And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the LORD blessed him. And the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.The Lord blessed Samson and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him and we start to sense that something great is about to happen, that God will use Samson in such a way that he has never used any of the other judges. He will be the greatest judge because he was called from the womb to be holy unto the Lord. He was set apart for service to God. He was raised with the knowledge of his calling. Or at least we assume that to be the case. And when we begin the next chapter, we do so with great expectation:
Judges 14:1 Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 Then he came up and told his father and mother, "I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. Now get her for me as my wife."First notice that he sees her, words associated with perception (seeing, knowing, understanding)are frequently used in this story. He sees her and wants her. What a let down! Here we have the judge of Israel, the man called from birth to be set apart and holy unto the Lord and we are told that he sees a woman and wants her. His concern is not for his calling or for Israel or for the will of the Father, it is for himself and what he wants. This reminds me of Eve:
Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.She saw, desired and took and so does Samson even though both were forbidden by the Lord. The Israelites weren't supposed to intermarry with the people of the land (though Philistines are not specifically named, that would include them as well):
Deuteronomy 7:3 You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons,He is supposed to deliver the nation from the oppressors not marry them! How disappointed the reader is at this point because there is this sense of let down. Here we expected more and we were disappointed.
Another interesting point about this passage is that Samson's wife is never named and neither is his mom. No women in Samson's life is named until Delilah.
His mother and father know that it's wrong for him to intermarry:
But his father and mother said to him, "Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?" But Samson said to his father, "Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes."A theme that runs throughout the end of the Book of Judges is that everyone does what is right in their own eyes:
Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.She was right in his eyes even though she was wrong according to the commandments of God. And we are left with a sense of disappointment that God's servant would be so disobedient to His word. But then the author let's us in on what is really going on here:
His father and mother did not know that it was from the LORD, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel.So, the Lord wanted Samson to engage the Philistines and this is how He choose to do it. We see the failure of God's servant to be obedient but God uses it for His plan. This information is followed by a bizarre incident in a vineyard, notice the language:
Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.This is the first time we see this type of language for the activity of the Holy Spirit in the book of Judges. Samson is empowered to do something beyond normal human strength, he is able to tear a lion apart with his bare hands. Notice that the lion was in a vineyard (Nazarites are forbidden to eat the fruit of the vine). It is a strange episode. Samson kills a lion and then doesn't tell his parents, why did the author state this? What is the significance? Remember Samson's vow as a Nazarite:
Numbers 6:6-9 All the days that he separates himself to the LORD he shall not go near a dead body. Not even for his father or for his mother, for brother or sister, if they die, shall he make himself unclean, because his separation to God is on his head. All the days of his separation he is holy to the LORD. And if any man dies very suddenly beside him and he defiles his consecrated head, then he shall shave his head on the day of his cleansing; on the seventh day he shall shave it.Samson is made unclean by this act and would have to go through this cleansing ritual. He wants to get married, maybe he doesn't want to wait. Maybe he doesn't care about his vow.
After some days he returned to take her. And he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion, and behold, there was a swarm of bees in the body of the lion, and honey. He scraped it out into his hands and went on, eating as he went. And he came to his father and mother and gave some to them, and they ate. But he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey from the carcass of the lion.Samson deliberately goes to look at the carcass of the lion, remember he's not supposed to be around dead bodies. Not only does he touch the carcass but he eats the honey from it. Block (the commentary I used for this study was written by Daniel I. Block) notes that it is so unusual for there to be bees instead of flies and maggots that it must have been of the Lord. The Lord may have been testing Samson.
And not only does Samson eat the honey but he gives it to his parents making them unclean as well. In this episode we clearly see the setting of the stage for Samson's teasing Delilah about his vow. Here we see a total disregard for his vow and for the commandments of the Lord.
In the rest of the chapter we see how God puts enmity between His people and their enemies. They might want to co-exist and intermarry but God will not let them be at peace with those who come in to steal their inheritance. He brought the Philistines in to disciple Israel, not to integrate them.
Samson poses a riddle to the Philistines and through duplicity they answer it and in so doing God sets in motion the actions that will take place in the next chapter.
After such a buildup we experience a sense of let down. Samson is not the deliverer that we were expecting. From the womb, he was to be holy unto the Lord and set apart for service to God. He did not meet this expectation but Jesus did. Jesus was holy and set apart to the Lord. He was obedient to His calling and to the word of the Lord. He didn't do what was right in His own eyes but came to do the will of the Father. Thanks be to God that He was obedient to God and His commandments since through His act of obedience, we are called righteous.
Tags: blogs4God, Samson, Delilah, Christianity, Theology, Reformed, Bible Study, Calvinism, Book of Judges