Day 18

Samson’s Revenge

from the Judges reading plan

Judges 15:1-20, Psalm 106:40-48, Isaiah 40:27-31

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: Judges 15:1-20, Psalm 106:40-48, Isaiah 40:27-31

Goodness, things just keep getting worse.

Reading Samson’s life story feels like watching a particularly dark television series. Death and destruction follow him everywhere he goes. In Judges 15, Samson sets fire to the tails of 300 foxes and sets the Philistines’ farmland and vineyards ablaze. His wife and father-in-law are burned to death in a gruesome retaliation. Men are ripped limb from limb. And when it’s all said and done, Samson, infused with the Spirit of the Lord, single-handedly kills 1,000 men with the jawbone of a donkey (Judges 15:16).

What in the world is going on here?

It’s important to remember that in the midst of this bloody, heartbreaking story, God is still present, and that He has endowed Samson with great strength and fervor in order to free the Israelites from the Philistines. It’s also important to remember that redemption is never clean and simple. It is a bloody business. Samson is caught in a web of back-and-forth retaliation, and he knows in his heart that in the end, it is his job to rid the Israelites of their oppressors.

When the Israelites find Samson hiding out in a cave, they do not join him to fight the way the Israelites have done in the past. No, they bind him and hand him over to the enemy. They cower. They see his strength, but they do not see him as a savior. Instead of recognizing Samson as a deliverer, they hand him over to the Philistines, bound and ready for death. But Samson inflicts justice on the Philistines through this small, weak weapon: the jawbone of a donkey. It is an unexpected, bloody redemption.

Does this story sound familiar at all?

Many years after the time of the judges, God sent the Israelites a Savior who is one with God and full of the Spirit (John 1:1–18; Luke 3:21–22). Rather than recognize His strength, the Israelites handed Jesus over to their oppressors and Pontius Pilate to be crucified.

But this time—this final time—the blood that was shed was not of the enemy. God turned the story on its head. Rather than kill off the Romans, Jesus went to the cross willingly to shed His own blood for us. It is an unexpected, bloody redemption.

Thanks be to God for saving us from ourselves, our sin, and the schemes of the enemy. May we give thanks to His holy name, and rejoice in praising Him (Psalm 106:47).


Claire Gibson is a writer whose work has been featured in publications including The Washington Post and Entrepreneur Magazine among many others. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Patrick, their son, Sam, and their dog, Winnie. Her debut novel, Beyond the Point, will be published next year.

Post Comments (58)

58 thoughts on "Samson’s Revenge"

  1. Constance says:

    As I have read some of the comments, they brought a question to me. We believe that God will have the vengeance of those who have hurt us. I think often we think people are wrong in the way they have treated us. Sometime, don’t you think, we are hurt by others by being overly sensitive? Perhaps others would not see the same actions of those others as being wrong. I think it would be naive to think that God will avenge all those who wrong us, because perhaps in God’s eyes, those individuals have not wronged us. Does that make sense at all?

    1. Eliza Barger says:

      I think we can confidently say that God will avenge all wrong doing. I do think you’re right though, our definition of wrong doing isn’t going to be the same as God’s.

  2. Monica Davis says:

    Schemes from the enemy just won’t work because only god is LORD!

  3. Cynthia K. says:

    I also agree that vengeance belongs to God. We obviously don’t expect Him to physically come down and fight our battles so He comes down upon a person of His own choice and uses that person to accomplish His purpose. Samson was Gods vessel. Pharaoh was also God’s vessel. They were used by the almighty God to free the Israelites (Samson) and to remind the Israelites of God’s might and power. Things happen for a reason and no matter how angry or frustrated we get, we should not take matters into our own hands. Let go and Let God. Yeah, His methods might be confusing and harsh but that’s OUR God. His nature cannot be fully comprehended by us humans. Let’s just trust in Him and believe that it’s all for our own good. He loves us. You and I. We are His and just like a father He will always ensure that we are safe and protected.

  4. Sarah D. says:

    I’m trying to understand how God could let Samson do these horrific these…especially with the foxes/other animals and of course tearing the people apart. Isn’t that inhumane? I know God has a purpose, but why like that?

    1. Mandy G. says:

      My favorite part of it all is when it says, “The Spirit of the Lord entered him” . It is such beautiful picture of us Christians. How can we Christians continue to judge, say terrible things, hurt our neighbors and yet pray for those who are persecuted, love on our children, and even teach Sunday school. God uses us in ways that we will never understand. We are saved by a God who can move mountains and yet, he chooses to use me, a lowly sinner to complete things that are in his will. What a mighty God we serve!

    2. Jenk says:

      The Old Testament has so many examples of animals as sacrifices to God. I think we sometimes put animals above their rightful place.

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