Updated: Jan 20
There was an expression, thousands of years ago, that is still repeated today. “An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth.”
It basically means, people should be punished according to the way in which they offended. For instance, if your negligence causes my cow to die, I should have the right to kill your cow. If you knock my phone out of my hand causing it to break, I should have the right to do the same. But Jesus had an entirely different idea, saying, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:38-39 ESV
In a worldly lens, that makes no sense at all! Oh! And by the way, And if anyone wants to sue you and take your boat, give him the boat trailer as well; in fact, fill up the tank while you are it. And if anyone should press you into service for one mile, go with him two miles. And there is more: Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”
In these verses Jesus perfectly lays out how we should treat each other.
More recently, Mahatma Gandhiji said, an eye for an eye, leaves everyone blind.
If only Samson had grasped those concepts. Of course, Samson lived centuries before Jesus walked this earth, but there was ample instruction in the scrolls. I think, bottom line, Samson had a raging temper.
Yesterday we left off with Samson, once again, seeking revenge and this time he amped it up. “…I swear that I won’t stop until I get my revenge on you.” He attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them. Then he went down and stayed in a cave in the rock of Etam.” Judges 15:7-8 NIV
Samson is hiding in the rock. One might even say the cleft of the rock. This imagery reminds me of the story of Moses. Moses longed to see God’s glory. That story can be found in Exodus 33, but I just want of focus on one conversation.
“And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence…But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.” Such beautiful imagery.
Jesus is the rock on which we build; on which we stand. The cleft of the rock offers safety and protection. And although Samson was being sheltered for a time, there are consequences for one’s actions. There are always consequences.
We are told that the Philistines traveled and camped in Judah. You can imagine the concern the people of Judah had. They certainly did not want trouble with the Philistines. And they ask, “Why have you come to fight us?”
The Philistines answer that they were there to take Samson prisoner. Now we don’t know what was said after that, but at one point, 3,000 men from Judah went to the cave to get Samson. Perhaps the thought process was that Samson would be much more receptive to his own people, than a bunch of Philistines bent on revenge.
Picking up in verse 11, “…“Don’t you realize that the Philistines are rulers over us? What have you done to us?”
He answered, “I merely did to them what they did to me.”
They said to him, “We’ve come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines.”
Samson said, “Swear to me that you won’t kill me yourselves.”
“Agreed,” they answered. “We will only tie you up and hand you over to them. We will not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and led him up from the rock.
As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.
Then Samson said, “With a donkey’s jawbone I have made donkeys of them. With a donkey’s jawbone I have killed a thousand men.” When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was called Ramath Lehi. [which means jawbone hill.] – Judges 15:11-17 NIV
How many men does this make now? How many kills can be attributed to Samson at this point in his life? Thousands! And it’s not over, but God had a plan.
“(His father and mother had no idea that God was behind this, that He was arranging an opportunity against the Philistines. At the time the Philistines lorded it over Israel.)” Judges 14:4 The Message
by Jeanette Stark – Thursday, January 19, 2023