Judges 12:1 - 14:20

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

II.  History of the Period of the Judges, 3:7 - 16:31 (continued)


         I.    Ammonite Oppression and Jephthah’s Deliverance, 10:6 - 12:7 (continued)


12:1-3 – (RSB) The Ephraimites complained again (cf. 8:1) that they had not been called on to help fight against the Ammonites, which charge Jephthah denied.


Judges 12:1 And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire.


Judges 12:2 And Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, ye delivered me not out of their hands.


Judges 12:3 And when I saw that ye delivered me not, I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivered them into my hand: wherefore then are ye come up unto me this day, to fight against me?


Judges 12:4 Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim: and the men of Gilead smote Ephraim, because they said, Ye Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites, and among the Manassites.


12:4 – (RSB) The taunt of the last part of this verse implies that the tribes on the East side of the Jordan had deserted from Ephraim and Manasseh on the West side.


Judges 12:5 And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay;


Judges 12:6 Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.


12:5-6 – (RSB) Blocking the fords of the Jordan, the Gileadites applied a linguistic test to screen out the Ephraimites, who pronounced Shibboleth as Sibboleth.


Judges 12:7 And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.


         J.    Ibzan’s Judgeship, 12:8-10


Judges 12:8 And after him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel.


12:8 – (RSB) Beth-lehem. Not where Christ was born, but a town N of Megiddo (Josh. 19:15).


This is about half way between the southern end of the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea.


Judges 12:9 And he had thirty sons, and thirty daughters, whom he sent abroad, and took in thirty daughters from abroad for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years.


Judges 12:10 Then died Ibzan, and was buried at Bethlehem.


         K.   Elon’s Judgeship, 12:11-12


Judges 12:11 And after him Elon, a Zebulonite, judged Israel; and he judged Israel ten years.


Judges 12:12 And Elon the Zebulonite died, and was buried in Aijalon in the country of Zebulun.


         L.   Abdon’s Judgeship, 12:13-15


Judges 12:13 And after him Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite [i.e. from Pirathon], judged Israel.


Judges 12:14 And he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that rode on threescore and ten ass colts [i.e. 70 donkeys]: and he judged Israel eight years.


12:14 – (RSB) threescore and ten ass colts. A sign of rank and affluence (cf. 10:4).


Judges 12:15 And Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died, and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the mount of the Amalekites.


         M.  Philistine Oppression and Samson’s Career, 13:1 - 16:31


                  1.    Annunciation and birth of Samson, 13:1-25


There was rebellion followed by retribution.


Judges 13:1 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.


Judges 13:2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not.


Judges 13:3 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.


13:3 – (RSB) the angel of the LORD. A theophany. See note on Gen. 16:9. [Note on Gen. 16:9 – (RSB) the angel of the LORD. A theophany, a self-manifestation of God. He here speaks as God, identifies Himself with God, and claims to exercise the prerogatives of God. . . . Because the angel of the Lord ceases to appear after the incarnation, it is often inferred that the angel in the OT is a preincarnate appearance of the second person of the Trinity], i.e. of Christ.


Judges 13:4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:


Judges 13:5 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.


13:5 – (RSB) [This] Nazarite vow . . . was a lifelong vow. [Note on Num. 6:1-8 – A Nazarite (from a verb meaning “to separate or abstain”) was a layperson of either sex who was bound by a vow of consecration to God’s service for a specific period of time or in some cases for life.] [Note on Lev. 27:2 – He could drink no fruit of the vine (vv. 3-4), could not cut his hair (v. 5), and could not defile himself by going near a dead person (vv. 6-7). These outward signs served as a public testimony of his dedication to God. Examples of Nazarites were Samson (Judg. 13), Samuel (1 Sam. 1:9-11), John the Baptist (Luke 1:15 , 80), and Paul (Acts 18:18 ).]


Judges 13:6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible [i.e. awesome]: but I asked him not whence he was [i.e. where he came from], neither told he me his name:


Judges 13:7 But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.


Judges 13:8 Then Manoah intreated the LORD, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.


Judges 13:9 And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her.


Judges 13:10 And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day.


Judges 13:11 And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am.


Judges 13:12 And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him? [i.e. what is to be the manner of his life, and what is he to do?]


Judges 13:13 And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware.


Judges 13:14 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.


Judges 13:15 And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee [i.e. until we prepare a young goat for you to eat].


Judges 13:16 And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD.


Judges 13:17 And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?


Judges 13:18 And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret [i.e. wonderful, incomprehensible]?


Judges 13:19 So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering [i.e. with a grain offering], and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wondrously [i.e. did a wondrous thing]; and Manoah and his wife looked on.


13:19 – (RSB) meat offering. Better, grain offering. See note on Lev. 2:1. [Note on Lev. 2:1 – The meat (better, grain) offering of fine flour, baked goods (vv. 4, 5, 7), or grain in the ear (v. 14) reminded the people that God gave them their basic food and that they in turn owed Him their lives as a gift or tribute (which is the meaning behind the Hebrew word for this offering). It also prefigured the perfect life of Jesus Christ. This was the only bloodless offering. See note on Heb. 9:22. The oil was olive oil, and the incense mostly frankincense.]


Judges 13:20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground.


Judges 13:21 But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD.


Judges 13:22 And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.


Judges 13:23 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 [i.e. a grain 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.


Judges 13:24 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.


Judges 13:25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.


                  2.    Marriage of Samson, 14:1-20


Judges 14:1 And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.


14:1 – (RSB) Timnath, though occupied by the Philistines, was only about four mi (6.4 km) SW of Zorah, Samson’s home.


Judges 14:2 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.


Judges 14:3 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.


Judges 14:4 But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he [i.e. the LORD] sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.


14:4 – (RSB) The undesirable marriage to a Philistine was ultimately used by God for His purposes.


Judges 14:5 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.


Judges 14:6 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.


Judges 14:7 And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well.


Judges 14:8 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.


Judges 14:9 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.


14:8-9 – (RSB) In the summer heat the carcass dried quickly, leaving a suitable cavity for the bees. To touch the carcass was a violation of the law of the Nazarites (Num. 6:6).


Judges 14:10 So his father went down unto the woman: and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do.


14:10 – (RSB) feast. Seven days long (v. 12), including drinking, which violated Samson’s Nazarite status (13:7).


Judges 14:11 And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him.


14:11 – (RSB) thirty companions. Attendants of the bridegroom (Matt. 9:15) who guarded against intruders.


Judges 14:12 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 and thirty change of garments:


14:12 – (RSB) sheets. Large rectangular sheets worn next to the skin or slept in at night.


Judges 14:13 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.


Judges 14:14 And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat [i.e. food], and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle.


Judges 14:15 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 [i.e. to take what is ours]? is it not so?


Judges 14:16 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?


Judges 14:17 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 [i.e. because she pressed him so much]: and she told the riddle to the children of her people.


Judges 14:18 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 [i.e. you had not solved] my riddle.


14:18 – (RSB) my heifer. A scornful reference to Samson’s wife.


Judges 14:19 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 [i.e. took their apparel], and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled [i.e. he burned with anger, he was furious], and he went up to his father’s house.


14:19 – (RSB) Ashkelon, a Philistine city, was on the Mediterranean coast about 23 mi (37 km) away.


Judges 14:20 But Samson’s wife was given to his companion [i.e. his friend], whom he had used as his friend [i.e. as his best man].