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Samson

Samson

“One part of him for his own desire, one part of him for God”

By Joyce Webb 2018

Samson’s story is told in the book of Judges Chapters 13-16

Samson’s birth was a miracle. Samson’s mother was not able to have children.

Samson’s father’s name was Manoah.

One day, the angel of the Lord came to Manoah’s wife.

When the Bible speaks of the “angel of the Lord”, this is not a regular angel. Bible teachers think is the appearance of Jesus, God’s Son in the Old Testament.

The Angel of the Lord said to Manoah’s wife, I know you are barren---not able to have children. But the Angel of the Lord said you will have a son.

There are some rules you must follow: Do not drink wine or any strong drink. Do not eat any meats that are “unclean” according to the Jewish law.

When you have this son-----do not ever cut his hair. This child will follow the rules of the Nazarite vow from the time he is born. God will use him to deliver the Hebrew/Israel people from their enemies the Philistines.

Later the woman told her husband that she saw a person that looked like an angel and she was very afraid. She said she asked what he name was, but he did not tell her.

She told her husband that God was going to heal her so she would have a baby. The baby would be a boy. She told him about the rules she was to follow, and the rules the boy was to follow.

Manoah prayed to God to let the “person/angel” come and speak to him and tell him what he was to do.

God listened to Manoah and he sent the Angel of God to come see the woman again. The woman ran to get her husband to come and see.

The Angel of the Lord told Manoah the same rules that he told the woman.

Manoah wanted to make a meal for the angel, but the angel said he would not eat it, but if he wanted to bring the animal as a burnt offering to the Lord, then Manoah needed to do it as an offering unto God.

At this time, Manoah still did not understand that this was not a person. He may have looked like a man, but it was not a man.

So when the “man” said this offering had to be given as an offering to God, Manoah still did not understand that this “man” was not a human man

Manoah asked what his name was, because when our son is born we want to give you honor. But the “man” said his name was a secret.

Manoah took a goat and made an offering unto God, when he put it on a rock, and put fire to it, the “man” ascended - went up- into the flame and went up into heaven in the flame. Then Manoah understood that his was not a man, but was a “person” from God. Manoah and his wife bowed down their faces to the ground.

Manoah became afraid when he understood that they had talked with “God”. He said, “We will die because we have seen God.”

The reason he said this was because of a time in the Old Testament when God was speaking to Moses in Mt. Sinai. God allowed Moses to see God’s back, and God said to him, “You can not see my face, because no man can see me and live.” Exodus 33:20

God’s glory is so great-----that for a man to look at it----it would kill him.

Manoah’s wife said to him, We are not going to die. If we were to die, how am I to have this son that he promised I would have?

So. Manoah and wife had a son. They named him, Samson.

Samson grew and the Lord blessed him. The Spirit of the Lord would come on Samson from time to time to fight against the Philistines and use him to help the Israel people.

As Samson grew into a man, he saw a Philistine woman that he wanted to marry. He came to his parents and asked them to arrange for him to marry her.

(Long ago parents made the arrangements for marriages.)

His parents did not like it that Samson wanted to marry a woman of the “enemy”. They asked him, can’t you find a Jewish girl to marry?

Samson was determined to marry this Philistine woman.

Then we come to verse 4 in Chp. 14. “His father and his mother knew not that it was of the Lord, that he (the Lord) sought (looked for, wanted) an occasion (opportunity) against the Philistines. For at that time the Philistines had dominion (ruled over, bossed) Israel.”

This verse is rather hard to understand. In almost every place in the Bible, God tells the people of God to marry a believer and not to join themselves to unbelievers.

The Philistines worshipped idols. They did not worship the true God of Heaven.

Samson’s parents tried to get him to marry a Jewish girl. They wanted him to obey what God had told them about marrying only a believer in God.

This marriage to a Philistine woman was very unusual. God was going to use this marriage to punish the Philistine people for what they were doing to the people of Israel.

Vs. 5 Samson and his parents went down to the city of Timnath. On his way, a young lion came against Samson.

The Spirit of the Lord come upon Samson and made him very strong. Samson took hold of the lion and ripped the lion apart and killed it.

But Samson did not tell his parents what he had done.

Samson went on into the city to see the woman.

Later on, Samson went back down to the city of Timnath to see the woman and marry her. On the way, Samson saw the bones of the lion. A swarm of bees had made a nest in the bones and there was honey in the wax honeycomb.

Samson took some of the honey and ate it, and then took some more to give to his parents. He never told them where he got the honey.

The father went to talk with the woman that Samson wanted to marry. Samson made a feast (dinner) for the young men who were friends of the bride’s family.

There were 30 young men at the party.

Samson said, I am going to tell you a riddle. If you can give me the right answer during this 7 day party then I will give you 30 linen robes and 30 fancy robes. But if you can not give me the right answer, then you will have to give me that many robes.

The riddle was: From the one who eats

Came something to eat

Out of the strong

Came something sweet

After 3 days they were still trying to think of the answer.

On the 4th day, they said to Samson’s wife, Get the answer for us or we will burn down your father’s house with you in it. Buying that many robes will cost too much.

