What I gleaned from Judges 16:1 that talks about Samson and the prostitute is that God can and will use anyone to fulfill his purposes. We are all sinners, and Samson was no different. He was a womanizer, had a tremendous sex drive, and was prone to violence. I think this is why we is such a popular Biblical character, people can identify with his faults (even if most of us are much more tame…)

This website has a great narrative about the meanings of this story: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-was-samson-doing-with-a-prostitute-in-gaza

There is some argument whether he even had sex with her. This site goes over both sides: http://www.biblestudywithrandy.com/2015/08/samson-and-the-gaza-prostitute-did-he-or-didnt-he/

The Nazirite/Nazarite vow is taken by individuals who have voluntarily dedicated themselves to God. The vow is a decision, action, and desire on the part of people whose desire is to yield themselves to God completely. By definition, the Hebrew word nazir, simply means “to be separated or consecrated.” 

Taken from: https://www.gotquestions.org/Nazirite-vow.html

More info: https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/Matthew-Henry/Num/Law-Concerning-Nazarites

 The teraphim seems to mean an “idol in human form” according to sites that I have looked it up in. It appears this word only appears in the Bible so there isn’t a lot of information out there about it. 

An ephod seems to be a priestly garment. In another instance it means an image. 

 More information can be found below: 

http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/teraphim/

http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/ephod/

https://www.gotquestions.org/ephod.html

 

During Biblical times, and some even existed as recently as the 19th century, the Asiatic Lion roamed the Middle East. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/a/asiatic-lion/

A good site stating some of the evidence and stories of lions in Biblical times: http://www.jhom.com/topics/lions/biblical.htm

Some interesting information on why the lion attacked Samson.  https://www.wordforwordbiblecomic.com/blog/why-did-the-lion-attack-samson-biblestudy-bgbg2The author of the site suggests a Natural, Holy, and Demonic point of view. I agree with the analysis and believe that it makes some excellent points on the demonic possibilities. 

This was a passage that really struck a cord with me. Upon reading it, I immediately grabbed my notebook and wrote it down to do some more research. In the passage Jephthah is about to do battle with the Ammonites and says: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”

After the Lord granted his wish, and gave them into his hands. 34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the Lordthat I cannot break.”

His daughter encourages him to keep his word and a further passage reads: 39 After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.

The entire passage can be read at: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges%2011:29-40

Obviously after reading, the first thought in almost anyone’s mind would be, why would God have him sacrifice his daughter to him?

Apparently there is some argument that she may not have been sacrificed (killed). This site: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1081-what-about-jephthahs-vow states as one of many possible reasons: “On the other hand, a number of prominent scholars (e.g., Edersheim, Archer, Geisler, etc.) believe that Jephthah did not sacrifice his daughter as a burnt offering; rather, it is argued that he devoted her, as a virgin, to the service of Jehovah for the remainder of her life.” They give a number of theories backing up this claim.

Another excellent website also supporting the view: http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/RA/k/584/Jephthahs-Vow-Did-He-Didnt-He.htm that he did not kill her, but gave her into a life of service to God. After reading multiple sites, this theory seems to be the most likely in m mind. Two lines listed on this site really resonated with me, “Spinsterhood was almost unknown as well—a woman’s whole life revolved around marriage, family and children. Thus, as it states specifically, Jephthah’s daughter mourned with her friends over her virginity, not her impending death. She knew she would not die, but remain a virgin for the rest of her life.” and “In verse 39 the writer repeats, “She knew no man” immediately after he writes that Jephthah performed the vow. If he had truly sacrificed her, would it not have been better to write, “And she died”? But she did not die! She lived out her life without knowing a man! This is why the maidens of Israel praised her so much! She gave up—sacrificed—the one thing that they prized most highly: their ability to have children.”

Many conservative Jewish scholars still believe that he actually killed her. There is a lot of evidence stating that he likely did not though. The culture at the time vehemently abhorred human sacrifice, and God himself had rules against it. Both sites listed above go into much more detail regarding this passage. Feel free to tell me what you think after reading the passages and these site’s in the comments below!  

 

Judges 11:24 “You keep whatever your god Chemosh gives you, and we will keep whatever the LORD our God gives us.” New Living Translationhttp://biblehub.com/judges/11-24.htm

Chemosh was the gods of the Moabites. He was known as a fish god. “Unfortunately, Chemosh-worship was introduced into Israelite culture by King Solomon, who had wives from other cultures who turned his heart to other gods (1 Kings 11:4–7). Chemosh was one of those gods worshiped by Solomon’s wives. The cult of Chemosh was eventually destroyed in Judah by King Josiah (2 Kings 23).”

More information can be found at this site, which has an excellent write up: https://www.gotquestions.org/who-Chemosh.html

 

 “Baal was the name of the supreme god worshiped in ancient Canaan and Phoenicia.”  as noted at this site: https://www.gotquestions.org/who-Baal.html which has a lot of interesting information. A reason that it was so sinful to worship this god, the website notes: “Baal worship was rooted in sensuality and involved ritualistic prostitution in the temples. At times, appeasing Baal required human sacrifice, usually the firstborn of the one making the sacrifice (Jeremiah 19:5). The priests of Baal appealed to their god in rites of wild abandon which included loud, ecstatic cries and self-inflicted injury (1 Kings 18:28).”

He is also known as the Sun god. 

Another site that has more information: http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/baal/