Judges 13-15

An angel announces Samson's birth to his parents.  The father is quite clueless but the mother gets it (13:22-23).  Samson is to be a Nazirite his whole life - no drink from the vine and no haircut (Numbers 6:5).

Samson demands a Philistine girl for a wife, against his parents' wishes.  He kills a lion on the way the first time, and gets honey from the carcass the second time.  The Philistines exploit this by extorting as much money from Samson as possible: 30 gifts expected for 30 groomsmen!!  Samson turns this into a challenge with a riddle about the lion and honey.  He gives his fiancee the answer to the riddle, which she tells them.  (She is more loyal to her people than to Samson, while protesting that Samson isn't loyal to her.  Wicked.)

Weeks or months later, Samson goes back for his bride!  She was given to another man, and Samson takes vengeance.  The Philistines blame the bride's father and kill them.  Samson takes vengeance again.  The Philistines force Judah to hand Samson over.  They do, but he breaks his rope bonds and kills 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey.  Samson judges Israel 20 years.

How is this about Jesus?

  • John's birth and life as a Nazirite was also announced to Zachariah and Elizabeth.  Elizabeth got it before Zachariah did, too.
  • God gave Jesus strength to defeat sin and the evil one, without any sinful compromise, anger or vengeance.
  • Judeans handed Jesus over to the Gentiles for punishment, too.
  • Jesus delivered Israel by dying himself, instead of killing the enemy, as Israel's judges did.  This was not sinful on the part of the judges, but God means for a different interaction with unbelievers now (Matthew 28:18-20).

Which way is cultural influence flowing?  Israel was going after other gods and intermarrying with Philistines when God said not to.  Samson achieves some military dominance over Philistines, but it doesn't do much good in the "culture war," given his compromises.  Losing personal integrity gives cultural dominance to the evil one.  Samson resists giving the Philistines financial gifts, but he allows them to master him when he is seduced by the Timnite woman.  His victories against Ashkelon and other places do not make up for his compromise in Timnah.  Personal purity is part of culture wars.

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