Study Guide

Book of Judges Chapter 15

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Chapter 15

Well, I'll Be A Donkey's Jawbone! Samson Slays A Thousand Philistines

  • After his temper's cooled a little bit, Samson returns to see his wife, but her father won't let him in, saying, "I verily thought that thou hadst utterly hated her; therefore I gave her to thy companion" (KJV 15:2). Maybe she told him about the heifer comment?
  • At this point it seems like Samson gets that "Spirit of the Lord" look in his eye, because his ex-wife's father says, perhaps in panicked desperation, "[I]s not her younger sister fairer than she? take her, I pray thee, instead of her" (KJV 15:2). Gee thanks, Pops.
  • Samson says thanks-but-no-thanks, and feels justified in exacting vengeance on the Philistines.
  • Just picture this: "And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails. And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives" (KJV 15:4-5). That's how Samson rolls, Philistines.
  • The Philistines blame Samson's erstwhile-wife's family for his shenanigans, and they burn her and her father.
  • Samson vows vengeance again, and slaughters tons of Philistines.
  • When he returns to the land of Judah, the Philistines follow him with an army.
  • This worries the tribe of Judah, and they tell the Philistines that they'll arrest Samson themselves and bring him to them.
  • They send 3,000 men up to the top of the rock of Etam, who tell Samson, "Look man, you can't do that to the Philistines. You're going to get us into trouble. We gotta take you in."
  • Samson agrees to let them bring him bound to the Philistines, which they do.
  • But as soon as they get to a place called Lehi (meaning "jawbone"), the Philistines see him and start shouting at him.
  • And boom goes the dynamite.
  • The Spirit of the Lord comes to Samson, he breaks the ropes with which he's bound, and he pherociously phights the Philistines.
  • He finds a donkey's jawbone lying around (gotta use what you've got) and, wielding it like a club, kills 1,000 men.
  • Then he utters perhaps the first ever post-kill one-liner: "With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men" (KJV 15:16). It has a certain rhythm to it, don't you think?
  • As if he weren't hardcore enough right now, he tells God he's thirsty, so God opens up a spring of water for him right there.
  • And Samson judged Israel for 20 years after that.

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