Bible Commentaries
Judges 13

Wells of Living Water CommentaryWells of Living Water

Verses 11-25

Samson Judges Israel

Judges 13:11-25


The period of the Judges revealed times immediately following the death of Joshua.

1. The period of the Judges, as a whole, is summed up thus. (1) "And the Children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord." (2) "And the Lord sold them into the hand of * *." (3) "And the Children of Israel cried unto the Lord." (4) "And the Lord raised up * * to deliver them."

Time and again these four things were said of Israel. They sinned; God sent them into servitude; they cried unto the Lord; God delivered them. After that, the same thing was told, and retold.

We fear that a similar spirit dominates many believers today. Because God hears prayer, and is merciful to forgive those who confess their sins, men presume upon His grace. They sin, God chastens them; they repent, they are forgiven, and then they sin again.

2. Among the Judges, Samson stands forth as unique.

(1) His birth was Divinely announced. The thirteenth chapter of Judges carries the story of Samson's parents. His mother was approached by an angel who announced the fact of Samson's birth, and how he should be a Nazarite, and should begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. After the angel was gone, the woman told her husband of the visit of a man of God whose countenance was as an angel's, very terrible.

Manoah entreated the Lord, and pled that the angel might return and speak to him. The angel did return, and he told Manoah how the child, which should be born to him and his wife, should be a Nazarene; he told him that he should neither drink wine nor strong drink, nor should he eat anything unclean. Manoah offered a sacrifice of a meat offering, and as the flame went up toward Heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar.

Under the conditions above, Samson was born, and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him there.

(2) The Spirit of the Lord moved him. As Samson came to manhood, the Spirit of the Lord began, at times, to move him. He was a man with a special call, raised for a special work, and he, therefore, had a special anointing.

Again, and again, the Spirit of the Lord rested upon Samson during the days of his judgeship. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him when a young lion roared against him; when he went down to Ashkelon; as he burst the flax with which the Philistines bound him; as he wrought slaughter with the jawbone of an ass; as, under God's strength, he laid hold upon the pillars of the house wherein the Philistines made sport of him.

We all recognize that there were many incongruities in the life of Samson, and yet, withal, so long as he kept his Nazarite vow, the vow of his separation, God used him in a wonderful way.

The Holy Spirit, in speaking of Samson, said: "Time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae." Thus Samson's name was enrolled by the Lord in the wonderful galaxy and star cluster of the heroes of the Faith.

I. SAMSON AND THE LION (Judges 14:5-6 )

1. We have the picture before us of Satan's efforts against the saints. As Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnath, behold, a young lion roared against him.

The Bible tells us that Satan goeth about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Any young man, or young woman, who takes a definite stand for God, will find, the adversary ready to withstand him in the way.

2. God's provision for victory. We read that the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon Samson, and he rent the lion. Is not this God's provision for all of us? It is with the Sword of the Spirit that we can overcome the wicked one. The weapons of our warfare are never carnal, but are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.

When we are filled with the Spirit of God, we will have nothing to fear though Satan, and all of his hordes, encamp around about us.

3. The lion, dead at Samson's feet. As we see the lion rent and torn, lying in death, we cannot but think of the destiny of the devil and his final overthrow.

We remember how David went out to meet Goliath. We can almost see him now, as he stood with his foot upon the dead giant's head, and held aloft Goliath's sword, as a signal of his victory.

Has not our David met the devil in the wilderness temptation? and did He not meet him at the Cross? The Bible tells us that He met principalities and powers and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Even so doth our Lord now sit with principalities and powers under His feet; and His victory is ours.


1. Samson seeking a Gentile bride. Samson went down to Timnath to the daughter's of the Philistines to get him a wife. His father and mother berated him, saying, "Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines?" Then Samson replied to his father, "Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well."

In all of this we see, in anticipation, the Lord Jesus Christ turning from Israel to secure a Gentile bride. There is a little statement in verse four of our chapter which says, "For at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel." At this, time, also, and for more than twenty centuries, Israel has been trodden down under the feet of the Gentiles.

2. Samson returning to take her. In verse eight we read, that after Samson had rent the lion, and had gone back that he returned, after a time, to take his bride. Then he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion.

