The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Judges 15

Jdg 15:4

FOXES: A place called Shaalabbin (= the foxes of the cunning one) was located close by (Josh 19:42). Did it take its name from this incident, or did it supply the idea for Samson's weird prank?

Jdg 15:9

"After this he was no longer welcome amongst his own tribe. Philistine retribution which was powerless to harm Samson was doubtless savage against his brethren of the tribe of Dan. So, for some time he lived an outlaw life in a cave near Bethlehem. But the Philistines were not content to let the matter lie. Sooner or later this wild Israelite would burst forth again and do them further serious damage. Prudence indicated the need for prompt and drastic action against him. So they invaded the territory of Judah in force.

"The weakness of the men of Judah in face of this trouble is a sorry commentary on the miserable decline of morale in the Israelites at this period. Instead of rallying round Samson, and gladly following his confident lead, they immediately were willing to barter his life for some easement from Philistine oppression. Reflection on this shameful fact will make more apparent the magnitude of the task confronting Samson. The people had no will for freedom. Yet without Samson could there have been a Samuel, and without Samuel a Saul, or a David?" (WJR).

Jdg 15:11

"We have no king but Caesar."

Jdg 15:13

The deliverer of Israel now worked alone, and was bound with cords, and led away.

Jdg 15:14

THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD CAME UPON HIM: Here, of course, and not in his long hair, was the true source of his amazing strength. True all the time.

Jdg 15:15

Psa 3:6,7 seems to allude to this. David in a feeble strait, and with his own people turning against him, gains comfort and strength from Samson's success in a bad situation.

Jdg 15:16

THOUSAND: "Aleph" = company, or squad.

Jdg 15:18

Samson is no "mindless lout". Step by step, he is made more aware of Yahweh's deliverance.

BECAUSE HE WAS VERY THIRSTY, HE CRIED OUT TO THE LORD, "YOU HAVE GIVEN YOUR SERVANT THIS GREAT VICTORY. MUST I NOW DIE OF THIRST AND FALL INTO THE HANDS OF THE UNCIRCUMCISED?": "Samson was thirsty and ready to die. The difficulty was totally different from any which the hero had met before. Merely to get thirst assuaged is nothing like so great a matter as to be delivered from a thousand Philistines! but when the thirst was upon him, Samson felt that little present difficulty more weighty than the great past difficulty out of which he had so specially been delivered. It is very usual for God's people, when they have enjoyed a great deliverance, to find a little trouble too much for them. Samson slays a thousand Philistines, and piles them up in heaps, and then faints for a little water!

"Jacob wrestles with God at Peniel, and overcomes Omnipotence itself, and then goes 'halting on his thigh!

"Strange that there must be a shrinking of the sinew whenever we win the day. As if the Lord must teach us our littleness, our nothingness, in order to keep us within bounds.

"Samson boasted right loudly when he said, 'I have slain a thousand men.' His boastful throat soon grew hoarse with thirst, and he betook himself to prayer. God has many ways of humbling His people.

"Dear child of God, if after great mercy you are laid very low, your case is not an unusual one. When David had mounted the throne of Israel, he said, 'I am this day weak, though anointed king.' You must expect to feel weakest when you are enjoying your greatest triumph. If God has wrought for you great deliverances in the past, your present difficulty is only like Samson's thirst, and the Lord will not let you faint, nor suffer the daughter of the uncircumcised to triumph over you. The road of sorrow is the road to [the kingdom], but there are wells of refreshing water all along the route. So, tried brother, cheer your heart with Samson's words, and rest assured that God will deliver you ere long" (CHS).

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