My son and I have been reading in the book of Judges, and we came across the story of Samson. My son immediately waved is hand dismissively, stating, “I know that story.” He’s had these manga bible stories for quite some time, and references them frequently, but like I usually tell him, those are animated and much of the text is omitted. They stick to the basics of the more well-known stories, but there is much lost if only something like that is relied on, because everything in that bible is there for a reason and a purpose. So, knowing the basics of the story myself, I was interested to see what God might point out to me.
We had already covered the beginning of Samson’s story, concerning the foretelling of his birth. So we started this particular study on chapter 14 of the book of Judges. However, I just want to dip back into the last verse of the previous chapter. Jdg 13:25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol. The word Dan means “A judge.” Zorah means “hornet,” and Eshtaol means “entreaty.” It seems that this is statement of God’s displeasure and his mercy in spite of His anger. Chapter 14 opens up with Samson going down into Timnah, which means “a portion,” and saw a Philistine (immigrants) woman he wanted. When he returned, he just ordered his parents to “get her for me;” as if they were at his beck and call. This was the first thing that disturbed me about his disposition.
Jdg 14:2 Then he came up, and told his father and mother, “I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.” I mean think about this. This guy was called to be a Nazarite for life, prior to his birth. I’m sure his parents followed what the angel instructed them to do in chapter 13, without question. So Samson’s hair was never cut. He never drank fermented drink or ate a grape of raisin a day in his life, and he was a vegetarian – he had never touched or been near anything dead. Now he’s grown and is arrogant. He shows a total lack of respect for his parents in the manner in which he speaks to them.
As a man of God, a Nazarite in particular, he was separated to be holy for God. Its a spiritual thing. God intended to use him for his purposes. The thing is, God can use anyone, but this guy was specifically set apart to be holy for God’s purposes. Apparently, his being set apart caused some measure of conceitedness in Samson, because this seems to be reflected in the manner in which he treated his parents, and the arrogance he displayed. Even after his parents questioned his choice in verses 3-4, he dismissed it, but regardless of his arrogance, this was about God’s intents and purposes.
But his arrogance was displayed again as he and his parents were going to Timnah again to see about this woman. As they approached these vineyards, a young lion came roaring towards him. We think that his parents ducked into the vineyard for safety per Samson’s directive, and he went charging towards the lion. The reason we think this is because after he killed this lion, he didn’t tell his parents what he had done. Obviously, he was not on the path or the road when he fought and killed that lion. His parents weren’t in the area with him when this happened, and I’m sure they would have reprimanded him, because, he’s not supposed to be near dead things.
What’s worse is that he went back to that same carcass some time later (verse 8). He specifically turned aside to look at the dead carcass of that lion. If you read Numbers 6: 1-21, it details what a Nazarite is, what the requirements are, and what they can and cannot do, or eat or touch, etc;. One of the things specified is not only not touching any dead thing, but Nazarites cannot even be near a dead thing. So Samson, being raised as a Nazarite, was fully aware of these rules regarding Nazarite law, yet he chose to turn aside to look at this dead carcass.
Not only did he make this choice to turn aside and look at the carcass, but in addition, in verse 9 he saw a swarm of bees and honey inside the dead carcass, and he scooped out some of it and ate it, and took some for his parents; again, not telling them where he got it. Now obviously, the reason for the omission with his parents was because he had violated Nazarite law.
What I don’t get is, why would you want to eat honey that is inside a dead carcass. I mean, that “some time later” was at least a full day according to Strong’s Concordance. That means that carcass has had time to decay. The minute something dies, it begins to decay; there is no holding period. Samson not only scooped honey from a decaying carcass, but then, he ate half and gave half to his parents, as if he needed collaborators with him in his sin.
Even if having collaborators could have excused him, his parents weren’t Nazarites like he was, and furthermore, they were unaware of where he obtained the honey from. I can’t imagine that anyone, apparently outside of Samson; would be willing to eat honey oozing from a dead carcass if they knew that that was where it came from. It’s disgusting. Apparently, he was so full of himself, that he thought he could just violate Nazarite law, and nothing would happen. But, death was attached to the honey.
While Samson was satisfying his appetites through the lust of his eyes and the lust of his flesh in violation of Nazarite law; that law would eventually catch up to him. What appeared to be so sweet and attractive at that moment would later materialize into death and destruction first in the spiritual realm and subsequently physical realm. Sometimes, all it takes is one thought; just one wrong decision can lead you down the path to destruction.
For me, if I had found out that someone I loved and trusted brought me food from inside a decaying carcass (that, furthermore, had been cooking in the sun a day already); I would never trust that person again. Its inexcusable and difficult to imagine that he would do that to his parents, but it confirms the point I made earlier about his lack of respect for both his parents and for God. But what I see here is not only his arrogance and contempt, which eventually led to his downfall; but also the reasons for his downfall, which are found in Numbers 6.
Num 6:6 All the days that he separateth [himself] unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body.
Num 6:8 All the days of his separation he [is] holy unto the LORD.
What I see here is that his parents may have spoiled him a bit, considering their careful consideration of what the angel had told them about this child; and especially because they had waited so long, and tried for a long time to have a child. He was an only child, and I’m sure, because of his being set apart for the Lord, he was catered to – to some degree, because he was considered to be very special as a Nazarite.
There are Nazarites that are separated for life, and some that simply choose to take the Nazarite vow for a certain period of time, like Paul did. However, the bible only mentions 3 people who were Nazarites for life: Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist. The thing is, there is a certain procedure that is supposed to be followed if, for instance, someone dies in the presence of the Nazarite. This is detailed here:
Num 6:9 And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it.
Num 6:10 And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:
Num 6:11 And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned by the dead, and shall hallow his head that same day.
Num 6:12 And he shall consecrate unto the LORD the days of his separation, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: but the days that were before shall be lost, because his separation was defiled.
Its not like you cannot begin your separation again, but there is a process; an order to how that works and it is the law of the Nazarites, which, no doubt, Samson was well aware of. However, Samson was so arrogant, and so full of contempt for God, that he disregarded the law regarding the separation process for holiness. Additionally, he refused to even acknowledge that he had made himself unclean.
So in light of this, my question was why did God continue to use him? The simple answer is, God is able to use anyone He chooses to achieve His purposes, even someone who has violated this special law of holiness. My son and I discussed this at length, and determined that this law applies to a spiritual condition, but does not negate God’s ability to move in power through the vessel of his choice.
Samson’s arrogance and disregard of the privilege he had as a Nazarite was not lost on God, but there was work to be done first, to complete God’s purpose, prior to the time of Samson’s arrogance to be reconciled. God withheld judgment on the spiritual violation until later, so that He could use Samson to fulfill his purposes against the Philistines. Anyone can be used of God, but don’t think for a minute that He will allow a chosen vessel to escape judgment for blatant arrogance and disobedience to his law. He’ll be forgiven if he seeks forgiveness and repents. However, there will be a penalty. After all, Jesus said, Jhn 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.