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Judges 14:1-20

 

“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 [shirts] and thirty changes 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.”

 

Introduction

 

[Audio version: https://resources.ccphilly.org/detail.asp?TopicID=&Teaching=WED638]

 

“I remember as a kid, my grandfather died in 1958, I was eight years old, Thanksgiving morning I remember they carried him out, the undertaker came, and that Christmas under the tree was a Bible from my grandfather, the bits and pieces I’ve learned since I’ve gotten saved, I’m hoping to see him in eternity, in glory.  I remember it was a Revised Standard Bible, pray for me, and it had a zipper on it, I liked that, and it had some great pictures in it, and it had a couple great pictures of Samson, one swinging the jawbone of an ass, and guys piled all around him, that was just wonderful for an eight-year-old, and that was when you were still allowed to have heroes and swords and cap pistols, boys were allowed to be men in those days.  And I think it’s important for them to be that now.  And of course, there were the other ones, where he was between the pillars, pushing them down.  That was great, just like I turned to those pictures and looked at them, I didn’t much bother reading in those days, but had really a couple great pictures in it.  And of course then, we come to the life of this man.  We read that this is a man who judged Israel for 20 years, and the things that God could have said about him, could have put in front of us, yet he has been very specific to take this life and put specific things in front of us as we look at the life of Samson.  Look, this is a man who was raised in a godly, godly home.  The LORD appears to his mother and father before he’s conceived, and instructs them.  They set their lives aside before he’s conceived, the mother from the time he’s conceived lives her own life as a Nazarite, not touching wine, not touching anything dead [nor eating any unclean food, as prescribed in Leviticus 11 for all Israelites, but especially for Nazarites], setting her own life aside.  This boy from the time he’s raised is raised in the environment of a godly mom and a godly dad, and yet he will make choices that will determine the things that happen in his life.  I’m saying that, because there are so many that cry victim in this culture where everybody’s a victim, and everybody cries victim, and because you had a dysfunctional home or you had an abusive parent or you had a missing parent, and therefore you have excuses.  No, look, here’s somebody with a perfect environment with perfect parents, and the problem is what it has always been, and that’s sin, and man’s heart is depraved, and we are inclined to the things of the world around us.  And by God’s grace, and the Spirit of the LORD we are set free from those things.  Certainly you and I experience the power of the Gospel of Christ which is life-changing and so important for us today.  But we look at this man and he takes those excuses away from us, he had great privilege from the time he was born, raised in the ways of the LORD.  It says as a young child the Spirit of the LORD began to move on his heart.  And we come to him here in this 14th chapter, and the first words we hear from his mouth are given to us, the first step of his life independently are put before us, and it begins by saying “And Samson went down” that’s basically the rest of his life, we just move on to the next guy from there. 

 

Samson Said To His Father & Mother ‘I Have Seen A Woman, Get Her For Me’

 

“And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.” (verse 1) Timnath, which is about 4 miles south from the area where he lived, and it is in the area of Dan, but it has been subjugated by the Philistines, it is part of the Danite territory, but it is under control of the Philistines.  He goes down to Timnath “and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.”  He shouldn’t have been in the enemy camp, not a good place for him to be, but he heads there.  “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.” (verse 2)  Here’s the first words of Samson ‘I have seen a woman.’  Isn’t it characteristic of the man?  Now evidently he’s still a youth, to some degree.  It was the parent’s responsibility to make these arrangements, and in this culture the groom’s parents paid for the arrangement to be made, they came up with a dowry that was kind of ‘alimony in advance,’ and they made the arrangements, and even in the differing cultures they were similar enough, Samson understands that his parents have to be involved.  He may only be about 18 or 19 years old at this point in time.  And he must be something to behold, again, we don’t have any specific information, you know, that he looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger or something, because he’s asked over and over ‘What’s the secret of your strength?’ so he may have been a skinny guy, I don’t think that either, I think.  But you know, here a guy now, his hair has never been cut, and I’m assuming his has raven black hair, like those in the area would.  What a sight he must have been, young, strong, godly, this young man, wandering fearlessly down into the area of Timnath, and he sees a woman there, a daughter of the Philistines, and she must have been beautiful.  And that was his weakness, and the first thing we hear from him is ‘I have seen a woman, in Timnath, a daughter of the Philistines.’  “now therefore” to his mom and dad “get her for me to wife.  And 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.” (verses 2c-3)  Now that word “never,” now I wonder why that word’s in there, maybe he’d been chasing some other Philistine girls as a younger boy.  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?” these people outside of the Covenant.  “And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.”  “pleaseth me well,” that Hebrew phrase is ‘This is right in my eyes.’

