OceanSide church of Christ

 Previous Return to Samson Next 


Lesson #9


The First Conflict with the Philistines

Judges 14:1-20

Victor M. Eskew


I.             THE REQUEST FOR A WIFE (Judg. 14:1-4)


A.   Samson Sees A Woman (Judg. 14:1)


B.   Samson Solicits His Parents (Judg. 14:2-3)


C.   Sovereignty Seeks Its Purpose (Judg. 14:4)


But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the Lord, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines:  for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.


1.    There are two views about the words, “it was of the Lord.”

a.    The Lord intentionally devised this plan and revealed it secretly to Samson in order for him to begin his attacks against the Philistines.

b.    Samson freely chose to marry the woman from Timnath in rebellion to God’s will, but God was going to use this to His advantage against the Philistines.

2.    There are three reasons for rejecting the first view.

a.    God would not authorize something sinful for one of his servants to do, that is, marry outside of the nation of Israel.

b.    The circumstances could not have been worked by Samson to bring the desired results.  God was meticulously involved in bringing all to pass.

c.    God has worked through the actions of evil men to accomplish is will in the past.

1)    Judah’s fornication with Tamar would be part of the lineage of the Messiah (Gen. 38; Matt. 1:3).

2)    The evil of Joseph’s brothers was used to save the nation of Israel (Gen. 50:20).

3.    God would take the evil choices of Samson and work them to His desired end.  Truly, God is sovereign.

a.    Psalm 115:3


But our God is in the heavens:  he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.


b.    “He will do what He wants to do, when He wants to do it, when He wants to, and how He wants to – no matter how man acts” (Butler, 53).

c.    NOTE:  Even though God will “use” this marriage to come against the Philistines, He does not “approve of the marriage.

1)    F.B. Myer:  “God overruled the results, though he did not relieve Samson of the blame” (as quoted by Butler, 54).

2)    Samuel Ridout:  “God’s purposes will be accomplished in spite of my disobedience, but I can never use His purpose to endorse my disobedience” (as quoted by Butler, 55).

d.    In this very chapter, Samson will begin his conflict with the Philistines, and evil nation who has dominion over Israel.




II.           THE RENDING OF A LION (Judg. 14:5-9)


A.   The Slaying of the Lion (Judg. 14:5-7)

1.    The trip to Timnath (Judg. 14:5a)


Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother to Timnath…


a.    This is the second of three times (v. 1, 5, 7) that it is said that Samson went down.

1)    The words apply specifically to his geographical decent.

2)    However, it is also true that Samson was going down spiritually.

a)    Jonah was another man of God who headed down both physically and spiritually (Jonah 1:3; 2:6).

b)    “As in the case of Samson, the repeated reference to Jonah’s going ‘down’ was to drive home the fact of the downwardness of the path of Jonah’s rebellion to the will of God.  It was to enforce upon our minds the fact that rebellion to God only leads in one direction – down” (Butler, 58).

b.    Samson’s parents went with him.  Why?

1)    Two points:

a)    They had been told of the necessity of raising this son correctly.

b)    They knew that it was not right for him to marry this Philistine woman.

2)    Yet, they went down with him.  Why?

a)    They felt that their weak warning was enough.

b)    The pressure that Samson put on them was very great and they were weak and yielded.

c)    They did not want to condemn their son and severe ties with him.