The history of Samson occupies the whole of this Chapter. His marriage with a daughter of the Philistines: his slaying a young lion: the story of the swarm of bees after this, in the carcase of the beast: his riddle: the stratagem of his wife to solve it: his anger upon the occasion: his destruction of thirty young men of Ashkelon: his wife given to another man. These are the several contents.
Judges 14:1 And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.
As Samson was a type of the ever blessed Jesus, we may trace some things in his conduct which will best be explained by keeping our eye upon Jesus. Thus we are told in Judges 14:4 that Samson's going down to the Philistines was of the Lord. Yes! the Lord overrules all Providences to his own glory and his people's welfare. So Jesus, taking upon him our nature, in the likeness of sinful flesh, became the ground-work for condemning sin in the flesh. Romans 8:3.
Certainly it is an unnatural alliance when grace and corruption join. For what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? And though it is an express command of our God to come out from among them, and touch not the unclean thing; yet, what an alliance did the Son of God make with our nature, when he, who knew no sin, became sin for us? 2 Corinthians 5:21. Precious Jesus! oh let that alliance be productive of the glorious end proposed; that we may be made the righteousness of God in thee!
Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him.
The young lion, roaring against Samson, is a figure of the accursed rage of the devil, against all the spiritual seed of Jesus. No sooner is a soul awakened from the death of sin to a life of righteousness, but Satan roars. While the young man in the gospel was coming to Christ, the Devil threw him down, and did tare him. Luke 9:42.
And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.
Carrying on the idea of Samson being a type of Christ, do we not see here an emblem of Jesus' triumph over the powers of darkness, when he was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil? Matthew 4:1.
There is a beautiful instruction veiled under this. The honey in the carcase of the savage, may not unaptly represent the benefits which result to believers from Adam's fall, and the momentary triumphs of Satan. As no one would expect to find anything good in the carcase of a lion, so no one would suppose the Lord should, in the after stages of our warfare, bring good out of evil. But so it is: the malice of Satan ultimately produces glory to God, and good to his tried ones. It affords sweet food, the victories of our Jesus. And the trials must he among the all things which work together for good to them that love God. Let every tried soul think of this. Romans 8:28.
And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion.
Is there not a sweet instruction here, in Samson giving of the honey to his father and mother? everyone that hath tasted the sweets of salvation, is desirous to call others to partake. 'Oh! come hither and hearken, all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul, ' is the cry of all God's people. Psalms 66:16.
There is always reason to suspect the kindness of false friends. Satan never more effectually deceives than under this cover. See his first proof of this, Genesis 3:1-5.
I include the whole relation of this event within the compass of one view. No doubt, there is a spiritual instruction contained in it, otherwise the Holy Ghost would not have been pleased that it should have formed a part of the inspired volume. But we have to lament our blindness of discernment upon this, and many other instances, in the holy word. Evidently, however, we observe one thing in it, that the quarrel occasioned by it laid the foundation for Samson's deliverance of Israel, and the destruction of the Philistines. And did not the very temptation of Satan on our first parents in the garden, give birth to all the glorious consequences of our redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ?
And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house.
I beg the Reader, not only in confirmation of what I said before, but also by way of keeping his eye on the whole history of Samson, as typical of some of the great outlines of redemption, to observe again in this place, that like our Jesus, this Nazarite was anointed with the Spirit of the Lord. Acts 10:38.
But Samson's wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend.
This is just as might have been expected. And is it not so now, and in every age? Is not the friendship of the world enmity with God? James 4:4. And though Jesus hath so dearly purchased his church, and redeemed her with his blood; yet how often is she given to another, and in bondage.
I WOULD pass over all other considerations in the perusal of this Chapter, to discover every feature which I can trace in this Nazarite, as pointing to the person and offices of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. And though I am a poor blind creature in such a study; yet do thou, Lord, teach me the wondrous things of' thy law; and then shall I discern somewhat to comfort my mind in every part of thine holy word; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. Yes! blessed Jesus! I behold in the going down of thy servant to the Philistines, and tracing the wonderful events which followed, an emblem of thy gracious coming down for salvation-work to this lower world.
I view in the men of Timnath the baseness, treachery, and unprovoked anger of thine enemies! I behold nothing but perfidy and unfaithfulness in return for all thy favor, I see moreover, in this representation, not an unapt or distant allusion to the honey of thy gospel. How unexpected from such a quarter! How unsought for and overlooked! And what a riddle to the wisdom of this world, that God should have chosen weak things to confound the mighty. Oh! give me to eat of this honey, to be food to my soul, to recover from disease, to heal the wounds of sin. And however loathed by many, yet make me like the bee, earnest to gather it for my daily food. And be thou to me, dearest Jesus, in all thy person, relations, and offices, sweeter also than the honey, and the honey-comb.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Judges 14". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany