Verse 1 – The tribe of Dan had been assigned enough land to meet their needs (Joshua 19:40-48). However because they had failed to trust God to help them conquer the territory He had given them, they were forced by the Amorites to live in the hill country (1:34). Now they were going to take land from the least resistance.
Verses 4-6 – Priest and their assistants were all members of the tribe of Levi (Numbers 3:5-13). They were to serve the people, teach them how to worship God, and perform the rituals involved in the worship services at the tabernacle in Shiloh. But, this disobedient priest showed disrespect for God because (1) he performed his duties in a house. (2) He carried idols with him. (3) He claimed to speak for God when God had not spoken through him (8:6).
Verses 11-26 – Through this entire incident, no one desired to worship God; instead, they wanted to use God for selfish gain.
Verse 14 – An ephod was a ceremonial vest worn by a priest.
Verse 24 – Some people invest all their energy in the pursuit of money, success, possessions, or a career. If you make any of these things idols in your life and then it is taken away, only an empty shell will be left. The only way to protect yourself is through the only True Living God.
Verse 27 – Did the tribe of Dan have the right to kill the citizens of Laish? No. God had not commanded it. He only commanded for them to clean out certain cities because of idolatry and wickedness. This was not within the boundaries of Dan and its people were peaceful in contrast to the war-like Canaanites.
Verse 27 – Just because the Danites successfully defeated Laish doesn’t mean their actions were right. It’s the same today. People justify wrong actions by outward signs of success. They think that wealth, success, popularity, or lack of suffering as an indication of God’s blessings. Success doesn’t indicate God’s approval. We shouldn’t allow personal success to become a measuring rod of whether or not we are pleasing to God.
Verses 30, 31 – Worshiping images of God is not worshiping God. People make this same mistake today when they claim to be Christians without believing in God’s power or changing their conduct to conform to His expectations. However, we don’t do this alone; Christ is in us to help us do all things.
Verse 2 – Back in chapter 16:5 of Judges, the Philistines had given Delilah eleven hundred pieces of silver. I think it’s ironic that here in this chapter that a woman is having a conversation with her son about eleven hundred pieces of silver missing. Could this man Micah be Samson’s son? The attitude that prevailed in Micah’s day was this: “Everyone did as he saw fit” (17:6). In the same as today’s attitude, people reason within themselves and think, “That’s not so bad. “ However, God has given us standards through His Word. Independence and self-reliance are positive traits, but only within the framework of God’s standards.
Verse 6 – Time has not changed human nature today of putting our own interest first. The people in Micah’s time replaced the true worship of God with a homemade version of worship. As a result, justice was soon replaced by revenge and chaos. Ignoring God’s direction led to confusion and destruction.
Verses 7-12 – Apparently the Israelites no longer supported the priest and Levites with their tithes. The young Levite in this story probably left Bethlehem because the money he received from the people was not enough to live on. Israel’s moral decay affected even the priests and Levites. While Micah revealed the religious downfall of the individual Israelite, the priest illustrated the religious downfall of priest and Levites.
Samson and Delilah
Verse 5 – 5 rulers ruled the Philistines. Each ruler ruled from a different city. These men were rich and powerful. When they visited Delilah, she was easily persuaded in betraying Samson.
Verse 15 – Even though Samson had strangled a lion with his bare hands, he fell for Delilah’s lies (I said before, wisdom was not one of Samson’s gifts).
Verses 16, 17 – Plain and simple advice-no matter how attractive or persuasive a person is, don’t allow that person talk you into doing what you know to be wrong.
Verse 19 – Delilah was a deceitful woman with honey on her lips and poison in her heart. She was cold and calculating by pretending to love Samson. Four times Delilah took advantage of him. Why is it that Samson didn’t stop allowing this to happen?
Verse 21 – Sometimes we make choices but never consider the lasting consequences. Samson had been a mighty warrior who had become a slave grinding grain. Was his time spent with Delilah worth it? We may choose to be close to God or go our own way, but there are consequences resulting from our choice.
Verse 21 – Samson was now blinded by the hands of the Philistines. They took him to Gaza. Gaza was a vital stop along a great caravan route that connected Egypt to the South with Aram to the north. Ironically, it was in Gaza that Samson had earlier demonstrated his great strength by uprooting the city gates (16:1-3). Now he was an example of weakness.