This may seem a little far drawn to some of you, and yet it is remarkable, by way of coincidence, that the Lord Jesus, after He met the lion on the Cross and vanquished him, went to be with His Father, and He will shortly return for His Bride.

Samson en route for his bride turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: "And, behold, there was a swarm of bees and of honey in the carcase of the lion." Then Samson took thereof in his hand and went on eating: and he came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat.

As our Lord Jesus returns, will He not also turn aside to see the result of His busy bees, and the honey they have deposited in the carcase of the lion? Let us remind you that the ministry of the Church is not to fumigate the old dead carcase, but to place our honey within it. In the midst of present darkness we are to be lights.

As Samson ate of the honey, so will Christ go His way rejoicing in the accomplishments of His saints. As Samson gave unto his father and mother and they did also eat; so will the Father rejoice with the Son in the accomplishments of the saints, when the Bema judgment is set.

III. SAMSON'S RIDDLE (Judges 14:12-14 )

1. Samson's feast. As Samson went down for his bride, he made a feast, for so it was customary in that day. At the feast Samson propounded a riddle to his guests. He said, "I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it unto me within the seven days of the feast, * * then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments: but if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments."

2. Samson's riddle. The men of Timnath could not in three days expound the riddle. We know, of course, the solution of the riddle, so far as its historical setting is concerned. The eater was the lion, and that which came out of the strong, in sweetness, was the honey. The spiritual significance of all this, however, lies before us with unfathomable beauty. It is many-sided in. its suggestions.

(1) Jesus, Himself, came out of the loins of Jesse. He came as a root out of dry ground. He was, so far as His earthly relationships were concerned, the son of a nation full of iniquity. The human line reaching back from Mary to Adam enclosed in its genealogy such characters as Ruth, the Moabitess; Rahab, the harlot; and many who were defiled and polluted in sin, God, by the Holy Ghost, came upon Mary, who had sprung from such a seed. The Spirit overshadowed her, therefore that Holy Thing which was born of her, was called the Son of God. Thus did sweetness come forth out of that which was bitter, and from the eater there came forth the meat.

(2) The saints have come from the loins of sinners. The honey taken from the carcase of the dead lion is no more striking than the saints taken from the carcase of a world steeped in sin. We need to remember the pit out of which we were digged. Here is a riddle which the world may well seek to solve.

IV. SAMSON AND DELILAH (Judges 14:16-17 )

1. The method of Samson's guests. When the young men who were at Samson's feast, found they could not solve Samson's riddle, they began to plead with Samson's wife to declare the riddle lest they burn her, and her father's house with fire.

How true it is that the world cannot understand God! They can neither fathom His love, nor can they comprehend His grace. The riddle of redemption is something that to the Gentile is foolishness; and to the Jews it is a stumbling block.

2. The importunity of Samson's wife. The young men in Samson's home were beside themselves with anger. They said to Samson's wife, "Have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so?" Then Samson's wife wept before him, and said, "Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me." Thus did she weep before him seven days, and because she lay sore upon him, he told her, and she told the riddle to the children of her people.

Thus it was that the men of the city said to Samson on the seventh day, "What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion?" Samson replied, "If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle."

The spiritual message to us, is, just now, most apropos. The world does not know what all of the present-day imbroglio means. They cannot comprehend their tangled affairs the monetary crisis, the social uprising, the reign and rule of banditry. If they would know the solution of the riddle of the present hour, they can only know it by plowing with God's heifer. The Church holds the secret of the cause of world disturbances; and it knows the answer to the world's need.


After Samson had avenged himself concerning his wife, and had set loose three hundred foxes, with firebrands, into the standing corn of the Philistines, the Philistines gathered themselves together and came up to Judah to bind Samson. Then three thousand men of Judah went to Samson and said, "We are come down to bind thee, that we may deliver thee into the hand of the Philistines," and Samson said unto them, "Swear unto me, that ye will not fall upon me yourselves," and they said, "No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand: but surely we will not kill thee."

So they bound him, and when they came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him. Then the Spirit of the Lord came mightly upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.

1. Ye shall receive power, the Holy Spirit coming upon you. We should not think of Samson as the strongest man; for, when the Spirit was not upon him, he was weak as other men. It was the power of God in Samson that made him strong.

