Samson, the final judge mentioned in this book of Judges, had a miraculous birth to a barren woman (Judges 13) and it was revealed that he would deliver Israel out of the 40 year oppression they had been experiencing by the hands of the Philistines (Judges 13:1-5). After the birth of Samson there is very little information about his early life; however, the storyline picks up when Samson falls in love with and marries a Philistine woman (Judges 14). The marriage practically ended before it even began. Samson had introduced a riddle during the marriage feast and said to the male guests who had been invited by the bride’s parents, “If you can correctly solve and explain it to me within the seven days of the feast, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing. But if you cannot explain it to me, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing” (Judges 14:12-13). The men could not solve the riddle so they threatened Samson’s wife to extract the answer from him. She eventually deceived Samson into telling her the answer and the men were able to solve the riddle, which made Samson angry and caused him to return to his home without taking his wife.
After some time had passed, Samson returned to his wife’s father to take his wife (15:1) but her father refused his request and attempted to appease Samson by offering his wife’s younger sister (15:2). Samson was angered by the father’s response (15:3) so he “…went and caught three hundred foxes; and he took torches, turned the foxes tail to tail, and put a torch between each pair of tails. When he had set the torches on fire, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and burned up both the shocks and the standing grain, as well as the vineyards and olive groves” (15:4-5). Samson’s act of revenge angered the Philistines so they burned the father and his daughter, Samson’s wife (15:6). The actions of the Philistines against his wife’s family resulted in Samson unleashing a great slaughter upon them (15:7-8). Taking revenge on others only results in more revenge. Angered by Samson’s slaughter of their people, the Philistines gathered an army and requested that the men of Judah release Samson to them so that he could be held accountable for his crime (15:9-10). The men of Judah feared the Philistines so they decided to arrest Samson and deliver him into their hands (15:11-12a). Samson willingly gave himself to the men of Judah but asked that they not kill him themselves (15:12b), so they instead tied him up securely and delivered him to the Philistines (15:13). When the Philistines saw that Samson had been captured, they shouted against him but “…then the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him; and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds broke loose from his hands. He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached out his hand and took it, and killed a thousand men with it” (15:14-17). The powerful actions of Samson indicated to Israel that God was with them and delivering them out of the hands of the Philistines through the strength of Samson. Samson’s victory over the Philistines had left him exhausted and thirsty so he asked the Lord to provide water for him (15:18). God heard the cry of Samson and supernaturally provided water so that “his spirit returned, and he revived” (15:19a). In response to God miraculously providing water for him, Samson called the place of the miracle En Hakkore which means spring of the caller (15:19b). Although Samson was not perfect in all of his actions, God greatly blessed him by allowing him to defeat the Philistines and judge Israel for 20 years (15:20).
Dear God, I’m amazed that You use me even when I’m not perfect.