Judges 16:25
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,

Did he sing or dance? How did entertainment work those days?

  • 2
    Without any supporting evidence in scripture (and there are reasons for not shaming the memory of Samson by recording the events) this has to be a matter of sheer conjecture and opinion. Voted to close on that ground.
    – Nigel J
    Oct 29 '20 at 12:52
  • Hi Norman, welcome to BHSE! Please do take the Site Tour when you get a chance to learn more about how the site works, and what kind of questions/answers to expect here. As Nigel has said, this question is probably just going to come down to personal opinion. But then again, sometimes the only way to find that out is to ask - thanks for contributing.
    – Steve Taylor
    Oct 29 '20 at 13:53

There are two ways to understand this verse; either

  1. They wanted to gloat about their victory of their enemy( שָׂחַק = laugh at), Samson, and so jeer at him
  2. They wanted him to dance or perform to entertain them (צְחַק laugh or perform).

The two verbs are capable of meaning both. Thus, I believe they intended both. The Pulpit commentary observes:

That he may make us sport. And he made them sport. The two verbs are not the same in Hebrew, but they have much the same meaning. It is not certain whether the idea conveyed is that of the A.V., that Samson was brought there to be as it were baited by the populace, jeered and jested at, reviled and reproached, perhaps struck or pelted; or whether the words do not simply mean to dance with music, which is certainly the meaning of the latter verb (he made sport before them, A.V. and margin) in 1 Samuel 18:7 (played, A.V.; see ver. 6); 2 Samuel 6:5, 21; 1 Chronicles 13:8; 1 Chronicles 15:29.

Benson also observes:

Jdg 16:25. Call for Samson, that he may make us sport — May be the subject of our mirth and derision. Thus Christ was made the subject of the sport and derision of the chief priests and elders, Matthew 26:67-68, and of the Roman soldiers, Matthew 27:29. No doubt they loaded him with bitter scoffs and indignities, and perhaps required of him some proofs of the more than ordinary strength yet remaining in him, like the ruins of a great and goodly building. By this, it seems, he lulled them asleep, until, through this complaisance, he prepared the way for that which he designed.

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