Samson- Part II: Pride

Today we continue in our study of the final Judge in the book of Judges: Samson – whose name means “sun or little sun” – that’s SUN not SON. Last week we read of the silver spoon handed to Samson by God and we will now begin our study of what this called man will do with his many talents and gifts.


This is going to be a manly man kind of story and seems to be a good story to refine men (though women, you can benefit from this as well).


Tragically there has been a shortage of godly men so this is a time for God to pour into us to build up men after His own heart. Men of integrity, courage, honor, service to his bride and others, one who will impart spiritual truth to his children and others.


I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. Ezek 22:30




Samson: Accomplishments are legendary—so are his weaknesses.

Samson—like us—tremendous God-given potential—self-destructs.




Birth announced by an angel                           Compromise vow handful honey

Set apart and chosen to deliver                       Uncontrollable fits of anger

Massively empowered super strength              Killed 30 men pay off gambling

Tore apart a lion, killed 1000 men                    Insatiable weakness for women


Committed to work or gym—won’t commit woman.

Aggressive at work—passive/hands off at home.

3 hrs researching what you want to buy—not 5 minutes God’s word.

Love God, wife—trapped in a lustful secret world.


The Israelites had done evil in the eyes of God. Handed to Philistines for 40 yrs.


Judges 13: Angel says, sterile—conceive and give birth to a son.

Set apart from birth—to deliver God’s people from Philistines!


Special Nazirite Vow (Numbers 6)

Don’t drink wine, don’t eat anything unclean, don’t cut your hair.

Give an ordinary (non-priest) the way to dedicate his life to God.


What’s with the hair? As we talked about last week from Numbers 6 – the hair was an outward expression of a covenant with God. But for Samson, we will see it as putting on the Sunday attire with no inward transformation. He is going to church but there is no search for God in his heart.



Love at First Sight

Judges 14:1-5



  • ·      #1 LUST: I WANT IT.  


Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. 2 When he returned, he said to his father and mother, "I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife." Judges 14:1-2


I may or may not have said these very words when I saw my wife. I can neither confirm nor deny that these words may have entered my masculine brain.


Timnah in Philistine territory, 4 miles from Samson’s village Zorah.

Didn’t ask, Don’t care what God says… what’s wise… what is good for me…




Did you hear about the clever salesman who closed hundreds of sales with this line: "Let me show you something several of your neighbors said you couldn't afford."


We don’t know why Samson needed to travel to Timnah – a town in the land of the Philistines close to the northern border of Judah (4 miles away from home) – but we do know that he saw a woman there and, in Samson’s mind at least, it was “love at first sight” – literally. One gets the impression that there was no conversation between Samson and this woman, just visual contact. When he returned home, Samson instructed his parents to secure this woman as his wife. This comes across to the reader as a demand, rather than a request.

Samson’s parents were rightly concerned. They would have had concerns had their son been a normal Israelite, but Samson had been designated a Nazirite even before he was conceived. How could he possibly fulfill his mission in life while married to a Philistine woman? And so Mr. and Mrs. Manoah expressed their concerns. Surely there was some young woman from among their tribe, or at least from some Israelite tribe, that he might find as an acceptable wife. Why would he seek a wife from among the uncircumcised Philistines? The Law forbade marriages outside of the clans: Exodus 34:16 and Deut. 7:3.

Samson will have none of this. He has declared his intent, and he has given his parents their marching orders, and so he orders his father, “Get this woman for me as my wife!” The reason why he is so insistent is given, and it is completely consistent with the author’s description of the Israelites at this point in time: “Get her for me, because she is the right one for me.” The rendering, “she is the right one for me,” is an unfortunate paraphrase in my opinion. Far better to render as the translator’s note (or the rendering of the ESV) reads, “for she is right in my eyes,” a statement which is virtually repeated in verse 7. Samson is definitely a man of his times, as the author describes the spiritual condition of the Israelites in this same way:

In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6).

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25).

Did you notice how God is stirring up Samson – because He intends to use this pride-filled man for His glory by bringing judgment upon the Philistines. Meaning God made himself a Hulk and he was allowing Samson’s pride to create a powerful weapon that would be wound up and set loose. Remember – God saw the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10) and already knew all the choices Samson would make – both good and evil – and He used it all for His glory. But, it doesn’t take Samson off the hook. God will still judge Samson and all of us, according to our works – those of the Spirit and those of the flesh (Romans 2:6 and Revelation 20:13).

