Judges Chapter 15

Samson had been raised as a Nazarite by his parents, with the hopes in helping to deliver Israel from bondage. This was the promise from the Lord, before he had been born, if he would remain faithful to his covenants. After he was married out of the covenant, he was deceived by his philistine wife, and had left her. His story continues:

1 But it came to pass within a while after, in the time of wheat harvest, that Samson visited his wife with a kid; and he said, I will go in to my wife into the chamber. But her father would not suffer him to go in.
2 And her father said, I verily thought that thou hadst utterly hated her; therefore I gave her to thy companion: is not her younger sister fairer than she? take her, I pray thee, instead of her.

Samson returned to his wife some time later, but her father had given her to the old companion of Samson. His father-in-law offered his younger daughter to Samson.

3 And Samson said concerning them, Now shall I be more blameless than the Philistines, though I do them a displeasure.
4 And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails.
5 And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives.

Samson felt he could go against the Philistines, with reason, and would be blameless in his retribution. He burned the crops of the Philistines. I don’t think that he would have truly been blameless here. He was angry at what had been done to him, so he destroyed their property out of vengeance.

6 Then the Philistines said, Who hath done this? And they answered, Samson, the son in law of the Timnite, because he had taken his wife, and given her to his companion. And the Philistines came up, and burnt her and her father with fire.

The Philistines worked out that Samson had burned their crops, because his father-in-law had given his wife away. They took the wife of Samson, and her father, or her father’s house, and burned them with fire.

7 And Samson said unto them, Though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease.
8 And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam.

Samson declared to them that he would avenge them, and it sounds like he destroyed the Philistines who had killed his wife. Then he went to the rock Etam to dwell. I don’t think Samson was going to hold on to any additional grudges against the Philistines, but did what he thought was fair retribution for what was taken from him.

9 Then the Philistines went up, and pitched in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi.
10 And the men of Judah said, Why are ye come up against us? And they answered, To bind Samson are we come up, to do to him as he hath done to us.
11 Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? what is this that thou hast done unto us? And he said unto them, As they did unto me, so have I done unto them.
12 And they said unto him, We are come down to bind thee, that we may deliver thee into the hand of the Philistines. And Samson said unto them, Swear unto me, that ye will not fall upon me yourselves.
13 And they spake unto him, saying, No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand: but surely we will not kill thee. And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him up from the rock.

The Philistines gathered in the land of Judah, to go against Samson for what he had done to their people. 3,000 men of Judah went to Samson in Etam, asking why he had gone against the Philistines who ruled over them. He told them that he had reason to, after what the Philistines had done to him. The men of Judah told Samson that they intended on taking him, bound, to the Philistines. Samson had the men swear that they would not attack him or kill him themselves. They agreed and took Samson down from Etam, bound with new cords.

14 And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.
15 And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith.
16 And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.
17 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramath-lehi.

As he was brought into Lehi, where the Philistines waited, the Philistines shouted at him. The gift of strength from the Spirit of the Lord gave Samson the ability to loose himself from the bands. He found the jawbone of an ass and used it to kill a thousand Philistines. When he was done, he threw the jawbone away from himself. Considering his vow as a nazarite, which included not touching any carcass, I wonder about the choice in his weapon. Additionally, he was not told by the Lord to go and kill these Philistine men. Rather, he killed them for what had been done to him before. I think it might have been another case of not really living the covenant.

18 And he was sore athirst, and called on the Lord, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?
19 But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof En-hakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day.
20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

Samson felt he would die from thirst, so he pleaded with the Lord to help him so that he would fall into the hands of his enemies. God split a hollow, or a basin as the footnote says, and water came out for Samson to drink. Then he was no longer weak from thirst. He became the judge of Israel for twenty years, during the time when the Philistines ruled over them.

Even with the many times that Samson had not lived up to a lot of the covenant of a nazarite, the Lord continued to allow him to have the gift of strength. The Lord is long-suffering with our choices of disobedience. He will give us the opportunities we need to repent and return to Him, but eventually there will come a time, when the Lord will have to let the consequences of our own actions determine the blessings we have. This time for Samson, would come in the next chapter.

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