Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Judges- Chapter 15

Judges 15

-After a while from his dysfunctional wedding and the giving away of his wife by his father-in-law, Samson decided to make a visit to his wife with a young goat in the time of wheat harvest. He basically wanted to have sex with her, but her father would not let him enter. He said to Samson, “I really thought that you hated her intensely; so I gave her to your companion.” He did offer his younger daughter to him boasting that she was more beautiful than the older sister, but Samson wasn’t going for it. He proclaimed, “This time I shall be blameless in regard to the Philistines when I do them harm.” Then he went out and caught 300 foxes taking torches to their tails in pairs, tail to tail having the torches right in the middle of them. He set fire to the torches and released the foxes into the standing grain of the Philistines destroying their crops, along with their vineyards and groves (Judges 15:1-5).

-When the Philistines realized what damage had been done, they asked, “Who did this?” It was determined that indeed it had been the vengeful Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, “because he took his wife and gave her to his companion.” Therefore, the Philistines came up and burned Samson’s wife and her father with fire. This brought Samson’s wrath, but he promised to quit after a great slaughter so long as they left him alone. He did cause a great slaughter ruthlessly, and then he hightailed it down to the rock of Etam and lived there in a cleft of the rock. Not leaving well enough alone and probably looking to solidify power in the region, the Philistines went up and camped in Judah spreading out in Lehi, which was south and east of Zorah more towards Jerusalem. The men of Judah wanted to know why they had come up against them, and the Philistines related what Samson had done and what they intended to do with him. They wanted to bind him in order to do to him as he had done to them. This prompted 3,000 men of Judah to go down to the cleft of the rock of Etam and approach Samson on the subject at hand. They told Samson of their plight under the dominion of the Philistines, who currently ruled over them. They feared what was about to happen. But, Samson maintained his cause, “As they did to me, so I have done to them.” Nonetheless, the men of Judah wanted to bind him and give him over to the Philistines. Samson simply made them swear that they would not kill him, and he allowed them to bind his hands with two new ropes. They brought him up from the rock and took him to Lehi, where the Philistines greeted him with a shout. As this happened, the Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily so that the ropes on his arms became as flax that had been burned with fire (very weak and fragile). In other words, he easily snapped out of his bonds. He found a handy weapon nearby, which was definitely providential. It was the jawbone of a donkey that he reached out and grabbed killing 1,000 men with it. Then Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey I have killed a thousand men.” He named this place now “Ramath-lehi (the high place of the jawbone).” At this point of near exhaustion, he became very thirsty and called to the LORD for help. He uttered, “You have given this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant, and now shall I die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” However, God provided for him a miracle. He split the hollow place that is in Lehi so that water came out as a spring. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived. Thus this place got the name, “En-hakkore (the spring of him who called).” To sum up, Samson judged Israel for 20 years in the days of the Philistines (Judges 15:6-20).

-*Application* Samson, at this point was at least fulfilling the vows his family had committed to when the angel of the LORD approached them. He was not drinking strong drink or wine, and his hair remained uncut as to the covenant of the Nazirites (Numbers 6:2-5, Judges 13:5). He ate no unclean thing, and God was giving him incredible strength and fortune to deliver His people. God’s Spirit was upon this fallible individual. He still had a weakness for being with women, and his rage seemed insurmountable at times. He would fly off the handle in vengeance. But, God was using him in a special way, and Samson did acknowledge Him as his deliverer and strength. He called himself a “servant” of the LORD (Judges 15:18). From this we see again in Scripture that God understands our imperfections and works with a contrite and broken heart (Psalm 51:17, Isaiah 66:2). Even when we mess up, He can straighten out our paths and still get glory for His Kingdom. This is the lesson of Samson. Let us apply it to our lives when we still have faults and failures.

Verse to Memorize: Judges 15:15

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