OceanSide church of Christ

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Lesson #14


The First Conflict with the Philistines (8)

Judges 14:1-20

Victor M. Eskew


IV.     THE RETALIATION OF SAMSON (Judg. 14:19-20)


A.   The Slaughter of the Ashkenites (Judg. 14:19a).


And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle.


1.    Samson’s slaying of these men is the right action of a judge.

a.    Samson, as the judge of Israel, should have been on a mission to free Israel of the oppression of the Philistines.

b.    Ashkelon was one of the cities of the pentapolis of the Philistines, that is, five city-state:  Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath.

c.    Thus, we read that “the Spirit of the Lord came upon him.”

1)    The mighty power of God enabled him to slay thirty men of the enemy.

2)    God can use men in all forms to carry out His purposes.

2.    Although his actions were right, Samson’s motivations were wrong.

a.    Samson slew thirty individuals to pay off his gambling debt.

b.    The “children of the bridegroom” got more than they bargained for by answering Samson’s riddle.

c.    Lesson:  There are still individuals today who are like Samson.  They are doing the right things, but they are doing them for the wrong reasons.

1)    Philippians 1:15-16


Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:  the one preach Christ out of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds.


2)    Two illustrations:

a)    Young people who attend worship services for their parents or grandparents. 

b)    Men who are faithful, but who are only doing it in order to be considered for a leadership position in the church to feed their ego.

3)    Lesson:  Good actions and positive results will never justify evil motivations in carrying out God’s will.


B.   The Separation from His Wife (Judg. 14:19b-20)


And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father’s house.  But Samson’s wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend.


1.    If Samson were mad when he left to go to Ashkelong, he was madder when he got back.

a.    Kindled

1)    Strong (2734):  to glow or grown warm, to blaze up

2)    BDB:  to be hot, furious, burn, incensed

b.    It seems as though he was moved to commit an action that he had not planned on taking.

1)    He thought the riddle could not be answered.

2)    The thought he would joyfully marry the Philistine woman.

3)    Instead, he was betrayed by the woman and slew thirty men.

c.    His anger seems to be directed toward his wife here.

1)    Instead of marrying her, “he went up to his father house.”

2)    He took his toys and went home.

3)    His vows meant nothing to him at this time.

4)    Lessons:

a)    The venting of anger is promoted in our society, even among counselors (breaking pencils, hitting pillow, and writing everything down).  Venting usually only leads to increased anger and more outrageous acts in the future (Prov. 29:11).


A fool uttereth all his mind (passion or wrath), but a wise man keepeth it in (stilleth) till afterwards.


b)    “After all this, Samson loses what he compromised to get.  What a lesson!  When we pursue what we don’t need, we receive what we don’t want” (Gluchoski, 38).

2.    As a result of his going home, his wife was given to “his friend,” one of the thirty Philistines provided by his wife’s family to be “children of the bridegroom.”

a.    Two views about his actions:

1)    “…even if Samson went home enraged at the treacherous behavior of his wife, without taking her with him, he did not intend to break the marriage tie, as Jdg. 15:1-2 clearly shows.  So that instead of looking at the wrong by which Samson felt himself aggrieved, and trying to mitigate his wrath, the parents made the breach irreparable by giving their daughter as a wife to his companion” (e-sword, Keil & Delitzsch).

2)    “Samson’s father-in-law apparently thought the relationship was over, based on Samson’s actions.  He gave Samson’s wife to another man in order to save his daughter’s dignity, since Samson abandoned her at the altar” (Henderson, 59).

3)    NOTE:  We will see which view is most plausible in the next chapter.

b.    Butler sees three points in this text:

1)    The disregard for marriage vows.

2)    The deficiency of outward beauty.

a)    It takes more than a beautiful woman to make a good wife.

b)    “Her pretty looks only covered up a deceitful, selfish character which is no joy to live with.  Such a character is only a burden, for it causes many troubles and problems which are not compensated for by a pretty face” (Butler, 85).

3)    The destructiveness of gambling.  “Though legislators legalize it, though it is touted as great entertainment, and though many stupidly insist it is a stimulant to the economy, gambling is still cruel, selfish, dishonest, and morally corrupting as Samson’s experience with gambling illustrates” (Butler, 86).