 

These Days They Live In Are Like The Days We Live In

 

Remember, that’s the phrase that characterizes these days, ‘Every man did what was right in his own eyes,’ not what was wrong in his own eyes, what was right in his own eyes.  Over and over we hear “They did evil in the sight of the LORD,” but here every man does what’s right in their own eyes.  We live in a very similar culture.  And it’s changing rapidly around us.  When the eye-gate is constantly appealed to in movies, on television, and we hear ridiculous things like ‘Oh television is not that much of an influence,’ don’t give me that.  Oh really, then why do people pay 3 million bucks for 30 seconds during the Superbowl to advertise their product, if it doesn’t have any effect on us.  It has a HUGE effect on us.  And Paul told us that in the days that we live in, he warned Timothy “This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come,” and he lists a number of difficulties with human characteristics, but they’re sandwiched between these ideas, ‘for men shall be lovers of their own selves,” and then of course “covetous, proud, blasphemers,” and it ends by saying “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.”  And it says in fact, that we are in a culture that is driven by love of self and love of pleasure.  And if you don’t think so, turn on the television when you get home.  Look at what’s going on around us in the world that we live in.  Look how important the visual is.  Think about what it was like 100, 200 years ago, get up in the morning and go out and plow the field, and what you saw, because the earth sheweth forth his handiwork, to see God’s creation and have it speak of who he is, the firmament and so forth from Psalm 19 to tell us of God’s glory.  Now there’s something constantly paraded before our eyes, before our desires, it’s constantly put there in front of us.  And we live in a culture that’s driven by desire and pleasure.  And here’s one of the problems for you and I, Paul says that will get into the Church, it isn’t just the outside world he says, ‘there will be those holding for a form of religion, but denying the power thereof,’ he says it’s right, ‘I’m not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, it’s the power of God unto salvation,’ he tells us it’s the power of the Spirit, it’s the power of the cross, it’s the power of the Gospel that’s life-changing, that sets us free.  But we live in a culture that wants to tell us a different story, and that’s seeping into the Church [greater Body of Christ], and here’s the danger for you and I.  This world is using the same vocabulary as us, but a different dictionary.  It’s the same vocabulary, it’s a different dictionary.  For years, you and I growing up in the Church, this [he’s probably holding up his Bible] has defined sin, this has defined homosexuality, this has defined life and what it’s worth, this has defined morality.  Now we have the same words, but a different dictionary out there, defining, hearing about homosexual marriage, well, those  two words don’t go together in here [holding up his Bible], in here marriage means one thing, out there it means another thing, same vocabulary, different dictionary.  And we have to be careful, because that world is screaming, and the finger is being pointed at you and I, and we’re being told we’re narrow, you’re not flexible, there’s something wrong with you, you need to define these terms by our dictionary, not by yours.  But I like mine, mine says Jesus Christ is coming too, and he’s coming for me, that I’m his bride and I’m blood-bought and he’s not gonna leave me here, he’s coming for me, mine tells me in the last chapter who wins in the end, it tells the whole story out to the end, and it tells me even in this culture, young men or young women can walk with God and have power over their flesh through the grace of God and through his Spirit, and can infect the culture instead of having the culture infecting us.  [Jesus is coming to put an end to World War III, which is almost upon us.  To learn more about what’s coming over the horizon, and is almost here, see https://unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_4.htm]  And again, people say ‘Well that’s a narrow definition,’ I just heard Alistair Begg say “Narrow?  Jesus said I am the way,’ he didn’t say ‘Pick a way,’ maybe you’ll find a way you like, but he said “I am the way,” he said “I’m the Good Shepherd,” he didn’t say ‘Try a shepherd, he said “I am the Shepherd, everybody else who came were thieves and liars.’  It is narrow, it is wonderful, it has to be that narrow for me, because I’m so stupid if it wasn’t that narrow, I’d lose track of it.”  It’s simple, it’s handed to all of us, the love of God through Jesus Christ can set our lives free.  There is a completely different culture out there that defines things differently, and it appeals so constantly to the eye-gate, just again, think two generations ago, when we were an agrarian society, what was coming into the eye-gate all day.  Now from the time we get up to the time we go to bed we have the media, we have publications, we have all of this stuff, constantly, constantly bombarding us.  In Canada, they have naked weathergirls on the television.  Don’t move to Canada, it’s not why I’m telling you that [loud laughter], the weather’s terrible up there.  But that’s the culture that we live in.  And here we have this man, Samson, with all of the potential in the world, but his strengths do not outweigh his weaknesses.  This man can defeat an army singlehandedly, and he can’t conquer Delila because of his own desire.  This is a man, and as we watch him again, in different places when I go through his life, I put AA and CC, which is a little code to help me remember, this is a man who had Authority without Accountability, and he had Consecration without Communion.  He had authority, but you never see him talk to a priest, he’s never at Shiloh at the Tabernacle, and by this time Samuel has been dedicated, young Samuel’s there.  By this time Eli’s sons have become vile, by the time we get into chapter 15 the Ark of the Covenant has been carried into Philistine territory, one of the reasons the Philistines are rejoicing is they put it in the temple of Dagon, that’s because, shortly before that Samson had destroyed all their grainfields, and Dagon was the god of the grainfields [as well as the god of fish, maybe for fishermen, because the statue had a huge fishhead for a head], there was this push and pull going back and forth.  So this is an interesting time when this young man comes on the scene, and the first thing we find is he goes down to Timnath and sees there a woman, his physical desire is stirred by that.  And he says to his mother and his father “I have seen a woman in Timnath, therefore get her for me to wife.”  And the father says ‘Sammy, there’s no girls up here among your brethren and you have to go to these uncircumcised Philistines to find yourself a woman?’  “And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.” sensual, drawn by one thing.

