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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

March 24, 2024

Rēad to Read …Again

Daily Reading: Judges 16-18


Judges 16:30

And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.


The story of Samson has ended. But before passing too harsh a judgment on his life story consider a few things. He alone judged Israel and fought her battles. He never called up an army, never lost the life of an Israeli soldier in battle (as far as the Scripture reports), he never asked for assistance. A lone solitary figure of a champion he stood in one of Israel’s darkest hours. After all, they were ruled at that time by the Philistines (15:11), an awful indictment against God’s people indeed.


His life, this man Samson, is a snapshot of many. He is a man of contrasts. Used mightily of God, yet prone to fleshly failings. Impetuous at best and foolish at worst, yet he was God’s tool to crush the Philistine’s iron grip on Israel, for, after all, God allowed this that He might have a cause against the Philistines (14:4). Yet with all his shortcomings Samson is listed in God’s Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11:32. To have a life story that started with such promise and nobility, only to end in shame and debauchery is all too real to dismiss as too fanciful. We see it every day.


Samson was recorded last of the judges of Israel. The nation soon spun out of control with false religion, horrible physical atrocities, priests for hire, and ultimately civil war. The story of Micah, his mother, and his false god and religion sets the tone for the conditions in Israel after Samson. There was no leader, no judge, no statesman, no prophet, no priest to call this nation to repentance. Yes, there was still a modicum of godliness, but it at best was a cloak for their hypocrisy. Consider the words of Micah’s false hireling of a priest: Go in peace: before the Lord is your way wherein ye go. Judges 18:6 That which takes place later, the slaughter of a peaceful community and all the rest is more than this writer desires to contemplate further.


Suffice it to say. Israel was in a bad way, just as it will be with any who reject God’s leadership, replacing it with that which they think is right. From Judges 17:6 where it states: In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes… to the very last verse of the book of Judges it is easily observed how fast things spiral out of control. What a slippery slope this thinking is. For what may start out as being right in their own eyes soon may end up as evil in the eyes of the Lord. Just as we will find out by the life of Omri in I Kings, Jehoram (son of Ahab) in II Chronicles, and Zedekiah whose awful reign took place in Jeremiah’s day: these all did that which they considered to be right in their own eyes, but it was proven to be evil in the eyes of the Lord.


It would be wishful thinking to hope that things will improve for Israel in the coming books. We shall see.


Dr. William T. Howe

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