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Judges 15 — Samson’s mysterious jawboning about donkeys

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The stories of Samson’s mighty victories with a jawbone of a donkey and torches lit between foxes’ tails are favorites in children’s books. Was Samson just a clever brute hero, or is God trying to send a message down through the ages about what Messiah would be like when He rode into Yerushalayim as the Passover Lamb on a firstborn donkey?

Judges 15 map

Food for thought

Why did the Philistines act against Yehudah (Judah) when Samson was a Danite?

What did Samson mean by, “I’m doing to them what they did to me”?

What “double jeopardy” occurred in this story? What did Samson do about this?

What is important about the wheat harvest? Which of God’s appointed times occurred during this time?

Did he just destroy the wheat? How would Samson’s actions affected the Philistine economy?

How much time has passed between the wedding and this attempt at reconciliation? Why was Samson bringing a goat? What does the goat symbolize?

The “companion” who ended up with Samson’s wife was a Philistine. Is this important? What does Samson do about this wrong against him? Was this a reasonable punishment? Did the Philistines feel this was reasonable? Why did Samson take the next step of killing Philistines after he torched the fields?

What did the wheat symbolize, Jews or Gentiles? How does this apply to the father-in-law and the man’s daughter, Samson’s wife?

What does the phrase “calf upon thigh” (Judges 15:8) mean? What does a man’s calf symbolize? What does the thigh? Why was this phrase used to explain this story? Why didn’t Samson make a distinction between those who were directly responsible for his in-law’s deaths vs. those who were not directly responsible?

How did the Philistines respond to Samson’s “all-out war”? Where was Samson hiding? How did the Philistines know where Samson fled?

Why didn’t the Philistines go after Samson when he killed the 30 men for their garments yet they went after him after this episode?

What does the Hebrew word Lehi (Lehi) mean? How and why did the area get this name?

Why did Judah send 3,000 men to capture Samson? Did they need to send this many men? Did they need to send this many men. Would Judah have a reason to fear Samson?

When does Samson’s strength show itself? Who would know when this spirit came upon Samson?

What does the Hebrew word khamor (khamor) mean? (Prince of Shechem in Jacob’s day — Gen. 34)

The Hebrew words for “heap” and “donkey” are the same. How are the words connected? What is a donkey in scripture?

  • The firstborn (Ex. 13:11-14)
    • The first born of men and unclean animals redeemed with money.
    • A first born donkey could redeemed only with the blood of a lamb, not with money.
  • Yeshua rode into Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) on a donkey (Matt. 21:1-11; cf. Zech. 9:9).
  • Baalam was saved by a donkey (see Numbers 22).
  • Judges rode on donkeys
  • a job/task

Why does Samson use this play on words? What is Samson trying to tell the people of Judah with this comment?

  • God was not with the Philistines.
  • God was with the 3,000 living Jews, not with the 1,000 dead Philistines.

What came upon Samson after he killed the 3,000 Philistines? What is the thirst about (see John 7:38)? What came from “Jawbone Hill,” and how does that relate to Samson’s riddle?

How did Samson talk — with words or with his life? How does speak to us?

Reader: Jeff Quackenbush. Speaker: Daniel Agee.


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