OT History Part 1 – Judges 13-14

Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.
A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”
Then the woman went to her husband and told him, “A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name. But he said to me, ‘You will become pregnant and have a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from the womb until the day of his death.’”
Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.”
God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her. The woman hurried to tell her husband, “He’s here! The man who appeared to me the other day!”
Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the man who talked to my wife?”
“I am,” he said.
So Manoah asked him, “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that governs the boy’s life and work?”
The angel of the Lord answered, “Your wife must do all that I have told her. She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her.”
Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.”
The angel of the Lord replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord.” (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the Lord.)
Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?”
He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.” Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the Lord. And the Lord did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord.
“We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!”
But his wife answered, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.”
The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

  • Judges 13:1-25

Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.”
His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?”
But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.” (His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)
Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done. Then he went down and talked with the woman, and he liked her.
Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.
Now his father went down to see the woman. And there Samson held a feast, as was customary for young men. When the people saw him, they chose thirty men to be his companions.
“Let me tell you a riddle,” Samson said to them. “If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes. If you can’t tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.”
“Tell us your riddle,” they said. “Let’s hear it.”
He replied,
“Out of the eater, something to eat;
    out of the strong, something sweet.”
For three days they could not give the answer.
On the fourth day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father’s household to death. Did you invite us here to steal our property?”
Then Samson’s wife threw herself on him, sobbing, “You hate me! You don’t really love me. You’ve given my people a riddle, but you haven’t told me the answer.”
“I haven’t even explained it to my father or mother,” he replied, “so why should I explain it to you?” She cried the whole seven days of the feast. So on the seventh day he finally told her, because she continued to press him. She in turn explained the riddle to her people.
Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to him,
“What is sweeter than honey?
    What is stronger than a lion?”
Samson said to them,
“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
    you would not have solved my riddle.”
Then the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of everything and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he returned to his father’s home. And Samson’s wife was given to one of his companions who had attended him at the feast.

  • Judges 14:1-20

Noted Biblical Scholars, Teachers, and Preachers Comments

Judges 13 ‘Introduction’: “By the time of Samson (ca. 1075 B.C.), the Philistines had arrived in full strength and were well established on the southern coast of Palestine. Prior to the twelfth century B.C., the Israelites had dealt only with isolated trade colonies of Philistines. Over the years the Philistines had been driven from Crete by pressures from other invaders from the north. As part of the Peoples of the Sea (ca. 1200 B.C.) they had both invaded Egypt and served as mercenaries in the armies that defended Egypt. They received Egyptian permission to settle in Palestine where, by this time, they were in the process of establishing a small mercantile empire over the Israelites and other indigenous peoples. The Philistines brought to this effort a superior military organization and training as well as an advanced metals technology (1 Sam. 13:19-22). They brought the Iron Age to Palestine and gave their name to the region. This is the context in which Samson exercises his judgeship.
“Of the six examples of the recurrent pattern, the Samson account is the only one that does not specifically mention the people ‘crying out’ in repentance. The account consists of a number of miraculous events tightly structured around three periods of Samson’s life: his birth, his rise to the judgeship, and his fall. The Bible credits Samson only with beginning the deliverance of Israel (13:5); his work as a deliverer was never complete. The miracles in Samson’s life are difficult for many people to accept. Samson lived in an age when fabulous, miraculous events were expected. It is not strange that an omnipotent God would work miracles in such an age.”

  • Walter A. Elwell, editor, Baker Commentary on the Bible

Judges 13:1 ‘Sane people saw the angels of the Lord’: “We are aware that throughout the Old Testament and in the New Testament as well, wonderful heavenly and angelic creatures walked among the people of God. Angels came to Abraham —three of them. And to Jacob. Strange beings came to Gideon as he was threshing. An angel came to Samson’s mother when she was in the field. She dashed home to tell her husband. ‘Come back with me and see this wonderful man!’
“Were these disturbed, unbalanced, insane people? Were they fanatics? No. They were normal, sane people. Their subsequent lives and experiences proved it. But in matters of faith, worship, and obedience, they had been in touch with another world, a world largely invisible. They had heard another and more compelling voice. They had seen an other-worldly vision and had communed with the powers of the world to come.”