Verses 23, 24 – Many temples were built to Dagon, the god of grain and harvest. These temples were often used for entertainment too. Just as people today pack a theater, the Philistines townspeople crowed into a local temple. They sat on the flat temple roof and looked into the courtyard below to watch people being humiliated or tortured.
Verses 28-30 – In spite of Samson’s past, God still answered his prayer and destroyed the pagan temple and worshipers. God still loved him. One of the greatest effects of sin in our lives is to keep us from praying. We shouldn’t let guilt feelings keep us from the only means of restoration. It doesn’t matter how long you have been away from God, He will hear your cry and begin to restore the relationship with Him. God didn’t go anywhere; He was there with you all along.
Verses 1-11 – Samson’s reply in verse 11 tells the story of this chapter: “I merely did to them what they did to me.” Revenge is an uncontrollable monster. Each act of retaliation brings another. The revenge cycle can only be stopped by forgiveness.
Verses 14-17 – Pride will cause us to take credit for what was done in God’s strength. The Lord’s strength came upon Samson, but he boasted of his own strength.
Verse 18 – Samson was physically and emotionally exhausted. After a great personal victory, his attitude declined quickly into self-pity. Don’t be surprised if you feel drained after a personal victory.
Verse 20 – Apparently Samson was appointed Israel’s judge after this victory over the Philistines.
Verse 3 – Samson’s parents objected to his marrying the Philistine woman but his father eventually gave in. The Philistines were Israel’s greatest enemy. Marriage to a hated Philistine would be a disgrace to Samson’s family.
Verse 6 – “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power” refers to the unusual physical strength given him by the Spirit of the Lord. Samson didn’t seem to be affected in any other ways than increased physical strength (there certainly was no sign of wisdom.
Verse 18 – “If you had not plowed with my heifer” means “If you had not manipulated my wife.”
Verse 19 – Samson used the special gift God gave him for selfish purposes. The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12, states these gifts are to be used to build up the church. To use these gifts for selfish purposes is to rob fellow believers of strength. Be sure when using the gifts God has given to help others.
Verse 1 – The Philistines lived on the west side of Canaan, along the Mediterranean seacoast. From Samson’s time to the time of David, they were a major enemy force and a constant threat to Israel. The Philistines knew the secret of making weapons out of iron (1 Samuel 13:19-22). Once again, during this time, Israel starts the cycle of sin, judgment, and repentance. Warnings of consequences are clear in God’s Word; if we continue to harden our hearts against God, we can expect the same fate as Israel.
Verse 5 – Samson was to be a Nazarite – a person who takes a vow to be set apart for God’s service. Samson’s parents made the vow for him. This vow made for Samson was for life, not temporary as some vows that were made. Samson could not cut his hair, touch a dead body, or drink anything containing alcohol. Samson’s part in subduing the Philistines was just the beginning. We should always take care in being faithful to follow God even if we don’t see instant results. You might be beginning an important job that others will finish.
Verse 18 – This angel would not give Manoah his name perhaps because it was beyond Manoah’s understanding. Sometimes we ask God questions and then receive no answer. We may be asking for knowledge beyond or the ability to understand or accept.
Verse 19 – This grain offering was offered to God as a sign of honor, respect, and worship. It was acknowledgment that because the Israelites’ food came from God, they owed their lives to Him.
Verse 25 – Samson’s tribe was Dan. They had continued to wander in their inherited land (18:1), which was yet unconquered (Joshua 19:47, 48). As with Samson, preparation often begins long before adulthood.
Verse 1 – Israel had just won a great battle, but instead of joy, there was pettiness and quarrelling. These insults from Ephraim enraged Jephthah, who then called his troops and killed 42,000 men from Ephraim. Jephthah’s revenge was swift. It cost Israel dearly and it might have been avoided. Insulting others and being jealous are not right responses when we feel left out.
Verses 4-7 – The men of the tribe of Ephraim caused Jephthah trouble just as they did Gideon (8:1-3). Shibboleth is the word for stream. The Ephraimites pronounced “sh” as “s,” so Jephthah’s army could easily identify them.
Verses 8-15 – There is little else known about these three judges or their importance. The large number of children and cattle are an indication of the wealth of these men.