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Relationship to Judges. The relationship of Chapters 10-16 to the rest of Judges is discussed at Judges.
Story. Chapters 10-16 consist of an introductory episode, two major episodes, and a brief mention of three of the six "minor judges."
- Judg 10:6-18: The Lord. In this brief introductory episode, the Lord announces that he will no longer deliver Israel, but then Israel repents.
- Judg 11:1-12:7: Jephthah. The fifth of the six major episodes in the development section of Chapters 3-16 presents Jephthah, an outcast brigand whose deliverance of Israel is followed by no rest.
- Judg 12:8-15: Three minor judges. The judgeship of Ibzan, Elon and Abdon are briefly mentioned.
- Judg 13:1-16:31: Samson. The last of the six major episodes in the development section of Chapters 3-16 portrays Israel as weak. This is epitomized by Delilah, a foreign woman, who is able to destroy Samson, the greatest physical hero in Israelite history.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Judges 10-16 include:
This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the "edit" link to edit or add content to this section. →
- Judg 13:19: Rock. The Anchor Bible translates this verse, based on various ancient manuscripts, as follows: "So Manoah took the kid and the grain offering and went up to the rock, to Yawhew, making ready for Yahweh, the wonder worker." This translation suggests a reference to Deut 32:4ff where God (Yahweh) is described as a rock.
- Judg 14:4. As we read later on about Samson and about the things that he does, one may wonder why the Lord gives Samson power. Samsons later actions, like his decision here, do not suggest that he is righteous. This verse may answer to some degree those questions. One way to read this verse is that it is saying that the Lord allowed Samson to do what was wrong (marry a Philistine) because the Lord was looking for an opportunity to free Israel from Philistine dominion.
- Judg 14:19: Did the Lord approve Samson's killing? How should the Spirit of the Lord coming upon Samson be interpreted? One view is that God is using Samson to show the Philistines his power. However, this does not address the following theological question: is God supporting Samson's seemingly selfish desire to settle a wager in verses 12-13? If so, this would seem to contradict the notion in D&C 121:37 that one cannot use God's power to do evil.
- One possible way to resolve the tension just described is to take an approach similar to that suggested for Ex 7:3 in understanding how God hardens Pharaoh's heart. The phraseology here may simply be reflecting the ancient Hebrew view that God is in control of all events. A criticism of this view is that it seems to trivialize the wording of the scriptural text.
- Another approach for resolving the above tension is to view God as honoring the covenant made with Samson's parents in Judg 13:5. On this view, the Lord's Spirit coming upon Samson should be interpreted as God honoring the covenant to give Samson strength as long as he does not cut his hair (the covenant would then be interpreted as unconditional in the sense of giving Samson strength regardless of whether he chooses to use that strength for good or evil).
- Also see the discussion page for more discussion and links.
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Prompts for life application
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Prompts for further study
This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the "edit" link to edit or add content to this section. →
- Judg 14:19: The Spirit of the Lord came upon him. What does the phrase "the Spirit of the Lord came upon him [Samson]" mean? Does it imply that the Lord approved of his actions in killing 30 men in Ashkelon to settle his wager?
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Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.