So Samson’s wife came to Samson with tears and said, You do not love me, you hate me. You have given my people a riddle but you have not told me the answer.

Samson said, My father and my mother do not know the answer to the riddle. Why should I tell you?

His wife cried every time she was with him for the rest of the days of the party. On the 7th day, Samson told her the answer.

On the 7th day just before the sun set, the young men came to Samson and told him the answer: What is sweeter than honey, What is stronger than a lion.

Samson was angry with them. He understood that they were the ones who talked with his wife and made her upset so that she begged for the answer.

Samson told them, if you had not gone to my wife, and said what you did-----you would not have known the answer.

Now Samson had to give them 30 linen robes and 30 fancy robes. That would have cost a lot of money. It seems that Samson did not have that much money, or he was not going to use his money to buy the robes. He was angry with what the men had done.

So to pay them back, he went out into the town of Ashkelon.

The Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson and made him very strong. Samson killed 30 Philistine men. He took their clothing and brought it to the young men of the party.

So God used Samson to punish the men of Philistine for what they were doing to the people of Israel.

Samson was so angry with his wife and with the young men that he left Timnath and went back home to his parents.

When Samson did not come back to Timnath, Samson’s wife’s father decided to let her marry the man who had been Samson’s best man at the wedding.

Later, Samson decided to go back to Timnath to see his wife.

He took a young goat with him as a gift. He thought he would stay the night with his wife. But her father would not let Samson in.

The father said, I thought you hated her and did not want her, so I let her marry another man. You can marry her sister if you want, she is very beautiful.

Samson left. He was very angry. He caught 300 foxes.

He tied their tails together and tied a torch to their tails. Then he let them go into the fields of grain of the Philistines.

The fire burned up all the grain growing in the fields. It burned up the grain that was in piles, and tied up in bundles. It burned the grapevines and the olive trees.

The Philistines were in shock. They said, Who did this?

Someone said that Samson did it because his wife’s father had given his wife to his best man to marry.

The Philistine men were so upset with all they had lost, that they got the father and Samson’s wife and burned them to death.

When Samson heard what they did to his wife, he was angry again. He said, I will pay you back for this.

So he killed many of the Philistine men. Then Samson went to stay in a cave in another place.

Now the Philistines were going “pay back” Samson. So 3000 Philistine men to set up camp in Judah and began robbing the town of Lehi.

The men of Lehi asked, Why did you come here? What did we do?

The men of Philistine said, We have come to pay back what Samson did to us. Where is he?

The men of Judah went to the cave to get Samson. They asked him, What did you do? Do you know what the Philistines are doing to our town?

Samson said, I am only paying them back for what they did to my wife.

The men of Judah said, We are going to tie you and take you to the Philistines.

Samson said, Okay. But promise you will not kill me yourself. So the men promised.

The men of Judah tied him up with 2 new ropes.

As they came into the town of Lehi, the Philistine began shouting and cheering in victory. But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson and made him very strong.

Samson broke the new ropes like they were old burnt things.

Samson picked up a bone lying in the field a jawbone of a donkey.

He killed 3000 Philistine men.

After Samson did all that he was so very thirsty. There was no water nearby, so he prayed to God and asked for water.

The Lord made water come up out of the ground like a spring so Samson could have water to drink.

Samson was a judge and leader of Israel for 20 years while the Philistines were ruling the land.

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One night Samson went to the Philistine city of Gaza. He planned to stay the night with a prostitute. (This was not something God would approve of.)

Some people saw that Samson was come to town. They saw that he went into the prostitute’s house. The men of Gaza waited for him to come out. Night came. They said, When morning comes we will kill him.

But Samson stayed only until midnight. Then he left the prostitute’s house.

The city gates were closed for the night. (City gates were usually very tall large wooden doors and were very heavy.) Since the gates were locked, Samson picked up the gates with the two posts, bar and all lifted them up carried them on his shoulders up to the top of a hill across from Hebron.

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Later, Samson fell in love with a Philistine woman named Delilah.

The men of the town, went to her and said, Find out what makes Samson so strong. We want to catch him. Each of us men will give you 1100 pieces of silver. (We do not know how many men there were, but 1100 pieces of silver from each one would be a lot o money.)

So when Samson came to visit, Delilah said to him, Please tell me what makes you so strong.

Samson said, If you tied me up with new bowstrings, I would be as weak as anyone. (Bowstrings were usually made from animal sinew or muscle. They are very strong and hard to break.)

So the men of the town brought her some new bowstrings. They hid in rooms nearby to listen and catch Samson.

Delilah and Samson were together, Samson fell asleep, she tied him with the bowstrings.

Then she shouted, Samson Wake up The Philistine men are here.

Samson woke up and got up and broke the bowstrings like they were nothing.

The Philistine men ran. They did not find out his secret.

So Delilah tried again.

She said, You made fun of me. You did not tell me the truth. You made a fool of me. Tell me the truth.

So Samson said, If you tie me with new ropes. I will be as weak as anyone.

So on another time when Samson was with her, he fell asleep and the Philistine men were hiding and waiting she shouted Samson, Wake up the Philistine men are here to catch you.

