Epistles of Thomas

May 13, 2009

Judges 16-18

Filed under: Old Testament — Thomas @ 21:15
Tags: , , , , ,

The story of Samson is not over although 15:20 contained a summary statement. Chapter 16 records that Samson visited a prostitute in Gaza and the locals planned to kill him but he walked off with their city gate instead. Obviously, Samson’s great strength of body was not matched by great strength of character. He next met Delilah and in this famous story she badgered him into revealing that if his head was shaved his strength would leave him. She quickly shaved his head and betrayed him to the Philistines who gouged out his eyes and put him to work. His hair began to regrow and he was taken to a festival in the temple of Dagon. The temple of Dagon is no match for Samson’s renewed strength and he brought the house down, killing 3000+ that day. Some have called Samson a “suicide bomber” because he died along with his enemies. I don’t think the comparison quite works as he faced a life of blind servitude and took his only chance at revenge on the very people who blinded him. Suicide bombers are free individuals who use that very freedom to bring death and destruction to innocent bystanders.

Chapter 17 records the rather curious story of Micah who created a shrine for himself and employed a Levite as his personal priest. “And Micah said, ‘Now I know that the Lord will be good to me, since this Levite has become my priest” (17:13). Although he committed idolatry he still had the belief that Yahweh would bless him if he equipped himself with these things. In this story we have the first occurrence of the phrase, “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” (17:6). This will be repeated in 18:1; 19:1; and 21:25.

Some Danites came to the area on a spy trip and saw Micah’s priest while looking for a land to settle. They returned with 600 armed men and stolen his idol, ephod and priest. Micah was rather upset but there was nothing he could do. These Danites captured the city of Laish and renamed in Dan. “They continued to use the idol Micah had made, all the time the house of God was in Shiloh” (18:31). One can only conclude that creating an idol and employing a Levite as priest did not result in Micah being blessed. It also resulted in idolatry among the Danites for a long period of time.

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