So, Samson is a weapon – The Weapon X of the Judges to bring havoc on the Philistines as God had determined: Zechariah 9:5-7. So who were these people that they should be in the warpath?

The Philistines were an aggressive, warmongering people who occupied a part of southwest Palestine between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. The name “Philistine” comes from the Hebrew word Philistia, and the Greek rendering of the name, palaistinei, gives us the modern name “Palestine.” The Philistines are first recorded in Scripture in the Table of Nations, a list of the patriarchal founders of seventy nations descended from Noah (Genesis 10:14). It is thought that the Philistines originated in Caphtor, the Hebrew name for the island of Crete and the whole Aegean region (Amos 9:7; Jeremiah 47:4). For unknown reasons, they migrated from that region to the Mediterranean coast near Gaza. Because of their maritime history, the Philistines are often associated with the “Sea Peoples.”

The Philistines were an ancient people, listed in the records of those who descended from Noah’s son Ham after the time of the flood (Genesis 10:14). Abraham and Isaac interacted with the Philistines in Canaan (Genesis 21:33–34). But it was during the time of the Exodus that the Lord promised that the land of Israel would include the territory of the Philistines (Exodus 23:31); this promise meant that some kind of conflict would have to take place for Israel to displace the Philistines.

The Philistines were known for their innovative use of iron, which was superior to the bronze used by the Israelites for weapons and implements. Even as late as the time of Saul (1050 - 1010 B.C), the Israelites were forced to rely on the Philistines to sharpen or repair their iron tools (1 Samuel 13:19-21). With their more advanced armaments and aggressive military policy, the Philistines continually thwarted Israel’s development as a nation. For nearly 200 years, the Philistines harassed and oppressed the Israelites, often invading Israel’s territory. The children of Israel simply could not deal with the Philistines’ overwhelming military might. This only came to an end when Samuel and then David, through the guidance of God, were able to defeat the Philistines (1 Samuel 7:12-14; 2 Samuel 5:22-25).

The Old Testament indicates that the Philistines worshiped three gods: Ashtoreth, Dagon (Poseidon), and Baal-Zebub—each of which had shrines in various cities (Judges 16:23; 1 Samuel 31:10; 2 Kings 1:2). Archaeological findings show that Philistine soldiers carried images of their gods into battle (2 Samuel 5:21). Apparently, they were also a superstitious people who respected the power of Israel’s ark of the covenant (1 Samuel 5:1-12).

The Philistines were infamous for their production and consumption of alcoholic beverages, especially beer. Ancient Philistine ruins contain numerous breweries and wineries, as well as countless beer mugs and other drinking vessels.

From Abraham until the deportation of Judah to Babylon, the Philistines were a constant enemy of Israel. The conflict was over more than land; it involved divergent worldviews. Unlike the Israelites, the Philistines served human-made deities and were known as a violent, warlike people.

Seven major battles between Israel and Philistines are recorded in the Old Testament. They include the Battle of Shephelah (2 Chronicles 28), the Battle of Aphek (1 Samuel 4), the Battle of Eben-Ezez (1 Samuel 7:13–14), the battles at Michmash (1 Samuel 14), the battle involving David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17), the battle at Mount Gilboa (1 Samuel 31), and Hezekiah’s defeat of the Philistines (2 Kings 18:5–8).

However, we see that God will have to put an end to the Philistines for their descendants still dwell in the land to this day – living in the Gaza Strip.

The Philistines’ eventual defeat will be from God -  As Psalm 44:3 says, “It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.”

This creates an awesome conversation. Why would God allow the Israelites to suffer against these people for 4,000 years and counting? Why not just crush them Himself – He has done it before (Deuteronomy 8:20) –wiping nations off the face of the earth.

Why allow this thorn to fester? I mean – we all can now read ahead and see that Samson the God-made Hulk will not wipe out the Philistines. He will only punish a large group of them by taking a large number of their lives. But like termites, this won’t wipe out the nation. So, God had a purpose in allowing the Philistines to continue. We know the answer to this from Judges 2:22 where God says He will use these nations to test Israel to see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it.



