Wednesday after the Second Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Judges 14:1-20 (NKJV)
1 Now Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 So he went up and told his father and mother, saying, “I have seen a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife.”
3 Then his father and mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your brethren, or among all my people, that you must go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?”
And Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she pleases me well.”
4 But his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord—that He was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines. For at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.
5 So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came to the vineyards of Timnah.
Now to his surprise, a young lion came roaring against him. 6 And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.
7 Then he went down and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well. 8 After some time, when he returned to get her, he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion. And behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the carcass of the lion. 9 He took some of it in his hands and went along, eating. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them, and they also ate. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey out of the carcass of the lion.
10 So his father went down to the woman. And Samson gave a feast there, for young men used to do so. 11 And it happened, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him.
12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me pose a riddle to you. If you can correctly solve and explain it to me within the seven days of the feast, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing. 13 But if you cannot explain it to me, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing.”
And they said to him, “Pose your riddle, that we may hear it.”
14 So he said to them: “Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet.” Now for three days they could not explain the riddle.
15 But it came to pass on the seventh day that they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband, that he may explain the riddle to us, or else we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us in order to take what is ours? Is that not so?”
16 Then Samson’s wife wept on him, and said, “You only hate me! You do not love me! You have posed a riddle to the sons of my people, but you have not explained it to me.”
And he said to her, “Look, I have not explained it to my father or my mother; so should I explain it to you?” 17 Now she had wept on him the seven days while their feast lasted. And it happened on the seventh day that he told her, because she pressed him so much. Then she explained the riddle to the sons of her people. 18 So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down:
“What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?”
And he said to them: “If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle!”
19 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of their men, took their apparel, and gave the changes of clothing to those who had explained the riddle. So his anger was aroused, and he went back up to his father’s house. 20 And Samson’s wife was given to his companion, who had been his best man.
The impulse to contract a forbidden marriage came from Samson’s disobedient heart and not from the Lord. Nevertheless, the Lord in His omnipotence used this act of human self-will to serve His good and gracious will: He made it an occasion for challenging the Philistine empire’s subjugation of Israel.
The Lord is determined to see His promise fulfilled and His kingdom come despite the repeated apostasy of His chosen people, and despite the failings of the men whom He chooses to be the bearers of His promise. This chapter is where we first see how the Spirit of the Lord works through Samson for the benefit of God’s people. Previous judges became successful leaders in military campaigns when “the Spirit of the Lord came upon” them or “took possession of” them. When the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon Samson, he was able to perform feats of great physical strength. Neither man nor beast, not even vast numerical superiority, could defeat Samson when it was the Lord’s will that was being fulfilled through the mighty working of the Spirit of the Lord in him.
Even though Samson erred with his desire for a pagan wife and his coming near a dead animal, the Lord mercifully showed him grace in using him to punish those who oppressed God’s chosen people.
We pray: Almighty heavenly Father, allow us to see Your abundantly gracious hand in all things, and that we allow it to guide our lives through Your chosen Means of Grace. Amen.