Questions to Consider
1. Go back to lesson 3 (link above) and review your answer to the first part of question 5, Israel’s pattern of sin and repentance in 2:16-23. How does today’s passage fit this pattern? How does today’s passage fit the theme verse of Judges (21:25), “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”?
2. Read 14:1-4. Compare this passage to Deuteronomy 7:1-4 and 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. Why did God command Israel not to intermarry with these pagan nations, and why does God command Christians not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers? Were the Philistines among the nations God commanded Israel not to intermarry with? Is it fair to say Samson was obeying the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law? Why or why not?
Compare Samson’s statement at the end of verse 3 and verse 7 to the theme verse of Judges (21:25).
In verse 4, does “he” refer to Samson or the Lord? Examine the cross references for verse 4. Did God think Samson’s marriage to a Philistine was a good and godly union, or was He using Samson’s foolishness for His own purposes?
3. Read 14:5-20. What does it mean that “the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon” Samson? (14:6,19, 15:14) What does the fact that this happened several times in this brief passage (along with many other discrete instances of the Holy Spirit suddenly coming upon a person in the Old Testament), indicate about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament compared to the Holy Spirit permanently indwelling all Believers in the New Testament?
Why was it important to Samson to keep secret from his parents where the honey (9) came from? (Hint: Think back to the requirements of the Nazirite vow from lesson 10 – link above.)
4. On the map below, locate Zorah and Eshtaol (Judges 13:2, 25), where Samson and his family were from, in relation to Timnah and Ashkelon where the action in today’s passage takes place (disregard the arrows). Describe how Samson’s actions in chapter 14 functioned as sort of a stealth, small-scale invasion of Philistia and sheds light on our earlier examination of 14:4. How does the “one man invasion” strategy we see God using here with Samson compare to the “small army” strategy He used with Gideon (see lesson 7 – link above). Consider the actions of the 3000 men in 15:13-15 as you answer.
5. Read 15:1-20. Describe the cowardice of the men of Israel in 13-15. Think about all of the places in Scripture where God tells His people to stand firm, fear not, cry out to Him for help, and trust Him. What should these 3000 men have done instead? Compare their fear of the enemy to Gideon’s fear of the enemy (lessons 6&7 – links above), and their response to the enemy to his response to the enemy.
How was Samson’s defeat of the enemy (14-16) different from Jesus’ defeat of the enemy at His first coming? How could “You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant,” (18) be said of Jesus centuries later?
6. Consider Samson’s motives for each of his attacks on the Philistines in today’s passage, his “hot anger” in 14:19, and his apparent posture of personal vengeance in 15:7. Now compare these to his statement in 15:18: “You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant,” and recall what the angel told Manoah and his wife (see lesson 11 – link above) about Samson’s mission and what they probably told Samson about all of that. Is it reasonable to infer that Samson viewed his attacks on the Philistines in today’s passage as consciously carrying out his mission of “he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines,” (13:5) or was he just a hot head getting personal revenge?
If someone came to you and said that Samson’s aforementioned motives, anger, and apparent posture of personal vengeance conflict with James 1:20: “the anger of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God,” (because God’s righteous purpose of pushing back the Philistines was accomplished here) and Romans 12:19: “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord,'” how would you answer that person? (Hint: Be sure you’re reading all of these verses and passages in context.)
- Recall from lesson 10 (link above) Samson’s parents’ wisdom and godliness, and the wise and godly counsel they gave him in today’s passage. Consider their good counsel in light of these passages. Why is godly counsel important? How can you tell the difference between counsel that is wise and godly and counsel that is unwise, fleshly, or merely pragmatic? Who would you go to for wise, godly counsel if you needed it? What can you do to prepare yourself to give wise, godly counsel to someone who comes to you asking for it?
- Read my article A No-Bull Marriage: Four Lessons from Mr. & Mrs. Samson, and compare Samson, his wife, and their marriage, to Manoah, his wife, and their marriage (lesson 10 – link above). What are some lessons we can learn about marriage from both of these stories?