Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Judges- Chapter 14

Judges 14

-The character and tendencies of Samson begin to be revealed as his story plays out in this descriptive chapter. Samson went down towards the west to Timnah as a young adult and saw a woman that infatuated him to the point that he asked his father and mother to get her for him as a wife. His parents’ response was typical within their clan, “Is there not a daughter among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” This was also against their commands given by Moses from the LORD (Deuteronomy 7:1-3). But, she looked good to the young Samson, who was showing his propensity for beautiful women, and his parents eventually consented to the union at his request. Verse 4 tells us that even though his parents didn’t know it, this was of the LORD to begin bringing about the freeing of Israel from the Philistines for at this time these people were ruling over God’s chosen people in the Promised Land (Judges 14:1-4).

-While at the vineyards of Timnah with his parents, a strong young lion came roaring at Samson. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily there to the degree that he tore the lion apart as one would tear a hapless young goat with his bare hands. So, we see his impressive and enormous strength from the Almighty revealed. His parents weren’t witness of this particular event, and he didn’t inform them of what occurred. From there, he went and talked to the woman that he liked, and she “looked good” in his eyes. He returned later to take her as his wife, but on the way back home he observed the dead carcass of the lion he had destroyed. He beheld a swarm of bees and honey in the body of the lion. Unusual. Seeing the opportunity and having courage I suppose, he scraped the honey into his hands and went on, eating as he went. He gave some of the honey to his parents, but he still didn’t tell them of his domination of the lion, nor that he had gotten the honey from its dead body. Then, in the customary tradition, his dad went down to the woman, and Samson made a feast there with 30 of the Philistine companions, which would accompany him. Samson, feeling confident and cocky (another trait that is initially revealed), propounded a riddle for them as a wager. If they could figure out the riddle by the time the feast was over within the seven days, they would get 30 linen wraps and changes of clothes. But if they couldn’t, Samson would get this from them. They accepted the challenge, and here was the riddle: “Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet.” For three days they surmised, but could not come up with the answer. On the fourth day, these “companions” of Samson’s went to his newly acquired wife threatening her to “entice” her husband so that he would tell her the riddle, which she could further relate to them. If she didn’t come through with their request, they told her they would burn her and her father’s house with fire. The reason? They felt like they had been invited to this wedding celebration to be made impoverished. It certainly wasn’t her fault, but the men who accepted the challenge of the riddle were assigning her the blame for their ineptitude. Samson’s wife therefore wept before him calling him a hater and unloving. She wanted to know the answer to the riddle. Samson maintained that not even his parents knew these things he was concealing, but she was persistent. She continued to weep before him seven days while the feast lasted. “And on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard.” This begin to demonstrate the habitual notion that Samson could eventually be persuaded by the whims of a woman. She then told the answer of the riddle to the sons of her people, and they won the beat. On the seventh day, before the sun went down, they gave the answer to the riddle, “What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?” Samson’s anger burned as he responded, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have found out my riddle.” The Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily as he went down to Ashkelon and killed 30 men taking their spoil. He fulfilled his end of the bargain giving the changes of clothes to those who had told him the answer to the riddle. Afterwards, still in rage, he went back up into the hill country to his father’s house. “But Samson’s wife was given to his companion who had been his friend (Judges 14:5-20).

-*Application* Twisted, convoluted, and peculiar. This was a match seemed to be made in hell, but God was at work in it even through the complete depravity of man that we see in this episode. Our character and our traits that demonstrate who we are and what we believe perpetually build and build through the course of our lives. Can a leopard change his spots (Jeremiah 13:23)? Only through the righteousness of Christ can our lives truly be radically altered and transformed permanently. Otherwise our destinies tend to go in a circular pattern of mishaps and destruction in self-repeating dysfunction. So let the LORD do His amazing and gracious work in your life starting today, if it hasn’t happened already. He is beginning to make all things new (Isaiah 48:6, Revelation 21:5). May the Spirit of the LORD come into all of us through our acceptance of the Father’s Son.

Verse to Memorize: Judges 14:2

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