From chapters 13 to 18, the Bible concentrates on the tribe of Dan, which had been one of the largest and most prominent tribes during the wilderness march (Num 2:25-31). In the period of the judges, however, Dan seemed helpless against the Amorites (1:34) and moved northward to find new territory
The present 40-year oppression by the Philistines did not end until Samuel (1 Sam. 7:6) Samson only began to deliver Israel from the … Philistines” (v. 5) At the end of his life and story, conditions in Israel were even worse than at the beginning. The Philistines continued their oppression of the Israelites into King David’s reign.
Samson’s birth by a “barren woman” indicated God’s supernatural provision of him for a special purpose. The meaning of Samson’s name may derive from shemesh (“sun”) meaning “little sun” Samson’s mother may have named him in honor of a Canaanite god. It also can be translated as a “strong one”. The appearance of the Angel of the Lord always marked a very significant event in Israel’s history. The only other birth He had announced so far was Isaac’s (Gen. 18:1). Samson would have an unusual opportunity to serve God.
Samson’s parents vowed him as a Nazirite (dedicated ‘to God’) from his birth (the womb) to the day of his death. Normally Israelites took the Nazirite vow voluntarily and temporarily. Three laws governed the person under a Nazirite vow, in addition to the Laws written under Moses from God: Look back on Numbers 6:
- He was to eat nothing that the grapevine produced (allowing the Holy Spirit to use him consistently)
- he was to let his hair grow without ever cutting it, (public profession)
- and he was to refrain from contact with a dead body (Num. 6:1-21). (breaks fellowship with God)
Since he was vowed in the womb, even his mother adhered to the vow during pregnancy
Chapter 14:The first recorded indication of Samson’s superhuman strength is his ability to tear apart a young lion with his bare hands. Even though God strengthened him, Samson used that strength for his own purposes, not to fulfill God’s will. When he scraped the honey out of the lion’s carcass with his hand (v. 9), he broke part of his Nazirite vow. Not only did he desecrate his own body by going near a carcass, but he also desecrated his parents. We can assume also that he drank wine since he was at a Feast.
The riddle would have been impossible for the Philistines to decode:
“Out of the eater, something to eat;
out of the strong, something sweet.”
However, Samson’s told his fiance (not married yet) and was obligated to give the reward of the clothing. Chapter 14 highlights Samson’s weaknesses as a human.
Chapter 15: The chapter begins by stating it was the “wheat harvest”. When Samson returned to consummate the marriage and could not he used the foxes to burn down their harvest. This method of retaliation or revenge in the ancient was very serious. The Philistines retaliated by burning the father and fiance. Samson then goes to Etam:
Samson flees to the Judah territory and rather than the Israelites recognize Samson as a Judge God raised up to save them, they support the enemy!
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.”
They said to him, “We’ve come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines.”
The Spirit of the Lord comes over him again and he defeats 1,000 men with a jawbone. Samson gives credit to the Lord for his defeat and leads Israel for 20 years.