Posted by: Barbara Wilbur for ElysJoy Church | October 27, 2014

Samson God’s Plan Triumps: Judges 15 A Killing Spree and a Jawbone

Judges Chapter 15 Samsons Killing Spree

After learning his wife had been given to his companion, Samson is mad.   He tells his father in law that the in the things he will do to the Philistines next, he will be blameless.   He is ready for a fight.  I think Samson is a little hurt too.  The women he chose to marry is now with his friend and there isn’t anything he can do about it.  He decides to take it out on the Philistines.   Although Samson is indulging his anger, through that, God is fulfilling his purpose for Samson.   In Chapter 13 before Samson was born, God told his mother that He would use Samson to begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines.  God is doing that even through Samson’s sin.   I think it is ironic and serves as a teaching moment that the things Samson wanted so badly he didn’t get.   God didn’t give him what he attained through sinful measures.  He stripped those things away from him yet God still used them and Samson to fulfill his perfect will for the world.

Burning the Philistine Fields

Angry, Samson comes up with an idea to really get to the Philistines.   It was harvest time and the grain was in the field ready for harvest.  This would feed the Philistines for the rest of the year.   Samson decides to hit them where it hurts; in their bellies.    He goes and catches 300 foxes and puts torches between the tails of the foxes.  He lights the torches and then sends them out into the fields for the Philistines.   It burns up the grain that has been harvested, the grain still standing, the vineyards and the olive groves!   Everything is burned up!

The Philistines then ask “Who did this?!” The people tell them Samson did it because of the giving away of his wife to Samson’s companion.   The Philistines retaliate on Samson’s wife and her father using fire to burn them up!   How sad that the one thing the wife was trying to prevent happening by giving these guys the answer to the riddle (death by fire for herself and her father) ended up happening anyway.   Betrayal never gets you anywhere.   There is always a godly way out!

I’m Quitting right after this time!

Samson hears about this dastardly dead and vows revenge.  But Samson realizes the end results here are not good.   He vows after this one last killing spree he will quit!   He blames someone else for his plans to act in an ungodly way.  But blaming your bad actions on someone else is never God’s plan.

Samson strikes down  the Philistines responsible with a great slaughter.  He then leaves again and goes and lives in a cleft of the rock in Etam.  Etam is an area just south of Bethlehem.  You can see by the map below it is at the top of a mountain ridge.  The word Etam in Hebrew means “lair of wild beasts”.  By this time Samson was acting like a wild beast.   We can’t forget in the context of this that Samson is the JUDGE of Israel, not just an angry guy wanting a women.  He is the man the people come to when they have a dispute or need laws to be worked through.  Now this important leader is in the caves and has been acting like a wild animal!

Map of Samsons Travels through Lehi

At this point the Philistines go up to Judah and camp in Lehi.  The men of Judah ask why they are in their land.   They tell them they have come to get Samson.  The 3000 men of Judah go up to Samson in the cleft of the rock.  They remind Samson that the Philistines rule over them.  That this thing he is doing is harming the people.   Samson then makes an excuse…I’m only doing to them what they did to me!   The men of Judah tell Samson that they are going to bind him up and take him down to the Philistines anyway.  Samson goes along but only if they promise not to kill him.   They bind him with 2 new ropes and take him away.

A Jawbone of a Donkey

When Samson gets to Lehi where the Philistines are waiting, they shout at Samson as they meet him.   The Spirit of the Lord comes on Samson so mightily that the ropes that hold him fall away from his hands.   He grabs the jawbone of a donkey and kills a thousand men with it!   Samson then says “with the jawbone of a donkey heaps upon heaps! With the jawbone of a donkey I have killed 1000 men!”

Samson throws away the jawbone (which is another breaking of his Nazarite vow since it is part of a dead animal) and renames the place he stands Ramath-Lehi, which means the high place of the Jawbone.   So now he has not only touched an unclean thing but he has made a “high place” or place of worship for it.  He then cries out to God not in thanks, but for a drink of water!   He asks the Lord if he is going to let the one He just delivered die of thirst and fall into the hands of these uncircumcised men?…Samson is a little full of himself!

A Cool Drink of Water

But God in his infinite love, continuing to enact his perfect plan splits the hollow place that is in Lehi so water comes out of it.   When Samson drinks his strength returns and he is revived.  Then he nams the place the water sprung forth En-hakkore which means “the spring of him who is called.”  He named the spring after himself, Not God!  So Samson goes on and continues to Judge Israel 20 years!  But even as the Judge of Israel, Samson’s weakness hasn’t changed.  He hasn’t repented or asked God to take any of his problems away.   In the last part of our Samson series we will see Samson’s weakness come out once again!


  • Don’t wait to quit something that is harming yourself or others, stop now!   In Judges 15:7 Samson says “After this I will quit!”   It is sounds like the many that say. ….just one more drink, just one more drug, just one more kiss, affair, whatever…..It is not repentance, it is delay and denial.   Pray God moves your heart from one more time to repentance and quit now not later.
  • Give God the credit for your blessings and breakthroughs.  Tell others how God was the one that did it all.  Don’t claim the glory for yourself by working hard or willpower.  God always deserves the credit and he deserves it publicly.  Keep a thank you God journal to help you remember those moments.
  • Remember your behavior effects others.  Like Samson’s hiding on the mountain put the people of Judah in danger, things we do can put others in physical, spiritual or emotional danger or even do them harm  Take a minute and think about if this is true in your life at all.Stay tuned for the rest of the story of Samson…..Judges 16: Returning to our weaknesses.

Michael O’Quinn and Barbara Wilbur delivered the Samson sermon on October 12, 2014 at ElysJoy Church.  Be sure to stay tuned for the rest of the Samson story and how it applies you your life!

All verses noted above are the HSCB or NASB translation and links to scripture verses are courtesy of

Photo credit for banner to Ax Church


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