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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 burned 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 burned her and her father with fire.

The Ekron Inscription is a stone tablet from a 2,700-year-old temple of the Philistines which lets them tell their own story. It suggests that the Philistines still remembered their roots in the Aegean centuries after they sailed east. "Then the Philistines said, "Who did this?" And they said, "Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he took his wife and gave her to his companion." So the Philistines came up and burned 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."

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 I have 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 burned 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.
Judges 15 Images and Notes

Brief Summary: Samson, when he courted an alliance with the Philistines, did but seek an occasion against them, ch. 14:4 . Now here we have a further account of the occasions he took to weaken them, and to avenge, not his own, but Israel's quarrels, upon them. Everything here is surprising; if any thing be thought incredible, because impossible, it must be remembered that with God nothing is impossible, and it was by the Spirit of the Lord coming upon him that he was both directed to and strengthened for those unusual ways of making war. I. From the perfidiousness of his wife and her father, he took occasion to burn their corn (v. 1-5). II. From the Philistines' barbarous cruelty to his wife and her father, he took occasion to smite them with a great slaughter (v. 6-8). III. From the treachery of his countrymen, who delivered him bound to the Philistines, he took occasion to kill 1000 of them with the jaw-bone of an ass (v. 9-17). IV. From the distress he was then in for want of water, God took occasion to show him favour in a seasonable supply (v. 18-20).

Samson is denied his wife, He smites the Philistines. (1-8)
Samson kills a thousand of the Philistines with a jaw-bone. (9-17)
His distress from thirst. (18-20)

The Jordan
Painting of the Jordan by Chernetsov

Joshua 6:4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.


Philistine Captives Temple of Ramses III

Wall Relief with Philistines

The ancient Egyptian temples reveal what the Philistines looked like in the ancient world. In the sculptured scenes within the funerary temple of Ramses III at Medinet Habu, near Thebes in Upper Egypt, is an incredible bas relief portraying Philistine captives. Pharaoh had hired these warriors as mercenaries. Rameses III who reigned from 1198-1167 BC saw that the Canaanite area was being invaded and with the help of the Philistines he established peace, according to his own record. Later the Philistines rose to a powerful position in the region with five powerful cities, they flourished in the time of Samson and the judges, their supremacy might have been due to their formal acknowledgment of pharaohs authority. Within a couple centuries they disappeared from history.

Judges 15:20 - And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.


Ancient Philistine

Carved Head of a Philistine

This relief from the Temple of Rameses III reveals the head of an ancient Philistine. During the time of the Judges of Israel the Philistines are mentioned often. According to history the Philistines were very strong in the Maritime Plain along the coast south of Joppa around 1100 BC. The name Palestine was given to the land of Israel by the Roman Emperor Hadrian after he removed them from the whole area, and he used the name Palestina because of the ancient Philistines. The Hebrew tradition teaches that the Philistines were immigrants from the island of Caphtor (Crete) and many scholars believe they immigrated from Asia Minor.


Wiriting Instruments
Painted sketch of ancient writing instruments

Important Topics for Bible Study

Quick Reference Map
Map of the Route of the Exodus
Map of the Possible Route of the Exodus (Click to Enlarge)

Ancient Customs

Ancient People

the wilderness
the mount of God

Quick Reference Maps

The Exodus of the Hebrews

Mount Horeb

The Red Sea

Map of the Red Sea
Map of the Red Sea and Egypt (Click to Enlarge)

The Old Testament


Judges Resources

The Judges