VENGEANCE AND JUDGMENT
Fire And Anger
Samson's marriage did not go as planned and he left in a rage after his wife betrayed his confidence. The father of the bride believed that his daughter had been abandoned and he did not want her to humiliate, so he gave her to Samson's companion. Samson returned home, but he has no idea that his wife has been given to another. After some days, his anger abated, and he came back during the wheat harvest bringing a goat for a feast in an attempt to reconcile. The woman still lives in her father's house, but when Samson arrives the father prevents him from entering the marriage chamber. He explains how he believed that Samson actually hated her and had abandoned her necessitating his actions. The father is desperate to assuage Samson's anger, so he offers him his younger daughter who he considered more beautiful. Samson is outraged, and he announces that his vengeance is justified because of their treachery. Samson captured three hundred foxes and tied them in pairs with a torch attached. These terrified creatures ran the torches through the grain fields and orchards of the Philistines destroying a significant portion of their crops. The Philistines ascertain the identity of the perpetrator and the reason for his actions. The Philistines exact their revenge on the father and his daughter by torching them. The cowardice and wickedness of the Philistines incites Samson's anger, and he attacks them ruthlessly. After he is avenged, he seeks refuge at the rock of Etam.
Hand Him Over
The Philistines marshal their forces and prepare an assault on the people of Israel with the express purpose of capturing Samson. The men of Judah are afraid and seek to make peace with the Philistines. The Philistines explain that the invasion is intended to capture Samson. The men of Judah agree to deliver Samson to their enemies. Three thousand men from Judah go down and confront Samson. Judah faces imminent danger, and they question Samson's wisdom. Samson explains that he is only responding in kind to their offenses. Samson does not find the support or confidence of his people, so he makes no effort to mobilize the men of Judah for an attack on the Philistines. Instead, Samson agrees to surrender to the Philistines provided his countrymen would agree not to attack him. The men of Judah agree, despite knowing that they were delivering one of their own to death. The men of Judah bind Samson with two new ropes, and they begin the death march toward the Philistine forces. As the people of Judah near the Philistine camp at Lehi, the Philistines shout triumphantly while Samson is led into the camp. Suddenly, the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon Samson, and the ropes snapped as if they were charred flax. Samson laid hold of the fresh jawbone of a donkey and using it as a weapon he wielded it with such force that he slew one thousand men. Samson writes his own song to commemorate this achievement, making no mention of God. Samson realizes that he is exhausted and thirsty. The battle has taken a tremendous toll on his body, but he cannot find any water. This is the first time in the account of Samson that he calls out to the Lord. Samson acknowledges that God had given him the victory over the Philistines, but now that he is in danger of dying, he fears that he will fall into the hands of the enemy. God hears Samson's cries, and he gives him water from the rock which revives this Nazirite warrior. Samson memorializes the experience, and he judged Israel for twenty years.
Things To Consider:
- Why are uncontrolled emotional outbursts so dangerous?
- Do you think the father of the bride acted wisely? Why or why not?
- Why does the fire trace all the way bak to Samson's riddle?
- Is Samson justified by his actions? Why or why not?
- Why do you think Samson's fellow citizens were willing to hand him over to the enemy?
- How do you think this made Samson feel?
- Where do you see Samson's pride?
- Why do you think God rescued Samson from his thirst?
- How is anger like a fire?
- Do you discipline your feelings in order to train your emotions? How?
- Why is self-control important?
- Why can't a Christian seek revenge?