From the book of Joshua we go to Judges, and it’s a fascinating period of time with a lot happening. Joshua dies, the tribes are still trying to conquer/divide/settle into land, and going through cycles of sin and depravity. Between Joshua’s death and until Saul is named the Israelites’ first king, we have “judges”. These judges are different than modern day judges and I love how they’re described in chapter 2 verses 16-18:
16 Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so. 18 Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them.
In our reading today, we focus specifically on Judges 16, which outlines Samson as a judge for the Hebrew people being oppressed by the Philistines (there are 11 other judges recorded in the book of Judges). If you’ve heard this one before, your high points might be similar to what stood out in my mind over the years:
- God gave Samson supernatural physical strength, and if he cut his hair he would lose his strength – but no one knew that but him.
- Delilah tries to get the truth from him multiple times – in order to sell his secret to the Philistines. The first couple of times he tells her lies, but she tries to take away his strength with these lies… why does he keep trusting her and telling her?
- Eventually (third time is a charm) he tells her the truth about his hair and she sells him out and Samson is captured.
After spending more time in Judges and the life of Samson, a few new things came to light for me:
- Samson was born to Manoah and his previously barren wife, after an angel appeared telling her she would bear a son that would be a deliverer for the Israelites. – Ch. 13
- Samson was raised as a Nazarite and as he grew, the Lord blessed him. – Ch. 13
- Samson desired/tried to marry women outside of his tribe (against God’s laws at that time) – Ch. 14 the woman from Timnah, Ch. 16 Delilah.
- Samson was betrayed by both women, both telling information he trusted them with.
- The situation with the woman from Timnah (his soon-to-be wife) is Lifetime Movie ready. He kills a lion on his way to ask for his bride.. then during the wedding feast creates a riddle for the Philistines to solve. His bride tells the secret answer, and it all ultimately ends in death. Samson was a great warrior and killed 1000 men without an army. Ch. 14-15
- Samson has his “Hey there, Delilah” moments and we do not know how long she nagged him to reveal his secret, but in verse 16 it says she pressed and urged him daily until his soul was vexed to death.
- The Philistines gouged out Samson’s eyes upon capturing him. Samson, whose role was to help people keep their eyes on God, lost his way, and his own sight in the process. – Ch. 16
- God gives Samson one last super strength moment during his captivity and he kills 3,000 Philistines before his own death.
- Samson is listed among the men and women of great faith in Hebrews 11!
This deeper study of Samson has replaced my thoughts of “why did he spill the beans” with some areas of encouragement:
After Samson is captured and realized he wrongly told the secret of his strength, he still had the courage to call upon the Lord for help. Wow!! When we mess up, we need God’s help to deal with the fall out. But sometimes we let our shame, pride, or doubt keep us from calling on God. What an awesome example Samson gave us to cry out with faith!
Be wise about who you allow into the inner circle of your heart. Are they Christ Followers, encouraging you in your walk with the Lord? Is there anyone influencing you in ways that come between you and God?
What strength did God entrust you with and how are you using it for His kingdom?