Judges 15

1 And it came to pass after a time, in the days of wheat harvest, that Sampson visited his wife with a kid, and said, I will go in to my wife even into the chamber: but her father did not suffer him to go in.
2 And her father spoke, saying, I said that thou didst surely hate her, and I gave her to one of thy friends: not her younger sister better than she? let her be to thee instead of her.
3 And Sampson said to them, Even for once am I guiltless with regard to the Philistines, in that I do mischief among them.
4 And Sampson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned tail to tail, and put a torch between two tails, and fastened it.
5 And he set fire to the torches, and sent into the corn of the Philistines; and every thing was burnt from the threshing floor to the standing corn, and even to the vineyard and olives.
6 And the Philistines said, Who these things? and they said, Sampson the son-in-law of the Thamnite, because he has taken his wife, and given her to one of his friends; and the Philistines went up, and burnt her and her father's house with fire.
7 And Sampson said to them, Though ye may have dealt thus with her, verily I will be avenged of you, and afterwards I will cease.
8 And he smote them leg on thigh a great overthrow; and went down and dwelt in a cave of the rock Etam.
9 And the Philistines went up, and encamped in Juda, and spread themselves abroad in Lechi.
10 And the men of Juda said, Why are ye come up against us? and the Philistines said, We are come up to bind Sampson, and to do to him as he has done to us.
11 And the three thousand men of Juda went down to the hole of the rock Etam, and they said to Sampson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines rule over us? and what this thou hast done to us? and Sampson said to them, As they did to me, so have I done to them.
12 And they said to him, We are come down to bind thee to deliver thee into the hand of the Philistines: and Sampson said to them, Swear to me that ye will not fall upon me yourselves.
13 And they spoke to him, saying, Nay, but we will only bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand, and will by no means slay thee: and they bound him with two new ropes, and brought him from that rock.
14 And they came to Lechi: and the Philistines shouted, and ran to meet him: and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and the ropes that were upon his arms became as tow which is burnt with fire; and his bonds were consumed from off his hands.
15 And he found the jaw-bone of an ass that had been cast away, and he put forth his hand and took it, and smote with it a thousand men.
16 And Sampson said, With the jaw-bone of an ass I have utterly destroyed them, for with the jaw-bone of an ass I have smitten a thousand men.
17 And it came to pass when he ceased speaking, that he cast the jaw-bone out of his hand; and he called that place the Lifting of the jaw-bone.
18 And he was very thirsty, and wept before the Lord, and said, Thou hast been well pleased to grant this great deliverance by the hand of thy servant, and new shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?
19 And God broke open a hollow place in the jaw, and there came thence water, and he drank; and his spirit returned and he revived: therefore the name of the fountain was called 'The well of the invoker,' which is in Lechi, until this day.
20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

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 5

Chapter Summary


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

The Brenton translation of the Septuagint is in the public domain.