Judges 13-16: Samson the Mighty

Discussion in 'OT Historical Books' started by dildaysc, Nov 14, 2018.

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  1. dildaysc

    dildaysc Puritan Board Freshman

    This morning I began the translation of Poole's Synopsis on the Samson narrative.

    If you are interested in Samson, it is a good time to join the study...

    Samson was by far the most powerful of the Judges, but he was also the most morally problematic. Over the next few months we are going to be taking a hard look at this Judge; this is not your Sunday School's Samson.

    Join us...

    [Note: In the "Comments", there are some reflections from Edwards on the destructive power of lust.]
     
  2. dildaysc

    dildaysc Puritan Board Freshman

    I just finished the translation of Poole's Synopsis on Judges 13:3-5.

    The Angel of the Lord visits Manoah's wife, with the promise of a son, Samson the Mighty.

    But who is this mysterious Angel, whose name is "Wonderful"? Could it be our Jesus?

    See Matthew Henry and Robert Hawker in the "Comments".
     
  3. ScottishPresbyterian

    ScottishPresbyterian Puritan Board Freshman

    Why was he the most morally problematic? His sin with Delilah was of course a great sin, but how is it different to, for example, Gideon's concubine in Shechem (not to mention his making an idol after being commissioned by God to destroy the false worship of Baal)? And what about Abimelech, the only one of the judges who appears to have been an unconverted man - was Samson really more morally problematic than him?
     
  4. dildaysc

    dildaysc Puritan Board Freshman

  5. dildaysc

    dildaysc Puritan Board Freshman

    "In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes."

    This is certainly the theme-statement of the Book of Judges (repeated 5x in Judges 17-21). In it we hear the author's longing for a godly governor (the Davidic King, I think) to lead the nation in righteousness.

    In Judges 3-12, we see that, although the Judges are far from perfect, while the Judge abides, the people's walk is closer to the Biblical rule; when the Judge is removed by death, there is rapid declension.

    Samson is the final Judge in the book. Although buried in translation, the theme-statement is first found in Samson's mouth here, Judges 14:3. He desires marriage to the Philistine woman; she "is right in his eyes". So, considering the theme-statement, if the leader is infected with the disease, for which he is supposed to be the remedy, if he is simply doing what is right in his own eyes, what hope is their for the people?
     
  6. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I remember doing a study on this many years ago ,and found out when "The" angel of the Lord is used it appears to be Jesus indeed vs. when "an" angel of the Lord is used. :)
     
  7. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Freshman

    Interesting. Which English version were you using? There is no simple difference in Hebrew between "the angel of the Lord" and "an angel of the Lord" - you'd have to say "an angel belonging to the Lord" if you wanted it to be indefinite. Most English translations render all uses of malakh YHWH as "the angel of the Lord". KJV has "an angel of the Lord" in Judges 2:1, 6:11, 6:22; 13:16 and 13:21. But not only does it use "the angel of the Lord" interchangeably in these passages to refer to the same person (Judges 2:4; 6:12, 21; 13:3, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21), these are generally reckoned to be among the strongest passages in identifying the angel of the Lord with deity. In New Testament Greek, of course, it's much easier to speak of "an angel of the Lord" (compare Matt. 1:20 and 1:24), though there I think the usage of the Greek article reflects a similarity to English (see the ESV). In English, you can introduce an person in indefinite terms ("I met a stranger today") but reported speech from a pre-identified person is usually definite ("the stranger said to me...").
     
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  8. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Long time ago, but it may have been the ASV. I was doing it for a SDA fella that did not know about Christophanies.
     
  9. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    That would be correct.

    Judges 2:1 (ASV)
    1 And the angel of Jehovah came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you:

    Judges 6:11 (ASV)
    11 And the angel of Jehovah came, and sat under the oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.

    Judges 6:22 (ASV)
    22 And Gideon saw that he was the angel of Jehovah; and Gideon said, Alas, O Lord Jehovah! forasmuch as I have seen the angel of Jehovah face to face.

