Pastoral Commentary for Judges 14-15
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
Samson ventured into the territory of the Philistines and saw a woman he wanted for his wife, in spite of the fact that God had commanded the Israelites not to intermarry with their pagan neighbors. God permitted Samson to pursue his desire because He knew He was going to use Samson to overthrow the Philistines. Our amazing God knows how to bring about good for ourselves and others even through our sinful choices. The power of God in Samson's life was revealed when he tore apart a young lion with his bare hands. Bees made a hive in the lion's carcass, and from it Samson took honey and shared some with his parents. Samson used this event as the basis for a riddle to entertain his Philistine wedding guests, and extract costly wedding gifts from them by means of a wager. When they couldn't solve the riddle they threatened Samson's wife who in turn pleaded with him to give her the answer. After days of tears Samson relented, but when the wedding attendants gave him the answer he became enraged. He went and killed thirty men of Ashkelon and gave their clothes to the attendants to settle their wager. When Samson returned to his wife her father turned him away, saying that he had given her in marriage to another. Once again, Samson was enraged and, determined to punish the Philistines, set fire to their crops by means of torches tied to three hundred foxes that he had paired by tying their tails together. In return, the Philistines burned Samson's wife and father-in-law to death. The conflict escalated and Samson killed many Philistines. When the Philistines came hunting for Samson, the men of Judah took him prisoner and handed him over to them bound with new ropes. But Samson was again empowered by the Spirit of God and breaking his bonds, took the fresh jawbone of an ass and used it to kill 1000 Philistines. After his victory, God even satisfied Samson's overwhelming thirst by providing a miraculous spring of water which he named "The spring of the crier" to commemorate how he cried to God and He answered.