Having already seen a couple of lessons from Samson earlier this year.
This week we looked at a couple more things that were noteworthy. In reality I wanted to bring up some of the points from earlier in the year, but the time ran out so we didn't cover them. However, you can read those for yourself already.
Samson was a child promised to a barren couple in Israel after 40 years of servitude to the Philistines (Judg 13:1). Samson was promised to Manoah and his wife through the appearance (twice) of the angel of the Lord. The angel told the parents to be two things: That Samson was to be a Nazarite and that he would begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines.
A Nazarite is someone who makes a special vow "to separate himself to the Lord". This person is holy to the Lord throughout the time of their vow. Full details are found in Num 6:1-21.
Samsons parents of course would have had to manage this for Samson and as he got older transition him to maintain this vow himself. This is an important point. The Nazarite was one who dedicated himself to the Lord. For the vow to be maintained, Samson had to buy into it. This was likely done by reinforcement by his parents that he had a special purpose from the Lord – to [begin to] deliver Israel from the Philistines. This purpose would ultimately drive Samson to keep the vow. After all, being a God ordained deliverer is got to be good for ones social status, and purpose is an amazing driver for most humans.
However, imagine the shock when Samson, rather than destroying the Philistines, falls in love with one (Judg 14:1-3)! However it was from the Lord (Judg 14:4) which is interesting in its own right (and somewhat covered in the previous article). This desire for a Philistine woman reveals one of Samsons biggest weaknesses – women.
We find in Judges 14 that he marries the Philistine woman, only to leave her with her father at the end of his wedding feast. He returns to her a while later to find that she has been given to his best man (Judges 15:1-2). Infuriated, he destroys their crops just after they are harvested by tying together the tails of 300 foxes with a torch and setting them loose in their direction. As it is the time of harvest, all the grain and cut grain is destroyed – essentially a years worth of growing and harvesting wasted for that village.
From here Samsons life spirals from a small issue (the riddle he tried at the wedding feast) and escalates to armies facing each other off. More on this tomorrow.