  • A. W. Tozer, Men Who Met God

Judges 13:2-25 ‘Samson’s birth’: “The record of Samson’s birth (13:2-25) contains several miraculous elements which serve as signs that God is working with his people. First, Samson is a miracle child. His mother is barren, and he is born only through special divine intervention. The angel of the Lord appears to Samson’s mother and promises her a child. She is to drink no wine or other alcoholic drinks, and must not eat anything unclean. The first two restrictions suggest that she, like the Nazirite, has been consecrated to God. The Nazirite restrictions apply to her child as well. Samson’s mother reports all this to her husband.
“This report prompts her husband to request that the oracle be repeated to him as well. Manoah’s request is deemed worthy. The Lord responds to Manoah, but not with instructions about how to bring up the child (Manoah’s prayer). Rather, the instructions already given to the woman are simply confirmed.
“Manoah asks if he might entertain the angel, and the messenger promises to wait until an offering is made to God. Manoah asks the messenger’s name; the angel replies that his name is completely beyond human comprehension. Finally the offering is made and miraculously consumed by a fire from heaven; Manoah realizes that he has dealt with God himself. He falls into a panic, and tells his wife that they are doomed to die. Manoah’s wife maintains a very commonsense attitude toward the whole business. God would not have done all this just to kill them! The mother of the promised deliverer shows true faith.
“After his birth, his mother names the child ‘Samson.’ This name is a derivative of a Semitic word for ‘sun’ and ‘sun-god.’ By this time, however, the name was probably religiously neutral despite its pagan origins. The chapter closes with the observation that Samson is stirred by the spirit of God (v. 25). This may refer to arousing in Samson’s mind a concern for the issues that are essential to God’s purposes.”

  • Walter A. Elwell, editor, Baker Commentary on the Bible

Judges 13:3 ‘the angel of the Lord’: “In this case, it was a preincarnate appearance of the Lord Himself (vv. 6—22), as elsewhere (see note on [Judges] 6:11).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Judges 13:5 ‘Nazirite’: “The word is from the Hebrew ‘to separate.’ For rigid Nazirite restrictions, such as here in Samson’s case… God gave three restrictions: (1) no wine (vv. 3, 4); (2) no razor cutting the hair (v. 5); and (3) no touching a dead body, thus being defiled (v. 6). Such outward actions indicated an inner dedication to God.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Judges 13:5 ‘Deliverance from the Philistines’: “The angel of the Lord, that is, God Himself (Cundall, Judges, p. 63), announced to an Israelite couple that they would give birth to a unique judge, Samson (13:5). Samson, through divinely bestowed supernatural strength, would commence Israel’s deliverance from the oppression of the Philistines.
“Although Samson’s career as a judge was flawed and erratic, still, God worked through him to bring about a series of victories over the Philistines (15:14-17; 16:25-30). At least 4000 Philistines died at his hands (14:19; 15:8, 15; 16:27).
“The deliverance begun through Samson would reach its conclusion when King David won final, lasting victory over the Philistines (2 Samuel 5:25).”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Judges 13:16 ‘offer it to the Lord’: “Manoah needed this explanation because he was going to offer this to Him, not as the Lord, or even an angel, but just a human messenger. The instruction is intended to emphasize that this visitor is indeed the Lord.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Judges 13:18 ‘Our unknowable God’: “Christian theology teaches that God in His essential nature is both inscrutable and ineffable. This by simple definition means that He is incapable of being searched into or understood and that He cannot tell forth or utter what He is. This inability lies not in God but in the limitations of our creaturehood. ‘Why asketh thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?’ (Judges 13:18). Only God knows God in any final meaning of the word ‘know.’ ‘Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God’ (1 Corinthians 2:11).
“To the average Christian today this may sound strange, if not downright confusing, for the temper of religious thinking in our times is definitely not theological. We may live out a full lifetime and die without once having our minds challenged by the sweet mystery of the Godhead if we depend upon the churches to do the challenging. They are altogether too busy playing with shadows and getting ‘adjusted’ to one thing and another to spend much time thinking about God. it might be well, therefore, to consider for a moment longer the divine inscrutability.
“God in His essential being is unique in the only sense that word will bear. That is, there is nothing conceived by the mind because He is ‘altogether other’ than anything with which we have had experience before. The mind has no material with which to start. No man has ever entertained a thought which can be said to describe God in any but the vaguest and most imperfect sense. Where God is known at all it must be otherwise than by our creature-reason.”

