Samson walked into the hinterlands of Timnath fuming with anger. His father-in-law had given his wife to his best man. A woman for whom he threw a seven-day elaborate wedding; someone he told his difficult-to-decipher riddle, all because of the pressure she got from her people, which made him raid, kill and strip thirty men of their clothes to pay cowards; someone he loved.
His father-in-law was talking gibberish, “I was so sure you hated her…” What is wrong with that man! Was it because I was angry after the feast over the way my companions ridiculed me with my riddle, hamstringing me through my wife? How will he equate that to utter hatred for my wife? I don’t understand how these Philistines think. He even had the guts to offer me his younger daughter in her stead. Samson thought. He doesn’t know anything. I’m a public figure. What he has done to me, he has done to Israel, the people of God. This time, I have a right to get even with the Philistines. I will really harm them.
With utter fury he stormed into the mountainous region that flanked the farming lands of Ashkelon and Ekron. Then the Spirit of the Lord rested upon him.
He moved to a nearby cave, located a narrow entrance, that obviously led to the habitat of rodents. He made fire from woods and placed them at the mouth of the cave. The smoke went in and after a while, a red fox came, running out. He went after it and grabbed it at the back of its neck with his bare hand. He tied it with a string round its neck to the trunk of a nearby tree.
With lightening speed, he went back to similar entrances of caves in that mountainous landscape, burning wood there, with the foxes running out of their hideouts, obviously been driven out by the smoke.
Samson went after the foxes and caught them in a similar manner like he did the first, tying them around several tree trunks, until he caught the three hundredth fox. He began this hunt at about 6:30pm and ended at 4am the next morning.
He took the foxes in twos and tied their tails together putting touches in the knot. He brought them to the farm lands of the Philistines, put fire to the touches and let them loose. The foxes ran into the cornfield of the Philistines in a frenzy, their flaming behind burning down the crops as they went. In no time, the entire farmlands – the standing corns, harvested corns and olive orchards – were raised down, covering an expanse of about one thousand hectares.
This was a great waste and impoverishment for the Philistines, for it was wheat harvest. They had injured Samson by their subtlety and malice, and now Samson returned the injury by subtle foxes and mischievous fire-brands. God in some sense, displayed justice: for the corn, wine and oil that they would have prepared from these fields as meat offerings to Dagon, were made burnt offerings to God’s justice.
Samson stood with his chest out and bowed-out upperlimbs with hands resting on his waist, looking at the smoke that ascended to the sky from the destroyed farmland. With utmost satisfaction at his heroic exploit, he turned around to go home, the anointing lifting. The cranky noise from his joints and excruciating ache from his marrow drove home the message of how fatigued and famished he was.
Food for thought: Oh that we would be burning torches that God would send into the world to consume everything ungodly.
Scriptural references: Judges 15:1-5; John 5:35;