March 30th Judges, 14
14v1-15v8 Samson’s first wife
1: And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. 2: And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife. 3: Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well. 4: But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel. 5: Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him. 6: And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done. 7: And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well. 8: And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion. 9: And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion. 10: So his father went down unto the woman: and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do. 11: And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him. 12: And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments: 13: But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it. 14: And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle. 15: And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson's wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father's house with fire: have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so? 16: And Samson's wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee? 17: And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people. 18: And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down, What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? And he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle. 19: And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house. 20: But Samson's wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend.
1: But it came to pass within a while after, in the time of wheat harvest, that Samson visited his wife with a kid; and he said, I will go in to my wife into the chamber. But her father would not suffer him to go in. 2: And her father said, I verily thought that thou hadst utterly hated her; therefore I gave her to thy companion: is not her younger sister fairer than she? take her, I pray thee, instead of her. 3: And Samson said concerning them, Now shall I be more blameless than the Philistines, though I do them a displeasure. 4: And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails. 5: And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives. 6: Then the Philistines said, Who hath done this? And they answered, Samson, the son in law of the Timnite, because he had taken his wife, and given her to his companion. And the Philistines came up, and burnt her and her father with fire. 7: And Samson said unto them, Though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease. 8: And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam.
15v9-20 Samson kills 1000 - jawbone
9: Then the Philistines went up, and pitched in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi. 10: And the men of Judah said, Why are ye come up against us? And they answered, To bind Samson are we come up, to do to him as he hath done to us. 11: Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? what is this that thou hast done unto us? And he said unto them, As they did unto me, so have I done unto them. 12: And they said unto him, We are come down to bind thee, that we may deliver thee into the hand of the Philistines. And Samson said unto them, Swear unto me, that ye will not fall upon me yourselves. 13: And they spake unto him, saying, No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand: but surely we will not kill thee. And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him up from the rock. 14: And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands. 15: And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith. 16: And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men. 17: And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramath-lehi. 18: And he was sore athirst, and called on the LORD, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised? 19: But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof En-hakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day. 20: And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.
Today we read of Samson and the beginning of his ministry. The life and exploits of Samson would have been the food of happy conversation and the joy of laughter for every Jew and especially in times of oppression. The first thing that we find is that he takes a wife of the Philistines. And then we read of his first great exploit the killing of a 1,000 men with the jaw bone of an ass. People often think that Samson’s great mistake in allowing himself to be humbled is an indication that everything that Samson did was foolish or rash. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We read yesterday that Samson was a man upon whom the Spirit of the Lord rested. He probably looked ordinary in many ways and might have even been small in stature, we don’t know, but we are never told that he was particularily tall or big. His strength was not in his ordinary body but in the empowering of the Spirit of God. Samson was never the leader of an army like Gideon, It appears he always served God alone. However he is guided by the Holy Spirit and the first thing we notice is that he went down to Timnath and saw a woman who was a Philistine. And he asked his parents to arrange for him to be married to her. They complained that she was a Philstine but Samson was being led of the Spirit and he knew that this would bring him into contact with the Philistines. Samson needed to be in contact with the Philistines to deliver Israel from them. He was working alone. Scripture says he was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. He was looking for an opportunity and an issue to bring to a head. The Philistines were ruling over Israel. When he was near the vineyards of Timnath a young lion roars at him and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily on him and he ripped it apart like a kid of the goats. He did it with his bear hands and he told nobody about it. He visited hi girl and on his way back went to look at the dead lion and a swarm of bees had made honey in the carcase. Samson ate of the honey and took some home to his parents, but he didn’t tell them where it had come from. His father arranged for a feast and 30 philistines came to the party. This was no ordinary party it was a seven day feast. The Israelites love riddles and word play. Their Biblical training gave them a love of words. Most Jews spoke many languages, as they do today. Samson posed a riddle. Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. Nobody was able to figure out this riddle of course. The riddle was not only a test but a test with reward. Anyone that could discipher this riddle would get 30 sets of clothes. The Philstines made Samsons wife find out what the riddle meant and tell them and they revealed it at the feast. Samson now knew that no Philistine was trustworthy even his wife. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him and he went to Ashkelon and killed 30 men and brought their 30 changes of clothes. Samson’s wife was given to a friend. In the time of the wheat harvest Samson came to see his wife but her father said you cannot lie with her now she has been given to another man, because l thought that you now hated her. Samson had found his opportunity. He was now going to be blameless even though he would do much damage. He caught 300 foxes and putting a fire brand between two tails he sent them into the harvest and they ran and destroyed all the wheat harvest, vineyards and olives. The Philistines retaliated but burning Samsons father-in-law. Samson went out and killed all those who had murdered his father-in-law. It was a very great slaughter. So the Philistines set themselves in battle array, but what could one man do against a 1,000? But first Samson had to contend with his own side. The men of Judah came – 3,000 of them and they isised that they should bind him and deliver him to the Philistines. Samson agreed as long as they promised not to hurt him. When Samson was brought to the Philistines they shouted with joy but at that moment the spirit of the Lord came upon him and he broke the new ropes like breaking a blade of grass. Samson picked up the jawbone of an ass and used it as a mighty weapon. He killed 1,000 men piling them in heaps. But in the moment of triumph he thirsted and so he called on the Lord and the Lord gave him water from the jawbone to satify his thirst. What is even more remarkable is that the jawboe of an ass was forbidden to Samson as it was the carcase of a dead animal. Samson judged Israel for 20 years. This is such a remarkable story and thee are so many lessons for the man of God not least the fact that everything is accomplished in the mighty power of the Holy Spirit.