SAMSON’S ROCK ETEM OF LEHI
Judges 15:7 And Samson said unto them, Though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease. 8 And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam.
Judges 15:9 Then the Philistines went up, and pitched in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi. 10 And the men of Judah said, Why are ye come up against us? And they answered, To bind Samson are we come up, to do to him as he hath done to us. 11 Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? what is this that thou hast done unto us? And he said unto them, As they did unto me, so have I done unto them. 12 And they said unto him, We are come down to bind thee, that we may deliver thee into the hand of the Philistines. And Samson said unto them, Swear unto me, that ye will not fall upon me yourselves. 13 And they spake unto him, saying, No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand: but surely we will not kill thee. And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him up from the rock. 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.
Judges 15:18 ¶ 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, which is in Lehi unto this day. 20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.
Since we are not familiar with the names in our title, let us see the definitions of these words. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance “Etam” means “hawk-ground.” It is derived from a Hebrew word translated as “the fowls” in Genesis 15:11. Therefore it is an elevated rock where Samson could have all the surrounding country side in view.
Then the word “Lehi,” according to Mr. Strong comes from a word which is translated, “jawbone” in verses fifteen, sixteen and seventeen of our above listed text. Therefore our text means the elevated rock Etam, which is located in the city known as “Jawbone.” This may be strange to our minds, but remember that there is a present day city in Saskatchewan, Canada named, “Moosejaw!”
Vengeful retaliation only brings forth more retaliation. But Samson was guided by the rule of God’s law. Therefore he clearly states in Judges 15:7 that he would be avenged, and after that I will cease! He was guided by the law of God which stated that the punishment for a wrong must be limited to the committed crime. Exodus 21:23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, 24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
The Philistines had burned alive Samson’s wife and father-in-law so he set their fields, vineyards, and orchards on fire. He gave “burning for burning.” And it is then we read in verse eight of our text that he “dwelt in the top of the rock Etam.”
But of our Brother Samson, due to a mis-guided legal morality taught us by the Harlot church, we usually present him in a negative light of disapproval. Or else, we have discarded him altogether, being confused by him in not being able to understand his actions. Therefore let us look, without prejudice, upon our brother, who is listed with those of ancient faith in Hebrews eleven. Hebrews 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
Read carefully these words, “Samson … Who through faith subdued kingdoms…” And the only reason the Apostle states that he does not take up Samson’s actions, guided by the same faith as Abel’s, Enoch’s, Noah’s and Abraham’s, and the rest of those mentioned in this chapter is that he does not have time to do so! “- for the time would fail me -“
But our religious morality will not allow us to embrace such a man as Samson! Therefore the point we are missing is not only derived from a wrongful sense of morality, but from a wrongful concept of God! For He alone can properly define evil. Isaiah 45:6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. 7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. 8 Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it. 9 Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!
As the sunlight can penetrate into both a manure pile, out behind the barn, causing its heat to rise up in steam, and also into the mansion up on the hill, causing the crystal chandelier to sparkle, so the Holy Spirit animates all. But when it recedes at evening that light is no worse for the manure pile, and no better for the sparkling chandelier. John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. This is part of the reason that He is called “the seven Spirits of God,” referring to His diversity of animation of all life. Revelation 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
Abraham wrestled with this in the matter of the destruction of Sodom. Genesis 18:25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the answer of this is that the Lord God is perfectly holy and cannot be involved in the slightest degree of evil. Therefore if we do not understand his dealings with Samson, it is because we are mis-judging Almighty God with our religious minds.
Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
God instructed Ezekiel that is was our ways which are unequal, not His! Ezekiel 18:24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. 25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal? 29 Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?
And we have not thrown the Prophet Hosea away! But listen to his actions which were commands by God: Hosea 1:2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD. 3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.
Hosea 3:1 Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine. 2 So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley:
And we hold dearly King David! We say he is “the sweet Psalmist of Israel.” And that he is “a man after God’s own heart.” (Acts 13:22) But Samson didn’t murder any woman’s husband in order to commit adultery with her! And it is never once listed of Samson, as it is with David that, the thing that David had done displeased the LORD. (2 Samuel 11:27)
Let us consider a verse in Judges that may help us to soften our harsh judgment against Samson. Judges 14:4 But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he (that is, Samson) sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel. That pronoun, “he” is of great importance. Samson’s parents were not given the Spirit which was afforded their son. They knew not, but “he” – that is, their son Samson, knew! He knew within his heart that he, like the Prophet Hosea, was to join himself to this woman in order to begin his deliverance of Israel from the bondage of the Philistines!
Hosea was told that he must marry a harlot in order for him to enter into the heart-pains which God ‘felt’ in his relationship with Israel. We are blessed when we are given the privilege of entering into the “fellowship of his sufferings.” 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. Therefore we don’t really know that many true Christians!
But let us return to the meaning of our title. The rock Etam was located at Lehi. And as has been stated, Lehi means “jawbone.” And to rightly understand verse nineteen of our text, let us first remember verse seventeen. For there we read that the actual jawbone was discarded. And then we read that after casting it away, he changes our focus from that actual animal bone to the name he assigns that location. He call it “Ramath-lehi,” which means, “hill of the jawbone.” Therefore we are directed away from the actual animal bone to the place named by this event.
And therefore we read verse nineteen in the Amplified Bible, “And God split open the hollow place that was of Lehi, and water came out of it…” Then Samson also honors God for supplying him water by setting forth the name, “Enhakkore.” This means, “the spring of him who prayed.” Therefore as we accept this name as a place, so named for Samson to cause remembrance of God’s faithfulness, so we must accept that it was not out of the literal animal’s bone from which the water flowed, (as the KJV indicated), but from the rock Etah of Lehi.
It is said that Lehi was an area of springs and pools which provided water for both Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Therefore we see that, as the Lord had done in the past, he caused the rock to split and allow the water to flow out. Consider the following verses: Exodus 17:6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. Numbers 20:8 Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.
And just what is the spiritual significance of this? It is but another picture of the sufficiency of our Lord Christ! 1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
And he brings the water of the Holy Spirit from the rock of faith, upon which he builds his church! Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
Pastor Gene Breed
August 22, 2019