 

God’s Purpose Was Being Worked Out In Samson’s Life, His Choices

 

“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.” (verse 4)  The parents didn’t know that God was at work, Samson may have been compromising, Samson may have been doing things he shouldn’t have been doing, but God was overriding, even using his weaknesses to accomplish his ends, God is sovereign.  Psalm 101 says this, “I will sing of the mercy and judgment, unto thee O LORD will I sing.  I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way, O when wilt thou come unto me.” David was aware that he might come at any time.  “I will walk within my house with a perfect heart,” that’s where we tend not to have a perfect heart, because no one’s watching us there.  “I will walk within my house with a perfect heart, I will set no wicked thing before my eyes, I hate the work of them that turn aside, that work shall not cleave to me.”  Job would say this, “I have made a covenant with mine eyes, why then should I think upon a maid,” ‘why should I spend my time doing that, I’ve made a covenant with my eyes, to set them in the right direction.’  Here, Samson, we see him stepping into this situation.  Verse 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.” which is not a good place for a Nazarite to be, because they’re not supposed to be around grapes, he’s not supposed to be around raisins, California raisins, any of them, doesn’t matter.  They came to the vineyards of Timnath “and, behold, a young lion roared against him.”  The language gives the idea that they all of a sudden came face to face, Samson and this lion.  [Samson must have been out in front of his parents by some distance, because they never witness this event which is about to unfold.]  “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.” (verse 6)   “came mightily upon him,” now every time we read that, it’s to kill, very interesting.  “the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent” ‘he tore him, he tore the lion as he would have torn a kid, and he had nothing in his hand, but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.’   Now, the way they would tear a kid (baby goat), and the way they still will in that culture sometimes, is they’ll take a baby goat, and they’ll take it by the back legs, and they’ll tear it in half.  And it says Samson took this lion, singlehandedly, he tore the lion as one would tear a kid.  But it says Samson didn’t say anything to his mom or dad.  Now I think Samson freaked himself out here.  Because when we read this over and over, the Spirit of the LORD came on him, the Spirit of the LORD seizes him, the Spirit of the LORD doesn’t come like we pray, ‘Please Lord, fill me with your Spirit,’ as we do, the Spirit moves in, rides him, takes hold of him and uses him, and up to this point we have no record of supernatural feats of strength [in the Bible].  Samson I think was freaked out by what happened here.  Somehow he got ahold of this lion, I don’t want to know how because I don’t want to practice, all you need is one bad practice and it’s all over.  And he grabbed this lion and he tore him in pieces with his bare hands.  And he didn’t say anything to his parents relative to this, as he’s going down there.  Those who’ve been to Israel, one of the trips in the early ‘90s, they were trying to bring leopards back into the land of Israel, trying to bring back some of the natural predators and animals, the flora and fauna, and down at Elat at one of the luxury hotels they were sitting around the pool, and this leopard walked into the pool area, everybody was running and screaming, the leopard was a little lost and didn’t know where he was supposed to be.  But maybe he was smarter than they thought.   Look, our adversary, Satan, like a prowling lion, is seeking whom he may devour, and we have a picture here.  Maybe this should have been a warning to this man, he was somewhere he shouldn’t have been, but the Spirit of the LORD comes upon him, he tears this lion as he would a kid, baby goat, and he had nothing in his hand, “but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.” (verse 6c)  Now he must have been walking a little bit off from them, it seems they would have heard the lion screaming in pain, you know, they must have heard something, he had to have been a good distance away.  But he’s a strange individual, he’s going down to Timnath with his parents, he don’t even hang out with them on the way down.  [he’s not strange, he’s a teenager, selfwilled, thinks he knows it all 😊  He doesn’t want to be near his parents.]  He’s far enough away, they don’t know what happens here, and he doesn’t tell them what happened.

