Judges 15:1-16:31

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Text:   Judges 15-16

 

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

 

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

 

                        3.   Exploits of Samson, 15:1-20

 

Judges 15:1 But it came to pass within a while after [i.e. after a while, it happened], in the time of wheat harvest [i.e. in May], that Samson visited his wife with a kid [i.e. with a young goat]; and he said, I will go in to my wife into the chamber [i.e. into her room]. But her father would not suffer [i.e. allow or permit] him to go in.

 

Remember that Samson may never have actually consummated this marriage.

 

I remind you of Judges 14:17-20

Judges 14:17-2017 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. 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. 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. 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].

 

Judges 15:2 And her father said, I verily [i.e. really] thought that thou hadst utterly hated her [i.e. thoroughly hated her, hated her intensely]; therefore I gave her to thy companion [i.e. to your best man]: is not her younger sister fairer than she? take her, I pray thee, instead of her.

 

Judges 15:3 And Samson said concerning them, Now shall I be more blameless than the Philistines, though I do them a displeasure [i.e. when I do them harm, although I do them harm].

 

Judges 15:4 And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands [i.e. torches], and turned tail to tail [i.e. tied their tails together], and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails [i.e. put a torch between each pair of tails].

 

15:4 – (RSB) foxes or jackals.

 

Judges 15:5 And when he had set the brands [i.e. torches] on fire, he let them go into the standing corn [i.e. grain] of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks [i.e. the heaps or piles of grain], and also the standing corn [i.e. grain], with the vineyards and olives [i.e. olive groves].

 

15:5 – (RSB) The three main crops were destroyed.

 

Judges 15:6 Then the Philistines said, Who hath done this? And they answered, Samson, the son in law of the Timnite, because he [i.e. the father of Samson’s wife] had taken his wife, and given her to his companion [i.e. friend, best man]. And the Philistines came up, and burnt her and her father with fire [i.e. they burned them to death].

 

Judges 15:7 And Samson said unto them, Though ye have done this [i.e. because you did this, because you have done such a thing as this], yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease.

 

Judges 15:8 And he smote them hip and thigh [i.e. literally “leg on thigh,” a wrestling figure for a ferocious attack, meaning “viciously” or “with brute force”] with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the top [i.e. in a cleft, in a cave] of the rock Etam.

 

Judges 15:9 Then the Philistines went up, and pitched in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi.

 

15:9 – (RSB) Lehi means “jawbone.” Probably named after these events happened.

 

Judges 15:10 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.

 

Judges 15:11 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.

 

Judges 15:12 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.

 

15:12 – (RSB) fall upon me. i.e., attack me yourselves. Samson asked that the Israelites not attack him, so that he would not be obliged to retaliate and shed Jewish blood.

 

Judges 15:13 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.

 

Judges 15:14 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 [i.e. as some fibers which had been burned], and his bands loosed from off his hands.

 

Judges 15:15 And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith.

 

Judges 15:16 And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps [i.e. I have piled them in heaps], with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.

 

Judges 15:17 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 Ramathlehi.

 

15:17 – (RSB) Ramath-lehi means “the height (hill) of the jawbone.”

 

Judges 15:18 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?

 

Judges 15:19 But God clave [i.e. split] 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 Enhakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day.

 

15:19 – (RSB) En-hakkore means “the spring of the caller.”

 

Judges 15:20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

 

Samson is listed with the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11:32

Hebrews 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets.

 

                        4.   Fall of Samson, 16:1-31

 

Judges 16:1 Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.

 

16:1 – (RSB) Gaza was the southernmost of the five principal Philistine cities.

 

Judges 16:2 And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither [i.e. here]. And they compassed him in [i.e. surrounded him], and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him.

 

Judges 16:3 And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.

 

16:3 – (RSB) What incredible strength and endurance Samson had! He carried the doors, door posts, and bar that secured the doors for a distance of 38 mi (61 km), mostly uphill, to Hebron.

 

Judges 16:4 And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.

 

Judges 16:5 And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him [i.e. humble him]: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.

 

16:5 – (RSB) eleven hundred pieces of silver. About 27.5 lb (12.5 kg) of silver. Delilah was promised this amount from each of the five lords of the Philistines.

 

On 5/13/2016 the price of gold was $17.13 per ounce. This amounts to $7,537.20 from each lord or a total of $37,686.00.

 

Judges 16:6 And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith [i.e. with what] thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.

 

Judges 16:7 And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withs [i.e. seven fresh bowstrings made of twisted gut] that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.

 

Judges 16:8 Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them.

 

Judges 16:9 Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber [i.e. in the room, in an inner room]. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow [i.e. as a piece of string, as a piece of yarn] is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known.

 

16:9 – (RSB) tow. Raw flax fibers used for wicks.

 

Judges 16:10 And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound.

 

Judges 16:11 And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied [i.e. used], then shall I be weak, and be as another man.

 

Judges 16:12 Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber [i.e. men lying in wait in the inner room]. And he brake them from off his arms like a thread.

 

Judges 16:13 And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto [i.e. until now] thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web [i.e. into the fabric on the loom].

 

Judges 16:14 And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web [i.e. pulled up the pin and the loom with the fabric].

 

16:13-14 – (RSB) Since Samson was lying with his head in her lap, Delilah could easily begin to weave his hair into the material.

 

Judges 16:15 And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth.

 

Judges 16:16 And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death [i.e. so that he was sick to death of it];

 

Judges 16:17 That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.

 

Judges 16:18 And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand.

 

Judges 16:19 And she made him sleep upon her knees [i.e. with his head on her lap]; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.

 

Judges 16:20 And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist [i.e. knew] not that the LORD was departed from him.

 

Judges 16:21 But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.

 

16:21 – (RSB) Samson was reduced to humiliating slave labor. . . .

 

Judges 16:22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.

 

Judges 16:23 Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.

 

16:23 – (RSB) Dagon. A vegetation god of the Philistines.

 

Judges 16:24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us.

 

Judges 16:25 And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.

 

Judges 16:26 And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them.

 

16:26 – (RSB) The flat roof, supported by wooden pillars set on stone bases, was made of logs laid from wall to wall.

 

Judges 16:27 Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.

 

Judges 16:28 And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.

 

Judges 16:29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.

 

Judges 16:30 And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.

 

Judges 16:31 Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.

 

16:30-31 – (RSB) Samson . . . exemplifies those who, though greatly endowed by God, fail to use His gifts to His greatest glory. Yet he is listed among the heroes of faith in Heb. 11:32.