Mt Sinai (Law) and Mt Zion (Grace)

Mt Sinai (Law) and  Mt Zion (Grace)
Mt Sinai (Law) and Mt Zion (Grace)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

God's Judge - Samson

After Israel had come to the promised land, they were led to the evil ways of the people that they had let survive, and went after their gods. One of these peoples are the Philistines, which the LORD allowed Israel into their hand, yet it was by the actions of Israel and not God that their protection was withdrawn. God is merciful, and when the people cried to Him over being ruled by the Pagans, He would raise up a Judge that would act in the power of the Spirit of God and deliver the people. This was the time of the Judges. We will start our study in Judges 13.

Israel had been evil in the LORD's sight and were made servants under the taskmasters of the Philistines for 40 years.

They were fierce and had well trained warriors.

Their main god was Dagon, a half man, half fish false deity.

They built large temples to Dagon, the ruins of one is shown here.
Their temples were elaborate as some films depict. Satan appeals to the flesh.

There was a Danite man of Zorah (20 mi West of Jerusalem), named Manoah who's wife was barren. Her faith was great, and the Angel of the LORD came to her and said she would conceive and bear a son.
Note: See my blog Women of Faith- the Wife of Manoah

Judges 13:4  Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:
5  For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

The woman told her husband what had happened and how awesome was the appearance of the man, but that she did not know where he came from or his name. So, Manoah entreated the LORD and asked that the man of God which was sent would come again to both of them to teach them what they should do unto the child to be born.

God hearkened to Manoah and the Angel of the LORD came again to the woman in the field, but Manoah was not with her. This is why I say she had great faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God, so with faith you do please Him. She had obviously saught God for a child and God sent His Angel to deal with her and even with Manoah praying to see the Angel, he once again went to the woman.

She went and got her husband and he asked the man if he was the one who had spoken to his wife. He said, I am. So, Manoah asked, what shall be the manner of the child? What shall he do? How should we order him?
Judges 13:13 And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware.
14  She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.
Manoah asked his name and he answered, Why do you ask my name seeing it is secret or wonderful.

So Manoah wanted to cook a kid for the Angel but he refused to eat and said bring an offering to the LORD. So, he brought a kid with a meat offering and offered it unto the LORD. As the flame consumed the offering, the Angel of the LORD did wondrously and ascended toward heaven in the flame.

22  And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.
23  But his wife said unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.
Manoah was right in his seeing God, for this was a place where the "Wonderful" came as the Angel of the LORD, which was Jesus, the eternal Son.

And the woman conceived and brought forth a son and called him, Samson which means, serving like the sun. The child grew and the LORD blessed him. The Spirit of the LORD began to move him in the camp of Dan.
The other Judges worked with an army. Samson judged Israel by himself, a wonderful example of how much effect one person can have on their world when filled with the Spirit of God.

Samson went down among the Philistines to Timnah and saw a woman there he wanted. He told his parents to get her for him to marry. They replied, is there not a daughter of thy people rather than these uncircumcised Philistines? But, Samson said, she is pleasing to my eyes. The flesh can take your eyes off of God and Jesus our everything.

Even though this girl was not under the covenant of God, the whole attraction was of God so Samson would have something against the Philistines.

On the way to Timnath, and going through the vineyards, a lion attacked Samson.

And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him and he took hold of the lion...

And tore him apart as if the lion was a young kid goat; for he had no weapon in hand.

He did not tell his father and mother of the incident, they were also going down to Timnath.

Samson talked with the Philistine woman and she pleased him. It looked for sure that the marriage was to be.

After a time, Samson returned to take her and passed by the carcase of the lion and a swarm of bees and honey were in it. 
He took some honey in his hands and ate, and gave some to his parents as well, but he did not tell them it came from the lion.

So his father went down to the woman and Samson made there a wedding feast. The Philistines sent 30 of their companions to be with him. Samson said to them, I will give you a riddle and if you can solve it within the week of the feast, I will give you 30 sets of clothes. If you can't, you give me 30 sets of clothes. So they said what is the riddle? And he said, 
Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness.

They could not solve it, and on the 3rd day they said to his wife to tell them the riddle or they would burn down her father's house with her in it. She wept and pressed Samson hard until he finally told her the riddle.

On the 7th day they said to Samson, what is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? And he answered, "If you had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle." The Spirit of the LORD came upon him and he went down to Ashkelon and killed 30 Philistines and took their clothes and took it back to the men at the feast. His wife had been given to his companion, Judges 14.

A while later at the time of the wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife with a gift of a kid thinking he would go into her, but her father forbade him.
Judges 15:2  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.
Samson said I will now be blameless and he caught 300 foxes and tied them in pairs and turned them loose in the fields with a fire burning between their tails.
This burned up their corn fields, olive groves, and vineyards. The Philistines were so angry they burned down the house with his wife and her father inside.