  • A. W. Tozer, God’s Pursuit of Man

Judges 13:20 ‘flame went up toward heaven’: “This miraculous act points to divine acceptance of the offering.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Judges 13:22 ‘Do we know what we are asking?’: “Do we always know what we are asking when we pray? We are imploring an undoubted blessing, and yet if we knew the way in which such blessing must necessarily come, we would perhaps hesitate before we pressed our case. Often the blessing we so eagerly implored is the occasion of the suffering we deplore. We do not know God’s methods. This is the Lord’s way of answering prayer for faith and grace. He comes with rods of chastisement, for this alone can he deliver us from our childishness. He comes with sharp plowshares and tears up the soil, for thus only can we be made to yield him a harvest. He comes with hot irons and burns us to the heart. And when we inquire, ‘Why all this?’ the answer comes to us, ‘This is what you asked for. This is the way in which the Lord answers your requests.’ Perhaps, at this moment, the fainting feeling that some of us are experiencing, which makes us fear that we will surely die, may be accounted for by our own prayers. I would like us to look at our present sorrows in that light and say, ‘After all, l can see that now my God has given me exactly what I sought at his hands. I asked to see the angel, and I have seen him, and now my spirit is downcast.’ A second remark is this: frequently deep prostration of spirit is the forerunner of some remarkable blessing. It was to Manoah and his wife the highest conceivable joy of life, the climax of their ambition, that they should be the parents of a son by whom the Lord would begin to deliver Israel. Joy filled them—inexpressible joy—at the thought of it. But at the time when the good news was first communicated, Manoah, at least, was made so heavy in spirit that he said, ‘We’re certainly going to die … because we have seen God.’ Take it as a general rule that dull skies foretell a shower of mercy. We may expect sweet favor when we experience sharp affliction.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Judges 14: 1-4 ‘she pleases me well’: “The Philistines were not among the seven nations of Canaan which Israel was specifically forbidden to marry. Nonetheless, Samson’s choice was misdirected (cf. v. 3). Samson sins here, although God is sovereign and was able to turn the situation to please Him (v. 4). He was not at a loss, but used the opportunity to work against the wicked Philistines and provided gracious help to His people. He achieved destruction of these people, not by an army, but by the miraculous power of one man.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Judges 14:1-4 ‘Samson – a passionate man’: “As Samson reaches maturity, the deeply rooted sensuality dominating his character appears (14:1-4). Samson typifies the man who is clearly chosen by God and who is to be used by God, but who does not let the divine calling temper his own sensual passions. Despite that failure, the miraculous deeds associated with Samson’s unfortunate marriage establish him as judge over the Israelites.
“Samson wants to marry a young Philistine woman from Timnah. By this time, Philistine settlement had progressed into the western foothills (Heb
. sépélah) almost to the edge of the mountain country of Judah. Relations between the Philistines and the Israelites were cordial enough that an intercultural marriage was possible. That social and religious barriers between Philistines and Hebrews still remained is clear from his father’s reference to uncircumcised Philistines (v. 3). ‘Getting’ a wife indicates that Samson, at this point, contemplates a conventional marriage in which the bride joins her husband’s family.
“Samson’s desired marriage is ‘from the Lord’ (v. 4), not in the sense that Samson’s deeds represent God’s positive, moral will. Rather, since Samson is a sensual, impious man, God uses his impiety to create an occasion against the Philistines who are ruling over Israel.”

