'I have seen a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife. Then his father and mother said to him, 'Is there no woman among the daughters of your brethren, or among all my people, that you must go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?'
And Samson said to his father, 'Get her for me, for she pleases me well.'
But his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord--that He was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines. For at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.'
Samson is the biblical prototype for a popular Hollywood theme: the anti-hero.
'An anti-hero is a flawed hero, and therefore, much more interesting than the more traditional heroes. They can be working on the side of good, but with a tragic flaw, or a horrible past, or for reasons that are selfish and not entirely 'pure' ' (Urban Dictionary).
Consider Clint Eastwood in 'Unforgiven,' Denzel Washington in 'Man on Fire' or Wolverine in 'X-Men.' These unconventional heroes accomplished great good in spite of character flaws most rule-followers would denounce. Same with Samson.
Although consecrated to God by a strict vow of behavior, Samson lived a passionate life. He was passionate in love, anger, violence, revenge and justice--vigorously pursuing each. He was a fearless and confident risk-taker. When intermarriage was frowned upon by God's people, he was determined to intermarry.
He enjoyed playing dangerous games. During his marriage celebration, Samson made a high-stakes bet by way of a riddle. When the opposing side couldn't guess the answer, they coerced his wife to reveal it. Samson became furious. Consequently, 30 men lost their lives, and he abandoned his wife. Thus his battles with the Philistines began.
Their response? They burned his estranged wife and father-in-law with fire.
His response? Samson played a vicious game with 300 foxes: 'He took torches, turned the foxes tail to tail, and put a torch between each pair of tails. When he had set the torches on fire, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines... as well as the vineyards and olive groves' (Judges 5:4-5).
Next, 'The Philistines came shouting against him. Then the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him' (v.14), and Samson killed 1000 men with the jawbone of a donkey.
Here's the thing: Samson never doubted the win. He was a super-hero, anti-hero--with the same smug arrogance we see in some of today's top stars. But Samson held a Trump Card. It was a no-fail Backup empowering His risky business: The Lord God of Israel.
Because God had a plan for this passionate performer: to help free Israel from Philistine oppression. As for Samson's bold game? The Real Player was not Samson, but God.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Samson & Delilah: Star Struggles series.