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Story of Samson and Uncleanliness

Discussion in 'Exploring Christianity' started by TheFriendlyAtheist, Nov 1, 2017.

  1. TheFriendlyAtheist

    TheFriendlyAtheist Member

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    Ok so I'll start off by saying that this was probably the weirdest story I have read so far. There are a lot of things I take issue with there but I'll keep this post to one part of the story.

    So as part of the vow between God and Samson, Samson couldn't cut his hair, drink alcohol or become unclean by touching a dead animal. The issue I want to raise is the last part, becoming unclean. At two separate instances Samson touches a dead animal. The first is when he retrieved the honey from the dead lion, and the second is when he killed 1000 philistines with the jawbone of a donkey. I didn't see anything come from those incidents. Did I miss something or was he punished for those specific acts?
     
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  2. vinsight4u

    vinsight4u Contributor

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    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017
  3. jacks

    jacks Er Victus Supporter

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    Touching a dead animal was probably the least of Samson's problems. No way was he portrayed as a paragon of virtue.
     
  4. Stancet

    Stancet Member

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    The answer to your question is probably in the details. Samson was a Nazirite. In the Old Testament law, a Nazirite was any individual who took a vow to go into God's service. They had to obey many priestly laws, as well as no alcohol or cutting of hair. This was supposed to be clear to anyone who took this vow.

    However, God specifically separated Sampson from birth to make him a Nazirite. We know that Sampson was aware of at least some of the conditions to his Nazirite status, like not drinking or cutting hair. Presumably, God punished him for breaking the requirements that Sampson was aware of, and punished him in lesser ways for the rules he did not know he was breaking.

    Luke 12:27-28
    "The servant who knows the master's will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows."
     
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  5. TheFriendlyAtheist

    TheFriendlyAtheist Member

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    God punished Samson for breaking the vow when his hair was cut, so why did God punish him for just that when he broke the other part of the vow?

    Also, in the book of Exodus God kills to people with fire for making a mistake in worshipping him. God has intervened to punish people before but he let Samson kill loads of people and he let Samson keep his strength. I don't get it.
     
  6. Stancet

    Stancet Member

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    A pastor I listened to once (probably Robert Jeffers) said that God most often kills people supernaturally during the start of something big. In this case, the Israelites were freshly exposed to God's law for the first time, and the consequences of breaking it had to be apparent early on. It was a reputation thing, but the true heart of God is to show kindness and mercy to people, which is why He didn't kill Sampson for sacrilege, or kill David for committing adultery, or kill Paul for persecuting early Christians.
     
  7. TheFriendlyAtheist

    TheFriendlyAtheist Member

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    But God later in the same book tells the Israelites to attack The Benjamites only to lose the battle twice. So God told the army to fight a battle he knew they would lose. This led to thousands of deaths.

    On a side note, God commands the Israelites to slaughter entire cities and keep the virgins for themselves. I don't think I would say that is an act of love or mercy, but that's a whole other issue.
     
  8. Stancet

    Stancet Member

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    A whole other issue, yes, and I have asked this question myself but haven't found the answer yet. I am studying different subjects and questions right now, but I'll return to it eventually.
     
  9. TheFriendlyAtheist

    TheFriendlyAtheist Member

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    Also I don't think "it's a new law" is a good reason to kill people. In fact I think that I the best time for giving leeway. We as humans often screw up the first time we do something.
     
  10. TheFriendlyAtheist

    TheFriendlyAtheist Member

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    Thanks for the input. I'm only on 1 Samuel in my read through and I already have a million questions like this.
     
  11. Stancet

    Stancet Member

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    Sorry if I had to leave my computer for a minute.

    That does make sense, but maybe another Bible story will shine light onto this issue. Try reading these two passages (Acts 5:1-11 and Acts 8:9-25) It seems curious God would kill Ananias and Sapphira but spare Simon the Sorcerer for committing equally wicked crimes.

    Simply put, Ananias and Sapphira knew they were breaking God's law, but Simon the Sorcerer acted in ignorance. We know the difference was in their background and their upbringing. God is still merciful, even when he needs to make examples out of people.

    I don't mind answering some, because I've asked them all! Trust me.
     
