*image originated here
Judges 11 – 15
Today we talk about five more leaders of Israel. One we started last time, Jephthah, and we finish with Samson.
Jephthah was the illegitimate son of Gilead and a prostitute. His half brothers drove him out of their home because he was illegitimate. Away from them, he has a family and a group of adventurers for friends. When the Ammonites gather against his brothers in war they send for Jephthah to have them command their army and then to rule over them once God gave them victory. Jephthah eventually agrees to help them but, makes the oath to God that if He will give him victory then the first thing he sees coming out if the doorway of his house when he returns home, he will sacrifice as a burnt offering to the LORD. The LORD does give the Ammonites into Jephthah’s hand. It is to his complete devastation when his only child, his daughter is the first one to come out the doorway of his house. He still keeps his promise to God after allowing her to mourn for 2 months. After this, young maidens go out every year for 4 days to remember Jephthah’s daughter.
Ibzan was from Bethlehem and lead Israel for 7 years. He had 30 sons and 30 daughters. His daughters and sons all married outside of their own clan.
Elon the Zebulunite lead Israel for 10 years, died, and was buried in Aijalon and that is all we know about him
Abdon lead Israel for 8 years. He had 40 sons and 30 grandsons who rode on 70 donkeys.
Samson is chosen before he is even born to be a Nazirite, set apart for God. Because of this, his mother is not to drink any wine or fermented drink during her pregnancy and his hair should never be cut. He will begin Israel’s deliverance from the Philistines. Oddly enough his wife is a Philistine who tricks him into telling her the answer to the riddle he gave her people on a dare. He thought of it because a lion had attacked him on the road and he had ripped it in two. Later when he came back through he looked at the carcass and bees had built a nest in there so he scooped out some of their honey for a snack. Because of her betrayal, he sends her back to her father’s house and her father gives her to Samson’s friend to be his wife. When Samson finds out what has been done he ties a bunch of foxes together, sets their tales on fire and loses them in the fields of the Philistines. For that action, the Philistines march on Israel and the elders ask them why they would do this. The enemy army is only there to arrest Samson. Samson’s own people arrest him and bring him to the Philistines but as they get close to that spot Samson’s bindings become like charred chaff to him and he picks up a donkey’s jawbone laying nearby and kills a thousand of the Philistines with it while the rest run away.
We pick up again with his story tomorrow…