Samson was the Judge that Israel needed at that time to deliver them from the Philistines and be their spiritual leader. God gave him strength-physical-strength and wisdom to drive out the Philistines.

Location: This record takes place west of the Dead Sea. On the map entitled "Israel to Canaan, Joshua to Samuel and Saul" You can find Askelon and Gaza on the coast of the Great Sea (the Mediterranean) west of the Dead Sea. Samuel and family lived in the hills east of there. This map gives you a general idea of where the tribes settled as well.

In the first record (Judges 14) God tells us of Samson's desire for a wife of the Philistines in order to set an occasion against them. On the way to Timnath, a Philistine city, a young lion comes toward Samson and God gave him the strength to kill it with his bare hands and skin it. When Samson returns to Timnath to take his wife he passes by the carcass and bees have set up a hive in it. Well, that seems odd; bees in a lion's carcass and there was even honey in the hive. This is possible; the climate is hot and arid so the lion's carcass would have dried out quickly and mummified. Secondly, time has passed between his trips to Timnath for the bees to have had a chance to produce honey. This turns out to be great fodder for a riddle.

Judges 14
:10 So his father went down unto the woman:
    and Samson made there a feast;
        for so used the young men to do.
:11 And it came to pass, when they saw him,
    that they brought thirty companions to be with him.
:12 And Samson said unto them,
        I will now put forth a riddle unto you:
        if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast,
            and find it out,
        then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments:
            [This is quite a bit, most people have only two]
:13   But if ye cannot declare it me,
        then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments.
    And they said unto him,
        Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it.
:14 And he said unto them,
        Out of the eater came forth meat,
        and out of the strong came forth sweetness.
    And they could not in three days expound the riddle.
:15 And it came to pass on the seventh day,
        that they said unto Samson's wife,
            Entice thy husband,
                that he may declare unto us the riddle,
                lest we burn thee and thy father's house with fire:
            have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so?
:16 And Samson's wife wept before him, and said,
        Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not:
        thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people,
        and hast not told it me.
    And he said unto her,
        Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother,
        and shall I tell it thee?
:17 And she wept before him the seven days,
        while their feast lasted:
    and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her,
        because she lay sore upon him:
    and she told the riddle to the children of her people.
:18 And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day
            before the sun went down,
        What is sweeter than honey?
        and what is stronger than a lion?
    And he [Samson] said unto them,
        If ye had not plowed with my heifer,
        ye had not found out my riddle.
:19 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him,
    and he went down to Ashkelon, [the Philistine capitol city]
    and slew thirty men of them,
    and took their spoil,
    and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle.
    And his anger was kindled,
    and he went up to his father's house.
:20 But Samson's wife was given to his companion,
        whom he had used as his friend.

Here is the occasion Samson is looking for; Samson's wife was given to another man. He returns to Timnath in the spring (during the wheat harvest) and brings his wife a young goat for a present but the father does not allow him to see her.

Judges 15
:3 And Samson said concerning them,
        Now shall I be more blameless than the Philistines,
            though I do them a displeasure. [mischief]
:4 And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes,
    and took firebrands,
    and turned tail to tail,
    and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails.
:5 And when he had set the brands on fire,
    he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines,
    and burnt up both the shocks,
    and also the standing corn,
    with the vineyards and olives.

This is an economically devastating blow. They are an agricultural society and much of their livelihood depends on harvests. The Philistines then retaliate and burn his wife and her father because of their injustice. Samson's response was to go to war against them (remember he is just one man) and God says that "he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter?" (vs. 15:8). He doesn't have the support of the tribe of Judah either. When the Philistines gather an army together to come and take Samson Judah also gathers 3,000 men' not to fight against the Philistines, but to take Samson and deliver him to the Philistines. This is a predicament! Not only was the enemy after him, but his kinsman also. The 3,000 from Judah promise not the kill but they bind him with new cords and deliver him to the Philistines. Well, God delivers.

Judges 15
:14 And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him:
    and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him,
    and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire,
    and his bands loosed from off his hands.
:15 And he found a new jawbone of an ass,
    and put forth his hand,
    and took it,
    and slew a thousand men therewith.
:16 And Samson said,
        With the jawbone of an ass,
            heaps upon heaps,
    with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.
:17 And it came to pass,
        when he had made an end of speaking,
    that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand,
    and called that place Ramathlehi. [Hill of the Jawbone]
:18 And he was sore athirst, and called on the LORD, and said,
        Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant:
        and now shall I die for thirst,
        and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?
:19 But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw,
    and there came water thereout;
    and when he had drunk,
    his spirit came again,
    and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof Enhakkore,
            [The Well of Him that is Called]
        which is in Lehi unto this day.
:20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

God and Samson fought the Philistines, he had no help from his family or countrymen. The men of Judah wanted to hand him over! God took care of Samson regardless of the circumstances. He strengthened him and nourished him. As long as Samson kept his Nazarite vow God gave him the strength, knowledge and wisdom to judge and defend Israel.

God has not changed. Now I am not advocating that all of us stop cutting our hair and stop eating grapes, raisins and drinking wine or grape juice. We live in a different administration, Christ has come and made available to us a comforter-Christ in us the hope of glory-whereby we are of the household of God. Yet, the principle remains the same. As we are faithful to Him and His Word we reside in His hedge of protection and He will strengthen us.

I Peter 5
:10 But the God of all grace,
        who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus,
        after that ye have suffered a while,
    make you perfect,
    settle you.

Let us examine some of these words individually:

Grace: charis: free, undeserved favor
Unto: apo: marking the interval of time--until
Suffer: pascho: to experience a sensation or impression (usually painful)
    Life is not without trials for we have an adversary.
A While: oligos: puny (in extent, degree, number, duration or value) a little, 
    (as compared to the eternal glory to come).
Perfect: katartizo: to set in order, adjust, repair
Stablish: starizo: to set fast, to turn resolutely in a certain direction
Strengthen: sthenoo: to strengthen in body and health
Settle: themelioo: to ground, as on a foundation

The God of all undeserved favor 
who has called you until his age of eternal glory within Christ,
having suffered a little,
shall Himself set you in order,
set you in the right direction,
strengthen you
and establish your foundation. *

Let us consider this verse in context. God is speaking to the elders (rulers/leaders/teachers) of the church and also the younger (followers/congregation).

I Peter 5
:5 . . . Yea, all of you be subject one to another,
    and be clothed with humility:
        for God resisteth the proud,
        and giveth grace to the humble.
:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God,
        that he may exalt you in due time:
:7 Casting all your care upon him; [not just some, all; don't get tricked out of this]
    for he careth for you.
:8 Be sober,
    be vigilant;
        because your adversary the devil,
            as a roaring lion, 
            [he roars to freeze his prey-do not be frozen by his pretenses; we have the victory]
        walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
:9 Whom [the adversary] resist stedfast in the faith ,
        knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren
            that are in the world.
:10 But the God of all grace,
        who hath called us [you] unto [until] his eternal glory by [within] Christ Jesus,
        after that ye have [having] suffered a while [little],
    make you perfect, [set in order]
    stablish, [set in the right direction]
    strengthen, [in body and health]
    settle you. [set your foundation]
:11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.

God is the one doing the work. As we stay faithful to Him He will establish our way.


*This verse is expounded upon with the help of The Companion Bible page 1863 and related appendices.