And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her,.... Having heard that Samson kept company with her, she being a noted strumpet, like Lais among the Grecians. These were in number five, as appears from Judges 3:3 and had under them five principalities, into which Palestine was divided; and these, if not united in their government, which possibly might be the case at this time, yet were united against their common enemy Samson; and being great personages, it is thought by some they came not themselves to this harlot's house, but sent a deputation of five persons in their names, though the text is very express here and after: they are said to come up to her, because their country lay on the shore of the sea, and lower than Judea:
and said unto her, entice him; persuade him with soothing and flattering words; take an opportunity when in an amorous mood to improve her interest in his affections:
and see wherein his great strength lieth; for it might not appear by the size of his body, or from his natural constitution, and in the common actions of life, but only at certain times, and as it should seem when he pleased; and he might have been heard to say that it was a secret he kept to himself, and no man knew it; or they might suspect something of magic in the case, that he carried something about with him, which, if it could be gotten from him, would deprive him of his strength:
and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him; to humble him, bring him low, and reduce him to the common condition of men; they did not propose to kill him, which they might think she would not agree to, and so reject their proposal at once, but at most to distress him, and to chastise him with mockings and scourgings, bonds and imprisonment, for the mischief he had indeed done them, and prevent him from doing more:
and we will give thee, everyone of us, eleven hundred pieces of silver or shekels; it may seem strange that they should promise each 1100: some think their principalities offered each 1000 shekels, and the princes themselves one hundred; but Abarbinel supposes that this was, on some account or another, in those times an usual sum or computation, since the same is mentioned in the following chapter; though it may be observed that these five several sums put together make a round number, 5500 pieces of silver; which, taking them to be shekels, according to WaserusF4De Antiquis Numis, l. 2. c. 5. : they amounted to 1375 rix dollars, and of Helvetian money 3666 pounds, and a little more, and of our money near seven hundred pounds sterling; a considerable bribe, and very tempting to a person of such a character, and which she readily embraced, as appears by what follows.