 

He’s Always Willing To Reach Into That Which Is Forbidden, To Take That Which He Thinks Is Sweet Out Of It

 

“And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well.” (verse 7) for all the wrong reasons, no doubt.  “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.” (verse 8) now he’s going down with his mother and father, there’s been a time of betrothal, now to go through the wedding, the whole process of the wedding days and so forth.  And it says, he turns aside, he hadn’t told them, is there pride here, is he looking to see his past conquest, I’m not sure what’s happening, what’s going on, but he turns aside to see the carcase of the lion, “and, behold,” consider this, it says to us, “there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion.  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.” (verse 9) he just didn’t tell them he took the honey out of a dead animal laying on the side of the road, it says.  So you know, this is road-kill honey, didn’t bother to tell them that.  Ah, look, the picture here is almost a parable of this man’s life.  He’s always willing to reach into that which is forbidden, to take that which he thinks is sweet out of it.  Samson is always willing to reach into a relationship or into something that will satisfy, into the forbidden to take something sweet for himself.  As a Nazarite he shouldn’t have been in a vineyard, he certainly shouldn’t be touching a carcase, to a regular Jew the carcase of a dead animal was defiling.  Certainly, if he told his mom and dad, ‘Hey, want some honey?  I got it out of a dead animal,’ they probably would have refused, I’m assuming, I know my wife would have went EEEOOW! in seven languages.  [I see Samson here has what we’d call a perverse sense of humour.]  But God, it says, was seeking an occasion against the Philistines, this will be part of his [Samson’s] riddle.  So what God did, he one day started flicking a little queen bee somewhere, and got her so irritated she left the nest, then the whole swarm went with her, and God just steered her, brought her right into that dead lion, and had them set up house there, his sovereignty was directing, because he needed honey there when Samson came down, so he could put his riddle together.  Just remember that when you see a bee buzzing by, think whatever application you want.  I think when God brings wasps near you, you need to kill them.  “So his father went down unto the woman:  and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do.” (verse 10) now the word there “a feast” was “a drinking feast, a drinking party,” and it was most likely beer, they would drink wine, but they would drink beer in that culture too.  Pharaoh had his own brewmasters, he never had a cold one, evidently, but he had his own brewmasters, Egypt was famous for beer.  [Comment:  He could have had a cold one, ancient history records the Egyptians (more than likely royalty and the Pharaoh’s were the ones who could afford to have this done for them), that the ancient Egyptians would lay thin pans of water out at night, and as usually happened, temperatures would go below freezing at night.  Then before morning they would collect the ice, and build huge blocks of ice, insulated under sand, kept for Pharoah and probably his drinks.  So he could have had cold beer.  They probably had old fashioned iceboxes like I remember in my grandmother’s house.]  So this is a drinking party, this guy’s crossing lines, he’s not supposed to touch alcohol, he’s not supposed to touch grapes, he’s not supposed to touch dead bodies, this guy’s basically crossing every boundary he’s been raised with, what a shame, and he has this big feast there with the young men.  “And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him.” (verse 11)  because he had no Danites with him, he was a Lone Ranger, had no friends, we never see that, he’s completely alone.  It’s almost a tragedy in some ways, to look at the man, to sit with him, to watch him.  They brought him companions, “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 [undergarments] and thirty changes of garments [inner and outer garments, which were extremely expensive]:  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 the riddle, that we may hear it.” (verses 12-13)  he must have been getting bored.  They’re all half-crocked, so ‘We can do anything, tell it us,’ “that we may hear it.”  “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.” (verse 14) King James says “meat,” that which is to be eaten, “food.”  Three days gone by, they’re all scratching their heads, they’re drinking, they’re starting to worry about the expense of what’s going to happen.  “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?” (verse 15) and that phrase probably reads differently, “into the seventh day,” we know we’re at least three days in.  