Saturday, June 27, 2015

Reading 14: Fall of Samson

Judges 16:4-31

Now because we are going backwards to the book before 1 Samuel you might think we are going back in time. Actually God spoke to Samuel about 1093 BC and Samson becomes Israel's judge at 1075 BC. While Samuel was growing up in the Temple, Samson was fighting Philistines with his great strength. God told his mother to never cut his hair for as long as he had his hair he would have God's strength to destroy the Philistines. 

Samson ended up falling in love with a Philistine woman named Delilah. He had decimated the Philistines multiple times in many ways, a donkey jaw bone and using foxes to burn their fields are some of the ways. They decided to take advantage of his love and get Delilah to find his weakness. Samson lies to her three times about his weakness but eventually he nags him quite literally to death and he finally tells her that he can't have a haircut or else his strength leaves him. So that night she cuts his hair and the Philistines are able to capture him.

The Philistines finally had their man. They gouged his eyes out and forced him to work for them grinding grain. Since his strength was gone and now his vision grinding grain was no easy task. Chained to a millstone he would have to push it around, easy with his strength, but now that he was as strong as the average man it was much more a challenge.

The Philistines were partying because they have defeated their great enemy. They praised their god, Dagon, for defeating Samson and were worshipping him. They brought out Samson to add insult to injury and forced him to entertain them. Samson looked to God to help him get revenge for his eyes. God sees the Philistines worshipping the false god Dagon and so grants Samson the strength to literally bring down the house and kill all the Philistines celebrating Samson's defeat.

Samson was one of the last judges. Judges were used for brief periods of time to lead Israel out of oppression from the people around them. Israel would worship false idols and sin against God so God would let a group oppress them until they turned back to God. He would then appoint a judge to free Israel who eventually would go back to sinning against God and the process was repeated. Judges often weren't very godly people. Sometimes they would give credit to God but because they were not strong leaders the people kept falling into sin. Israel needed a better leadership system with a strong, godly leader to help them prosper.

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