Judges 16:31 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 16:31, NIV: Then his brothers and his father's whole family went down to get him. They brought him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had led Israel twenty years.

Judges 16:31, ESV: Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had judged Israel twenty years.

Judges 16:31, KJV: Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.

Judges 16:31, NASB: Then his brothers and all his father’s household came down and took him, and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. So he had judged Israel for twenty years.

Judges 16:31, NLT: Later his brothers and other relatives went down to get his body. They took him back home and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol, where his father, Manoah, was buried. Samson had judged Israel for twenty years.

Judges 16:31, CSB: Then his brothers and his father's whole family came down, carried him back, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. So he judged Israel twenty years.

What does Judges 16:31 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Samson is dead. Powerful Philistine leaders and influencers lay crushed along with him in the rubble of a collapsed temple (Judges 16:24–30). Israel is still under Philistine control, but the Lord has accomplished His exact purposes through Samson's life. He has used Samson to begin to save Israel from the Philistines (Judges 13:5). The Philistines had grown lazy and comfortable in their rule over Israel (Judges 13:1). Samson's chaotic life shattered that sense of security, and his death was a catastrophe which wiped out innumerable Philistine leaders. This will set the stage for later heroes, such as Samuel, to complete Israel's liberation from their oppressors (1 Samuel 7:11–14).

For the first time in many years, Samson's family makes an appearance. The text reminds us that Samson's formerly barren mother had more sons after him (Judges 13:2–4). Those sons, Samson's brothers, come to Gaza to collect his body. Perhaps they were given permission from the Philistines. Or, more likely, Samson's act of self-sacrifice has scrambled the Philistine power structure; in the immediate aftermath, there's no one with enough authority to stop them.

The family brings Samson's body back to the place where he grew up. They bury him between Zorah and Eshtaol (Joshua 15:33; 19:40–41), perhaps near the place where the Spirit of the Lord first began to stir in him (Judges 13:25). He is buried in the family tomb alongside his father Manoah.

Samson was unique among the judges of Israel (Judges 2:16–19). Yet, like all the others, he was God's chosen instrument, and the designated rescuer of his people during this twenty year stretch of Israel's history.