Now they’re betrothed, they haven’t consummated the marriage yet, but they consider it legal at this point, because the wedding ceremony of seven days has begun.  They come to Samson’s wife, and they said “Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father’s house with fire:”  Some wedding party, this is bad all the way around.  “Have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so?  ‘This is a setup, we’re going to kill you, kill your father, burn your house if you don’t find out what this riddle’s all about.’  And they say “Entice him,” the word there “entice” has the idea of “to make someone simple, or to make someone open, make someone vulnerable,” interesting idea, “wear him down.”  “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?” (verse 16)  ‘You hate me, you don’t love me!’ sounds like they’ve been married 20 years already, they’re just warming up, ‘You hate me, you don’t love me.  You’ve put forth this riddle to the children of my people, and you have not told it to me.’  And he said to her, ‘Yo, behold, I haven’t told it to my father or mother, why would I tell you?’ and he needs to take a pre-marital class or something here I think, if you kind of listen to Samson, this is the wrong answer.  ‘Why would I tell you, I haven’t even told my mom and dad.’  “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.” (verse 17)  she’s crying now for like four days in a row, unending.  “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.” that’s Hebrew, she nagged him to death, he said ‘I’ll tell you, I’d rather die than listen to you cry another day, take the riddle, who cares.’  So he told her, and then she told the riddle to the children of her people.  Now, by the way, Samson has not learned his lesson here.  Because Delila is going to do the same thing to him, over and over, ‘You haven’t told me, you’re mocking me, tell me, you don’t love me.’  He doesn’t learn the lesson, it’s even more remarkable there, ‘Tell me how I can bind you, tell me how you can be whupped and beaten, you don’t love me, you won’t tell me.’  She lay sore upon him, so he told her, and she told the riddle to the children of her people.  Now look, verse 18 it says “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.”  It started out with thirty guys, the whole town has gotten involved by this point in time, because the thirty guys must have gone out everywhere in Timnath asking everybody to tell them, ‘Do you know what this means?  Do you know what this means?’ so the whole city’s gotten involved.  ‘They said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down, What is sweeter than honey and what is stronger than a lion?  they figured out the riddle, dishonestly.  Look what he says “he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.” [they’re all laughing over that term “plowed with my heifer”]  Come on Samson, Darling, Honey, Sweetheart, Heify, you know, given with the culture you wouldn’t plow with a heifer, you’d plow with an ox or a mule, you wouldn’t plow with a heifer, so in one neat way this is something that didn’t happen, but he could have said something nicer, I think.  He needs to go to the Love & Respect conference, undoubtedly.  [laughter]  “If you had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.” “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.” (verse 19) Ashkelon was about 25 miles south of there.  Of course there was no news in those days, wasn’t online, wasn’t on the radio, took a long time for any news from Ashkelon ever to spread up there, I don’t know, were the clothes all bloody when he brought them up, I don’t know.  But he gives those 30 men the clothes of the 30 men that he killed, and this is the incident that the LORD is looking for to provoke Samson relative to the Philistines, because the Philistines have the children of Israel in subjection, and they are cruel.  They are masters at armour, at forging arms, shields, swords, so forth.  Again, the most detailed description of armour in the Bible is the description of Goliath of Gath and what he wore, his whole outfit, all made by the Philistines, they were masters with iron and copper and so forth.  So he goes down, he kills 30 Philistines, brings up their clothing, and gives it to those who expounded the riddle.  And look, “his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father’s house.”  He goes back home without consummating the marriage.  He didn’t take his new bride and sleep with her, he didn’t do that on the seventh day.  So, it says “But Samson’s wife was given to his companion,” the best man “whom he had used as his friend.” (verse 20)  The father, thinking it was an insult that Samson hated his daughter, wasn’t going to come back, because who else waits the seven days and goes away, gives the daughter to the best man.  And Samson leaves, thinking he was going to come back when he cools off.  Now, next chapter…

