October 31, 2016 Judges 14
Judges 14 move quickly from the birth of a baby at the close of chapter 13 to a wedding and then to a separation. There are two key verses to guide interpretation of the strange events. First, if the author did not clearly indicate Samson’s marriage to a Philistine was by God’s design, he would hold a different place in biblical understanding. Second, if the author did show the reader that it was the Spirit of the Lord empowering Samson for military power, we might simply think he is only a vengeful murderer. The reader must remember, Israel is under the chastisement of God and He is working in His way to bring His chosen back into a relationship.
Even though the Lord’s hand was on Samson choosing a wife whose name is kept secret, there are mighty lessons to be discovered in the story. The Bible never says that Samson loved his wife but only that “she looked good to him.” The greatest lesson in this chapter in regards to Samson’s behavior is his susceptibility to deceit. While the honeymoon was just getting started, the wife of Solomon acted deceitfully. The Philistines blackmailed his wife into acting deceitfully. Instead of relying on the protection of her husband, she acted from fear and consequently deceived Samson. She found his weak spot, one that plagued Samson all of his life. His strength was no match for his tender heart toward a pleading female. Samson must be given some credit here, after all, he resisted for seven days. However, his tender heart covered over his good sense and he was deceived by one who he trusted.
The lesson here is in regards to the depravity of man and his susceptibility to deception. Man must be on guard against the weaknesses of his own heart that give the devil an opportunity. The Lord simply let Samson act from his depravity in order to set the stage for Samson’s first display of power in the presence of his enemies. In the end Samson won the battle but lost his wife. Her father took her back and gave her to one of Samson’s companions. To fail to be on guard with a discerning spirit can create a great cost to you and those around you. Let us be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
The second lesson here is God’s hand upon man to accomplish his purposes and ways even in the midst of great deception otherwise known as sin. It was the Spirit of the Lord who empowered Samson to kill 30 men. While God used the Philistines in order to chasten Israel, He was simply letting their depravity rule the day. In His perfect time, God was again going to bring freedom to His people. Remember Romans 8:28, ” all things work for the good to those who love God and who are called according to His purpose.”