About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Vengeance On The Philistines (ch. 15:1 -
talked about this earlier, but eh question arises again here in verse 1,
"did Samson actually get married to the Philistine girl he liked,
or did he run out on her during the wedding ceremony"?
This question is asked because here in verse 1 Samson calls this
girl "his wife".
1 says that "later on", that is, some time after the wedding
feast, Samson took a "goat" and went to visit his
"wife". There are
at least two possibilities here. One
is that same Hebrew word that is translated as "wife" can also
be translated as "woman".
So which is it here? Is
it "wife" or "woman".
Even if the Hebrew text says "his woman", I think that
would imply "his wife". Some
say Samson went to visit a woman, who, just happened to be the woman he
wanted to marry but didn't. Others
say that this woman was his wife, and that he was married in one degree
or another to this woman.
use the term "one degree or another" because in some cultures
back then there was a type of marriage where the wife would actually
stay living with her parents and the husband who did a lot of travelling
for one reason or another would just come and visit, and normally bring
a gift, which in this case would have been the goat. This might well be
a possibility. I am not sure
if Samson was married to this woman or not, and I don't think we can
conclusively really say. Maybe
Samson went through the vows but after he left, the father was so upset
he just gave her daughter to another man.
The last chapter does say he gave her to another man.
Still, I lean towards Samson splitting before he was legally
married according to that culture.
the goat, a gift would be brought to someone as a means of
reconciliation. Some suggest
that this goat wasn't a gift from a live alone husband to his live with
parents wife, but was a gift to the girls father, a means of
wheat harvest mentioned here would be late May or early June.
intent to visit his wife was to "visit her in her room", as
stated in verse 1. Clearly,
Samson wanted to have sex with this woman.
The problem was that the girls father wanted no such thing.
verse 2 we see that this girls father interpreted Samson's behaviour as
he left the wedding as being hatred towards his daughter.
That might suggest that the wedding vows didn't proceed or the
father would have considered Samson and his daughter as legally married.
Whatever the case, because the father said this, he gave his
daughter to another man, which, might well be a reason to think Samson
was never married to this girl. What
probably made things worse for Samson, the man that the father gave the
girl to was actually Samson's friend.
seems from the very beginning, Samson was infatuated with this young
father offered a younger daughter for Samson instead of the one Samson
wanted. The father went as
far to say that she was more attractive than the daughter that Samson
wanted. The question is
this. Was the father
offering this younger daughter to Samson in marriage or simply for a
night of sex? I'm not sure
we can really say because either way, such things took place in those
days and in those cultures.
verses 3 to 4 we see Samson's response to the girls father and it wasn't
a happy one. We see the
anger of Samson that seems was always brewing.
He went out, and as the NIV puts it, caught 300 foxes.
Some scholars feel these were really jackals and not foxes since
jackals gather in groups that would make it easy for Samson to gather.
Foxes are loners.
tied the tales of these foxes so he had 150 pairs of foxes. He set their
tales on fire and let them go. The
burning foxes set the grain fields on fire, along with the vineyards and
the olive groves of the Philistines.
It is clear that Samson not only had a anger problem and but was
very devious. His anger was
demonstrated in very creative and dubious ways.
makes you wonder why God would choose such a man to do His will. The
fact of the matter is that God has to work with fallen and deranged
humanity. This is one reason
why God had to send Jesus. Only
Jesus could do what man could never do, even with the Holy Spirit
enabling them. That being
said, we know why God chose Samson.
Because he was an angry man, God used his anger towards the
Philistines to get them angry with Israel. The Philistines anger and subsequent attack on Israelis was God's
see in verse 6 the response to Samson's rage.
The Philistines burned the girl Samson wanted and her father.
The text calls the girl "Samson's wife".
Again, we can't say for sure if she was a legal wife, a
semi-legal wife, or no wife at all.
should note Judges 14:15 in relation to verse 6 here.
In Judges 14:15 the Philistines told the girl that Samson liked
that if she did not get the answer to the riddle they would kill her and
her father's household. And
now they do what they promised.
verses 7 and 8 Samson responds. He
kills many of those who killed the girl and her father.
Some often question all the violence we see in the Bible,
especially the Old Testament. We
need to remember that the Bible is all about God's dealing with a fallen
and depraved humanity. The
Bible clearly shows us how depraved we really are, whether we want to
believe it or not. Even the
New Testament doesn't withhold things that are attributed to our fallen
nature among the disciples and even the apostles.
For example, Paul, in the book of Galatians, points out the
hypocrisy of Peter.
believe that the very nature of Samson was violent.
Still, God uses anyone He so chooses to use to accomplish His
purpose, and Samson was clearly one of these men.
Part of the purpose of God that Samson was used for was to judge
verses 9 and 10 we note that because of what Samson did to the
Philistines, the Philistines went up to Judah to capture Samson in
response. The men of
11 tells us the three thousand men went to find Samson.
They question him why he did what he did to the Philistines.
His answer was simple. He
took revenge. Both sides
were escalating the conflict with their need for revenge.
verse 11 we note that
men questioning Samson wanted to tie him up and hand him over to the
Philistines. It was better
that the Philistines kill one man in Samson instead of waging all out
13 to 16 show Samson's strength. Being
tied up, he ripped open the ropes when the Philistines came to get him.
He killed a donkey and with the donkey's jaw bone he slew many
Philistines. Again, God used
the violent nature of Samson. That
being said, the text states that "the Spirit of the Lord came on
Samson". The strength
Samson demonstrated was from the Lord, not just from Samson and his long
verse 16 the text states Samson saying, "with a donkey's jawbone
I've made donkeys out of them", "them" referring to the
Philistines. There is some
textual difficulties here. The
above translation is from the NIV, but due to the fact that they Hebrew
word for "donkey" and the Hebrew word for "heap" are
very similar, some translated Samson's words this way.
"With a donkey's jawbone I have made heaps out of the
means that Samson simply piled the dead Philistines into a number of
piles, a number of heaps.
verses 17 to the end of the chapter we note that after this great
demonstration of power on Samson's part he was thirsty.
He called out to the Lord, and what he says, at least in my
thinking, didn't sound real thankful.
I interpret his words to say, "okay Lord, you gave me the
strength to kill all these Philistines.
Are you now going to take away my strength with this great thirst
and let the Philistines kill me"?
However Samson meant this, the Lord did answer his petition.
Water came from a spring under the ground.