And she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies.” And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death. And he told her all his heart, and said to her, “A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.” Judges 16:15-17.
You have to wonder what kind of a dumbell Samson had to be to keep company with a woman who betrayed him three times, and THEN actually gave up the secret of his strength to her. Is he an idiot?
Of course, we’ve all known both men and women in abusive relationships. You wonder what kind of fool puts up with this. What failure of the will and/or mind keeps someone from kicking this loser to the curb?
In Samson’s case, it could not be love. He’d had other women, and was able to ditch them when he had to. It seems more like presumption. God had always given him strength when he needed it. So even after he crossed the line and broke his vow, he still thought God would bail him out.
What is the line for you? At what point in your dalliance with sin, have you started thinking it doesn’t matter, that God will still deliver you?
Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah and made a raid on Lehi. And the men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” They said, “We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him as he did to us.” Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?” And he said to them, “As they did to me, so have I done to them.” And they said to him, “We have come down to bind you, that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines.” And Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not attack me yourselves.” They said to him, “No; we will only bind you and give you into their hands. We will surely not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock.
The Philistines get up an army to make war with the tribe of Judah to get revenge for what Samson has done. Judah will not have it, and agreed to get Samson for them. This might work, except for God’s supernatural intervention.
We have a ruler like this: rude, obnoxious, womanizer, sore loser, surrounded by enemies, his own kind throw him under the bus. But it is not a good idea to take the side of the Philistines.
Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. 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.” 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.”
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. Judges 14:1-4
Samson is a powerful, impulsive, ill tempered man, and God is willing to use those traits to accomplish his purposes. He wants a wife from among the Philistines, even though God has said to not intermarry. It won’t last, and there will be no offspring.
It’s stories let me these that show me how much God needs man to execute His plans. He gave us authority in the Earth, so we are integral to His plans.
There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” Judges 13:2-5.
So far, all the judges were called to be Israel’s deliverer in adulthood. Samson has this forecast before conception. He is to be prepared to serve his whole life. Although I am sure that God prepared all the judges in advance, he never announced it to the eventual parents.
This could be one of the ways he is a Christ figure. His birth and purpose are announced by an angel. And he will eventually give his life for his people. But that is where the comparison breaks down. We will only see Christ through a glass darkly.
The men of Ephraim were called to arms, and they crossed to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, “Why did you cross over to fight against the Ammonites and did not call us to go with you? We will burn your house over you with fire.” And Jephthah said to them, “I and my people had a great dispute with the Ammonites, and when I called you, you did not save me from their hand. And when I saw that you would not save me, I took my life in my hand and crossed over against the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day to fight against me?” Then Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought with Ephraim. And the men of Gilead struck Ephraim, because they said, “You are fugitives of Ephraim, you Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim and Manasseh.” And the Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. And when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me go over,” the men of Gilead said to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” When he said, “No,” they said to him, “Then say Shibboleth,” and he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it right. Then they seized him and slaughtered him at the fords of the Jordan. At that time 42,000 of the Ephraimites fell. Judges 12:1-6.
Ephraim had pulled this stunt with Gideon. He won a battle. They heard about it and showed up later to threaten him for not calling them out to join him. Gideon could have just told them God had chosen the 300 men and take it up with God. But hebought them off with some of the spoils and peace was had for many years.
Jephthah wasn’t having any of this. He had just lost his daughter and the rest of the tribes treated him like an outcast until they needed him. He went to war and God was with him, and Ephraim paid dearly.
Jephthah only judged Israel for 6 years. He was a most undiplomatic leader who got things done. He was not a long term solution. He was a bit like our present oval office occupant. Even if you like what he’s doing, he’d be hard to take for many years.