And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.
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Ambrose of Milan
For many years the Philistines held the Hebrews in subjection after their surrender, for they had lost the prestige of faith by which their fathers had gained victory. Yet the mark of their election and the ties of their heritage had not been entirely obliterated by their Creator. But, because they were often puffed up by success, he delivered them for the most part into the power of the enemy, so that with manly dignity they would seek from heaven the remedy of their ills. We submit to God at a time when we are overwhelmed by other reverses; success puffs up the mind. This is proved not only in other matters but especially in that change of fortune by which success returned again from the Philistines to the Hebrews. - "Letter 35"
Years. It is not clear whence this sixth and longest servitude is to be dated. If it terminated at the death of Samson, when the Philistines lost their chief nobility, we must allow that the Israelites began to be obliged to pay tribute in the 6th year of Abesan. (In the year before Christ 1193, Salien) Chap. xii. 8. (Haydock)
Marsham dates from the third month after the death of Jair, to the third year of Samuel, during which period Heli governed in one part, and Jephte, Abesan, Ahialon, and Abdon in other provinces of Palestine. It is not very material which of these systems be adopted, as they do not contradict the text. All Israel was not reduced under the power of the Philistines; but the neighbouring tribes were infested with their incursions, and were obliged to pay tribute. Juda complains at their invading his territory, and they allege that it was because Samson had been the aggressor, which shows that the Israelites retained some little liberty, chap. xv. 9. (Calmet)