July 18, 2011

Tuesday after the Third Sunday after Trinity

Lectionary

Morning - Ps.123, 124, Judges 16:4-14, Lk. 8:26-39
Evening - Ps. 126, 127, 130, Acts 16:6-15

Commentary

Samson lives a life of total wantonness. He does not have the habit of Godliness. He does not seek God, confess sin, or try to fulfill his calling. He breaks his Nazarite vows and rejects the Covenant of God without remorse and without repentance. There is no great revival of covenant keeping under his leadership, only continued moral decay. Consequently, there is no deliverance from the Philistines. Samson himself attacks them and prevents them from completely overtaking the Hebrews, but even Samson is no great threat to them without an army, and he will not give himself to his calling long enough to rally the Hebrews. Instead of rallying around him, the Israelites attempt to hand him over to the Philistines in hope that his death will cause the Philistines to go easier on Israel (15:12). But Samson escapes from the Philistines and, single handedly, inflicts a terrible slaughter on them (15:15).

Thus we come to tonight's reading of Samson and Delilah. The Philistines desperately want to destroy Samson. He not only killed many of their people (see also 15:8) and destroyed many of their crops (15:4-6), he has destabilised the area. As long as Samson is alive there is a possibility of a Hebrew revolt and victory. So they laid plans to destroy his strength and capture him. Samson walks into their trap willingly.