Judges 14:10-20 The Riddler

Samson compromised control over himself, allowing himself to burn with anger. The flesh got the best of Samson again, he did not control his tongue. But despite Samson’s failure to maintain control of himself, God took his failures and used them to execute justice upon the Philistines.

Our story begins with a stag party which included thirty male companions provided by the Philistines, probably provided by the family of the bride. To entertain the guests, Samson posed a gambling riddle to his thirty Philistines guests. The wager was to be thirty linen robes and thirty sets of clothes. This was a costly wager, involving a good deal of money for both parties. The guests had to figure out the riddle within the seven days of the stag party. Sadly, Samson constructed the riddle out of his sinful experience with the dead lion. The fact that he had broken the commandment of God, violating his commitment and vow mattered little to Samson. He was able to make a joke out of his sin, showing the depth of his spiritual insensitivity. For three days, the guests tried and tried to solve the riddle, but they were unable to come up with the answer. The guests had no choice, for the wager was very costly; they had to seek the help of Samson’s wife to solve the riddle. Thus, they approached her and demanded that she coax her husband into explaining the riddle to her. They backed up their demand by threatening to kill her and her father’s household and destroying all their property. The unbelieving Philistine wife nagged and pleaded with Samson to reveal the riddle to her. She finally challenged him to show his love by telling her the solution to the riddle. She nagged the full seven days, and Samson stood fast during the entire period. But on the seventh day she succeeded in breaking Samson. Then, she in turn explained the riddle to the thirty Philistine guests who had threatened her and her family’s lives. Right before sunset, apparently just a few minutes before the time for solving the riddle was to expire, the guests were able to explain the riddle to Samson. The reaction of Samson was to lose control of his temper. He charged the Philistines with breaking the rules by securing the information from his wife; he knew they could never solve the riddle on their own. He knew they had cheated, and he let them know by using another riddle. Samson burned with anger, but God overrode and used his anger to execute justice upon the Philistines. The Spirit of the Lord again came upon him in great power, and he went down to Ashkelon to attack and take vengeance upon the Philistines. This city was over twenty miles away, but it was one of the major cities of the Philistines. God used the anger of Samson to bring judgment on the evil, cruel Philistines. Samson killed thirty Philistines, stripping them of their clothing and using their clothing to pay the wager. Samson continued to burn with anger for a long, long time. He never even consummated his marriage, but instead returned to his father’s house.

What was the root sin of Samson, his wife and the Philistines?

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