Judges 14

Highway to Timnah

I recently learned that to be a Nazirite meant that you take a specific vow as defined in the sixth chapter of the book of Numbers. The summary is as follows:

  • No wine, or any byproducts
  • Nothing fermented
  • No grapes, not skins, raisins, or even seeds
  • No haircuts
  • No going near a dead body (Nephesh, that which breathes)
  • No messing with the hairdo

Sampson was dedicated by his parents with a Nazirite vow from before his birth. He was to maintain that vow for life.

You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and his hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. – Judges 13:5

So I read with some surprise the following passage.

As Samson and his parents were going down to Timnah, a young lion attacked Samson near the vineyards of Timnah. At that moment the Spirit of the LORD powerfully took control of him, and he ripped the lion’s jaws apart with his bare hands. He did it as easily as if it were a young goat. But he didn’t tell his father or mother about it. When Samson arrived in Timnah, he talked with the woman and was very pleased with her.

Later, when he returned to Timnah for the wedding, he turned off the path to look at the carcass of the lion. And he found that a swarm of bees had made some honey in the carcass. He scooped some of the honey into his hands and ate it along the way. He also gave some to his father and mother, and they ate it. But he didn’t tell them he had taken the honey from the carcass of the lion. – Judges 14:5-9

Um, where did the honey come from? A dead lion!

The book of Leviticus calls them unclean animals.

Of the animals that walk on all fours, those that have paws are unclean for you. If you touch the dead body of such an animal, you will be defiled until evening. If you pick up and move its carcass, you must immediately wash your clothes, and you will remain defiled until evening. – Leviticus 11:27-28

Double whammy here. Samson just defiled himself and his parents! He wasn’t even supposed to be near a dead body (something that’s been dead for a while). Then there is the whole Philistine wife thing.  And notice that the lion attacked near the vineyards of Timnah. I wonder why Samson hung out in Timnah? I’m starting to see a pattern in this man, and it would appear to me that he is disdaining his calling. He is not just on the highway to Timnah, he’s on the highway to hell.

Father, may I be mindful of what I choose to participate in, and what I ask others to participate in. Please give me wisdom and disceretion. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Turn or burn. Jan


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