 

Judges 15:1-20

 

“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. 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 [Hebrew: “moist”] 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 Enhakkor-re, which is in Lehi unto this day. 20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.”

 

Samson And The 300 Foxes

 

“Now, “But it came to pass within a while after, in the time of the 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.” (verse 1) now we’re in the middle of May, we’re in the late spring, again understand by this time young Samuel is at the Tabernacle, there’s other things taking place that some time comes to play in the life of Samson here.  It was the time of the wheat harvest, “that Samson visited his wife with a kid;” you would come with, it was typical with hospitality to go to someone’s home, to bring something good, a kid, wheat, something.  So you can imagine him walking down, ‘maa, maa,’ swinging this thing. “and he said, I will go in to my wife into the chamber.  But her father would not suffer him to go in.  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.” (verses 1b-2)  ‘Dad, you think we should talk about this?’ it doesn’t tell us anything about the younger sister and her impression, ‘Why don’t you just take the younger sister and have her instead?’  “And Samson said concerning them, Now shall I be more blameless than the Philistines, though I do them a displeasure.” (verse 3) he’s going to deal with them now, and he’s going to burn up the fields of grain, an insult because Dagon was the god of grain [as well as the fish god, had the head of a fish as part of Dagon’s statue].  He’s going to destroy the vineyards and the olive yards, which are the three main crops in the Philistine country.  That’s why when they take the Ark of the Covenant from Hophni and Phineas, Eli’s sons, they take the Ark of the Covenant in the battle, Hophni and Phineas are so sinful God won’t honour it, and the Philistines take the Ark, they take it to the house of Dagon and put it there, and they’re rejoicing, that’s because Samson had already come down and destroyed all their fields and had shamed Dagon.  So by the time they get their hands on the Ark they’re thinking ‘See Dagon is more powerful than the God of the Jews,’ so they’ll take the Ark then and put it into his temple.  So Samson says ‘I’m going to be more blameless than them.’  “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.” (verse 4) Now, I’d like a little bit more information, Samson went and caught 300 foxes.  Would anybody here like to do that?  Some say the same word can be used of jackals, and jackals traveled in packs, so it would be easier to catch 300 jackals than 300 foxes.  That don’t explain it to me.  How do you catch 300 jackals, how do you catch 300 foxes?  I want to know how he did it.   I want to know how long it took him to do it.  I want to know what his mom and dad said.  ‘Isn’t 175 enough?  What are you doing?’  I want to know how fast this man was.  The Eagles need this guy.  He caught 300 foxes, or 300 jackals, and then it says he took firebrands, torches, and he turned them tail to tail and put a firebrand in the midst between the two tails.  So he takes 150 pairs of foxes or jackals, he ties their tails together.  Aren’t they biting him?  They’re not friendly animals.  He ties their tails together, that way one’s not going to run to their den because the other one is going to pull in another direction, he ties a torch between their tails, lites it up and lets them go. And you know they’re moving, their tails on fire, they’re moving, they’re going into the standing grain.  And evidently what they’re doing, is everywhere they see a fire they run in a different direction, so they’re starting fires everywhere where there isn’t a fire.  You have 150 pairs of foxes running with torches tied between their tails, they’re doing some damage.  He “took the firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails.  And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn [grain] of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives.” (verses 4b-5)  So some of the grain was harvested, tied in shocks, that’s being burnt up, and also the standing grain that was left, notice this, with the vineyards and the olive yards.  So he destroys the three main crops in Philistine country.  Imagine a Philistine mom or dad looking out the window watching, thinking ‘What in the world is going on!?’ and you just see the fire spreading and moving.  And I have an idea this was a noisy event also.  You know if you have a dog, and whack it, ‘Yelp! Yelp! Yelp!’  Just imagine 300 foxes or jackals screaming with their tails on fire, this had to be a noisy event.  “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.” (verse 6)  So she never got out of the riddle anyway.  She should have stayed on the right side of things early on.  They need to remake this movie, not with Victor Mature with special effects, they need to get back on this one and get to work on this one, I think, I’d like to see this.  Ah, Johnny Depp can’t be Samson, don’t even go there [laughter].  “And Samson said unto them, Though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease.” (verse 7)  ‘You kill my wife and my father-in-law, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that, then I will cease.’  “And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter:  and he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam.” (verse 8) no details.

 

Samson Slays 1,000 Philistines With The Jawbone Of An Ass

 

