Judges 13 is dedicated to announcing Samson’s birth and describing what his role will be. The next time we see Samson he is grown up and beginning his ministry. His ministry is described in Judges 14-16. The general outline is two-fold. Chapters 14 and 15 together are the first half and chapter 16 serves as the second half.
a. Going to see women:
1. 14:1 Now Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines.
2. 16:1 Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her.
Both events involve Samson with a foreign woman. In the first he marries her and though his parents protest, the text says that it was of the Lord. In the second account it is not of the Lord, yet Samson is still able to “move against the Philistines.” He later moves to Delilah who, if not herself a Philistine, is a Philistine associate.
Both women “entice” Samson. They press him and press him until he finally reveals his secret.
b. Both narratives will end with Samson being tended to by the Lord and a conclusion statement of his twenty years:
1. 15:18-20 Then he became very thirsty; so he cried out to the LORD and said, “You have given this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant; and now shall I die of thirst and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?” So God split the hollow place that is in Lehi, and water came out, and he drank; and his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore he called its name En Hakkore, which is in Lehi to this day. And he judged Israel twenty years in the days of the Philistines.
2. 16:28-31 Then Samson called to the LORD, saying, “O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!” And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left. Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life.
And his brothers and all his father’s household came down and took him, and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. He had judged Israel twenty years.
Samson’s first wife will parallel Delilah, as both women will pressure him into divulging his secret. Samson is clearly in control in the first half, and even when his secret is given away, he is able to defeat the Philistines. The second story presents Samson in a state of moral decline, and he loses his strength and authority.
In the first section, Samson will throw a marriage feast. He is the bride-groom. In the second section, the Philistines are having their own religious feast, and Samson is the court jester. He had loved to ridicule the Philistines, and so his punishment is to be ridiculed.
Samson’s strength, however, is from the Lord, and when he prays for the Lord to remember him one last time, he is able to pull down the Philistine stronghold. Continue reading