Samson woke up got up and broke the new ropes like they were nothing.

Delilah said You are making a fool of me. You are telling me lies. Please tell me the truth.

So Samson said, If you weave my hair into a loom as you would yarn for weaving, I would be a weak as anyone.

Another time when Samson was with Delilah she wove his hair into a loom like you would weave cloth. Then she shouted Samson Wake up The Philistine men are here.

Samson woke up got up and pulled his hair out of the loom like it was nothing.

Now, Delilah was upset. She pouted and cried. She said How can you love me when you do not share the truth about yourself with me. You have made fun of me now 3 times. Tell me what makes you so strong.

She kept asking him day after day until finally Samson told her that he was dedicated to God from birth. He had taken the Nazarite vow. His hair had never been cut. If my hair would be cut, my strength would leave me.

(Samson’s strength was not in his hair. His strength was in his obeying the rules God gave him to follow. God had told his parents, and he was taught this, that as long as he followed the Nazarite rules that God gave to him------ then God would give him special strength to fight against the Philistines.)

(Not cutting his hair was only one of the rules. And the reason God was going to make him so strong was to fight the Philistines.)

(Samson has put himself in a bad place with the enemy. He is in the Philistine town, with a Philistine woman that he is not married to. He is there for his own pleasure. He is not there to fight the Philistines.

Delilah has 3 times now, shown Samson that she can not be trusted.

What is going on in Samson’s brain to not see how she is not to be trusted?

Why would she do these things if she was on Samson’s side?

It seems that “love is blind” and “lust (sexual desire) is blind, also).

So, now Samson has told her the truth. It is amazing that he does not see what she will do with this truth. He has had 3 warnings already.

So when Samson is with her again, he must have fallen asleep, she shaves off all his hair. Then she shouts, Samson Wake up The Philistine men are here.

Samson wakes up. He gets up. He shakes himself thinking he will be strong as before-----but the Bible says----he did not realize (understand, know) that the Spirit of the Lord had left him.

It was the Spirit of the Lord that made Samson strong. The Spirit of the Lord gave Samson strength because Samson obeyed God. When Samson honored God and obeyed, then God honored Samson with strength.

Samson did not obey. He has broken the promise/ vow that he made to follow the rules. He is now on his own. Just an ordinary man’s strength.

The Philistine men came into the room to catch him and tie him and take him out.

The put out his eyes. They tie him to a grinding mill to walk around and around to grind the grain into flour. Usually a donkey would be the one walking around and around grinding the grain, but now it is Samson.

 

The people of the town and country come to see him. A blind prisoner tied to a grinding mill.

A weak ordinary man.

They laughed and make fun. The enemy has been captured. Samson will not be killing Philistine men. They are so happy.

Samson’s hair began to grow.

The Bible does not say what he is thinking at this time but I think he was having many thoughts about what he had done. How he had not obeyed God and what he was called to do. And how foolish he had been with Delilah.

Samson real problem was that his heart was not fully dedicated to God. Samson followed the outward rules of his dedication, but in his heart he wanted to do what he wanted about sexual pleasure. If his whole heart had been given to the Lord, he would have lived each part of his life to please God. Because his heart was not fully in it, he gave in to temptation and ended up breaking his promise to God.

 

The Philistine leaders were saying Our god, Dagon, has given us the victory over our enemy.

They decided to celebrate. They called for Samson to be brought to the temple of Dagon so they could make fun of him and give glory to Dagon their god.

Thousands of people were there in the temple and about 3000 more were on the flat roof of the temple.

Samson was brought to the temple. Everyone was shouting and cheering.

A young boy led Samson into the center of the temple. Samson asked the boy to show him where the centers pillars or posts/columns were. He said he wanted to rest against them.

Samson put a hand on each pillar. Then he prayed. Lord, remember me again.

Let me pay them back for the loss of my eyes. Let me die with the Philistines.

Samson pushed on the pillars with all of his strength. The pillars came down.

The roof fell down on all the people inside the temple and the 3000 people on the roof fell.

In his death, Samson killed more Philistines than he had during his life.

Later, his brothers came and other family to get his body. They took him home and buried him.

(It seems that Manoah’s wife had more sons after Samson. God gave her children. This was so important to Jewish woman.)

What did you learn from Samson’s life?

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It seems to me that Samson did not take his special calling and anointing from God seriously.

He was rather half-hearted in his service to God.

He allowed his sexual desires to come first.

He could have married a Jewish girl who believed in God.

If he had given himself completely to God then we wonder what all he could have done? He could have lived a long life defending the people of Israel against the Philistines.

However we see that God used Samson even though he had human failings.

We wonder how Samson could have been so foolish in his relationship with Delilah. When she lied to him and called the Philistines on him. Why could he not see that she was not being true to him?

Sin and disobeying God has a way of making us “blind” to things that we might have seen. Sin makes dull our sense of God.. As we keep choosing sin, the Holy Spirit backs off and lets us choose as we will.

Later, we see that God gave him a second chance to do the right thing----and Samson knew it would cost him his life to do it. This time, he was willing to surrender his life completely to do God’s work.

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