We experience similar frustration in our personal lives as well. The other day, I came into the church with Paul Holdier and Mike Cole and we noticed that someone had thrown a rock through one of our windows. Well, we pulled that window out and I immediately knew what to do. You see, back in 1997, Brandi and I were living in an apartment and I was working for $7 an hour in my first position at Focus on the Family. Well, God had other plans. I was given a raise and we decided it was time to find a house to rent (not own – not yet – wasn’t that big of a raise). So, one night, we got the call that we were accepted to lease a house just two blocks from here. I was so excited that I started dancing around the living room with my loafers on. Well, I kicked and one of my loafers flew off toward my wife and instead of catching the flying shoe, she ducked and it went right through the front window – the biggest window in the place. So, my father-in-law came over and helped me pull the window out. We then took the window to Ace Hardware, where they were able to replace the thin window pane and get us back on track in a few hours. Now, 19 years later, I see a broken window at church and guess where I take the frame – you got it – to Ace Hardware. They got the window all fixed up. So, the difficult situation was actually training material to prepare me for June 2016. But I would never have known it at the time.


How about some serious stuff. Nick V. was born without arms and legs – not his fault but he has served through it. Jephthah made a mistake that cost his daughter her life. Wasn’t her fault that dad was foolish – but she suffered for his mistake. Joni Eareckson Tada – hit her head on the pool floor and was paralyzed for the rest of her life. Mike Cole can barely move – yet he makes it every Sunday to worship. He experiences pain that hardly anyone can identify with – day in and day out. But here is the catch. God is working all of this out to good of those who are called according to His purpose. If Mike hadn’t gotten hurt trying to save people as a fireman, he wouldn’t be able to be here with me during the day and serve this church with all his strength and become one of my best friends. If Joni hadn’t hit her head on the bottom of that pool in 1967, millions of people wouldn’t have come to know Jesus and be served by His people as a result. Even in tragedy and a tragedy like Samson’s life – God is working a plan far bigger than any one of us.


Family Trip to Timnah

Judges 14:6-7

For some reason, Samson’s parents are traveling with him to Timnah, but they don’t seem to be “together” as closely as we might assume. They seem to be separated by some distance and time. As he is approaching the vineyards of Timnah, a young lion rushes toward Samson, determined to kill him. The Spirit of the Lord likewise rushes upon Samson, empowering him to tear this beast limb from limb. When he rejoined his mother and father, he did not bother to mention this lion attack to them. No wonder, the now-dead lion apparently defiled him. If so, he should have immediately returned home and undergone the prescribed purification rites, but Samson was too intent upon reaching Timnah and accelerating the process whereby he could be (physically) united with the woman he was so attracted to. And so we are told that Samson continued on to Timnah with his parents. Once there, he talked with the woman (for the first time?), and he liked her (literally, “she was right in Samson’s eyes”).


The Honey

Judges 14:8-9

Samson and his parents make yet another trip to Timnah sometime later. For whatever reason, Samson went out of his way to view the lion’s carcass. Regardless, this would not have been the sort of thing a Nazirite would do. The carcass was defiling – another violation of the Nazirite vow. Nevertheless, Samson comes upon the carcass, only to find that a swarm of bees had possessed it, and thus there was a honeycomb and honey that would have been “off limits” to Samson or his parents. That didn’t stop Samson. He scooped up some of the honey and proceeded back to his parents, eating some of it as he went. When he reached them he gave them some of the honey, not bothering to mention the source of this honey, thereby causing them to unknowingly defile themselves.



The first was Lust.




Lion approaches—Spirit of the Lord came on Samson

Tears the lion apart!


LIONS: Now an average lion female weighs 300 lbs and a male weighs 420 lbs. This is crazy cool. I saw a mountain lion when I was hunting at 12 years of age and it was a moment I will never forget. It started chasing the deer I was scoping and at that moment I was seriously thinking only about getting back to my Nintendo. I mean – it was so fast. It was strong, powerful and fast and it is the smaller cousin to the lion mentioned here. It was nothing to shake a fist at. So, Samson displayed strength beyond comprehension and bold courage. God is prepping the Hulk for a bigger task.


“Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion's carcass. In it was a swarm of bees and some honey, 9 which he scooped out with his hands and ate as he went along.”  Judges 14:8-9a


When we turn aside – we get into trouble

This is gross – but truth be told, men, we can be nasty. Ask a man how he checks how underwear is clean or dirty. Nasty – that’s all I am saying.


Broke a vow to God for a handful of honey!


Leave faithful wife—home wrecker, Boat instead of tithe or provide

Cheap thrills with a computer screen rather than be honest!


Wedding Woes

Judges 14:10-20

In one sense, this was probably a typical Near Eastern wedding ceremony. There appears to be a fairly lengthy process which involves the family (especially the father of the groom, as seen in our text). There could well be negotiations regarding a dowry and other matters. Then there would be some kind of formal engagement, and from that time on, the two would be referred to as husband and wife, but the consummation of the marriage would not occur until the couple’s first sexual union. Some details and the actual ceremonies may have differed somewhat between the Israelites and the Philistines, but there would also be much similarity.

