Tuesday after the Fourth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Judges 15:1—16:3 (NKJV)
15:1 After a while, in the time of wheat harvest, it happened that Samson visited his wife with a young goat. And he said, “Let me go in to my wife, into her room.” But her father would not permit him to go in. 2 Her father said, “I really thought that you thoroughly hated her; therefore I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister better than she? Please, take her instead.” 3 And Samson said to them, “This time I shall be blameless regarding the Philistines if I harm them!” 4 Then Samson went and caught three hundred foxes; and he took torches, turned the foxes tail to tail, and put a torch between each pair of tails. 5 When he had set the torches on fire, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and burned up both the shocks and the standing grain, as well as the vineyards and olive groves. 6 Then the Philistines said, “Who has done this?” And they answered, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife and given her to his companion.” So the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire. 7 Samson said to them, “Since you would do a thing like this, I will surely take revenge on you, and after that I will cease.” 8 So he attacked them hip and thigh with a great slaughter; then he went down and dwelt in the cleft of the rock of Etam.
9 Now the Philistines went up, encamped in Judah, and deployed themselves against Lehi. 10 And the men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” So they answered, “We have come up to arrest Samson, to do to him as he has done to us.” 11 Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines rule over us? What is this you have done to us?” And he said to them, “As they did to me, so I have done to them.” 12 But they said to him, “We have come down to arrest you, that we may deliver you into the hand of the Philistines.” Then Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not kill me yourselves.” 13 So they spoke to him, saying, “No, but we will tie you securely and deliver you into their hand; but we will surely not kill you.” And they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock. 14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting against him. Then the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him; and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds broke loose from his hands. 15 He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached out his hand and took it, and killed a thousand men with it. 16 Then Samson said: “With the jawbone of a donkey, Heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey I have slain a thousand men!” 17 And so it was, when he had finished speaking, that he threw the jawbone from his hand, and called that place Ramath Lehi.
18 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?” 19 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. 20 And he judged Israel twenty years in the days of the Philistines.
16:1 Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her. 2 When the Gazites were told, “Samson has come here!” they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the gate of the city. They were quiet all night, saying, “In the morning, when it is daylight, we will kill him.” 3 And Samson lay low till midnight; then he arose at midnight, took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two gateposts, pulled them up, bar and all, put them on his shoulders, and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.
Samson is an image of our Lord Jesus Christ in that he attacks and defeats the enemy of the people of God. We see this image of our Lord portrayed in Samson three times in the reading: first, when he destroys the grain fields, vineyards and olive groves of the Philistines; second, when he kills a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey; third, when he escapes the city of Gaza by putting the door and posts of the gate on his shoulders and carried them up the hill that faces Hebron.
In the first instance Samson retaliates for his wife being unrightfully being given to another. If we understand this spiritually, we understand this as false teachings that unrightfully lead people away from the truth. Those who have been lead away by false doctrine use these lies to sustain themselves. But this is a false sustenance and it must be destroyed. Our Lord destroyed the false doctrines of His enemies by being incarnate in our flesh and teaching salvation in Him alone to all those who would hear.
The second case shows Samson as an image of the Christ in that he utterly destroys the enemy. Our Lord destroyed the Enemy—Satan—by His death on the holy Cross.
We see this image of the holy Cross in the third part of this reading where Samson lifts the door and posts on his shoulders and carries them up a hill to defeat his enemy. Our Lord Jesus Christ did likewise when He carried our sins on the holy Cross up the hill of Golgotha to win for us forgiveness, life, and salvation.