  • Walter A. Elwell, editor, Baker Commentary on the Bible

Judges 14:5-9 ‘’: “During the marriage negotiations two miraculous wonders occur (14:5-9). First, Samson tears a young lion apart with his bare hands while filled with God’s miraculous power. We must here deal with the issue of Samson and legends. Certainly the Samson account demonstrates literary qualities of a legend. However, assuming that God really worked wonders in the life of Samson, it is not surprising that those wonders are recorded in a literary form similar to the fictional wonder stories of that time. In a setting where God can and does work miracles, this literary form in itself does not prove that the accounts are untrue.
“A second miracle takes place some time later when a swarm of bees takes up residence in the lion’s carcass and produces a supply of honey. Coming from a corpse, this honey would be unclean to any orthodox Israelite and especially to a Nazirite like Samson. Again, Samson shows a flagrant disregard of his spiritual calling and status.”

  • Walter A. Elwell, editor, Baker Commentary on the Bible

Judges 14:8 ‘a slain lion dripping with honey’: “It seems to me that the Israelite hero, with a slain lion in the background, standing out in the open road with his hands full with masses of honeycomb and dripping with honey, which he holds out to his parents, makes a fine picture, worthy of the greatest artist. And what a type we have here of our divine Lord and Master, Jesus, the conqueror of death and hell. He has destroyed the lion that roared over us and over him. He has shouted victory over all our foes. ‘It is finished’ was his note of triumph, and now he stands in the midst of his church with his hands full of sweetness and consolation, presenting them to those of whom he says, ‘For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother’ (Mt 12:50). To each one of us who believe in him, he gives the luscious food he has prepared for us by the overthrow of our foes. He bids us come and eat that we may have our lives sweetened and our hearts filled with joy. The Samson type may also serve as the symbol of every Christian in the world. The believer has been helped by divine grace in his spiritual conflicts, and he has known ‘the victory that has conquered the world: our faith’ (1 Jn 5:4). Now he stands in the midst of others inviting them to Jesus. With the honey in his hands, which he continues to feast on, he displays the heavenly sweetness to all that are round about him, saying, ‘Taste and see that the LORD is good’ (Ps 34:8). I have met with that popular artist, Gustave Dore, [1832-1883] and suggested subjects to him. If another opportunity occurred, I would press him to execute a statue of Samson handing out the honey—strength distributing sweetness. It would serve as a perpetual reminder of what a Christian should be—a conqueror and a comforter, slaying lions and distributing honey. The faithful servant of God wrestles with the powers of evil, but with far greater delight he speaks to his friends, saying, ‘Eat what is good and let your souls delight in sweetness.’ ”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Judges 14:9 ‘He took some … in his hands’: “Some scholars suggest that Samson violated his Nazirite standard by coming in contact with a dead body (see note on 13:5). Others reason that Numbers 6 specifies the body of a person, not an animal. Whether or not he sinned here, the context does show instances of him sinning.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Judges 14:10-20 ‘a wedding gone wrong’: “The details of Samson’s wedding feast (14:10-20) indicate that the bride’s family rejects a conventional marriage with an Israelite in lieu of a “beena” or “sadiqa” marriage. Normally, the feast would be at the groom’s home with the groom’s compatriots serving as his ‘companions.’
“Samson’s feast is at the bride’s home with Philistine companions. Samson’s wedding feast catapaults him into a level of social competition clearly beyond his means. For wealthy aristocrats it is a matter of pride to risk and flaunt wealth with egotistic wagers. Early in the feast, Samson attempts to play his new social role by offering such a wager, a riddle based upon his experience with the honey in the lion’s carcass (v. 14).
“After trying unsuccessfully to solve the riddle for three days, the young Philistines extort the bride’s help by threats of violence (v. 15). This incident demonstrates the insincerity of the cordiality and acceptance which the Philistines had shown to Samson. Samson’s wife pressures him until he finally tells her the answer on the seventh day.
“The conclusion of this drama is economically presented. The companions relate the solution of the riddle at the last moment (v. 18). It is obvious, even to Samson, that his wife has been disloyal. The immediate results are shocking and ominous. Samson, who cannot afford the aristocratic gamble, leaves without consummating the marriage and pays his wager by murdering thirty citizens of Ashkelon and plundering their goods. The bride’s family assumes that Samson no longer wants their daughter. In order to save face, they give her to one of Samson’s Philistine ‘friends.’ “