This is true, also, with us. The power with which we preach and serve is not of the arm of the flesh. We would be able to do nothing apart from Him. When, however, the Spirit rests upon us, we can accomplish all His will. No one can bind us with cords, and no one can hold us back against the fulfillment of God's purpose and plan in and through us.

2. He found a new jawbone of an ass. The weapon with which Samson wrought was but foolishness with men. He had no armor in which he could boast no sword, no spear, no bow and arrows. God will use what we have, and not that which we have not. If we depend on weapons of men, and we look to the world for help, we will be shorn of our power.

VI. SAMSON AND DELILAH (Judges 16:17 )

1. A strong man's folly. Samson sinned against God in the case of a woman of shame, who dwelt in Gaza. How sad it is when men, who have been used of God, turn aside and walk for a time in the ways of the world!

2. A covenant which was broken. As Samson laid his head in Delilah's lap, she pled with him to tell her the source of his great strength. Thrice did Samson He unto her, and thrice did he refuse to make known the secret of his strength. When, however, Delilah pressed Samson sore, and beguiled him with her eyes and love, he told her all of his heart.

Let us not be too hard upon Samson, however, for the Church today, in a great measure, is laying its head upon the lap of the world. It is with difficulty that you can tell whether it is a worldly church, or a churchly world. God has plainly said, "Love not the world." He has also said, "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness." Remember, O Church of God, that thy power lies in thy Nazarite vow in thy separation from the world, in thy cleansing from sin, and in thy dedication unto God.

3. A power lost. When the Philistines came upon Samson, he was the same as other men. He knew where he had lost his power. He had lost it as his head lay in Delilah's lap. He had lost it when he had repudiated his Nazarite vow.

VII. SAMSON'S DEATH (Judges 16:30 )

1. The wages of unrighteousness. Our heart grieves for Samson as we see him shorn of his power. But that is not all the story of his sin. His eyes were put out, and he was forced to grind the corn of the Philistines.

How the enemy did rejoice over his downfall! How they did mock and revile him! His life was one sad story of bitter anguish. God had permitted all of this to fall upon Samson because of his folly.

2. The slow return of blessing. Slowly, but surely, Samson's hair began to grow out again. The Philistines did not note the meaning of it all. As Samson's hair grew, his contrition and repentance also knew no bounds. He had lost the world, lost Delilah, lost his place as Judge in Israel, but he had not lost God's mercy.

One day the lords of the Philistines gathered together to praise their false gods, and to defame the God of Samson. As they were making merry, it was suggested that Samson should be brought into the palace. The blind man was led in. The pity and pathos of it all only led the lords of the Philistines and the people to beguile him the more. They derided him, and he was made the butt of their sport. Then it was, that Samson, with his Nazarite vow renewed in spirit, as well as in fact, prayed (Judges 16:28 ).

Then Samson took hold of the two pillars upon which the house stood and was borne up, and he bowed himself with all his might, and the house fell. Thus, Samson, in his death, slew more than all they whom he had slain in his life.



"'Single prayers are like the single hairs of Samson; but the prayers of the congregation are like the whole of his bushy locks, wherein his strength lay. Therefore you should, in Tertullian's phrase, "quasi manu facta," with a holy conspiracy, besiege Heaven, and force out a blessing for your pastors.' This is a fine metaphor wherewith to set forth united prayer. One prayer is a hair of Samson, but our united supplications are as the seven locks of that hero's head. May God grant that the Church may never be shorn of the locks of prayer, wherein her great strength lieth, and her great beauty also.

"The cumulative power of prayer is well worthy of notice. Abraham alone could not by intercession save a single city of the plain, though his pleas were very weighty. Lot's poor prayer was to Abraham's as an ounce to a ton, and yet that last ounce turned the scale, and Zoar was preserved from the burning. The agreement of two saints is a grand force against which very few obstacles can stand; and when it comes to a praying band, all the smiths in Jerusalem cannot make bolts for the doors, or chains for the wrists, sufficiently strong to hold Peter in prison. Come, then, to the meetings for prayer, for there is the strength of the Church, and there are her Samson's locks."

Bibliographical Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Judges 13". "Living Water".