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Guilt Trip

Where'd that come from?

Judges 15:1–8

After a while, in the time of wheat harvest, it happened that Samson visited his wife with a young goat. And he said, “Let me go in to my wife, into her room.” But her father would not permit him to go in.

Her father said, “I really thought that you thoroughly hated her; therefore I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister better than she? Please, take her instead.”

And Samson said to them, “This time I shall be blameless regarding the Philistines if I harm them!” Then Samson went and caught three hundred foxes; and he took torches, turned the foxes tail to tail, and put a torch between each pair of tails. When he had set the torches on fire, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and burned up both the shocks and the standing grain, as well as the vineyards and olive groves.

Then the Philistines said, “Who has done this?”

And they answered, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife and given her to his companion.” So the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire.

Samson said to them, “Since you would do a thing like this, I will surely take revenge on you, and after that I will cease.” So he attacked them hip and thigh with a great slaughter; then he went down and dwelt in the cleft of the rock of Etam.

Three things jump out here. First, catching foxes isn’t a feat of strength; it’s a feat of quickness, and maybe cleverness. Second, the Spirit of the LORD doesn’t “come upon” Samson this time. Third, Samson says, “This time I shall be blameless regarding the Philistines if I harm them!” Who “blamed” him the last time?

Samson’s quickness might answer a question from the encounter with the lion—“How come he wasn’t covered in scratches?” It one thing to defeat the great cat, but to come away without a scratch? Not telling anyone what happened would be hard to do if you look like you’d just been in a cat-fight.

So, it seems that Samson is more than just strong. Furthermore, his quickness seems to be permanent.

Samson’s offhand mention of being blameless “this time” hints at a behind-the-scenes accountability relationship. That relationship might be with his parents; we heard them “parenting” him earlier. Or it could be with the Spirit of the LORD; there’s definitely a connection there. Or, it might just be that his conscience started bothering him after his attack on Ashkelon.

It isn’t important which kind of guilt trip Samson was subjected to. If it was important, scripture would have included it.

What is important is that he got lit somehow.

There’s more to Samson than just speed and strength.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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