  • Walter A. Elwell, editor, Baker Commentary on the Bible

Judges 14:12-19 ‘Riddle’: “meaning ‘an enigmatic saying.’ In Samson’s story, the riddle is used in a contest of wits. Proverbs attributes enigmatic sayings to the wise (Prov. 1:6). When the queen of Sheba tested Solomon’s wisdom, her questions are described by this same Hebrew word (1 Kin. 10:1; 2 Chr. 9:1). In the Lord’s confrontation with Miriam and Aaron, God describes Himself as speaking in ‘dark sayings’ (the same Hebrew word) to the prophets, but to Moses face-to-face (Num. 12:6-8). Perhaps Paul had this last concept in mind when he admonished the Corinthians that even someone with the ability to understand all mysteries would not amount to anything if that person did not have the love of God (1 Cor. 13:2).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Judges 14:16-18 ‘Samson’s wife wept’: “She cheated and manipulated, working against Samson’s expectations that the men must come up with the answer. The men also cheated and threatened, having murder in their hearts (v. 15) and putting pressure on the woman.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Judges 14:19 ‘his anger’: “God blesses the one who had been wronged. Samson’s anger may be legitimate—-righteous indignation against deceit (cf. Mark 3:5). The battle with the men at Ashkelon, about twenty-three miles away, was a part of the war between Israel and Philistia.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Judges 14:20 ‘Samson’s wife was given.’: “Another act of treachery was done. The Philistine father had no reason to assume that Samson would not be back, nor had Samson given word about not returning. The father, as a Philistine, did not want his daughter marrying the enemy.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)


My Thoughts

Is it not odd that Manoah wants to know the name of the angel of the Lord, but Manoah’s wife is never identified by name?  She is barren.  There is a pattern here of barren women in the Bible giving birth, but we know the names of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, and even Elizabeth in the New Testament, to name a few.  But Manoah’s wife is only known as Manoah’s wife.  The Angel of the Lord, who is probably the Lord Himself, said His name was not understandable.

Manoah may have distrusted his wife’s account of her vision, but his request toward God was one of humility.  He was a humble Danite.  He might make a mess of the Nazirite ritual (Numbers 6).  God grants Manoah his request, but the Angel of the Lord again appears to Manoah’s wife, and she has to run and get him.  Then “he gets up.”

It does not say what Manoah was doing, but while the unnamed wife of Manoah is working in the field, Manoah must get up to go to the Angel.  Was he napping while she worked hard?  I have written about how the present-day gypsy women in India start their day very early and they never stop working all day.  The women get 80% the pay of the men in this situation in India, although the men work far less hours.  I wonder if Manoah was like that.  And I wonder if Manoah’s wife having life that hard had miscarriages instead of babies to that point.  This reads a lot into a few words, but it is something to ponder.

Two things result from Manoah’s face-to-face with the Angel of the Lord, maybe three.  First, the Angel of the Lord tells Manoah that his wife already has the instructions.  Thus, Manoah must reluctantly trust her.  Second, once the burnt offering is offered, the Angel of the Lord ascends with the flame.

