Yet More Revenge
God, fix my eyes on You. Help me to remember what is truly important.
Read JUDGES 15:1–20
Later on, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat and went to visit his wife. He said, “I’m going to my wife’s room.” But her father would not let him go in.
2 “I was so sure you hated her,” he said, “that I gave her to your companion. Isn’t her younger sister more attractive? Take her instead.”
3 Samson said to them, “This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm them.” 4 So he went out and caught three hundred foxes and tied them tail to tail in pairs. He then fastened a torch to every pair of tails, 5 lit the torches and let the foxes loose in the standing grain of the Philistines. He burned up the shocks and standing grain, together with the vineyards and olive groves.
6 When the Philistines asked, “Who did this?” they were told, “Samson, the Timnite’s son-in-law, because his wife was given to his companion.”
So the Philistines went up and burned her and her father to death. 7 Samson said to them, “Since you’ve acted like this, I swear that I won’t stop until I get my revenge on you.” 8 He attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them. Then he went down and stayed in a cave in the rock of Etam.
9 The Philistines went up and camped in Judah, spreading out near Lehi. 10 The people of Judah asked, “Why have you come to fight us?”
“We have come to take Samson prisoner,” they answered, “to do to him as he did to us.”
11 Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cave in the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines are rulers over us? What have you done to us?”
He answered, “I merely did to them what they did to me.”
12 They said to him, “We’ve come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines.”
Samson said, “Swear to me that you won’t kill me yourselves.”
13 “Agreed,” they answered. “We will only tie you up and hand you over to them. We will not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and led him up from the rock. 14 As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. 15 Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.
16 Then Samson said,
“With a donkey’s jawbone
I have made donkeys of them.
With a donkey’s jawbone
I have killed a thousand men.”
17 When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was called Ramath Lehi.
18 Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the Lord, “You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived. So the spring was called En Hakkore, and it is still there in Lehi.
20 Samson led Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink of any international or personal situations of escalating anger or frustration. Talk to God about them.
Samson’s story reads like a tale of endless tit for tat, getting more heated and more bloody by the minute. Admittedly the author has collected together all the more gory incidents from a long period of 20 years of Samson’s leadership of Israel, but it is hardly edifying in its concentrated form.
When I was younger these stories were wildly exciting, but as I have grown older they have become sad and tragic. There is a lack of honorable behavior and hardly any signs of “normal life”; neither is there a lot of prayerfulness. What a disappointment Samson must have been to his godly parents who harbored such high hopes for him. He had an obsession with “getting even with the Philistines” (3) or with anybody who had crossed him.
Would that someone had taken him in hand and helped him to grow up! But it was not to be. In the end it was 3,000 of his compatriots who read the riot act and reminded him that whatever he might think, he and they were living under Philistine rule (11). He ought to be more considerate of them, and it was high time he learned that fact.
Are you allowing things of this world to distract you from God’s calling on your life? How can you keep focused on Jesus?
Teach us, Lord, to be less concerned with our personal victories and more focused on our life-calling under You. Amen.
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