History of the Period of the Judges Judges 3:7-16:31, cont’d.
Judges 10:6-12:7 Oppressor: Ammonites…Deliverer: Jephthah, cont’d.
Judges 12:1-7-The tribe of Ephraim was angry that they were not included in the battle against Ammon...so, they attacked Gilead...but lost. This is the second time that something like this has happened (cf. 8:1). Why is it that some people always want to complain that they were not included…but were unwilling to come when there was uncertainty about what would happen? Jepthah corrected the course of events and then went to battle against them and won. He taunted them by suggesting that the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh that lived on the east side of the Jordan had deserted their bothers on the west side (:4).
Judges 12:8-10 Judge: Ibzan
He was judge for 7 years.
Judges 12:11-12 Judge: Elon
He was judge for 8 years.
Judges 12:13-15 Judge: Abdon
He was judge for 8 years.
Judges 12:7-15-Jephthah judged Israel for 6 years, Ibzan of Bethlehem for 7 years, Elon the Zebulunite for 10 years, Abdon the Pirathonite for 8 years.
Judges 13:1-16:31 Oppressor: Philistines…Deliverer: Samson
Judges 13:1-Israel sins and God gave them into the hands of the Philistines for 40 years.
Judges 13:2-7-Manoah's (a Danite) wife is barren and an angel appeared to her (:3,6)…"a man of God...like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome". She is told that she will bear a son and he is to be a Nazarite and that he will deliver Israel. She told her husband Manoah and that she had not asked the angel’s name or where he was from.
For a Jewish explanation of what a Nazarite was see:
Judges 13:8-23-Manoah prayed and asked God to send the "man of God" again to teach them what to do. The angel appeared again to the wife, but not Manoah. She went and got Manoah. The angel gave instructions for the wife as well. Manoah "did not know that he was the angel of the LORD." Manoah asks, "What is your name?" The angel tells them, "Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?" The word "wonderful" means...beyond comprehension. Could it be that the angel is telling Manoah that by this time he should have recognized who he was...that his very countenance, his appearance revealed who he was? There is also the connection with the description of the miracles of God in the exodus as being wonderful...it could be that the angel is connecting himself with that and expecting Manoah to also make the connection. Manoah understood enough that he made a sacrifice to the LORD. The angel performed a miracle with the sacrifice and ascended up in its smoke.
Judges 13:24-25-The woman had a son and named him Samson.
Judges 14:1-4-Samson fell in love with a Philistine woman from Timnah and wanted her for his wife. His parents discouraged it. But it was of the LORD..."seeking an occasion against the Philistines..."
Judges 14:5-7-Samson and his parents went to Timnah. Samson is attacked by a lion on the way. He kills it with his bare hands, but does not tell his parents. He went and visited the woman and she is very appealing to him.
Judges 14:8-20-Samson later went to take her as his wife. Along the way he stopped to look at the dead lion carcass and there was a swarm of honeybees in it. He ate some of the honey and also gave some to his parents. Touching a dead animal violated his Nazarite vow (Numbers 6:6). 30 men gather for the celebration. Samson tells them a riddle about the lion and the honey. They cannot figure it out and stand to lose the bet. So, they threaten Samson's wife if she doesn’t find out the answer. She wept for 7 days of the feast and told Samson that the reason he wouldn’t tell her is because he didn’t love her. Samson caves in and tells her the answer. She immediately tells the men and they then give Samson the answer. He knows that the only way they have the answer is because his wife told them. His response to them shows that he was not happy with his wife…”If you had not plowed with my hefer, you would not have found out my riddle” (:18). Samson went to Ashkelon (a Philistine city about 23 miles away on the Mediterranean coast) and killed 30 men to get their clothing to pay for the bet. But in the meantime, his wife was given to his friend (the best man) to be his wife.
Prayer: Lord, help me to live for You. Not just a vow…but a true submission of my life to You. Let Your Holy Spirit live through me in such a way that others will give You praise and many will come to faith in You.