    Judges 13:16 (ASV)
    16 And the angel of Jehovah said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread; and if thou wilt make ready a burnt-offering, thou must offer it unto Jehovah. For Manoah knew not that he was the angel of Jehovah.

    Judges 13:21 (ASV)
    21 But the angel of Jehovah did no more appear to Manoah or to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of Jehovah.

    Judges 2:4 (ASV)
    4 And it came to pass, when the angel of Jehovah spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.

    Judges 6:12 (ASV)
    12 And the angel of Jehovah appeared unto him, and said unto him, Jehovah is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.

    Judges 6:21 (ASV)
    21 Then the angel of Jehovah put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there went up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and the angel of Jehovah departed out of his sight.

    Judges 13:3 (ASV)
    3 And the angel of Jehovah appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not; but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.

    Judges 13:13 (ASV)
    13 And the angel of Jehovah said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware.

    Judges 13:15-16 (ASV)
    15 And Manoah said unto the angel of Jehovah, I pray thee, let us detain thee, that we may make ready a kid for thee.
    16 And the angel of Jehovah said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread; and if thou wilt make ready a burnt-offering, thou must offer it unto Jehovah. For Manoah knew not that he was the angel of Jehovah.

    Judges 13:17-18 (ASV)
    17 And Manoah said unto the angel of Jehovah, What is thy name, that, when thy words come to pass, we may do thee honor?
    18 And the angel of Jehovah said unto him, Wherefore askest thou after my name, seeing it is wonderful?

    Judges 13:21 (ASV)
    21 But the angel of Jehovah did no more appear to Manoah or to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of Jehovah.

     
  10. dildaysc

    dildaysc Puritan Board Freshman

  11. dildaysc

    dildaysc Puritan Board Freshman

  12. ScottishPresbyterian

    ScottishPresbyterian Puritan Board Freshman

    How do you interpret verse 4 - "His father and mother knew not that it was of the LORD". I think it's easy to be over critical of Samson, and certainly fits the narrative of each judge being worse than the last, but we should make the narrative fit the text not vice versa.
     
  13. dildaysc

    dildaysc Puritan Board Freshman

    I hear you.

    An interesting note on the history of interpretation: As I have worked through the Samson narrative with Poole (who surveys the history of interpretation), at first almost all of the interpreters excuse Samson's behavior, but by the end comparatively few continue to excuse.
     
  14. dildaysc

    dildaysc Puritan Board Freshman

  15. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Freshman

    Just because it (or "she") was from the Lord doesn't mean that Samson marrying her was the right thing to do. He wanted her because she was right in his eyes (13:3), a theme of the latter part of the Book. In context, the judges are a downward spiral from Othniel to Samson, so Samson is the bottom of the barrel in many respects. We shouldn't seek to justify or excuse his behavior. But you are absolutely right in sensing the theological significance of this verse, in which the narrator comments directly on events. This is related to Joseph's "You meant it for evil but God meant it for good" in Genesis 50. Samson ("little sun", a surprisingly pagan name for someone with his birth story) had no intention of being God's agent: what was right in his eyes with respect to the Philistines was the motto "Make love, not war". But God would use Samson's sinful desires to accomplish his purposes of taking on the Philistines, whether the Israelites (or Samson) wanted deliverance or not (see 15:11).
     
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  16. dildaysc

    dildaysc Puritan Board Freshman

  17. dildaysc

    dildaysc Puritan Board Freshman

    There is much wrestling here over the identity of the Philistine god, Dagon.

    For those of you inclined toward linguistics, I think that you will find the discussion very interesting. I know that I did.

    However, at the end of the day, the difficulty itself is edifying. Dagon, a false god, was once worshipped and adored by thousands upon thousands. Now he has been so thoroughly bested by Jehovah, the true God of heaven and earth, that we have a hard time figuring out who Dagon even is. His name has been laid in the dust. Behold, the end of all of God's enemies, and all false deities!


    Let God arise, and His enemies be scattered!
     
  18. dildaysc

    dildaysc Puritan Board Freshman

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