What Does the Bible Say About…/Part 12
By: Dr. Thomas Figart
|By: Dr. Thomas O. Figart; ©2003|
|Why did Abimelech scatter salt in Judges 9:45? Why did Samson spend the night with a prostitute? What is the Nazirite vow? What is a concubine?|
Students from Manheim Christian Day School (PA) ask Questions About the Bible
Answered by Dr. Thomas Figart
- 1 Why and how did Abimelech scatter salt among the city in Judges 9:45?
- 2 Why did Samson spend the night with a prostitute? He was supposed to be a Judge (Judges 16:1).
- 3 What happened when people of other tribes married? (In reference to the Jewish tribes intermarrying).
- 4 Shouldn’t Samson have lost his strength when he touched the lion’s carcass? Describe the Nazarite vow. Was it voluntary?
- 5 What exactly is a concubine in the story of Samson?
- 6 Was Delilah a Philistine?
- 7 What is the significance of the 30 sons who rode on 30 donkeys (Judges 10:4)?
Why and how did Abimelech scatter salt among the city in Judges 9:45?
From SD: Why and how did Abimelech scatter salt among the city in Judges 9:45?
Answer: We are not told how he scattered the salt, or how extensively. Why he did it was to signify symbolically that the city was to become barren and desert-like. Compare Deuteronomy 29:23-24 where God warns Israel against the consequences of sin; “Now the generation to come, your sons who rise up after you and the foreigner who comes from a distant land, when they see the plagues of the land and the diseases with which the LORD has afflicted it, will say, All the land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsowed and unproductive, and no grass grows in it.” Or, Job 39:6 concerning the donkey, “To whom I gave the wilderness for a home, and the salt land for his dwelling place.” In Psalm 107:33-34, showing God’s judgment, “He changes rivers into a wilderness… a fruitful land into salt, A place possessed by nettles and salt pits, And a perpetual desolation.” Though salt is also used in a positive sense at times, in Judges 9:45 it symbolizes desolation.
Why did Samson spend the night with a prostitute? He was supposed to be a Judge (Judges 16:1).
From KF: Why did Samson spend the night with a prostitute? He was supposed to be a Judge (Judges 16:1).
Answer: Since the Word of God is true, no attempt is made to hide the weaknesses of some of God’s servants. Samson’s weakness was in the area of “the lust of the flesh.” He showed this again in the very next paragraphs when he “loved” a woman named Delilah, only this time it would cost him his eyesight and his life. Even David, the man after God’s own heart, showed the same weakness, in his sinful relationship with Bath Sheba which led to his causing her husband Uriah to be killed in battle, so David could marry Bath Sheba, since David had made her pregnant. But David confessed his sin and repented, and God permitted him to become a spiritual leader in Israel.
What happened when people of other tribes married? (In reference to the Jewish tribes intermarrying).
From AR: What happened when people of other tribes married? (In reference to the Jewish tribes intermarrying).
Answer: There were no rules against the people of one tribe intermarrying with another tribe. As a matter of fact, there are even non-Jewish women in the ancestry of Jesus Christ, one of whom was Rahab, a Canaanite harlot (Matthew 1:5); there was Ruth, the Moabitess (Matthew 1:5) and “the wife of Uriah” the Hittite (who was Bath Sheba (Matthew 1:6). Rahab’s faith is listed in Hebrews 11:31, and the book of Ruth shows that she was a believer in the true God. Not much is mentioned about Bath Sheba, so we can only assume that she became a believer. The conclusion is that the Jews could marry a person from any tribe, and even Gentiles.
Shouldn’t Samson have lost his strength when he touched the lion’s carcass? Describe the Nazarite vow. Was it voluntary?
From AK and TT: Shouldn’t Samson have lost his strength when he touched the lion’s carcass? Describe the Nazarite vow. Was it voluntary?