Samson said he would be avenged on them and then he would cease. He went down among them and slaughtered those who had killed his bride and fled to the top of the rock Etam, a natural fortress. The Philistines came to Judah and spread their camp in Lehi to go after Samson. When the people of Judah found out, they went to Samson with 3000 men and told him that the Philistines were their rulers and they had come to bind him and deliver him to the Philistines in order to save themselves. He said, as they have done to me, I did to them.

See here how much respect and fear Israel had for Samson. With God's Spirit in him, he was unstoppable.

Samson said, promise you will not kill me, and they said they would not. So, he let them bind him with 2 new cords. When they came near the Philistine camp they shouted against him.

The Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon Samson and the cords became as ash and melted off his hands. He found a fresh donkey jawbone and started killing the Philistines that were coming for him.

They kept coming, and he kept swinging, and the dead were stacking up in heaps like chord wood.

When the fighting was over, he had slain 1000 men.

Judges 15:16  And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.

He threw the jawbone away and was drained and thirsty. He 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 Enhakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day.

Even though the KJV translates the hollow place as "jaw" it is in Hebrew, Lehi, where they are. Enhakkore is the well of him who cried. So it is a well or spring in this place.
Samson judged Istael in the days of the Philistines 20 years.

Then Samson went to Gaza and went into a harlot there. He seems to have a weakness for the Philistine women. That would be his downfall.

The Gazites thought to trap Samson and kill him in the morning and shut the gates of the city. At midnight Samson arose and took the gate and posts and carried them to the top of the hill before Hebron.

After this, he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek named, Delilah.

The lords of the Philistines came to her and said, entice him and find out the secret of his great strength so we may overcome and prevail against him and we will give you 1100 pieces of silver from each of us.

Delilah worked to gain Samson's confidence and wooed him with her love.

She used her looks and charm to try and find out his secret.

Tell me I pray, what do you owe your great strength? How could you be overcome?

Samson played along and said, If they bind me with 7 green bow strings that have not been dried, I will be as weak as any other man.
So the Philistine lords brought the green bow strings and she tied him up with them. Now men were hidden in wait in her chambers to capture Samson. Delilah yelled, Samson! the Philistines are upon you! He woke up and broke the bow strings like a thread that touches fire.

Delilah said, You mock me, and told me lies; now tell be how you can be bound.
If they bind me fast with new ropes that have not been used, I shall be as weak as any other man. So she tied him up with new ropes. Then she cried, Samson! The Philistines are on you. He jumped up and broke the ropes like a thread.

She kept hounding him and told him, You have mocked me and lied to me. Tell me how you could be bound. So he said, If you weave the seven locks of my hair in the web or the weavers loom.
So she did so while he slept. He is weakening, he is talking about his hair.

Then she cried, The Philistines are upon you, Samson! And he jumped up and took the loom and beam away with him.
Judges 16:16  And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death;
17  That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.

So now the evil one has weakened God's Judge by the constant nagging of Delilah, as well as her ever present fleshly desires.

When Delilah knew that he had told her all his heart, she sent for the lords of the Philistines to come with their money and men to take him.

19  And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.

20  And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.

So the Philistines came in and captured Samson while he was weak.

They bored out his eyes.

And they threw him in prison.

Blind and in chains, he had to push the grain mill.

But in time, his hair grew back.

Time passed, and the Philistines had a great celebration and sacrifice to their god, Dagon for delivering Samson into their hands.

When their hearts were merry, they called to get Samson out of the prison house to make sport of him.

So, they took him and brought him before all the people. Dagon's house was full with all the lords of the Philistines there and many people. There were 3000 on the roof.

28  And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.

He said to the boy who led him into the temple to take him to the pillars on which the house rests so he could lean on them. All the people were praising their god for delivering them from Samson.

Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines, and he bowed himself with all of his might.

The pillars cracked, and then broke free.

Then the house began to shake and collapse. 

If fell in on the lords and the Philistines so that in his death, Samson slew more than he had in his life.
The destruction of the Philistine leadership effected their power in the area for many years.

Ruins have shown that the main support of the roof of Philistine temples rested on two pillars.

His brethren and all the house of his father came down and took him to the place between Zorah and Eshtaol where Manoah, his father is buried. He judged Israel 20 years.

There he was buried. His tomb is still there.

Here is an ancient seal of Samson that was found in a archaeological dig in Israel.

Samson is one of the most famous figures in the Bible. His supernatural strength when the Spirit of God came upon him was awesome.

He may have judged Israel longer and conquered the Philistines if he would have kept the LORD as the number one thing in his life. But, his judging was remarkable for just 1 man. God's promise given by the Angel of the LORD (Jesus) was fulfilled by the fathfullness of God, regardless of what Samson did. This is a great story of God's Grace, in the pregnancy of Manoah's wife and her faith, and the begining of the deliverance of Israel from the Philistines according to God's promise through Samson.

All art was found on the Internet and credit given if known. Cecil B DeMille's 1949 movie "Samson and Delilah" starring Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr, has several pictures here. Quotes are from the authorized KJV Bible.

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