Title: Judges 16. Samson part 15 - The death of Samson and discipline of the Philistines.
The saddest part of Samson's life is that he did not know that God had left him.
JDG 16:21 Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out [bored out] his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he was a grinder in the prison.
It would be hard to imagine the crash that Samson felt in his heart. For so long he was invincible and came to truly believe that he always would be, and now he finds himself bound by a woman and a blunt instrument boring out his eyes and then being thrown into prison behind doors he is unable to budge in the very city whose massive gate he pulled out of the ground with his bare hands.
JDG 16:22 However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it was shaved off.
Samson is forced to do the work that is normally reserved for women in order to humiliate him.
The historian includes that his hair starts to grow back, but this would be obvious about anyone. By stating it, the inspired text is telling us that there is more to it than just hair growth.
JDG 16:23 Now the lords of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice, for they said,
"Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hands."
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Dagon is traced to two Hebrew root words, fish and grain. The god of the sea and god of fertility - the body of a fish and the head and hands of a man. The Philistines saw Baal as Dagon's son.
They praise their god for the deliverance of Samson into their hands with a great sacrifice of many animals, not knowing that it was the God of Israel who had delivered Samson to them.
God continues to work in the midst of those who do not see Him or believe in Him.
PRO 5:21 For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord,
And He watches all his paths.
PRO 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
Watching the evil and the good.
JOB 34:21 "For His eyes are upon the ways of a man,
And He sees all his steps.
JOB 34:22 "There is no darkness or deep shadow
Where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.
JER 23:23 "Am I a God who is near," declares the Lord,
"And not a God far off?
JER 23:24 "Can a man hide himself in hiding places,
So I do not see him?" declares the Lord.
"Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?" declares the Lord.
JER 32:18 The Lord of hosts is His name;
JER 32:19 great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, giving to everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds;
HEB 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
HEB 4:13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
JDG 16:24 When the people saw him, they praised their god, for they said,
"Our god has given our enemy into our hands,
Even the destroyer of our country,
Who has slain many of us."
In Hebrew this is obviously a song since the pronunciation of the words god, hands, destroyer, country, and slain us all end with the sound "nuw".
False gods and famous people have always gotten a lot a credit for what God has done.
JDG 16:25 It so happened when they were in high spirits, that they said, "Call for Samson, that he may amuse us." So they called for Samson from the prison, and he entertained them. And they made him stand between the pillars.
High spirits indicates that they were very merry which most likely means that had too much to drink from which really bad ideas are born.
By decree of God, Samson is right where he needs to be for his final act.
They put him between the central pillars which supported much of the load of the building and where the more prominent members of Philistine society gathered. The Philistines would lose all five of their kings that day along with much of their nobility.
JDG 16:26 Then Samson said to the boy who was holding his hand, "Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them."
Some envision that this boy was a Hebrew slave who would have understood the Hebrew words of Samson and in sympathy would have done what he requested. These also envision the boy understanding the words of Samson's prayer which would have caused him to flee from the temple and so survive and also become free. It's a likeable theory, but it is only romantic speculation.
JDG 16:27 Now the house was full of men and women, and all the lords of the Philistines were there. And about 3,000 men and women were on the roof looking on while Samson was amusing them.
The main hall opens into a great court that was sheltered by a roof and upon this there are a mass of people looking down into the hall to catch a glimpse of Samson. We can be confident that they were together bragging about their superiority and casting insults at Samson.
JDG 16:28 Then Samson called to the Lord and said, "O Lord [Adonai] God [Yavah], please remember me and please strengthen me just this time [only once], O God [Elohim], that I may at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes."
In his prayer, Samson uses all three names of God: Adonai, Yavah, and Elohim. He greatly focused on the true God in the midst of the temple of the false god.
You usually have all caps for Yavah (Lord) but since it is next to Adonai, usually translated "Lord" the translators choose not to put "Lord Lord".
JDG 16:29 And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and braced himself against them, the one with his right hand and the other with his left.