“and he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam.” which means “a place of a ravenous beast.”  So he says you killed my father-in-law, my wife, that’s it, and he has a great slaughter, hip and thigh, no details.  Then he goes and lives on top of this rock, called Etam, a place of the ravenous beast, must have been a precipitous place where he could watch all of the Philistine territory, which is lower actually than the Danite territory, and he lived there.  We’re not sure how long.  Again, we’re told he judged Israel for 20 years, he may have been there for many years, he may have been there and repented, he may have been there and made his heart right before the LORD, he may have been there watching what was going on, just grieved in the spirit, his countrymen, he may have been there and rededicated himself, he may have found his heart established there, we’re just not told.  He lives at the top of this rock Etam, how long we don’t know.  “Then the Philistines went up, and pitched in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi.  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.  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.” (verses 9-11)  And you know your brethren respect you when they send 3,000 to talk to you.  You look out on your front lawn, there’s 3,000 guys on your front lawn, ‘Ah, we just want to have a conversation,’ you know they respect his strength, ‘How many should we send.  A dozen.  He’s strong, no, send a hundred.  No, send 3,000.’  ‘Three thousand went up to talk to him at the rock of 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.”  ‘how sad, we were co-existing here, don’t you know they were ruling over us, you’re stirring the pot here Samson.’  “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.” that’s his motto.  Look, his history is a record of impulse, action, reaction, anger, revenge, he’s extremely impulsive in the things that he does, and he says ‘Hey, what they did to me, that’s what I do to them.’  The whole nation of Judah is afraid to have that position, there’s one guy who has it by himself.  [But that was also the LORD’s inspired reaction to the Philistines.  Samson was merely God’s instrument.]  “And they spake unto him, We are come down to bind thee, that we may deliver thee into the hand of the Philistines.” so Samson evidently thinks about it a minute, he makes a wise choice, he says look, “And Samson said unto them, Swear unto me, that ye will not fall upon me yourselves.” (verse 12) ‘I don’t want to kill my fellow countrymen, so ya, you can tie me up, just swear that you’re not gonna then try to kill me, and you can hand me over to them.’  “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.” (verse 13)  So here they come bringing Samson, 3,000 men, they got him all tied up with ropes and they hand him over to the Philistines, that’s one of my favorite parts in the movie.  And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him:” they’re rejoicing, they have him in their power now, “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.” (verse 14) as a wick that was burned with fire, you know how you touch it and it falls apart?  The idea is the cords fell off his arms, and his bands loosed from his hands, “And he found a new jawbone of an ass,” and I don’t know where you just find one of those, the Hebrew says “it was moist” which creates an even more interesting picture, maybe he pulled it right off of a live ass, I don’t know that.  Where do you reach out and find a moist one.  Because if it was dry it would have shattered to pieces first time you hit a Philistine on the head, I’m sure.  So it says he literally “found a moist jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith.” (verse 15)  You know there’s this show on TV now, like this warrior show, and they have these Samurai against Vikings, you know, and here’s a guy with the jawbone of a donkey that nobody would have stood a chance against with all their training.  [Comment:  again, watch some of the episodes from the BBC series “The Last Kingdom” with Sword-Dane Vikings against Anglo-Saxons in 800s AD England to understand real sword and bow & arrow warriors, which warfare from the time of the Judges to 800s AD England not much changed, so it gives you a good idea.]  He put forth his hand, he took it, from what, from who, we don’t really know, and he slew a thousand men with it.  “And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.” (verse 16) ‘heaps upon heaps,’ it’s a play on words, it can be jawbone or heaps.  And he is so wrong, he hasn’t slain a single man, the Spirit of the LORD came upon him in each of his feats, Samson didn’t slay a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass, Samson was the jawbone of an ass in the hand of the LORD, as we all are, if anything is accomplished through our lives.  Samson was the instrument that God decided to use.  ‘I have slain a thousand men.’  “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.” (verse 17) “Ramath” means “the heights,” “lehi,” “jawbone heights” is what he called it, nice name for the neighbourhood, has a big graveyard there already.

 

Samson’s Complaint-Prayer To The LORD

Or

‘The Well Of Him Who Calls Out’

 

