“And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron” (Judges 16:3).
Samson’s God-given physical strength was amazing. He killed a lion as if it were a lamb (Jud. 14:6). He killed 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass (Jud. 15:15). And he removed an entire city gate. Gaza was the Philistine’s chief city and was fortified with high walls and a large gate at least 10 feet high and 10 feet wide that was strong enough to withstand an attacking army. The gate at Ashdod, a lesser Philistine city, was 10 feet wide (M. Dothan, “The Foundation of Tel More and of Ashdod,” Israel Exploration Journal, 23, 1973, I, pp. 10-11), and the walls of Ekron, also a lesser city, were nine feet thick (“Ekron - A Philistine City,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nov. 23, 1999). The Gaza gate would have consisted of two thick doors that could be barred, and the side posts probably turned in stone sockets. Many of the ancient gates were also covered with metal or at least reinforced with metal bands. Samson pulled up the barred gate with the side posts attached and carried the whole thing off. It was as if he pulled a flower out of the ground, yet Dr. William Barrick computed the weight of the gate and posts to have been between five and ten tons (“Samson’s Removal of Gaza’s Gates,” drbarrick.org, n.d.) And Samson carried the gate to Hebron, which was 36 miles away and 3,200 feet higher in altitude! Samson is a fascinating but ultimately sad case. He was a God-called judge who could subdue the Philistines, but he could not subdue his own sensual appetites.
(Friday Church News Notes, April 4, 2014, www.wayoflife.org email@example.com, 866-295-4143)