he entertained them. They had him stand between the pillars.

What does Judges 16:25 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

A huge celebration is going on in Gaza. The rulers of the Philistines have come from their five cities (Joshua 13:3). These nobles, and presumably the wealthiest and most influential of their people, have gathered for a party in honor of their false god Dagon (Judges 16:23–24). The dreaded and feared Israelite Samson has finally been captured, drained of his supernatural strength, and blinded. As far as they know, the brutal threat posed by Samson has ended.

When the party really gets going, people call for Samson to be brought out to entertain them. The expression that "their hearts were merry" is sometimes associated with drunkenness (1 Samuel 25:36; Esther 1:10). Instead of keeping Samson tightly bound in slave labor (Judges 16:21), they want to mock him in public. Samson is brought into the temple building and made to stand before them all between the two central pillars of the building.

The way in which Samson is made to "entertain" the Philistines is not described. Perhaps it was simply the opportunity to look at Samson in his current pathetic condition. Perhaps he was made to navigate obstacles in his blindness. It's also possible, but not as likely, that they knew his strength had returned (Judges 16:22) and made him demonstrate it in some controlled way. That Samson is about to pray for great strength seems to contradict that possibility, as well (Judges 16:28). Whatever was done to him, the once fearsome Samson was joyfully mocked by thousands of Philistines. This decision will not end well for the oppressors of Israel (Judges 13:1, 5; 16:30).