Samson

September 23, 2018

Samson tears a lion

"Samson tears a lion."

Samson appears as the twelfth judge in the Book of Judges and likely the twelfth in chronological order. The account begins in chapter thirteen with Israel delivered into the hands of the Philistines for forty years as penalty for their evil. The chronology follows in that the other judges defeat their respective antagonists but the conflict with Philistia will continue into David's monarchy.

FYI - The five cities of Philistia are: Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath.


The Judges in Judges

Listed in order they appear in Judges - Bold indicates major judges.

  1. Othniel - Caleb's nephew, a Judahite. Defeats Aram Naharaim.
  2. Ehud - Tribe of Benjamin. Defeats Moab.
  3. Shamgar - Minor Judge who killed 600 Philistines with an oxgoad (it's a stick). Mentioned in Judges 3:31 he was a contemporary of Deborah. The name is not Hebrew and he is likely not an Israelite. " Son of Anath" may have indicated he was a warrior; Anath was Baal's sister, a goddess of war, or that Shamgar was from Beth Anath.
  4. Deborah - Tribe of Ephraim. Defeats Canaan.
  5. Gideon - Defeats Midian
  6. Tola - Tribe of Issachar. He lead Israel after the time of Abimelech for 23 years. Judges 10:1-2.
  7. Jair - Jair followed Tola. He was from Gilead and so was likely from the Tribe of Manasseh. He had thirty sons who rode thirty donkeys and they controlled thirty towns in Gilead. You can read this in Judges 10:3-5, but I just wanted to type "thirty sons, thirty donkeys, thirty towns..."
  8. Jephthah - Tribe of Manasseh. Defeats Ammon.
  9. Ibzan - Likely from the tribe of Zebulun due to his origin. There are two towns called Bethlehem in the bible. Ibzan is from the other one. (It's interesting to research; Google, "Bethlehem of Galilee" to research. It's actually closer to Nazareth than Bethlehem South (Judah) and there are some historians that believe Jesus is from this one. Just a thought.) Ibzan led Israel for seven years. Judges 12:8-10.
  10. Elon - Also a Zebulunite. Judged Israel for ten years. Judges 12:11-12.
  11. Abdon - Was buried in Ephraim so, Ephraimite? Judges 12:13-15. He had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy donkeys. Gideon had seventy sons. Abdon judged Israel for eight years.
  12. Samson - Tribe of Dan. Begins the defeat of Philistia.

Faulting Campaigns

The Israelites, led by Joshua, realized some remarkable victories in the conquest of Canaan. You can read of the tribal land allotments in the book of Joshua, chapters thirteen through twenty-one. After Joshua's death however, the Israelites quickly fell away from God and started suffering defeat. The first chapter of Judges relates some of these failings prompting God to use the Canaanites to scourge the Israelites.

God addresses these failings in Judges 2:1-4.

Judges 2:1-4 1. The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, "I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers. I said, 'I will never break my covenant with you, 2. and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.' Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? 3. Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you." 4. When the angel of the LORD had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, 5. and they called that place Bokim. There they offered sacrifices to the LORD .