Judges 14 – Part 2QUESTION: Samson and Lust - 2ANSWER:Judges 14 – Part 2
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
“Samson, in his arrogance, comes home and tells his dad he wants the woman. Manoah asks him why he can’t take a wife from Israel. Samson shows his true, spoiled, rock star self and says, ‘Get her for me, for she pleases me well.’
“Wow. Another self-serving, egotistical aspiring leader of Israel. Supposedly set aside for God and not coming anywhere close to ‘honor your father and mother’, eh?
“Verse 4 lets us know that God can work in Samson’s worldliness. What Satan means for evil, God uses for good! That’s in Genesis 50:20, by the way.
“So Samson and his parents go down to Timnah. And Samson comes to the vineyards. Here is problem. Sammy the Nazirite is to stay away from grapes and he’s walking through a vineyard. A roaring lion ambushes him. The Spirit of the LORD comes mightily upon Samson and he tears the lion apart with his bare hands. Again, it would be something to see Forrest Gump do that!
“So he killed the lion. There’s another Nazirite problem. He is not supposed to touch anything dead. At the end of verse 6 he compounds the problem. It says, ‘But he did not tell his father or mother what he had done.’
“Verse 7 states, ‘Then he went down and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well.’ Again, his focus is downward. There is no mention of his seeking the Lord in this. Note that word pleased. It is used in a fleshly manner. It communicates that Samson thought she was good looking, he was attracted to her looks. Ouch, rock star again.
“So let’s take a minute to look at the scoreboard in Judges 14. So far, Samson has gone against the wishes of his father and mother. He acts like spoiled brat. He’s stretched his life rules by hanging out in a vineyard. He’s broken the vow of a Nazirite by becoming defiled by the dead lion. It does not appear he is seeking the Lord in prayer about his future wife. He’s become betrothed to a pagan woman only because she’s good looking. Hmmm, none of that seems like the recipe for a Godly, joyful marriage.
“The chapter goes on to relate more of Samson’s bumbling. On the way down to get his wife, he comes upon the carcass of the dead lion. Some honeybees have built a hive in the lion and it is dripping with honey. Samson, unable to resist, dips his hands into the sweet honey and tastes it. And, he gives some to his mom and dad without telling them where he got it. He again defiles himself with the dead lion. As strong as Samson can become physically under the power of the Holy Spirit, spiritually he is one of the weakest men in the Bible.
“Temptations continually wreck him. I believe this is because he always shoots low. His sights are always downcast. The Angel of the LORD promised to use him to begin to free the Israelites from the oppression of the Philistines, but Samson is a spiritual train wreck.
“In verse 10, Samson throws a pre-wedding feast, a bachelor party. He doesn’t even have any friends at his wedding so they get 30 Philistine dudes to party with him. In the course of the party, he gives his groomsmen a riddle. If they can solve the riddle he says he’ll give them each a new suit. If they can’t, they have to give him 30 new suits. The riddle is in verse 14 and goes like this:
‘Out of the eater came something to eat, And out of the strong came something sweet.’
“Clearly, for us that have been following the story, he is talking about the dead lion with the honey in it. Are you hearing this? Could it be that since he is supposed to be a Nazirite he thinks no one will ever figure out what he’s talking about? It seems to me that Samson enjoyed his forbidden sin so much that he’s now bragging about it.
“Anyway, when the 30 Philistine groomsmen can’t figure out the riddle, they go to Samson’s new bride and say, ‘Entice your husband, that he may explain the riddle to us, or else we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to take what is ours?’
“So the new Mrs. Samson begs and weeps and after seven days he tells her the answer to the riddle. Verse 17 says, ‘Then she explained the riddle to the sons of her people.’
“Stop right there. Let me get this straight. This guy’s new bride, the love of his life, entices him and tricks him into telling her the answer to the riddle? Was there no trust in this relationship? And why wouldn’t he have told her in the first place? Men, do you want to marry an ‘enticer’? This chapter sets forth one of the worst premises for a marriage in history!
“When the Philistine groomsmen answer the riddle, Samson has a classic reply. In verse 18 he says, ‘If you had not plowed with my heifer, You would not have solved my riddle!’ Guess what, Sam? It’s up to you to make sure nobody else plows with your heifer. It’s called trust, affection, protection, caring, reading the Word together – in a word, Love!
“At the end of the chapter, the Spirit of the LORD comes mightily upon Samson. He goes crazy, walks down to Ashkelon, a Philistine capitol and kills thirty men. He takes their apparel, walks back to Timnah, and gives the dead dudes’ clothes to the men who answered the riddle.
“Verse 20 is telling: ‘And Samson’s wife was given to his companion, who had been his best man.’ Whoa. After all of that, he simply casts his enticing, conniving wife aside. He abandons her.
“What do we make of that? I’ll tell you what I make of that. Samson’s is the man of broken vows. The fact that he took his father and mother down to the wedding makes me believe that he had a Hebrew wedding ceremony. In that ceremony, a man vows before God Almighty to keep, protect, nurture, encourage, and love the woman he takes as the ‘wife of his youth’. He takes off his outer cloak and puts it over this woman. One time, gentlemen. THE wife of your youth. In Malachi 2:13-15 it says that God is angry because the men of Israel have covered the altar with tears. It goes on to say, ‘Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks Godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. For the LORD God of Israel says that He HATES divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence.’ Holy mackerel, where does that put Sam? Where does that put us?Judges 15 – Go!