Judges 16:13-14, “13 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Up to now you have deceived me and told me lies; tell me how you may be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my hair with the web and fasten it with a pin, then I will become weak and be like any other man.” 14 So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his hair and wove them into the web. And she fastened it with the pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled out the pin of the loom and the web.”
At this point in the life of Samson it is clear that Samson has been equipped by the Lord with extraordinary gifts (Judges 13), but instead of using those gifts to bring glory to the Lord and be a blessing to the people, we see Samson using those gifts for his own personal gain.
We need to remember Samson has been doing this for 20 years. Samson knows he can wonder into Philistine territory behind enemy lines because he believes his strength will be able to rescue him from any danger (Judges 16:1).
Samson can hang out with prostitutes all hours of the night because he is confident his strength will be able to rescue him from any danger (Judges 16:3).
Judges 13:1-3, “1 Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, so that the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines forty years. 2 There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had borne no children.” 3 Then the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son.”
In verse 2 there is a reference to a woman being physically barren, unable to have children, and this reference would have been symbolic to the spiritual condition of the people in Israel in Judges 13.
They were doing evil in the eyes of the Lord, again (verse 1). It wasn’t necessarily evil in their eyes, but it was evil in the eyes of the Lord, so that the Lord’s response is to send the Philistines to bring oppression for forty years.
In Judges chapter 5 we see the importance of celebration. The people of Israel have been living under oppression for 20 years, and yet they pause in Judges 5 to celebrate.
Do you know why? It is because life is hard! Hardship doesn’t discriminate. Pain comes for all people, and none of us escape life without at least a little difficulty.
Judges 3:12-14, “12 Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord. 13 And he gathered to himself the sons of Ammon and Amalek; and he went and defeated Israel, and they possessed the city of the palm trees. 14 The sons of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.”
In verse 12 we see the “sons of Israel turning from the Lord.” In Judges 2 a new generation grew up that didn’t know the great works of the Lord, and in Judges 3 the pattern continues.
Judges 2:15, “15 Wherever they went, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had spoken and as the Lord had sworn to them, so that they were severely distressed.”
You need to see there is a pattern unfolding in Judges chapter 2 that is going to be repeated over and over throughout Judges, and I think we can still see this pattern in our spiritual lives today.
Judges 1:2-3, “2 The Lord said, “Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand.” 3 Then Judah said to Simeon his brother, “Come up with me into the territory allotted me, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I in turn will go with you into the territory allotted you.” So Simeon went with him.”
It is easy to read Judges and think to yourself, “How could the God of Scripture send in Israel to conquer a people?” This part of Judges is hard because it isn’t like Israel is defending themselves from the Canaanites. The Lord is leading Israel to take this land and kill these people. That’s the 6th and 8th Commandment, “You shall not kill and you shall not steal.” What’s going on? Therefore, we need to remember a few things when we are studying Judges:
John 20:11, “11 But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb;”
In the context of John 20 Jesus has been handed over to the authorities, put on a false trial, heard people cry out, “Crucify Him!, and then experienced the most painful death we can imagine, wrapped in linen, placed in a tomb, and this all takes place on a Friday.
In verse 11 it is Sunday morning, and Mary, a faithful friend of Jesus is showing up to the tomb where Jesus is buried, and she is weeping.