Manoah, Samson’s father, met formally with the bride, perhaps accompanied by her parents, and an agreement was reached. The couple now seems to be engaged, and this was to be followed by the customary “bachelor’s party,” which was held in the bride’s home town of Timnah. This was an apparently festive occasion at which time a good deal of alcohol was consumed. We are not told how Samson dealt with the wine and alcohol issue; my sense is that he had his fair share of it, in spite of the fact that he was a Nazirite. Drinking was forbidden according to the Nazirite vow.


  • ·      #3 PRIDE: I CAN HANDLE IT.     Don’t Cut hair, touch dead, drunk.


Now his father went down to see the woman. And Samson made a feast there, as was customary for bridegrooms. Judges 14:10


feast: mishteh (mish-teh'); a feast or party; a celebration or occasion for drinking.     Keg party! Bachelor party!


I’m strong! I want it. I can handle it. I deserve it!

Drawn toward something that should be off-limits to your faith.

Grip of sin tightening.


Wanted a few drinks. Deserve few drinks. Handle few drinks!

Wanted to flat screen, computer, car. Deserve. Handle payments!

Wanted to have girlfriend stay night. Deserve, Handle.

Just looking. It’s no big deal. I can handle it!


Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18


Pride is the dandelion of the soul. Its root goes deep; only a little left behind sprouts again. Its seeds lodge in the tiniest encouraging cracks.

And it flourishes in good soil: The danger of pride is that it feeds on goodness. 



Fast forward—eyes are gouged out and he’s the laughing stock!

Divorced, No relationship with kids, Financial wreck! Handful honey




Samson—with long hair.

Outside looks like he’s following God. Inside—his heart has drifted!




You want to be a strong man of God—admit to your weaknesses!



If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, did it make a sound? If a man breaks a rule and no one is there to see it, did it happen?


Satan loves to make strong men weak and God wants to make weak men strong.


Stop wasting your God-given potential on stupid stuff! Start finding your strength wholly in God. Seek Him, Know Him, Serve Him!







  • ·      I WANT GOD.
  • ·      I DESERVE DEATH.


The only try strong man – the man who stands tall – is the one who spent the most time on his knees before Almighty God.


If you can’t get on your knees before God, then you are battling pride and pride is what brought Samson to his knees. So you can choose to get on your knees in humility or get broken by your pride that will drive you to your knees. Choose today or it will cost you.


CIVIL WAR: During the Battle of the Wilderness in the Civil War, Union general John Sedgwick was inspecting his troops. At one point he came to a parapet, over which he gazed out in the direction of the enemy. His officers suggested that this was unwise and perhaps he ought to duck while passing the parapet. "Nonsense," snapped the general. "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist--." A moment later Sedgwick fell to the ground, fatally wounded.


Are you depending on your strength or God’s?


Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Eph. 6:10


My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Cor 12:9 NKJV


God wisely designed the human body so that we can neither pat our own backs nor kick ourselves too easily. 


2 "I am about to go the way of all the earth," he said. "So be strong, show yourself a man. 1 Kings 2:2


16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see. Acts 3:11-16


I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one. 1 John 2:14


13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 14 Do everything in love. 1 Cor 16:13-15



Supernatural strength, divine calling.


Incredibly strong man with a dangerously weak will!


Lust: I want it.   Entitlement: I deserve it.   Pride: I can handle it.





Don’t like to think of ourselves as emotional. Women are emotional.

Both emotional. Women tend to talk. Men tend to act (taking my ball and going home if I can’t win).


Women often like to talk through their problems over tea, coffee, other.

Men on the other hand can be destructive to themselves and others if their pride is wounded – acting out with vengeance. Women will attack through psychological warfare while men want to overpower to force the other to submit.


3 guys flipped me off! Alex witnessed dad let his temper get the best of him. I wanted to punish the punks for disrespecting me with my boy in the car. My pride was wounded. What would I have done had I actually caught the guys? Beat them up and then explain to the police officer what I do for a living? Or get beat up and explain to the officer how I got into that situation and what I do for a living? There was no win for acting out on my emotion over my wounded pride.