  12. TheFriendlyAtheist

    TheFriendlyAtheist Member

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    I'm going to hold off on asking too many questions just yet. I've still got a long way to go and I'm hoping some of my questions will be answered, as you suggested, in later passages. I felt this question was probably not going to be resolved by further reading. I'm still making good use of google as I go though.

    On a side note, I've learned quite a bit about what Christianity is growing up. I known a quite a few church going Christians growing up and have gone with them many times. This is my first time actually reading the whole Bible (I'm still just scratching the surface, but I will definitely get through it.) and I'm amazed by how much I've learned already. I don't think I'll be converted by the end but I'll have a much broader understanding of other people's deeply held beliefs, and that is always a good thing.
     
  13. vinsight4u

    vinsight4u Contributor

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    /nvm
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  14. TheFriendlyAtheist

    TheFriendlyAtheist Member

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    It was a crazy story, alright. I just read the story of Nabal being smote by God in 1 Samuel, which makes me even more confused as to why Samson was able to get away with that and retain his God given strength. I also wonder about the logistics of killing 1,000 people with the jawbone of a donkey. Like how long did that take? My only experience with violence is in video games and it takes a long time to rack up a number like that. He must have been at it for a few days straight.
     
  15. vinsight4u

    vinsight4u Contributor

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    /nvm
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  16. TheFriendlyAtheist

    TheFriendlyAtheist Member

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    If you are interested there is a video on youtube where someone animated the Samson story. It's pretty funny. Just look up Samson da Barbarian if you're so inclined.
     
  17. vinsight4u

    vinsight4u Contributor

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    /nvm
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  18. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    Yes, he paid dearly for breaking those vows only to have his name appear in Hebrews 11, known as the hall of faith:

    And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. (Heb. 11:32-35)
    The final vow he broke was cutting his hair. But before he died it had started to grow back and this is key, he prayed.

    Grace and peace,
    Mark
     
  19. vinsight4u

    vinsight4u Contributor

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    /nvm
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
  20. paul1149

    paul1149 that your faith might rest in the power of God Supporter

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    Every aspect of Samson's story is pretty amazing. He seems to be the prime example of someone who has the power of God but is short on the character side. He was blessed by the Lord, and the Spirit of God came on him often and in powerful ways. But at virtually every step of the way Samson does things his way, not God's. And God even seems to be in it, using his love interests to bring about defeat of the Philistines.

    It was a brutal time, when "every man did what was right in his own eyes". Samson was the last of the judges of Israel, and after him things descended to the tale of the concubine being murdered, with resulting civil war and the tribe of Benjamin being nearly destroyed. There is very little good to say about what was going on back then.

    AISI, the whole thing is an exercise in the Lord using very imperfect people to achieve His ends, for their own sake and despite themselves. The only way Israel was going to survive was with a king, though the Lord did not want it that way, because though it would work for a while, He knew how bad it would end up.

    And Samson is an example of God's longsuffering as well. He repeatedly violates not only his Nazarite vows, but basic commandments of separation also, such as not going in to non-Israelite women. But God continues to bless him with supernatural power and success, until the day Samson goes too far, and lets his hair get cut off. Then there is a price to pay.

    In Romans 11, as Paul concludes his discourse on the Jewish nation, he states that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. When God gives, He does not take back. He lets things play out in their own way, and uses the process to achieve His ends. (This indeed is true going all the way back to Adam.) We see this play out in our day, when you can have a preacher who is very successful, yet is sleeping with the secretary. God appears to do nothing about the problem, and doesn't pull His Spirit from the ministry. He gets away with it for a while, but the day comes when it all falls apart. That's what I see happening to Samson. This is the danger of focusing on the external gifts and calling, without tending to the garden of our hearts.

    We have a strong warning about this at the end of the Sermon on the Mount,

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
    On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
    And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ -Matt 7:21-23​

    Through Israel's rise and fall, the Messiah was brought forth at the right time in world history. God using imperfect people to achieve His ends is the theme of the history of the nation of Israel. And indeed, looking around, it is impossible not to come to the same conclusion regarding the church. It's all about God's faithfulness, not our inherent worthiness.

    Samson is included in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, so he must have been doing a lot of things right. We have to be mindful as we read his story that God was dealing with people primarily on the national level back then, and in this case was using Samson, warts and all, to achieve His purposes on that level.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
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