About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Marriage (ch. 14:1 - 20)
next three chapters concerns the life of Samson.
Most all of us who ever went to Sunday school as a child will
remember all the stories about him, which by the way, I feel is very
romanticized. I call this
the "Sundayschoolization of Scripture".
By that I mean we have simplified literal historical events into
stories, similar to fairy tales, in order to help children learn.
There are a couple of difficulties with this.
First of all I believe children can understand more than we think
they do. We don't have to
simplify things so much that we lose their original purpose for being in
the Bible, and most of all, their historic reality.
Second of all, many Christians have not grown up from this
simplified understanding of the Bible.
Therefore, they carry a wrong understanding of many Biblical
events. I suggest that we
grow up when it comes to Biblical understanding.
history that surround Samson is one of these Biblical passages that
we've almost turned into a fairy tale.
Samson, as we will see, wasn't really a righteous man, even
though He was used by God to fulfill a particular purpose.
God can, does, and will, use anyone to accomplish His will.
Samson was a very hostile and sex crazed guy, at least in my
opinion. You see for
yourself as we go through the next few chapters.
verse 1 we're introduced to the Philistines.
The Philistines have been traditional enemies of
is interesting to note that after 135 A. D. when Rome
invaded Jerusalem, they name those in the area Palestinians, which is derived from the
word "Philistines". Those
living in the area were Jews, and so out of spite for the Jews,
sees a young Philistine woman, so in verse 2 he said to his mother and
father, ".. get her for my wife".
This sounds pretty demanding and the Hebrew text seems to suggest
that Samson was demanding. What
Samson really wanted here was a sex partner, or so I believe.
must remember that in this day and culture, parents arranged the
marriages for their children, thus, this is why Samson brought this to
his parent's attention. Also,
we need to note the word "young".
In our culture, young means late teens.
In this culture "young" probably meant 11 or 12 years
old, or younger.
verse 3 Samson's parents responded in a more God-fearing way. It
was not permitted that an Israeli marry a Gentile, which this younger
girl was. Obviously, that
didn't matter to Samson. We
are now beginning to see what kind of man the Lord chose as another
judge. Samson was not the
most holiest and Law of Moses fearing man.
think we can safely say that Samson's parents were very unhappy,
saddened, and disturbed, over his choice for a wife.
They knew the tradition of the Jews.
They knew what the Law of Moses said,
They knew the command of the Lord that stated that Israeli men
must not take pagan women for their wives, and this is what Samson
wanted. What they didn't know, is that this was God's will as we will
verse 3 Samson responded in the same words and tone of voice as his
original request. He said,
"get her for me. She's
the right one for me". Samson
is obviously more "in lust" than "in love".
4 is interesting. It's
a side note that the author, or, the editor added.
In brackets, the text states that Samson's parents did not know
that the woman Samson was requesting as his wife was actually the Lord's
choice. We thus need to ask.
"Why would the Lord choose a Gentile wife for Samson when He
Himself has told Israelis that is not permitted"?
There are many answers by many people, but I think the obvious
answer is that God is God and He can do whatever He wants.
That being said, God is just.
He is all loving. He
cannot be dishonest or unlawful. So,
whatever He does, must be done in the parameters of these Godly
believe that the Law of Moses was only a temporary expression of God's
will and ways. All of who
God is, is not expressed in the Law of Moses.
I believe this has a part to play in our answer to the above
question as well. Jesus
Himself said that man was not made for the Sabbath but the Sabbath was
made for man. This is a
slightly different take on the Sabbath Law than what we might think, but
it expresses the nature of who God is.
It expresses the God behind the Law and tells us that there is
more to the will of God that is seen in the Law of Moses.
the above being said, the text states the specific reason why God seemed
to be laying aside His own rule concerning Israeli men marrying gentile
women. Verse 4 says that the
Lord was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines for their
treatment of His people and by having Samson marry this Philistine
woman, He could work out his plan. So,
we see how God's will supersedes His own Law. This is not the only time
we see God doing such a thing. Hosea
was asked by God to marry a prostitute that continued her prostitution
after she was married to Hosea. The
principle is clear. God's
will supersedes His Law at times but His will does not supersede His
nature – who He is.
last and important note about this.
It appears by the end of this chapter, even though some do not
agree, that Samson never did get married to this girl anyway.
She was given to one of his friends.
Therefore, God may have initiated this marriage, but it never
came about. So, in the long run, no law was broken.
verses 5 through 7 we see that Samson and his parents went to find the
young woman Samson was interested in.
The text states that once talking with the young woman, Samson
"liked her". Instant
love, or, should I say "hormones were raging".
else takes place in verses 5 through 7.
While Samson was apart on the trip to see this woman, He
encountered a lion that was ready to attack him.
The text states that "the Spirit of the Lord came upon"
Samson and he tore the lion apart.
need to know a couple of things here.
One is that when the Spirit of the Lord comes on someone, whether
in New Testament times or Old Testament times, something dramatic
happens, and in this case, it was a supernatural strength by Samson to
kill this lion.
also need to note that there is a difference between someone having the
Holy Spirit reside in him and the Holy Spirit coming upon someone.