16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.  Gal 5:16-17


No doubt Samson was prompted by a number of factors (including too much to drink) when he proposed a contest in the form of a riddle which he created, based upon his recent experience with the lion and the honey. Samson would give them a riddle to solve. If they solved it by the end of the celebration (7 days), he would give each of the 30 men a set of clothes (from under wear to outer wear); if they failed to solve the riddle, each of them was obligated to provide Samson with a set of clothing. His 30 groomsmen (provided for him from among the Philistines) accepted the challenge. And this was the riddle:

“Out of the one who eats came something to eat;

Out of the strong one came something sweet” (Judges 14:14).

This riddle turned out to be more difficult than the Philistine men had expected. No doubt their minds were racing as the clock (sundial?) continued to tick. As time passed and no answer was forthcoming, the men became more than a little concerned. They had no intention of putting out the kind of money their loss would require. And so they decided to take a more devious route: they would threaten to do bodily harm to Samson’s wife and her father (who were primarily responsible for their presence) if she did not get the answer from Samson and give it to them.

Samson’s bride knew these men meant what they said, and so she set about her task of getting Samson to reveal the answer to the riddle. She really turned on the charm, and then was forced to resort to tears until she wore him down and he told her the meaning of the riddle. This must have been some week of “celebration.” Samson’s “hired friends” were no doubt sullen and distant toward him and, worse yet, Samson’s wife continued to cry non-stop until she got her way.

By the time he had been hen-pecked for a week as she cried on him for 7 straight days, I suspect that his romantic mood was greatly diminished. But what really set Samson off was having these 30 “friends of the groom” come to him with the answer to the riddle in the final moments of their competition:

“What is sweeter than honey?

What is stronger than a lion?”

There was no question in Samson’s mind as to how the riddle was solved. They had acquired the answer by means of his wife. In a way, you have to feel sorry for Samson’s wife. She was not eager to make her husband angry, but she was terrified by the threats of these groomsmen.

18 Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to him, "What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?" Samson said to them, "If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle." Judges 14:18   

If I were Samson, I think I’d find a bit more sensitive way to refer to my wife than as “my heifer.” That must have helped to put her in a romantic mood. And so Samson and his wife have their first fight.

If you look this up in the Hebrew and Greek it says – if you had not plowed with my heifer…yep – that is what he meant. What a jerk. He was drunk and angry and then insulted the woman he hasn’t even completed the marriage with. They have not completed the process and so it is not official yet and he is already being rude and arrogant.

Samson stomps off in a huff, determined to pay off his debt in a way that would make the Philistines “pay” for their treachery. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon (which was 23 miles away just past Ashdod, the place where the Philistine god Dagon fell before the Ark of the Covenant - far enough away that those attending the wedding feast would not easily make the connection), and there he killed 30 Philistines, took their clothing, and returned to present an outfit to each of his groomsmen. He then stalked off to his father’s home (rather than to his wife’s room). One can hardly fault the woman’s father for concluding that this marriage was over before it was consummated. And so he gave his daughter to the best man, thinking that was the last he would see of Samson.


Samson wanted vengeance --- to really harm them! So we will see that after he kills thirty men he will ties 150 pair of foxes w/ torches, which  destroys the harvest.


Philistines found out Samson did this. In Judges 15:6 – we will see that because of Samson the Philistines will burn the house of the woman and her father with them inside – killing them.


Anger cost him! And those he loved.


Many men: Anger is a default emotion.

Embarrassment turns to anger. Hurt turns to anger.

Hateful on facebook, Explode at children, shouting match wife.


What’s there to be angry about?

He went to Philistine territory.

He picked the girl.

He decided to marry her.

He taunted the Philistines with riddle.

He named the price.

He is the only one who knew the secret.

He gave the secret away.

He left his bride at the altar!


Angry at himself—taking it out on everyone else!



  • ·      Mad at your boss—don’t like your job.
  • ·      Ticked your wife won’t give you more physical attention—her emotional.
  • ·      Mad at God about your unwise decisions!


If that’s you—own it.

Emotion driven—not spirit led.


God pickles the proud and preserves the foolish.


BULL FIGHTER: Only 21 years old, Jose Cubero, one of Spain's most brilliant matadors, had been enjoying a spectacular career. However, in a l958 bullfight, Jose made a tragic mistake. He thrust his sword a final time into a bleeding, delirious bull, which then collapsed. Considering the struggle finished, Jose turned to the crowd to acknowledge the applause. The bull, however, was not dead. It rose and lunged at the unsuspecting matador, its horn piercing his back and puncturing his heart.

Just when we think we've finished off pride, just when we turn to accept the congratulations of the crowd, pride stabs us in the back. We should never consider pride dead before we are. 



"Be not proud of race, face, place, or grace." - C. H. Spurgeon.

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