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Stockholm in Israel.

Judges 15:9–17 (ESV)

Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah and made a raid on Lehi. And 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 did to us.” Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?” And he said to them, “As they did to me, so have I done to them.” And they said to him, “We have come down to bind you, that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines.” And Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not attack me yourselves.” They said to him, “No; we will only bind you and give you into their hands. We will surely not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock.

When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men. And Samson said,

            “With the jawbone of a donkey,
                        heaps upon heaps,
            with the jawbone of a donkey
                        have I struck down a thousand men.”

As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone out of his hand. And that place was called Ramath-lehi.

Why were the men of Judah so willing to help the Philistines kill Samson? Did they know he would win?

No, they were really trying to help the Philistines. They were used to subjugation. Just look at the incredible nastiness the Philistines displayed towards Samson’s first wife, threatening her and her father with burning over a silly bet. Then they go ahead and burn them even though she helped them win the bet. The Philistines were the Israelites’ lords, and they had no appreciation for Samson as a deliverer.

It’s hard for us to imagine the cramp that subjugation puts on one’s thinking. Abused wives and children often cling to their abusers in ways that can fool the casual observer into misreading the situation.

After collapse of the Soviet Bloc, eastern Europeans struggled to handle their new freedoms. After years of people being jailed even for writing poetry about goodness, they couldn’t think about right and wrong.

A lifetime devoid of choices left them unprepared for simple decisions that we think nothing of.

This is a complex and hot topic in psychology. Over time, a wide variety of puzzling behaviors have come to be classified under a label originally given to a hostage case­—Stockholm Syndrome.

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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