“Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her.” Then he leaves Gaza carrying the city gate with him and goes to the Valley of Sorek where he…guess what? Yep. Samson falls in love with another ungodly woman named Delilah who does not have his best interest at heart. The lords of the Philistines bribe Delilah to find out where Samson’s strength lies. As Delilah attempts to uncover his secret, Samson allows her to do some bondage action on him three times; however, Samson is just toying with her. “And it came to pass, when she pestered him daily with her words and pressed him, so that his soul was vexed to death, that he told her all his heart, and said to her, ‘No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.’” Once again, Samson caves into the pestering of a woman like he did with the Philistine wife and the honey riddle. God has warned His people over and over since the exodus from Egypt not to commingle with the people around them who are walking outside of the presence of the Lord. Samson’s downfall is due to his disobedience as he is a man who walks by sight making decisions based on the lust of the eye and fleshy emotions instead of walking by faith and trusting in the Lord, in His Word, and in His promises. However, the Lord uses Samson’s disobedience to accomplish His purposes but it results in a tragic life for Samson.
“Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison. However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaven.” At the end of his life, when Samson is brought to the temple of the false god Dagon, he prays for the Lord to give him strength one last time so he may take vengeance on the Philistines for the loss of his eyes. The Lord hears his prayer and Samson knocks down the beams of the temple killing about three thousand Philistines which was more than he had killed his entire life. Although Samson suffered major consequences as a result of being a sinful, fleshly driven man, he was still a man who had faith in the Lord as we see here at the end of his life (Hebrews 11:32-34).
Next we meet a man named Micah, from the tribe of Ephraim, who makes a shrine, ephod, and household idols out of the great fortune that he stole from his mother and then returned to her. When Micah returned the shekels of silver back to his mom, she blessed him and told him to make these items. Then Micah made one of his sons a priest. Basically Micah just created his own religion by his own rules. “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” And when a Levite named Jonathan, one of Moses’s grandsons, shows up at Micah’s house looking for a place to stay, Micah welcomes him in and makes him his priest. The Levite Jonathan is an example of a priest who offers to serve for his own personal gain and not for the glory of the Lord.
During this time the tribe of Dan is still trying to acquire land for themselves since they failed to drive out the inhabitants of their allocated land during the conquest. So the tribe of Dan sends five men to spy out the land and the spies go to the mountains of Ephraim where they arrive at the house of Micah. There they recognize the voice of the Levite. So the spies from the rebellious tribe of Dan ask the rebellious Levite priest for God’s blessing which is interesting because clearly no one is obeying the Lord. Then the spies go on their way and find some easy to conquer land, a city called Laish. Before the tribe of Dan conquers the land, the spies go back to Micah’s house and say to the Levite priest – “‘Is it better for you to be a priest to the household of one man, or that you be a priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?’ So the priest’s heart was glad; and he took the ephod, the household idols, and the carved image, and took his place among the people.” 😏 Looks like this priest is moving up with his own personal kingdom building.
“So they took the things Micah had made, and the priest who had belonged to him, and went to Laish, to a people quiet and secure; and they struck them with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire…So they rebuilt the city and dwelt there. And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born to Israel…Then the children of Dan set up for themselves the carved image; and Jonathan the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land. So they set up for themselves Micah’s carved image which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.”
This just shows how far away from the Lord the Israelites are at this point in the Story. Moses’s own grandson leads an entire tribe into idolatry and away from worshiping the true God in the way and place the Lord told His people to worship Him. We will see during the Divided Kingdom Era that this idolatrous city of Dan will continue to be a central place of false worship for Northern Israel.
Tomorrow we will see another Levite living a life in complete rebellion against the Lord resulting in a very dark outcome. Keep reading.