Judges 15

Samson's Revenge

1 Later on, during the wheat harvest, Samson [took] a young goat [as a gift] and visited his wife. "I want to go to my wife in her room," he said. But her father would not let him enter.
2 "I was sure you hated her," her father said, "so I gave her to one of the men who accompanied you. Isn't her younger sister more beautiful than she is? Why not take her instead?"
3 Samson said to them, "This time I won't be responsible when I harm the Philistines."
4 So he went out and caught 300 foxes. He took torches, turned the foxes tail-to-tail, and put a torch between each pair of tails.
5 Then he ignited the torches and released the foxes into the standing grain of the Philistines. He burned up the piles of grain and the standing grain as well as the vineyards and olive groves.
6 Then the Philistines asked, "Who did this?" They were told, "[It was] Samson, the Timnite's son-in-law, because he has taken Samson's wife and given her to another man." So the Philistines went to her and her father and burned [them] to death.
7 Then Samson told them, "Because you did this, I swear that I won't rest until I have taken vengeance on you."
8 He tore them limb from limb[a] with a great slaughter, and he went down and stayed in the cave at the rock of Etam.
9 The Philistines went up, camped in Judah, and raided Lehi.
10 So the men of Judah said, "Why have you attacked us?" They replied, "We have come to arrest Samson and pay him back for what he did to us."
11 Then 3,000 men of Judah went to the cave at the rock of Etam, and they asked Samson, "Don't you realize that the Philistines rule over us? What have you done to us?" "I have done to them what they did to me," he answered.[b]
12 They said to him, "We've come to arrest you and hand you over to the Philistines." Then Samson told them, "Swear to me that you yourselves won't kill me."
13 "No," they said,[c] "we won't kill you, but we will tie you up securely and hand you over to them." So they tied him up with two new ropes and led him away from the rock.
14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came to meet him shouting. The Spirit of the Lord took control of[d] him, and the ropes that were on his arms became like burnt flax and his bonds fell off his wrists.
15 He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached out his hand, took it, and killed 1,000 men with it.
16 Then Samson said: With the jawbone of a donkey I have piled them in a heap. With the jawbone of a donkey I have killed 1,000 men.
17 When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone and named that place Ramath-lehi.[e]
18 He became very thirsty and called out to the Lord: "You have accomplished this great victory through[f] Your servant. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?"
19 So God split a hollow place [in the ground] at Lehi, and water came out of it. After Samson drank, his strength returned, and he revived. That is why he named it En-hakkore,[g] which is in Lehi to this day.
20 And he judged Israel 20 years in the days of the Philistines.

Judges 15 Commentary

Chapter 15

Samson is denied his wife, He smites the Philistines. (1-8) Samson kills a thousand of the Philistines with a jaw-bone. (9-17) His distress from thirst. (18-20)

Verses 1-8 When there are differences between relations, let those be reckoned the wisest and best, who are most forward to forgive or forget, and most willing to stoop and yield for the sake of peace. In the means which Samson employed, we must look at the power of God supplying them, and making them successful, to mortify the pride and punish the wickedness of the Philistines. The Philistines threatened Samson's wife that they would burn her and her father's house. She, to save herself and oblige her countrymen, betrayed her husband; and the very thing that she feared, and by sin sought to avoid, came upon her! She, and her father's house, were burnt with fire, and by her countrymen, whom she thought to oblige by the wrong she did to her husband. The mischief we seek to escape by any unlawful practices, we often pull down upon our own heads.

Verses 9-17 Sin dispirits men, it hides from their eyes the things that belong to their peace. The Israelites blamed Samson for what he had done against the Philistines, as if he had done them a great injury. Thus our Lord Jesus did many good works, and for those the Jews were ready to stone him. When the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson, his cords were loosed: where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, and those are free indeed who are thus set free. Thus Christ triumphed over the powers of darkness that shouted against him, as if they had him in their power. Samson made great destruction among the Philistines. To take the bone of an ass for this, was to do wonders by the foolish things of the world, that the excellency of the power might be of God, not of man. This victory was not in the weapon, was not in the arm; but it was in the Spirit of God, which moved the weapon by the arm. We can do all things through Him that strengtheneth us. Seest thou a poor Christian, who is enabled to overcome a temptation by weak, feeble counsel, there is the Philistine vanquished by a sorry jaw-bone.

Verses 18-20 So little notice did the men of Judah take of their deliverer, that he was ready to perish for want of a draught of water. Thus are the greatest slights often put upon those who do the greatest services. Samson prayed to God in this distress. Those that forget to attend God their praises, may be compelled to attend him with their prayers. Past experiences of God's power and goodness, are excellent pleas in prayer for further mercy. He pleads his being exposed to God's enemies; our best pleas are taken from God's glory. The Lord sent him seasonable relief. The place of this action was, from the jaw-bone, called Lehi. And in the place thus called, God caused a fountain suddenly and seasonably to open, close by Samson. We should be more thankful for the mercy of water, did we consider how ill we can spare it. Israel submitted to him whom they had betrayed. God was with him; henceforward they were directed by him as their judge.

Footnotes 7

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JUDGES 15

This chapter relates, that Samson being denied his wife, did by a strange stratagem burn the corn fields, vineyards, and olives of the Philistines, Jud 15:1-5, and that because of their burning her and her father, he made a great slaughter of them, Jud 15:6-8, which brought the Philistines against the men of Judah, who took Samson and bound him, to deliver him to the Philistines, when he, loosing himself, slew a thousand of them with the jaw bone of an ass, Jud 15:9-17 and being athirst, God in a wonderful manner supplied him with water, Jud 15:18-20.

Judges 15 Commentaries