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Judges 16

1 - Samson went to Gaza, and saw there a prostitute, and went in to her.

2 - The Gazites were told, "Samson is here!" They surrounded him, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, "Wait until morning light, then we will kill him."

3 - Samson lay until midnight, and arose at midnight, and laid hold of the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and plucked them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of the mountain that is before Hebron.

4 - It came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.

5 - The lords of the Philistines came up to her, and said to her, "Entice him, and see in which his great strength lies, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver."

6 - Delilah said to Samson, "Please tell me where your great strength lies, and what you might be bound to afflict you."

7 - Samson said to her, "If they bind me with seven green cords that were never dried, then shall I become weak, and be as another man."

8 - Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green cords which had not been dried, and she bound him with them.

9 - Now she had an ambush waiting in the inner room. She said to him, "The Philistines are on you, Samson!" He broke the cords, as a string of tow is broken when it touches the fire. So his strength was not known.

10 - Delilah said to Samson, "Behold, you have mocked me, and told me lies: now please tell me with which you might be bound."

11 - He said to her, "If they only bind me with new ropes with which no work has been done, then shall I become weak, and be as another man."

12 - So Delilah took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said to him, "The Philistines are on you, Samson!" The ambush was waiting in the inner room. He broke them off his arms like a thread.

13 - Delilah said to Samson, "Until now, you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me with what you might be bound."He said to her, "If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web."

14 - She fastened it with the pin, and said to him, "The Philistines are on you, Samson!" He awakened out of his sleep, and plucked away the pin of the beam, and the web.

15 - She said to him, "How can you say, 'I love you,' when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies."

16 - When she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, his soul was troubled to death.

17 - He told her all his heart, and said to her, "No razor has ever come on my head; for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will go from me, and I will become weak, and be like any other man."

18 - When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, "Come up this once, for he has told me all his heart." Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her, and brought the money in their hand.

19 - She made him sleep on her knees; and she called for a man, and shaved off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.

20 - She said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!"He awoke out of his sleep, and said, "I will go out as at other times, and shake myself free." But he didn't know that the LORD had departed from him.

21 - The Philistines laid hold on him, and put out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he ground at the mill in the prison.

22 - However the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaved.

23 - The lords of the Philistines gathered them together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice; for they said, "Our god has delivered Samson our enemy into our hand."

24 - When the people saw him, they praised their god; for they said, "Our god has delivered our enemy and the destroyer of our country, who has slain many of us, into our hand."

25 - When their hearts were merry, they said, "Call for Samson, that he may entertain us." They called for Samson out of the prison; and he performed before them. They set him between the pillars;

26 - and Samson said to the boy who held him by the hand, "Allow me to feel the pillars whereupon the house rests, that I may lean on them."

27 - Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were on the roof about three thousand men and women, who saw while Samson performed.

28 - Samson called to The LORD, and said, "Lord God, remember me, please, and strengthen me, please, only this once, God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes."

29 - Samson took hold of the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and leaned on them, the one with his right hand, and the other with his left.

30 - Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" He bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell on the lords, and on all the people who were therein. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than those who he killed in his life.

31 - Then his brothers and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the burial site of Manoah his father. He judged Israel twenty years.

Judges Images and Notes

The Book of Judges

Judges 4:1 - And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD
Judges 6:6 - And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.
Judges 6:7 - And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites,
Judges 6:8 - That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel.

ARCHAEOLOGY

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.

The Old Testament - A Brief Overview

Bible Survery - Judges
Hebrew Name - Shophtim "Judges or Deliverers"
Greek Name - Krites (Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author - Samuel (According to Tradition)
Date - From 1425 to 1120 BC Approximately
Theme - 7 cycles of idolatry, oppression, repentance, and deliverance during the first 300 years in the land of Canaan
Types and Shadows - In Judges Jesus is the great judge and deliverer of His people

Summary of The Book of Judges

In the book of Judges we can see the first 300 years of the history of Israel, from the time of the death of Joshua to the time of Samuel the last of the Judges. All of the events mentioned in the book of Judges are not meant to be given in a strict chronological order and it is impossible to determine exact dates. Everything that took place happened really on a local level in the land of Israel and not necessarily on a national level. The first two chapters deal with the death of Joshua and after his death and the generation surrounding him, "there arose another generation after them, who did not know the Lord or the work which he had done for Israel" (Judges 2:10).