Samson did not have the Holy Spirit living within him, and his
life showed that to be true. Those
in the books of Acts did have the Holy Spirit residing in them, but He
also cam upon them as well. When
the Holy Spirit came on the believers, something dramatic happened as
well. I've said this many
times, too often in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles the presence of
the Holy Spirit is lost because those involved use the Holy Spirit to
get some kind of spiritual high, a spiritual drug, so to speak.
Well, that is not the reason for the outpouring of the Holy
Spirit. He comes on people to enable people to do God's will in some
special way, and, if you abuse that, you may never see the Holy Spirit
poured out again.
verses 8 and 9 we see Samson and his parents returning for the wedding.
This shows us the coziness that Israelis had with these
Philistines. The plans for
this wedding should have never had taken place, other than we know it
was the will of God. The
whole event, that is, until things went bad, shows us how Israelis had
pretty much accepted and adopted the Philistine way of doing things.
the way he saw the dead lion that he had killed.
Bees had taken up residence in what was left of the lion.
He scooped some honey from the hive and ate it, and also took
some to his parents. The
text states that he did not tell his parents where the honey actually
came from. The text says
this for a reason. Samson
was committing sin by touching a dead animal and by eating from it.
His parents would not have eaten the honey if they had known
where it came from. Again,
this did not seem to bother Samson, and, again, this tells us what kind
of a man Samson was. It
tells us what kind of a man God chose to fulfill His purpose.
If you read Romans 9 and 10 you will see that the apostle Paul
tells us that those who have been chosen by the Lord to do His will are
chosen simply because God has so decided to choose them.
It does not matter on any good thing or things these people may
do. In other words,
"it's not of works. It
is of grace, lest any of us should boast".
see in verse 10 the preparations for this wedding.
It was probably a Philistine wedding tradition we see here since
it is in Philistine territory and Samson is marrying a Philistine.
We note that Samson prepared the feast in verse 10.
In verse 11 he was given 30 men who were Philistine.
It seems these men were part of the wedding party.
Note that in verse 12 the feast lasted 7 days as was the
tradition. Wedding feasts
lasted 7 days and during this time their would have been much drinking.
The text does not say that Samson drank, but we know that he must
have. It would have gone
against tradition and good will towards the young woman's family for
Samson not to drink. This
means that Samson, being a Nazirite should not have drank.
We see what kind of compromising person Samson was.
He was not a saint.
riddle that Samson sets forth in verse 12 was something normal to
Philistine weddings. It was simply one form of enjoyment.
It was a game, just part of having a good time.
This riddle did not provide the good time that most did.
in verse 15 the terms "Samson's wife".
This was before the marriage had been consummated.
The Hebrew word translated here can and probably should be
translated as girl or woman. This
woman never did become Samson's wife.
Her trick ended the whole event.
verse 13 to 15 we see Samson wanting to spice things up at the wedding
feast. He told the men at
the wedding feast a riddle that they had to guess the answer to by the
end of the feast. Depending
on if they could figure out the riddle or not would depend on who wins
the predetermined prize. The
riddle would have been impossible to figure out because the men knew
nothing about where Samson got the riddle from.
The riddle went like this. "Out
of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong something sweet".
We know the answer to the riddle because we know the whole story.
The eater is the lion. "Something to eat" out of the
eater was the honey. The
strong was Samson. The sweet
was the honey.
clothing that was to be the prize would have been very expensive,
probably too expensive for one man in Samson to purchase.
Samson made the riddle hard because he expected to win, so he did
not anticipate having to buy the clothes.
This was all in God's will. The
fact that Samson could not have bought the clothes if he lost is the
foundation of the conflict that would take place as a result of this
verses 15 to 18 we see that the 30 Philistine men encouraged the bride
to get the answer of the riddle from Samson.
She did. She cried
for 7 days. This surely would have messed up the feast.
Samson gave in and told his bride the answer and she told the 30
verse 18 we see that the 30 men told Samson the answer to the riddle. This
made Samson really angry because he knew the only way these men would
know the answer to the riddle was that his bride told them.
He was so mad that he went to the closest Philistine village and
killed 30 men to get their clothes to give to the 30 men at the wedding
verse 18 Samson told the men, "if you had not plowed with my
me, in my modern way of thinking, this is humorous.
Samson is calling his wife a "heifer", something most
women today would not find appropriate.
It may be humorous to me, but living in a farming type of
community and culture, this would have been a reasonable statement to
make. Samson was simply
saying, that is in our modern way, "you've messed with my
verse 19 we see the Spirit of God came on Samson and that aided Samson
to kill 30 Philistines. Does
this sound like God? Well,
we know from earlier in this chapter that the reason why God had chosen
this pagan woman to be Samson's wife was to stir up trouble between Israel
and the Philistines. This is
because the Lord wanted
20 tells us that Samson's bride was given to another man who attended
the wedding, probably one of the 30 men.
Samson never married this woman.