Answer: These questions go together. First, please observe the spelling of the word
Nazarite. This does not refer to a vow, but simply one who comes from the city of Nazareth. Sometimes such people were called Nazarenes. Jesus was a Nazarene, but He was not under a Nazirite vow, so any pictures of Jesus with long hair are incorrect and misleading. The word Nazirite refers to a person, man or woman, who took the Nazirite vow, which means “separation.” Normally this vow was voluntary, and for a limited number of days, but not so with Samson. Even before he was born, the Angel of the LORD appeared to Manoah’s wife and said that “the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death” (Judges 13:7). Numbers 6:1-21 describes the details of the Nazirite Vow:
- As stated, Nazirite means one who separates himself (or herself) unto the LORD (6:2)
- They were also separated from wine and strong drink all the days of their vow (6:3-4).
- They had to let the locks of their hair grow all the days of their vow (6:5).
- They could not touch a dead body all the days of their vow (6:6-7).
- If someone died suddenly by them and he was defiled by touching the body, he had to have his (or her) head shaved and the proper sacrifices and required rituals performed, then the vow continued (6:8-21).
The question concerning Samson’s touching the carcass of the lion, therefore, does not specifically come under the Nazirite Vow, but it is included in the Mosaic Law in Leviticus 11:27, “And whatsoever goeth upon its paws, among all manner of beasts that goeth on all four, those are unclean unto you. Whoso toucheth their carcass shall be unclean until evening.” As Keil and Delitzsch say in their commentary, “The warning against defilement from contact with the dead… does not seem to have been enforced in the case of Samson.” The only other possibility would be that Samson reached in and got the honey without touching the carcass, but merely “took thereof in his hands and went on eating” (Judges 14:9). If this was not possible, then God made an exception, as He did with David’s sin of murdering Uriah the Hittite, as already mentioned.
What exactly is a concubine in the story of Samson?
From HS: What exactly is a concubine in the story of Samson?
Answer: The Hebrew word for “concubine” is pilegesh, and refers to a true wife, although sometimes such a wife was of second rank to another wife. In Judges 19:3 it refers to “her husband,” and his “father in law” (19:4) the damsel’s father. The damsel’s father speaks unto “his son in law” (19:5). But this chapter is after the story of Samson. In Samson’s story, the word “concubine” is never mentioned. In fact, in Judges 15:1, the Hebrew word issah, “wife” is used twice of Samson’s wife.
Another good illustration of the true marriage position of the concubine is found in Genesis 35:22 when Reuben, the firstborn son of Jacob, committed incestuous adultery with “Bilhah, his father’s concubine.” As a result, in Genesis 49:4 Jacob refused to make Reuben, his firstborn, the chief of the tribes. Instead, this was given to Judah (49:10) from whom Christ came. The reason was because Reuben “uncontrollable as water, you shall not have the preeminence, because you went up to your father’s bed, then you defiled it.” Remember, too, that the twelve sons of Israel were born by four women, two of whom were concubines, so that these tribes were all Israelites.
Was Delilah a Philistine?
From LA: Was Delilah a Philistine?
Answer: The Scripture does not come right out and say that Delilah was a Philistine, though she must have been, since she was from “the valley of Sorek.” In the Gesenius Hebrew Dictionary, we quote two things: Sorek was “A valley between Ashkelon and Gaza” (page 796). These two were Philistine cities. Also, on page 200, Delilah was “a Philistine woman, beloved by Samson.”
What is the significance of the 30 sons who rode on 30 donkeys (Judges 10:4)?
From TZ: What is the significance of the 30 sons who rode on 30 donkeys (Judges 10:4)?
Answer: Jair, their father, was the son of Manasseh (Numbers 32:41) and was successful in conquering 30 cities (in the land of Bashan, according to Deuteronomy 3:14), and became a Judge. The mention of his 30 sons who rode on 30 donkeys is one way of emphasizing his wealth and importance, ruling over 30 cities.