History of the Period of the Judges Judges 3:7-16:31, cont’d.
Judges 13:1-16:31 Oppressor: Philistines…Deliverer: Samson, cont’d.
Judges 15:1-20-Samson decides to go see the woman, again. At that point, he did not know that her father had given her to the best man to be married. When he found out, he got angry, caught 300 foxes, tied torches to their tails and let them go in the Philistines crops…destroying them. The Philistines killed the woman and her father with fire. Samson retaliated and killed many of them. The Philistines prepared for war against Judah. 3,000 men from Judah went to Samson and he allowed them to bind him and deliver him to the Philistines. When they took him there..."the Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily" and he broke loose and killed 1,000 men with the jaw of a donkey. He named the place “Ramathlehi” which means, “the hill of the jawbone”. But then he became thirsty and called out to the Lord. The Lord heard his cry and caused water to flow from a hollow place in the rocks. Samson then named the place “Enhakkore”, which means “the spring of the caller.”
Samson judged Israel for 20 years.
Judges 16:1-3-Samson meets a prostitute in Gaza. The Gazites tried to trap him...but he escaped and carried the city doors, doorposts, and door bar 38 miles, mostly uphill, to Hebron.
Judges 16:4-31-Samson meets Delilah, a Philistine. Their leaders paid her to discover the source of his strength. Three times Samson deceives her, but she "pressed him daily with her words and urged him, that his soul was annoyed to death" (:16). You would think that he would have learned a lesson in a previous relationship with another woman (cf. 14:17). It seems that his taste in women was neither very good…nor godly. Finally, he told her about his Nazarite vow. While he slept she called a man to cut off his hair, "Then she began to afflict him, and his strength left him" (:19). When he realized that the Philistines were attacking him he jumped up and expected to fight them off as before. However, his immoral behavior had finally caught up with him and he had not even noticed…”But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him” (:20). The Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes. They made him a prisoner in Gaza. Over time Samson's hair began to grow out. The Philistines gathered to worship their god, Dagon. They celebrated that he had given Samson to them and brought him into the arena as a public display. Samson realized that his strength had returned. Samson stood between two of the primary support columns of the building and pushed them until they gave way. This collapsed the building on everyone...killing more at one time than he had killed previously all together.
Apostasy of the Period of the Judges Judges 17:1-21:25
Judges 17-21-The rest of the book is not in chronological order…but it shows several more instances of the cycle of apostasy by Israel.
Judges 17:1-13 Seen in a Family (Micah)
Judges 17:1-13-Micah of Ephraim stole some money from his mother. She did not know he was the one who stole it. She had cursed the money. He was so afraid that the curse might affect him that he admitted what he had done and returned the money. She then tried to remove the curse by dedicating the money to the LORD by using part of it to make a graven image (silver over wood) and a molten image (solid silver). They were in his house in a shrine along with other objects. He made one of his sons a priest. At the time there was no king..."and every man did what was right in his own eyes." A Levite from Bethlehem left there to find a place to live and came to Micah's home. Micah paid him to be his personal priest. Micah thought that the LORD would bless him because he had his own priest (:13). But all he had was the superficial appearances of religion…not a true faith in God.
Prayer: Father, Samson could have been such a great leader. But he allowed his lusts to lead him, instead. It’s easy to sit here and pass judgment on him. He should have seen what happened coming from a mile away. But that’s just the problem…for him, it wasn’t a mile away. It was right there, in the moment. Lord, don’t let me be deceived. Don’t let me get so caught up into anything, into any situation, to the degree that I lose sight of what is right, or wrong. Don’t ever let me think that I am strong enough to handle some temptation. Help me to see it coming from a mile away…and to run the opposite direction!