Arose at midnight; being either smitten in conscience for his sin, when he first awaked, and thence fearing danger, as he had just cause to do; or being secretly warned by God in a dream, or by an inward impulse, for the prevention of his designed destruction.
The doors of the gate of the city; not the great gates, but lesser doors made in them, and strengthened with distinct posts and bars.
Went away with them; the watchmen not expecting him till morning, and therefore being now retired into the sides or upper part of the gate-house, as the manner now is, to get some rest, whereby to fit themselves for their hard service intended in the morning; or if some of them were in his way, he could easily and speedily strike them dead, and break the door, whilst the rest were partly astonished with the surprise, and partly preparing themselves for resistance: nor durst they pursue him, whom they now again perceived to have such prodigious strength and courage; and to be so much above the fear of them, that he did not run away with all speed, but went leisurely, having so great a weight on his shoulders, wherewith they knew he could both defend himself and offend them.
Up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron; either,
1. To a hill near Hebron, which was above twenty miles from Gaza; or,
2. To the top of a high hill not far from Gaza, which looked towards Hebron, which also stood upon another high hill, and might be seen from this place, though it was at a great distance from it. And Samson did this not out of vain ostentation, but as an evidence of his great strength, for the encouragement of his people to join with him more vigorously for their own deliverance than yet they had done, or durst do, and for the greater terror and contempt of the Philistines. It may seem strange that Samson immediately after so foul a sin should have the courage in himself, and the strength from God, for so great a work. But,
1. It is probable that Samson had in some measure repented of his sin, and begged of God pardon and assistance, which also he perceived by instinct that God would afford him.
2. This singular strength and courage was not in itself a grace, but a gift, which might have been in a graceless person, and therefore might continue in a good man, notwithstanding a heinous act of sin; and it was such a gift as did not depend upon the disposition of his mind, but upon the right ordering of his body, by the rule given to him, and others of that order.