This generation of Israelites, and every generation after that during this time period fell into idolatry, they forgot the commands of God and there is a severe decline morally and spiritually. As each generation unfolded idolatry would prevail, a foreign invasion would take place and oppress the people of Israel in that local area, they would cry out to God for help, and God would send a deliverer. This cycle happened seven times in the book of Judges and speak clearly about the cycle of sin and its consequences, as well as God's love and willingness to send help when his people cry out to him.

Quick Reference Map
The Judges and the 12 Tribes of Israel
Map of the Judges and the Twelve Tribes of Israel (Click to Enlarge)


The book of Judges records six such major invasions:

Outline of the Book of Judges

The first was the Mesopotamian invasion from the northeast (Judges 3:8-11) from which Othniel delivered his people.

The second was by the Moabites and came from the southeast (Judges 3:12-20). Israel was delivered from the Moabites by Ehud, the left handed assassin of the Moabite king, Eglon.

The third invasion came under the Canaanite leaders Jabin and Sisera (Judges 4, 5). Israel was delivered from the Canaanites by Deborah, the only woman judge of which there is any record. It is interesting to note that Sisera himself was killed by a woman, Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite.

The Midianite invasion from the southeast (Judges 6-9) lasted seven years and was ended under the bold leadership of Gideon.

The foolish vow of Jephthah, which cost him the life of his daughter, came after he delivered Israel from the fifth invasion, that by the Ammonites from the east (Judges 10:6-11:40).

The sixth invasion was by the Philistines, from the southwest, and was apparently something of a recurrent nature rather than one particular campaign. During a period of at least 200 years, Israel was delivered from the Philistines by Shamgar, Samson, Samuel, Saul, and David.

The major social problem stemmed from the recurrent failure of the Israelites to drive the Canaanites out of the land, a direct violation of God's commandment. The Israelites then intermarried with the Canaanites, adopting many of their customs. This assimilation of Canaanite culture promoted the growth of idolatry which constituted the religious problem of the people.

The three most prominent deities of Canaanite worship were Baal, Asherah, and Dagon.

Baal was usually represented by a stone pillar and was a god of fertility, usually worshipped in the groves. At various times Baal-worship included fornication (Jeremiah 7:9 ), self-mutilation (1 Kings 18:28), and human sacrifice (Jeremiah 19:5). Baal is the deity most often mentioned in the Old Testament as being a snare for the people of God.

The symbol of Asherah was a wooden post set up in the "high places" of idolatrous worship. The Phoenician goddess of procreation and love, she was the chief female deity and is often mentioned in connection with Baal.

Dagon was a Philistine deity having the body of a fish with human hands and a human face. It was a temple of Dagon which Samson pulled down in his final act of strength.

There is seen in the book of Judges a consistent pattern—Israel is oppressed by a foreign power; the people cry to God and he raises up a judge to deliver them from their predicament; after peace is established the people become complacent and relapse into idolatry.

The judges, although chosen by God, to lead His people, were not always men of ideal character, yet they fulfilled God's purposes in delivering Israel. They served in a multiple role as judicial, military, and spiritual leaders. The period of the judges may be said to extend through the life of the last judge, Samuel, whose death is recorded
in 1 Samuel 25.

Quick Reference Maps - Judges

The Twelve Tribes and the Judges

Hazor

Jezreel

Mizpeh

Zorah

The Danites

Gibeah

Jabesh Gilead

 

The First Day. Light.

Judges Resources

The Judges

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