Judges 16:30 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 16:30, NIV: Samson said, 'Let me die with the Philistines!' Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.

Judges 16:30, ESV: And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life.

Judges 16:30, KJV: And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.

Judges 16:30, NASB: And Samson said, 'Let me die with the Philistines!' And he pushed outwards powerfully, so that the house fell on the governors and all the people who were in it. And the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed during his lifetime.

Judges 16:30, NLT: he prayed, 'Let me die with the Philistines.' And the temple crashed down on the Philistine rulers and all the people. So he killed more people when he died than he had during his entire lifetime.

Judges 16:30, CSB: Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines." He pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the leaders and all the people in it. And those he killed at his death were more than those he had killed in his life.

What does Judges 16:30 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Samson's last words to the Lord are a request to die along with an entire building full of the most powerful and influential of all the Philistines. Thousands and men and women are gathered in this temple in Gaza (Judges 16:23–27), including the governors of the five major Philistine cities (Joshua 13:3). Three thousand are above him, perhaps standing in attached balconies, the roof, and other elevated parts of the temple. Samson has prayed for the power to obtain revenge one final time on his hated enemies (Judges 16:28–29). What he's asking for is not "suicide," where his death is the primary goal. Rather, Samson realizes the opportunity he would have—if he were strong enough—to bring down the temple, and he is willing to die to accomplish that goal.

Samson has been standing with one hand on each of the two main pillars supporting the entire building. After this final prayer, he pushes both columns with all the effort he can muster. That he "bent" implies that he stretched or contorted as he pushed, possibly wedging himself between the pillars and pushing them apart with his entire body. God grants Samson's last request, giving him the superhuman strength to collapse the columns, bringing the entire building down in a catastrophic collapse. In a single moment, Samson kills more Philistines than he'd slain during his previous twenty years as a judge (Judges 15:20).

God's purpose for Samson's life was to disrupt the Philistines' sense of comfortable oppression over Israel (Judges 13:5; 14:4). While he acted as a judge, Samson was an agent of chaos against Israel's enemies (Judges 13:1). When he was captured, the Philistines believed they'd ended the threat—only to be caught off guard by their worst defeat, yet. God has used Samson—a deeply flawed, complicated man—to prove a point. Even without using armies, even without a saintly servant, the Lord can bring destruction against Israel's enemies. The Philistines thought their false god Dagon had won a victory, but God used a captive slave to obliterate the entire temple.