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The Fruit of Revenge

INTRODUCTION: Revenge may seem sweet but it solves nothing when used in the context of personal relationships. Rather, it creates a spiraling intensity of vengeance in which the party wronged last must repay for the damage received in order to square accounts. It becomes an unending mess.

God uses Samson’s fleshly nature in order to do the work He has for him (see Judges 14:4). But this does not change the fleshly nature of Samson’s actions. Samson has been wronged, so he is going to get vengeance. He thinks this will solve the problem. He says, “yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease” (Judges 15:7). But the problem never ends. The Philistines return “to do to him as he hath done to us” (Judges 15:10) and Samson justifies himself, “As they did unto me, so have I done unto them” (Judges 15:11). There is simply no end to the paybacks.

This explains why God has told believers to let Him take care of the vengeance. Revenge is required for justice but it is not for individuals to bring it about. God is the One “to whom vengeance belongeth” (Psalm 94:1). He tells us, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19). We must allow God to set things right and not take things into our own hands. This story of Samson demonstrates the faults of revenge. We would do well to take heed.

  1. THE SPIRAL OF REVENGE (Judges 15:1-8)
    1. Samson Discovers His Betrayal (Judges 15:1-2).
      1. Samson returns to his wife (Judges 15:1).
        1. At the time of wheat harvest around May and a time of rejoicing
        2. He brings a gift of a kid goat. This may seem like an odd gift today, but it was common as a gift in the Bible (Genesis 38:17; Luke 15:29).
        3. He seeks to make a fleshly union. Samson thinks only of himself and his carnal pleasure. He is selfish and carnal.
        4. Her father refuses to let Samson in.
      2. Her father justifies his actions (Judges 15:2).
        1. It seemed that Samson had rejected her.
        2. She was given to his wedding companion (see Judges 14:20).
        3. The father offers her younger sister.
          1. She is available.
          2. She is prettier.
          3. NOTE: The father seems to understand Samsons carnal nature but overlooks the power of his pride. Samson has been wronged, and he will have revenge.
    2. Samson Burns the Fields (Judges 15:3-5).
      1. Samson declares himself blameless in his revenge (Judges 15:3). Perhaps Samson realized his guilt when he killed 30 men for their garments, but this time he assumes no responsibility for what is going to take place.
      2. Samson catches 300 foxes (Judges 15:4); 300 seems to be the number to get things done in the book of Judges (Judges 7:6-7).
      3. He ties them in twos tail to tail, puts a firebrand between them, and releases them (Judges 15:4). They will try to run from the fire but will be pulling against each other. Their uncertain and halting path will cause them to start many fires in the fields.
      4. He burns the wheat, the vineyards, and the olives (Judges 15:5).
    3. The Philistines Kill His Wife (Judges 15:6).
      1. They discover the cause of Samsons anger.
      2. They kill Samsons wife and her father. Note: This was already a threat of the Philistines in our last lesson. Even though she complied with their request, she still is burned (Judges 14:15). This reminds us of making deals with the Devil.
    4. Samson Kills a Great Number (Judges 15:7-8).
      1. Samson says he will quit after further vengeance (Judges 15:7).
      2. He smites the Philistines with a great slaughter (Judges 15:8).
      3. He dwells in the top of the rock Etam (Judges 15:8).
  2. THE REJECTION OF SAMSON (Judges 15:9-13)
    1. The Philistines Bring an Army against Samson (Judges 15:9).
    2. Judah Comes Up against Samson (Judges 15:10-11).
      1. Judah is not ready for deliverance but desires to please the Philistines (Judges 15:10). They are content with their servitude.
      2. Three thousand men of Judah come against Samson (Judges 15:11); why do they not fight against the Philistines?
      3. The men of Judah accuse Samson of doing wrong against them (Judges 15:11).
      4. Samson justifies himself in his own selfish way (Judges 15:11).
    3. Samson Surrenders to Judah (Judges 15:12-13).
      1. Judah promises not to kill Samson themselves (Judges 15:12).
      2. Samson allows them to bind him with two new cords (Judges 15:13).
  3. THE VICTORY OF SAMSON (Judges 15:14-17)
    1. The Spirit of the Lord Comes upon Samson (Judges 15:14).
      1. The Philistines shout against Samson.
      2. The Spirit of the Lord comes on Samson.
      3. Samson breaks the cords from off his arms.
    2. Samson Slays a Thousand Philistines (Judges 15:15).
      1. Samson takes a new jawbone of an ass.
      2. Samson slays a thousand men.
    3. Samson Celebrates His Victory (Judges 15:16-17).
      1. Samson writes a song to celebrate his victory (Judges 15:16); notice the song says nothing about God.
      2. Samson casts away the jawbone (Judges 15:17).
      3. Samson calls the place Ramath-lehi [the casting away of the jawbone] (Judges 15:17).
  4. THE THIRST OF SAMSON (Judges 15:18-20)
    1. Samson Cries to the Lord in His Thirst (Judges 15:18).
      1. Only when he suffers is he ready to give God the glory.
      2. Only when he wants something is he concerned about the uncircumcised Philistines.
    2. The Lord Provides Water from the Jaw (Judges 15:19).
      1. That which he is ready to throw away becomes the source of his deliverance.
      2. His spirit revives and he returns to his selfishness. We see this in his name for the place. En-hakkore means the well that I have named. Once again, as in his song to himself, there is no reference to God.
    3. Samson Judges Israel for Twenty Years (Judges 15:20).

CONCLUSION: This chapter shows us the actions of a carnal man in the life of Samson. It also shows us the fruitlessness of taking personal revenge. Finally, the actions of Judah show us that some men are satisfied in their servitude and do not desire deliverance and will not fight for it. How could you apply these lessons to your own life?