Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Apr 11 2019 - Judges 14:1-15:20 – Samson's marriage

Samson is now a young man and his thoughts turn to girls. He has seen a young Philistine girl whom he wants for a wife and tells his parents to get this girl for him. His parents would rather he married a nice Jewish girl, but Samson is insistent that this is the wife for him. The narrator tells us that Samson's choice was prompted by the Lord to create a conflict between the Israelites and the Philistines; there will be no happy-ever-after ending to this marriage.

We now begin to get a better picture of the character of Samson. There is little that is admirable about the man. He seems to have been a spoilt only child of parents who thought they would have no children; he is used to getting his own way. Yet this is a man whom God is going to use to further his purposes. God uses the strangest of people to serve him – don't we know it!

As Samson travels to Timnah with his parents to discuss terms with his in-laws, a young lion leaps towards them. Samson kills the animal with his bare hands.

A while later they travel again to Timnah for the marriage and week-long wedding feast. Samson turns aside to see what has happened to the carcase of the lion and finds it has become a hive for bees. He shares some of the honey with his parents.

As the atmosphere gets merry, Samson sets a challenge for the 30 young Philistine men who are feasting with him. He will tell them a riddle. If they cannot solve it, they will each have to give him a linen garment. If they do solve it, he will give them each a linen garment. The riddle is:

Out of the eater, something to eat;
out of the strong, something sweet.

Through threats against her family, the young men persuade Samson's wife to extract the meaning of the riddle from him. Samson knows he has been tricked and so kills 30 Philistines from Ashkelon, strips them and gives their clothing to his bridal companions. He has fulfilled his side of the bargain while avenging himself on the Philistines. He then storms off home without his wife.

Now the conflict begins in earnest. The bride's father, thinking his daughter has been abandoned by Samson, gives her as wife to one of the 30 young men. In his anger, Samson destroys the Philistine's harvest using blazing torches tied to the tails of 300 foxes. The Philistines respond by burning down the house of his in-laws, killing the whole family. Samson responds by slaughtering the perpetrators.

Sensing that the feud is getting out of hand, 1,000 men from Judah come to take Samson captive and hand him over to the Philistines saying, "Don't you realise that the Philistines rule over us". As he is about to be handed over to a Philistine mob, the Spirit of the Lord enables Samson to break the ropes that bind him as if they were made of grass. Snatching the jawbone of a donkey Samson lays into the Philistines and kills a thousand of them.

Exhausted from battle, Samson cries out to the Lord for help. The Lord opened up a spring of water for him saving him from death – God is gracious even to this violent and conflicted man. Samson lives on to lead Israel for twenty years.

Father, there is much in your word that perplexes and disturbs me. But there is much also that makes me delight in your grace and goodness. Thank you that when the Spirit of the Lord descended upon Jesus, he came in the form of a dove. Thank you for the Lion who is the Lamb; the one who conquers through his own sacrifice and the sword of his mouth. Thank you that you can use people who are far from perfect. But help me always to follow the way of Jesus.

Peter Misselbrook