“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?” (verse 18) ‘and now I’m gonna die of thirst,’ he sounds just like the children of Israel in the Wilderness doesn’t he?  This is one of only two prayers we have recorded in his entire life.  The other one is much more genuine, we’ll come to that.  This one is as much of a complaint as a prayer.  God will respond, God knows his heart, but isn’t it interesting, here’s God who gives him the ability to take out a thousand of the enemy with the jawbone of an ass, now he’s saying ‘Now you’re going to let me die of thirst,’ he’s awfully awhere of how human he is after this victory, isn’t he.  And that’s an important lesson for all of us.  ‘I’m gonna die of thirst, I’m gonna fall into the hands of the uncircumcised.’  “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 Enhakkor-re, which is in Lehi unto this day.” (verse 19)  Now King James says it was in the jaw, that’s the same word for “lehi,” it’s going to tell us down here that it was in Lehi.  That translation probably should be, “that God clave a hollow place that was in Lehi,” that’s where he is, “and there came water thereout,” God did that in Exodus 17, God did that in a number of places with the children of Israel.  “and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he was revived:  wherefore he called the name thereof Enhakkor-re, which is in Lehi unto this day.” “Enhakkor-re” which is “the well of him that cries,” or “the well of him that calls out.”  And by the way, there isn’t a reason why anyone in this room shouldn’t have an Enhakkor-re in your life, “the well of him who cries, the well of him who calls out.”  The first time we have the word “well” or “spring” in the Bible is with Abraham’s handmaid, the Egyptian handmaid Hagar, the first time we have the angel of the LORD appearing in the Bible, is to Hagar, an Egyptian, she cries out, God shows her a well, a spring, the first time somebody outside the Covenant, there isn’t a reason that all of us shouldn’t have at different junctures in our lives an Enhakkor-re, somewhere where we are broken down and weary, and we cry out to the same God, only as his children washed in the blood of the Lamb, and we find there is a spring there, there’s a well there, and God is gracious, as he has not forsaken us.  You know the lesson that every one of us certainly has to learn is at the end of any battle, we are as dependent on him at that moment as we were before the battle.  Sometimes we think, ‘OK, I got battle 101, I’m ready for battle 102 like we’re getting stronger or something along the way,’  no, no, any great victory in our lives, any wonderful thing we see, as we realize that, we are then as dependent on him as we were before any of it began.  And somehow Samson here, after this incredible victory here, I mean, he’s more powerful than the entire tribe of Judah.  But he’s reminded, he’s a man.  And without God his life is not sustained, and he cries to the LORD and the LORD answers that cry and gives him here this well, “the spring of him who cries.”  Again, I’ve experienced that place in life, and God is always faithful.  It says he called the name of the place there Enhakkor-re, which is in Lehi to this day, that is to the day of the writing of the Book of Judges.  And you know, look, isn’t it interesting, you listen to Samson here, he’s so human.  For you and I, we are emotionally vulnerable when we are exhausted, when we are exhausted.  This man is so spent, he actually feels that he’s going to die if he doesn’t get moisture, if he doesn’t get something to drink.  And he’s so exhausted, you know, it’s almost as if there’s a short fuse.  That’s true in your life, that’s true in my life, so often when we are physically exhausted we become emotionally vulnerable.  And it’s so important I think at that time to remember that a soft answers turns away wrath, and I don’t always remember that.  See afterwards I remember that, I think to myself ‘Boy, that was an important thing I should have remembered back then.’  We’re so often then guilty of acting in a certain way that really doesn’t reflect our hearts, and even Samson here, I get a sense he’s complaining to the LORD, the way he cries out in this circumstance.  There is a side to this man that puts him in Hebrews chapter 11, which is the Hall of Faith.  That’s not what God develops for us here as he puts these chapters in front of us, he shows us the man’s weakness, he shows us as a warning, for all of us.  He calls the name of the place Enhakkor-re, which is in Lehi to this day, “And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.” (verse 20)  Now next week, when we head into this 16th chapter, we’re going to see him carrying away the gates of Gaza, and we’re going to see him with Delila, what a delightful scene that is.  Then see him blind, and see the great victory at the end of his life, the lessons that are there for us.  Read ahead, look, looking at this this evening, I could give you statistics adnosium on our culture, on the way we are so drawn by that which is visual, those things…and look, one of the problems with that too is this, you know, sometimes in the addictions meeting, talking with Timmy and so forth, if somebody wants heroine, more often than not, they gotta go score on a corner somewhere, even alcohol, you gotta go out and buy it.  The problem is with pornography, and even just things that we shouldn’t look at, it’s become part of normal in our culture, The Desperate Housewives,’ which I don’t watch.  Those kind of things are pumped right into our television, right into our homes, right into our eye-gates, and they are there all the time.  And there’s a decision on our end, I mean, I love to watch sports.  I can’t wait to see if the Eagles really did get a good draft this year.  But you watch the commercials, and think ‘What does this have to do with football!?  And what does that have to do with the product you’re advertising?’  because if you use their product all those girls are going to be chasing ya?  If you use this product, if you rub that stuff on your head?  That is false advertising, I know it in my heart.  Turn it off!  Don’t watch that.  Sit in your yard, ‘consider the sparrows’ Jesus said.  Look at the sky, get out on a clear night and look at the stars, that’s something that God has put before our eyes, and speak to us of his creation, of his genius, of his power, how masterful he is, how wondrous the works of his hands are.  That used to be normal.  That was normal.  [Comment:  The astronomers spend multiple millions of dollars sending space telescopes into orbit, trying to look deeper and deeper into the universe, trying to see all the way back to the beginning of the first light, the first stars, looking for an answer.  They got sort of the right curiosity, looking for origins, but they don’t want to look into God’s Word, the Bible for those origins.]  Read ahead, we will the Lord willing, work our way through the rest of this man’s life, and then on towards the Book of Ruth and the life of David in 1st and 2nd Samuel and so forth.  So let’s stand, let’s pray together.  Look, it’s probably a great time as the musicians come, just to say ‘Lord, I want to finish well,’ if you guys are not worried about this, pray for me, ok.  Starting’s easy, it’s the finishing that matters, and I want to finish this race well.  I’m assuming for you, that as your pastor you want me to finish well, I need your prayers, low priority target.  I want to finish well, you should want to finish well.  It’s a great time tonight as we lift our voices, as we pray, to say ‘Lord, here I am, there’s enough Samson in me that I understand exactly why you recorded us for us, help me Lord, make me wise, fill me with your Spirit, lead me.’…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Judges 14:1-20 and Judges 15:1-20, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]        

 

Related link:

Audio version: https://resources.ccphilly.org/detail.asp?TopicID=&Teaching=WED638

Jesus is coming to put an end to World War III, which is almost upon us.  To learn more about what’s coming over the horizon, and is almost here, see https://unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_4.htm



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