Judges 15 – Samson Defeats the Philistines

Samson and the Foxes, miniature (Judges 15:1-8...

Samson and the Foxes, miniature (Judges 15:1-8: “Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned the foxes tail to tail, and put one torch in the middle between two tails. When he had set fire to the torches, he released the foxes into the standing grain of the Philistines.”), Oktateuch, Vatopedi monastery, 602, fol. 440r, detail References: Weitzmann: Aus den Bibliotheken des Athos, No. 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In verse 4, the Hebrew could denote foxes or jackals.  Either way, sending them into the Philistine’s standing and stacked grain with torches tied to their tails was to get double revenge (verses 1-3).  When the Philistines came after the “son-in-law of the Timnite,” he allowed himself to be bound to be given over to the Philistines (verses 9-13) knowing he could get free.  Not only are the people not ready to battle the Philistines for their freedom, but they are happy to give Samson to their foes in order to appease them.

Samson once again has the spirit of the Lord rush over him, and gets free to reduce the number of Philistines by 1,000, using the jawbone of a donkey (verses 14-15).  Correctly giving God the credit for victory (verse 18), Samson then is disrespectful in nearly the same breath.  But God grants him his water.  He judges Israel during the Philistine rule for 20 years (verse 20).

(Side note: an excellent article on this chapter is at Ferrell’s Travel Blog.)

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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

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