Judges 15

1 But after a while, in the time of wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife with a young goat. He said, “I will go in to my wife’s room.” But her father wouldn’t allow him to go in. 2 Her father said, “I most certainly thought that you utterly hated her; therefore I gave her to your companion. Isn’t her younger sister more beautiful than she? Please take her, instead.” 3 Samson said to them, “This time I will be blameless in the case of the Philistines, when I harm them.” 4 Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned tail to tail, and put a torch in the middle between every two tails. 5 When he had set the torches on fire, he let them go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks and the standing grain, and also the olive groves. 6 Then the Philistines said, “Who has done this?” They said, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife, and given her to his companion.” The Philistines came up, and burnt her and her father with fire. 7 Samson said to them, “If you behave like this, surely I will take revenge on you, and after that I will cease.” 8 He struck them hip and thigh with a great slaughter; and he went down and lived in the cave in Etam’s rock. 9 Then the Philistines went up, encamped in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi. 10 The men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” They said, “We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him as he has done to us.” 11 Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cave in Etam’s rock, and said to Samson, “Don’t you know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?” He said to them, “As they did to me, so have I done to them.” 12 They said to him, “We have come down to bind you, that we may deliver you into the hand of the Philistines.” Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not attack me yourselves.” 13 They spoke to him, saying, “No; but we will bind you securely, and deliver you into their hands; but surely we will not kill you.” They bound him with two new ropes, and brought him up from the rock. 14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they met him. Then the LORD’s Spirit came mightily on him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands dropped from off his hands. 15 He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, put out his hand, took it, and struck a thousand men with it. 16 Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps on heaps; with the jawbone of a donkey I have struck a thousand men.” 17 When he had finished speaking, he threw the jawbone out of his hand; and that place was called Ramath Lehi. 18 He was very thirsty, and called on the LORD, and said, “You have given this great deliverance by the hand of your servant; and now shall I die of thirst, and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 But God split the hollow place that is in Lehi, and water came out of it. When he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived. Therefore its name was called En Hakkore, which is in Lehi, to this day. 20 He judged Israel twenty years in the days of the Philistines.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–8

When there are differences between relations, let those be reckoned the wisest and best, who are most forward to forgive or forget, and most willing to stoop and yield for the sake of peace. In the means which Samson employed, we must look at the power of God supplying them, and making them successful, to mortify the pride and punish the wickedness of the Philistines. The Philistines threatened Samson’s wife that they would burn her and her father’s house. She, to save herself and oblige her countrymen, betrayed her husband; and the very thing that she feared, and by sin sought to avoid, came upon her! She, and her father’s house, were burnt with fire, and by her countrymen, whom she thought to oblige by the wrong she did to her husband. The mischief we seek to escape by any unlawful practices, we often pull down upon our own heads.

Verses 9–17

Sin dispirits men, it hides from their eyes the things that belong to their peace. The Israelites blamed Samson for what he had done against the Philistines, as if he had done them a great injury. Thus our Lord Jesus did many good works, and for those the Jews were ready to stone him. When the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson, his cords were loosed: where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, and those are free indeed who are thus set free. Thus Christ triumphed over the powers of darkness that shouted against him, as if they had him in their power. Samson made great destruction among the Philistines. To take the bone of an ass for this, was to do wonders by the foolish things of the world, that the excellency of the power might be of God, not of man. This victory was not in the weapon, was not in the arm; but it was in the Spirit of God, which moved the weapon by the arm. We can do all things through Him that strengtheneth us. Seest thou a poor Christian, who is enabled to overcome a temptation by weak, feeble counsel, there is the Philistine vanquished by a sorry jaw-bone.

Verses 18–20

So little notice did the men of Judah take of their deliverer, that he was ready to perish for want of a draught of water. Thus are the greatest slights often put upon those who do the greatest services. Samson prayed to God in this distress. Those that forget to attend God their praises, may be compelled to attend him with their prayers. Past experiences of God’s power and goodness, are excellent pleas in prayer for further mercy. He pleads his being exposed to God’s enemies; our best pleas are taken from God’s glory. The Lord sent him seasonable relief. The place of this action was, from the jaw-bone, called Lehi. And in the place thus called, God caused a fountain suddenly and seasonably to open, close by Samson. We should be more thankful for the mercy of water, did we consider how ill we can spare it. Israel submitted to him whom they had betrayed. God was with him; henceforward they were directed by him as their judge.

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