LITTLE BY LITTLE
Judges 13-16 lays out the amazing story of Samson. His mother had an angelic visit. For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines. (Judges 13:5, NAS)
Samson’s wedding to a Philistine woman was planned – complete with a 7 day feast. Samson gave their guests a riddle to solve. So he said to them, “Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet.” (Judges 14:14, NAS) On the fourth day, Samson’s wife began to plead with him, asking for the answer to the riddle. For the remaining days, she persuaded him by pleading, begging, nagging and weeping. At last, worn out by her efforts, he divulged the secret. Samson shared – What is sweeter than honey, and what is stronger than a lion?
When the guests revealed the correct answer, Samson went to Ashkelon, a town 23 miles away. There he killed 30 men and retrieved 30 linen wraps, and 30 changes of clothes, the predetermined reward for solving the riddle.
Samson was angry and extremely disappointed with his wife so he went home to his parents. Consequently his wife was given to his companion!
Samson’s response to this betrayal was to round up 300 foxes. He divided them into groups of 2, tied their tails together, and put a torch in the middle of their tails. He released these 150 living torches to destroy the productive, Philistine, wheat crop!
The Philistines appealed to the men of Judah for justice. Samson was bound with ropes and relinquished to the Philistines.
Samson broke the ropes and found a donkey’s jawbone, and killed 1,000 Philistines. Not your standard weapon!
Samson chose to become involved with Delilah, a Philistine prostitute, he claimed to love. Word got out about Samson’s girlfriend, and the Philistine lords’offered her 1100 pieces of silver if she uncovered the secret of his strength. Wise Samson decided he wouldn’t divulge his secret, but he played along.
He said that if he were bound with 7 fresh cords that had not been dried, he would become weak like other men. After their visit, Delilah woke him since the Philistines were advancing against him. He simply snapped off the cords and escaped!
Delilah persuaded him to give her another scenario. She accused him of lying while she was taking sexual favors in an effort to earn a bribe. This time he said if he were bound tightly with new ropes which had not been used, his strength would disappear. Delilah yelled, “Wake up Samson, the enemy is upon you!” He easily snapped the ropes and fled.
Believe it or not, Delilah persuaded him to reveal yet another scenario. Perhaps by this time he should have feared for his life, but love blinded him! If you braid 7 locks of my hair with the web and secure it with a pin, I will become weak. That sounds like it’s off the charts, but she bought it! When Samson was aroused from a deep sleep, he pulled out the pin and escaped from his enemies.
Delilah persuaded him to tell the truth! She said, “How can you love me without bearing your heart before me?” Tired of the nagging and sleepless nights, he went along with her. “If my hair is cut, I will be weak like other men,” Samson shared.
As he drifted off to sleep, he had no idea what awaited him. Next thing he knew the Philistines were upon him and his strength was gone! His girlfriend was history, and his eyes were gouged out! Imagine the agony! In addition to spiritual blindness, he is now physically blind. He was bound with bronze chains and thrown into jail.
The Philistine lords’ and about 3,000 men and women celebrated the capture of Samson. They needed party entertainment so they called for him. The prison attendant allowed him to feel the two, middle pillars so he could lean against them.
Samson, with a returning hair line, called out to the Lord to strengthen him this, one, last time so he could avenge the Philistines for his punishment. He grasped the pivotal pillars with his hands, and exerted all his might causing the building to collapse annihilating everyone. Samson smote more Philistines in his death than in his life!
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