Samson Loves a Philistine Girl & Kills a Lion BarehandedVolume 2, Number 30
Created Date: January 22, 2007
Posted Date: January 22, 2007
The Faith of Samson - Part 2:
When the Nation of Israel entered the Land of Canaan under Joshua's leadership God told them it was theirs to possess and they were to be ruled by no one except Him. But their blessings and invincibility were contingent upon strict obedience to His law given through Moses -. Time and again they violated God's law by worshiping the idols of the Canaanites and thus were given over to be oppressed by them - . When the oppression became unbearable Israel recognized their sin and repented. God responded by sending a leader to rally around and defeat the enemy and they were freed from bondage for a period of time and this cycle of sin; oppression; repentance; then deliverance and peace continued.
When Samson was born Israel had again gone to worshiping idols but this time Satan changed his tactics and enlisted the ungodly Philistines to subjugate them,, and unlike the enemies before who "mightily oppressed" Israel the Philistines merely "ruled" them. And so Israel wallowed in sinful idol worship and became comfortable under Philistine domination, willfully ignoring their purpose and calling and content as the Philistines' servants instead of obedient to God and enjoying His protection and blessings. Israel did not repent from their sin or request a redeemer but in spite of this God sent Samson to begin to deliver them out of the hand of the Philistines - .
As Samson grew the Lord blessed him "and the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol,". Since there is no record Samson taught, preached or prophesied it must be that the "Spirit moving him" means his great physical strength began to be manifested. At any rate he was blessed by God but in his first recorded act he violated God's Law by attempting to take a woman who was not an Israelite as his wife. God had instructed Israel through Moses they were not to marry a Canaanite because they would surely lead them into idolatry - ; . Regardless, Samson saw a Philistine woman in a place named Timnath he wanted to marry and as was the custom he went home and asked his parents to arrange it - . Naturally they asked if there wasn't a woman of their own people he wanted but he insisted on this Philistine, for "she pleased him well" - .
The next verse appears to conflict with the fact Samson should not have been going after a heathen woman to marry: "But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel." -. To understand this verse we must establish to whom the "he" refers that sought an occasion against the Philistines; was it Samson or the Lord? Some Bible commentators do not address this while others state the "he" refers to Samson. That is, they teach that Samson was consciously using his marriage proposal as a way to get at the Philistines. I don't agree with this hypothesis for it appears apparent from everything in the text that Samson was only thinking of one thing; his carnal desire for the woman. Therefore, the "he" must refer to the Lord who sought an occasion against the Philistines and in this we see an example of how God can, and does use people in spite of their weakness and sinful nature. The Lord knew what Samson was going to do and He had a plan to use it for His purpose, that is, an occasion to begin to free Israel from their bondage to the Philistines. The Lord did not cause Samson to sin by breaking His law for the Lord cannot do so: - "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." - . And so it appears from Judges 14:4 that God began to use Samson in spite of his sinful self will.
On the way to Timnath to visit his Philistine sweetheart Samson encountered an aggressive young lion and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him providing the strength to kill the lion with his bare hands -. He continued on his visit and we read for the second time that the woman "pleased Samson well." Later, on a return trip to visit her he came across the carcass of the lion containing a bee hive with honey, which he took and shared with his parents. Here we should note that God's Word makes a point to state that he did not tell his parents about either killing the lion or where the honey they ate had come from, . This no doubt was because God's law prohibited him from touching the dead body of the lion, much less eating something that came out of it, . Doing so would have made him unclean until the even and required ceremonial washing/s. "And upon whatsoever any of them, when they are dead, doth fall, it shall be unclean; whether it be any vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack, whatsoever vessel it be, wherein any work is done, it must be put into water, and it shall be unclean until the even; so it shall be cleansed." - . (See entire chapter of Leviticus 11.)
God's law to Israel consisted of much more than the Ten Commandments and every Israelite was expected to obey it all in faith. Samson should have been even more cognizant of this in light of the fact he had been ordained a Nazirite from the womb (see previous study.) His parents were well aware of this and would have wanted him to be obedient to God's Law. They had told Samson about his purpose and calling and he would have had to accept what they told him by faith. But he had his own will and simply ignored the law and sinned by failing to go through the required ritual washings and refrain from any conversation with others (he was unclean until the even) after having been defiled by the dead body of the lion.
Had Samson obeyed God's law in faith instead of following his own desire great things would have been accomplished through him, but like everyone since Adam he had a sinful nature with its propensity to sin. However God used him in spite of his misconduct. We can see examples of this today in the lives of some preachers, Bible teachers and others used mightily by God to reach people with His Word in spite of the debased and sinful lives they lived before coming to know the Lord. Would these men have been better off had they not lived such sinful lives in their youth? Of course they would have been. Did the Lord know what was in store for them before and during their wayward years? Of course He did for He knew their life's course and ultimate end before they were born. With Samson, the fact the Lord knew beforehand what he was going to do did not give him license to sin. Samson lived under the Law of Moses so he had to answer for breaking that law, and he did. But regardless, God worked His purpose through Samson; He said Samson would have strength as long as his hair was not cut and He kept His Word.
Samson's example here is threefold. First, he demonstrates the failure of all mankind born since Adam to meet God's holy standard, set by the Law of Moses. Second, in spite of his human frailty God worked His purpose through him. And third, the potential of what Samson could have been pointes to what was actually fulfilled and accomplished by God Himself in the person of His son Jesus Christ for He Himself lived under the law. In fact, Jesus Christ is the only one to fulfill it to the letter -, ; 8:1 - 4, Galations 3:19 - 28. After doing so He willingly died: "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and (thus He) took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;" - . Whereas Samson only began to deliver Israel the Lord Jesus Christ finished the job. But He did more than this for we learn: "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." .