the book of Judges

This tag is associated with 3 posts

Sunday Quote!- Samson as Israel

webb-judgesEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Samson as Israel

I finished reading the Samson narrative (Judged 13-16) after going through it in detail over the last several months. I found Barry Webb’s summary statement regarding Samson to be profound and deeply moving:

[B]eneath all the surface chaos, and the mad careering here and there of the wild-man hero, there is a steady building toward a predetermined climax of profound theological significance. For Samson is not just Samson; he is also Israel. His is separated from other men, but he longs to be like them, just as Israel is separated from other nations, but is continually drawn to them. He goes after foreign women, as Israel goes after foreign gods. He suffers for his willfulness, as Israel does for its. And in his extremity he cries out to Yahweh, as Israel has repeatedly done. But now it is Samson alone who does so; he is remnant Israel; Israel reduced to a single man. (416-417)

After this summary statement, Webb goes on to place this in canonical perspective and analyze other perspectives of Samson. The commentary is worth the purchase for these sections alone, but the whole thing is phenomenal. I highly recommend that you, dear readers, take the time to read the Bible alongside a solid commentary sometime.

Links

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Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Source

Barry Webb, The Book of Judges (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B. Eerdmans, 2012).

SDG.

 

Sunday Quote!- Samson’s Torment

webb-judges

Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Samson’s Torment

Reading commentaries can be an extremely edifying and valuable experience. I have very slowly been working through the book of Judges alongside Barry G. Webb’s commentary from the New International Commentary on the Old Testament series–an excellent series indeed–and came upon a gem regarding Samson. The passage in question is Judges 16:1-3, in which the people of Gaza attempt to trap him when he comes and sleeps with a prostitute (an interesting path to pursue at a later point) and he instead escapes in the middle of the night by tearing their gate out of the ground and carrying it to Hebron. Webb comments:

[The gate] would have been a formidable barrier… But Samson has spent all his life breaching barriers: between the permissible and the forbidden, holy and profane, man and animal, Israelite and Philistine, Naziriteship and normality. Barriers have never been able to contain him. They appear to him only as challenges which rouse him to a renewed frenzy of breaking through. So it is here again. His “grasping,” “pulling,” “putting,” and “taking” (v. 3) transgress the boundary between the human and superhuman. No normal person could do what he did. But Samson is not normal; that is his glory and his torment. (395, cited below)

Webb’s comments continue as he shows that this act of carrying the gates and placing them before Hebron demonstrate the lack of possible peace between Philistine and Israelite in Samson’s time, among other things. Webb’s comments on Samson are well worth taking the time to read, as is the rest of the commentary on Judges.

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Source

Barry Webb, The Book of Judges (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B. Eerdmans, 2012).

SDG.

Ehud the Judge/Assassin

Ever notice that the Bible is like an action movie? There are some seriously amazing stories in the Bible. Judges is full of them. Some of these stories can really make people think, whether they believe the Bible is the Word of God or not.

Take Ehud. His story would make a really awesome action movie. It’s recounted in Judges 3:12ff. Here are the highlights:

The Israelites sin. The LORD punishes them by sending Eglon, King of Moab. Eglon gets some allies of his to come with him and they beat up Israel. The Israelites cry out for help, and the LORD sends help for them. Enter Ehud, the assassin. Ehud is left-handed, and the king’s body guards don’t discover his weapon (probably because they didn’t bother to search his right side–his sword would be on opposite hand to make it easier to draw). Ehud asks for a private audience and Eglon grants it. Ehud stabs Eglon so hard that it sinks all the way into the portly man’s flesh. Leaving his blade behind, Ehud escapes and rallies the troops, who unite around their new leader. He then strikes ten thousand Moabites down with his army, and none escape.

Yeah, it could make a pretty epic action movie. But what about a Bible story? How are we supposed to take this story in the context of Scripture? Note once more the beginning of the story: the Israelites did evil (Judges 3:12). Throughout Judges, we see the same pattern: the Israelites do evil, and God punishes them by oppressing them with one of the nations in the area. Then, the Israelites realize their evil, and they cry to God, repentant, and ask Him for help. He delivers them from their enemies, and there is peace in the land.

What can we take away from this story? Does it show another instance of evil in the Bible which Christians must hide? No, rather it shows the story that we can see woven throughout the Scriptures: a story of redemption and peace with God. Because of Jesus, we now live in an era in which we no longer have to wait for a deliverer, as Israel did. We’re told that all people have sinned and fall short (Romans 3:23), just as the Israelites did. And we all deserve punishment. But when we cry out to God, we know there is a redeemer close at hand. God forgives our sins because of Christ, and we can live in peace.

The cycle in Judges is repeated over and over. It reflects a time in which everyone did what they willed (Judges 21:25). God came to His people with the understanding they had. But in our time, we have Jesus who died once for all. The cycle is broken, and we may enjoy eternal peace.

See Judges 3 for more on Ehud.

This is part of a continuing series on “Awesome Person(s) of the Bible.” Other posts can be found here.

SDG.

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