Seeing this, Manoah thinks he will die for having seen God.  But again, Manoah’s wife shows more faith and more intellect.  How can the prophecy come to pass if they die?  They have to live in order for her to become pregnant, and she has to live long enough to give birth to a son.

Now, once Samson grows up, he is passionate about the pretty ladies of the Philistines.  The scholars are mixed in whether this is God’s perfect will, but the Scriptures say that for all this relationship’s faults, God intended it to lead to Samson attacking the Philistines.

First, regarding this wedding, Samson wanted the wedding at his home, but the Philistines flipped the location to her home and their rules.  The wager (the riddle) becomes the tipping point.  We will see a beautiful woman use her wiles against Samson again, but this time Samson’s wife cries and he finally relents in telling her the riddle.  She had been threatened and her family threatened if she did not find the answer to the riddle.  When Samson loses the wager, he accuses them of “plowing his heifer.”

A heifer is a cow (female) that has not produced a calf.  That does not mean a virgin cow, but some commentaries read plowing one’s heifer to mean adultery on the part of Samson’s wife.  The Scripture states she was fearful for her life and the lives of her family, but Samson may have indeed thought she was unfaithful, especially when he had not yet consummated the marriage.

Since Samson did not have the means to uphold the wager, he went on a killing spree.  When he returned home with his parents, his wife was given to someone else, one of the ‘companions’ at the wedding feast.

Note that Samson lived in the land that was given to the Danites by Joshua.  Later in Judges 18, the clan moves to the northern most reaches of the Promised Land.  With the original clan location, trouble with the Philistines will affect Dan and Judah before any of the other tribes, Dan to the Philistine’s north and Judah to the Philistine’s east.

Samson does not act like anyone else in the Bible who was set aside to be the Lord’s.  He was impetuous and worldly passionate.  He went against the rules that were set upon him as a Nazirite.  As Rev. MacArthur suggests, killing the lion and touching its carcass might have not counted, but once he started killing Philistines, that was different.

Yet, Samson, on his own, carried out God’s judgement on the Philistines, but the real killing sprees are in next week’s Bible study.

Some Serendipitous Reflections

Samson, Judges 13: 1. From what you know about those who are ‘set apart’ from birth to serve the Lord, what are its benefits? Its potential drawbacks?
“2. How do you go about ‘separating yourself’ to be with God but apart from the world (see Jn 17:13-17)? What aspects of the Nazirite’s vow might work best for you in this regard? What aspects of that vow would you alter for you (or your children) in order to best serve the Lord?
“3. In what way do you feel separated from others through no choice of your own? How is this separation affecting you and your ministry?
“4. Who was the calming, level-headed force in your family when you were a child? And now as an adult? Who is the spiritually devout influence, then and now?
“5. What one thing will you do this week to open yourself to the ministry of angels: (a) Entertain more visitors? (b) Obey what you already have been given to do by God? (c) Believe by faith what is ‘beyond understanding’?
Samson, Judges 14: 1. In your life, where you would like to experience more self-control? Choose one area for which you want to have your small group keep you accountable.
“2. What once seemed ‘right for you,’ but in hindsight proved to be more wrong than right? What would you do over, if you could? What good has God brought out of that occasion, after all? What comfort has he brought you in that?
“3. As this chapter ends, can you hear Samson’s folks saying, ‘l told you so’? Or would they keep quiet? What would your parents have said? What do you hear Samson saying in his defense? What similar after-the-fact rationalizations do you use?
“4. When have you used the tactic, ‘If you really loved me, you would______?”

  • Lyman Coleman, et al, The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups

There is one set of questions for each chapter.

Substitute whatever group for any reference to a small group or ask who could come to your aid.

If you like these Thursday morning Bible studies, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Thursday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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