Thursday, March 31, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Judges- Chapter 16

Judges 16

-Samson went to Gaza on the west coast of the Promised Land and once again fell into sexual immorality. He lay with a harlot there, and it was told to the local Gazites who wanted to surround him, lay in wait, and take his life the next morning. Samson lay there assuredly with this knowledge until midnight, but then he arose and took hold of the doors of the city gate and its two posts. He pulled them along with the bars eventually putting them on his shoulders and carrying them up to the top of a mountain which was opposite Hebron (Judges 16:1-3). This was an incredibly impressive feat of strength, and his legend grew as a judge in Israel.

-Afterwards, things transpired to a point that he fell in love with a woman in the valley of Sorek, which was to the west of his hometown of Zorah. This woman was named in the Bible. She was the infamous, Delilah. She was a heathen who used Samson for financial gain. The lords of the Philistines came to her wanting her to discern what caused Samson’s mega human strength. They wanted her to entice him so that they could corral this tormenter of their society. They wanted to afflict him and make him an object of their propaganda-power over the region. So Delilah came to Samson asking him to please tell her where his mighty strength came from and how he might be able to be bound. Initially from text it seems that this was a fairly straightforward approach, which Samson discerned and obviously did not buy into. He messed with her by lying as he told her that seven fresh cords that were not yet dried should be able to hold him down in bondage. He told her that this would make him like any other man, but she would soon find out this deception. The lords of the Philistines brought the recommended seven fresh cords that had not been dried, and Delilah bound him with them. She had men lying in wait in an inner room where the two were staying, but when she exclaimed, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” “But he snapped the cords as a string of tow snaps when it touches fire.” Samson’s strength was not discovered. When Delilah went cunningly back to Samson, his love for her begin to really affect his wisdom. He put up with her nonsense some more and then again and again. She cried to him how he had deceived her with lies, and that he really should tell her what gave him his strength. There was money on the line. She was to gain 1,100 pieces of silver from each of the lords of the Philistines if she could discover Samson’s secret. The second time around Samson maintained that the cords were the key, but they had to be bound much tighter on him. So Delilah took new ropes once again and bound him with them screaming out, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” The men were again lying in wait in the inner room, but he simply snapped the ropes from his arms like a thread when threatened. Delilah was really put out this time, and Samson on his part could be considered moronic for staying in this ridiculous situation. But we all know what they say, “Love is blind.” He stayed with her, and kept putting up with her scheming ways. This next time he told her that if she were to weave the seven locks of his hair with the web fastened by a pin, he would become as weak as any other man. While he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his hair and wove them into the web fastening it with the pin just like he said. Once again she screamed, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” However, and probably surprisingly, Samson woke up from his sleep and pulled the pin out of the loom and the web. His lust remained unaffected for her after these events, and soon the real tragedy would occur. Delilah continued to smooth talk him, and now brought guilt into the picture. She questioned how he could say he loved her when his heart certainly wasn’t with her to be honest. Three times now he had deceived her and kept true to his covenant with God. The LORD had kept him strong and safe in every ordeal. But now things would be different. “It came about when she pressed him daily with her words and urged him, that his soul was annoyed to death.” How many of us guys can relate, right? Women do have power of the voice. “So he told her all that was in his heart and said to her, ‘A razor has never come on my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me and I will become weak and be like any other man.’” Delilah seems to have perceived that this time was different. She sent and called the lords of the Philistines telling them that this time Samson really did tell all that was in his heart and to come once more. Therefore, the lucrative deal was moving forward as the lords brought their $ in their hands. Delilah made her man sleep on her knees, more than likely after a love session. She had a man come and shave off the seven locks of hair from the mighty warrior. “Then she began to afflict him, and his strength left him.” One more time she yelled out, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” Waking up, Samson thought he would just go out as at other times and shake himself free. “But, he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.” The Philistines seized him like a normal man, and then they gouged out his lustful eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and bound him up with bronze chains. He was a grinder (a grinder of a hand mill moved around by beasts or slaves) for them in the prison (Judges 16:4-21).

-However, the Bible states that his hair began to grow back after the shaving he had received post humorously. It so happened by the providence of God that the lords of the Philistines, who had been ruling over His Jewish people, assembled themselves together to offer a great sacrifice to their false god, Dagon. They rejoiced in their sinful pleasures, and bragged about the fact that this deity had given Samson, their enemy, into their hands. Samson was put on display for them to observe and mock. He was vehemently called the “destroyer” of their country, for he had slain many of them. When they were in high spirits, they said, “Call for Samson, that he may amuse us.” He was called out of the prison, and he entertained them. He was made to stand between two support pillars, but he astutely convinced one the lads that was attending to him to let him feel the pillars to lean against them (remember he was blind at this point). Whether he was exhausted from the abuse he was being dealt or maybe deceiving once more, we are not privy from the text. But, he called upon God on this occasion with the house full of men and women, and all the lords of the Philistines, at least 3,000 of the enemies of the LORD. Samson’s plea is sincere and the reason he was prophetically born (Judges 13:5), “O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me just this time, O God, that I may at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” Samson, the mighty warrior judge of Israel, grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, braced himself against them with each hand, and shouted with all his might, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he stretched out (natah- to stretch out, extend, spread out, pitch, turn, pervert, incline, bend, bow) with all his might so that the house fell on the lords and all the people who were there. “So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed in his life.” His brothers and all his father’s household came down to that coastal area to take his body back up to home for a proper burial. He was buried between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah, his father. “Thus he had judged Israel twenty years (Judges 16:22-31).” God was beginning to deliver His people from the dreaded Philistines.

-*Application* John tells us that the three things of the world that are not from the Heavenly Father that we all battle with are: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:16). Temptation is very real and can carry us away when we allow it. God took Samson’s eyesight I believe for this very reason. We should use our eyes to glorify God in every way, without the lust of this sinful world (Psalm 101:3). Though it is exceptionally difficult in this promiscuous day and age in which we live, it is possible through the Holy Spirit’s power. It’s like Martin Luther once said, “I can’t keep the birds from flying over my head, but I can keep them from building a nest in my hair.” In other words, look away and flee the temptation of the eyes (2 Timothy 2:22). Remember, it’s the second look at a thing of beauty that will get a person into trouble. One more thing here before we go, consider fleeing from the temptation of $ too (1 Timothy 6:9-11).

Verse to Memorize: Judges 16:28

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