And they spoke unto him, saying, No; but we will bind you securely, and deliver you into their hand: but surely we will not kill you. And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him up from the rock.
Read Chapter 15
Ambrose of Milan
Samson still did not content himself with this wrong against the Philistines, nor was he content with what he had done in revenge. He slaughtered them in a great orgy of bloodshed, and many died by the sword. He then went to Elam to a stream in the desert. The rock there was a fortification belonging to the tribe of Judah. The Philistines, who did not dare attack him or to climb the steep and hazardous fortification, denounced the tribe of Judah and rose up, urging the tribe to battle. They saw that justice would be done otherwise, if the men, who were their subjects and paid tribute, seemed about to lose a rightful and fair treatment in public affairs just because of another’s crime. In consolation, they demanded that they hand over the perpetrator of such a crime and on this condition they would be unharmed.
The men of the tribe of Judah, hearing this stipulation, gathered three thousand of their men and went up to him, maintaining that they were the subjects of the Philistines and had to obey them, not from choice but through fear of danger. They put the blame for their deed upon those who had the right to force them. Then he said, “And what form of justice is it, O race of the sons of Abraham, that the wrong of first betrothing and then stealing my spouse should be my punishment, and that one may not avenge with impunity a wrong done to one’s home? Are you stooping in submission to little domestic slaves? Will you make yourselves agents of another’s insolence and turn your own hands upon yourselves? If I must die for the sorrow which is understandably mine, I will gladly die at the hands of the Philistines. My home has been assailed, my wife has been harassed. If I may not live without their evil deeds, at least I may die without crimes being committed by my people. Have I not returned an injury which I received? Have I inflicted it? Consider whether the exchange was a fitting one. They complain of damage to their crops; I, the loss of my wife. Compare sheaves of wheat and the marital union. They have themselves seen proof of my pain, the injuries which they have avenged. See what service they consider you worthy of. They want the one put to death whom they thought should be avenged, whom they injured, and to whom they gave the weapon of revenge. If you bring my neck to bend to the proud, hand me over to the enemy, but do not yourselves kill me. I do not shrink from death, but I dread your being contaminated. If you yield to those insolent men through fear, bind my hands with cords. Defenseless though they be, they will find their weapons in the knotted cords. Surely, the enemy must think you have made sufficient payment of your promise if you deliver me alive into their power.”
In answer, the three thousand who had climbed up the mountain gave him an oath that they would not use force against his life provided he would wear chains, so that they could hand him over and free themselves of the crime with which they were charged. - "Letter 35"