JDG 16:30 And Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" And he bent with all his might so that the house fell on the lords [5 kings] and all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed in his life.
The one who was called to be separated unto God died with the Philistines.
Some debate whether Samson committed suicide or not. The question only diverts us away from the true lessons in the history of this tragic man and this tragic nation. It was God who certainly allowed it since the power to pull the temple down would only come from God.
JDG 16:31 Then his brothers and all his father's household came down, took him, brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. Thus he had judged Israel twenty years.
Some members of the tribe of Dan (brothers) and some family members came from the hills of his home in order to take his body home. They apparently respected the deeds of Samson.
Thus ends the main body of the book of Judges. It is finished with two appendices.
Like with all of the judges that are mentioned in some detail, one feels like a eulogy is in order.
Samson could defeat the strongest of men but was defeated by the weakest of women.
God had warned Israel of this very thing from Mt. Sinai.
LEV 26:3 'If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out,
LEV 26:4 then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit.
LEV 26:5 'Indeed, your threshing will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time. You will thus eat your food to the full and live securely in your land.
LEV 26:6 'I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble. I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land.
LEV 26:7 'But you will chase your enemies, and they will fall before you by the sword;
LEV 26:8 five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword.'
We could personalize that to Samson, but since he did not keep God's statutes and commandments, and as a Nazarite he was vowed to do so with vigor, he found himself under the curse of the law.
LEV 26:14 'But if you do not obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments,
LEV 26:15 if, instead, you reject My statutes, and if your soul abhors My ordinances so as not to carry out all My commandments, and so break My covenant,
LEV 26:16 I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and fever that shall waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you shall sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies shall eat it up.
And if in spite of this discipline, if you continue to act with hostility against Me:
LEV 26:36 'As for those of you who may be left, I will also bring weakness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies [captivity or dispersion]. And the sound of a driven leaf will chase them and even when no one is pursuing, they will flee as though from the sword, and they will fall.'
The reason Samson could not defeat a weak woman is that he never really found where strength really lies. Strength is in worshipping God and if Samson had done so he would have been strong physically and spiritually, and his heart would have been protected in the hands of God. Gideon defeated a huge army with 300 men, clay pitchers, torches, and trumpets and without a sword since the Midianites ended up killing themselves. Spiritual strength is the only strength.
Samson asked God for a miracle on behalf of his eyes, but it was following his eyes that got him in trouble.
This emphasizes the difference between the physical eyes and the eyes of the heart.
PSA 119:15 Open my eyes, that I may behold
Wonderful things from Thy law.
MAT 6:19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
MAT 6:20 "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;
MAT 6:21 for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
MAT 6:22 "The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear [Greek haplous: singular], your whole body will be full of light.
MAT 6:23 "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
MAT 6:24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
"Christ now turns to human desire with clear instruction. It may seem at first glance that He desires us to live as hermits who possess nothing material, but He is not talking about what we have but what we desire. Laying up treasure is investing, and investing is a hope of return and that return is desire. He certainly doesn't say that we should not hope of fulfilled desire, but that our desire should be pointed in another direction than the earth. It should be pointing heavenward. Hence we face the confrontation of earthly and heavenly desire. Can I have both? The answer is clearly no. I can have earthly, material things and serve God but I cannot serve two masters… The eye of our heart is not to be filled with Christ and law, or Christ and world, or Christ and self, or Christ and religion, but Christ alone." [The Sermon on the Mount book]
The word of God is not a separate entity from Christ. He has opened our hearts to it and therefore to Him because the word is Him. When we perceive the Bible as looking at Him, we see the truth in its pure form, indeed as Christ Himself sees it.
The Lord said that if our eye was singular, meaning on Him, then our whole body would be full of light. Paul prayed that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened so that we may see the hope of our calling. He wrote that eye has not seen what God has prepared for those who love Him. The eyes of our hearts must look and see every day, "fixing our eyes on Him, the Author and Perfector of our faith."