The Signs of the Times


October 6, 1881

An Unwise Marriage


The divine promise to Manoah was in due time fulfilled in the birth of a son, upon whom the name of Samson was bestowed. By the command of the angel no razor was to come upon the child's head, he being consecrated to God as a Nazarite, from his birth. As the boy grew up, it became evident that he possessed extraordinary physical strength. This was not, however, as Samson and his parents well knew, dependent upon his well-knit sinews, but upon his condition as a Nazarite, of which his unshorn hair was a symbol. ST October 6, 1881, par. 1

Had Samson as faithfully obeyed the divine command as his parents had done, his would have been a nobler and happier destiny. But he became corrupted by association with idolaters. The inheritance of the tribe of Dan, to which Manoah's family belonged, was adjacent to the country of the Philistines. Indeed, the little town of Zorah, which was Samson's early home, was in close proximity to the dwelling-places of this alien race, and in his youth he came to mingle with them on friendly terms. Thus intimacies sprung up, whose evil influences darkened his whole life. ST October 6, 1881, par. 2

A young woman dwelling in the Philistine town of Timnah so engaged Samson's affections that he determined to make her his wife. In those days marriages were arranged by the parents. Hence Samson requested his father and mother to secure for him this daughter of the Philistines. Manoah and his wife sought to dissuade the young man from his purpose. They warned him of the danger of forming an alliance with idolaters, and besought him to seek a wife among his own people. But arguments and entreaties were alike in vain. His only answer was, “she pleaseth me well.” Seeing his determination, the parents decided that the Lord might design thus to accomplish his purposes; hence they yielded to Samson's wishes, and the marriage was consummated. ST October 6, 1881, par. 3

Thus at the time above all others when he should have maintained entire consecration to the will of God, just as he was entering upon the stage of manhood, the period when he must execute his divine mission,—at this critical point in his life history, Samson yielded to the tempter, and by an unwise marriage placed himself in alliance with the enemies of God. This important step was not carefully considered. Samson did not ask himself whether he could better glorify God when united with the object of his fancy, or whether he was placing himself in a position where he could not fulfill the purpose to be accomplished by his life. To all who seek first to honor him, God has promised wisdom; but there is no promise to those who desire only to please themselves. ST October 6, 1881, par. 4

The Lord has in his word plainly instructed his people not to unite themselves with those who have not his love and fear before them. Such companions will seldom be satisfied with the love and respect which are justly theirs. They will constantly seek to gain from the God-fearing wife or husband some favor which shall involve a disregard of the divine requirements. To a godly man, and to the church with which he is connected, a worldly wife or a worldly friend is as a spy in the camp, who will watch every opportunity to betray the servant of Christ, and expose him to the enemy's attacks. ST October 6, 1881, par. 5

Satan is constantly seeking to strengthen his power over the people of God by inducing them to enter into alliance with the hosts of darkness. And to accomplish this he endeavors to arouse unsanctified passions in the heart which is naturally prone to evil. It is not safe for Christians to imitate the example of the ungodly, or to yield to their influence. The wisest counsels of the wicked are not to be relied upon. If accepted, they may bring trouble and sorrow upon the child of God. The Lord would not have his people take ungodly persons into their confidence. The apostle Paul exhorts us “to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” “For what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” ST October 6, 1881, par. 6

At his marriage feast Samson was brought into familiar association with those who despised the God of Israel. Whoever voluntarily enters into such relations will feel it necessary to conform, to some degree, to the habits and customs of his companions. The time thus spent with vain and trifling persons is worse than wasted. Thoughts are entertained, words spoken, that weaken the citadel of the soul. ST October 6, 1881, par. 7

The wife, to obtain whom Samson had transgressed the command of God, proved treacherous to her husband ere the close of the marriage feast, and at last was put to death by the very class whose threats had caused her perfidy. Samson had already given evidence of his prodigious strength, by slaying, single-handed, a young lion, and by killing thirty of the men of Askelon. Now, moved to anger at the barbarous murder of his wife, he attacked the Philistines, “and smote them with great slaughter.” Then, wishing a safe retreat from the Philistines, and fearing to trust his own countrymen, he withdrew to a strong rock called Elam, in the tribe of Judah. ST October 6, 1881, par. 8

To this place he was pursued by a large body of Philistines, whose presence excited great alarm among the inhabitants of Judah. When they learned that the sole object of the invasion was to take Samson captive, they basely agreed to deliver him up to his enemies. In so doing they hoped to secure the favor of the Philistines, and thus lighten their own oppression. Accordingly three thousand men of Judah went up to take the mighty warrior. But even at such odds they dared to make the attempt only because they felt assured that he would not harm his own people. Samson consented to be bound and delivered to the Philistines, but first exacted from the men of Judah a promise not to fall upon him themselves, and thus compel him to destroy them. He permitted them to bind with two new ropes, and to take him down to the Philistines. ST October 6, 1881, par. 9

He was led into the camp of his enemies amid demonstrations of great joy. But while their shouts were waking the echoes of the hills, the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon Samson. He burst asunder the strong new cords as if they had been flax burned in the fire. Then seizing the first weapon at hand, which though only the jawbone of an ass, was rendered more effective than sword or spear, he smote the Philistines on every side, until they fled in terror, leaving a thousand of their number dead upon the field. ST October 6, 1881, par. 10

Had the Israelites been prepared to unite with Samson, and follow up the victory gained, they might at this time have freed themselves from the power of the Philistines. But they had become weak and discouraged. They had basely neglected the work which God had commanded them to perform with diligence, thoroughness, and valor; not only failing to dispossess the heathen, but uniting with them in their degrading practices, tolerating their cruelty, and, so long as it was not directed against themselves, even countenancing their injustice. When at last the tyrant power was triumphant, Israel submitted to the degradation which they might have escaped, had they only obeyed God. Even when the Lord raised up a deliverer for them, they would frequently desert the one chosen to set things in order, and would unite with their bitterest oppressors. ST October 6, 1881, par. 11

If those who acknowledge God would but obey his voice, how much suffering might be spared them. God's eye is fixed upon every individual, and every one must render an account to him for all they do, and for what they permit themselves to be. Wherever we are, in storehouse and workshop, in all our business, every day in the week, and every hour in the day, his eye scrutinizes all our works, his ear listens to our every word. In the deepest solitude every act and word of our lives has still one witness,—the infinite God. When we are true to the high destiny which he has marked out for us, we become co-laborers with him. If our responsibility be fully and heartily accepted and faithfully discharged, it will secure for us the joyful commendation by the Majesty of Heaven, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” ST October 6, 1881, par. 12

Thousands of Israelites witnessed Samson's defeat of the Philistines, yet no voice was raised in triumph, till the hero, elated at this marvelous success, celebrated his own victory. But he praised himself, instead of ascribing the glory to God. No sooner had he ceased than he was reminded of his weakness by a most intense and painful thirst. He had become exhausted by his prodigious labors, and no means of supplying his need was at hand. He began to feel his utter dependence upon God, and to be convinced that he had not triumphed by his own power, but in the strength of the Omnipotent One. ST October 6, 1881, par. 13

He then gave God the praise for his deliverance, and offered an earnest prayer for relief from his present suffering. The Lord hearkened to his petition and opened for him a spring of water. In token of his gratitude Samson called the name of the place En-hakkore, or “the well of him that cried.” ST October 6, 1881, par. 14

After this victory the Israelites made Samson judge over them, and he ruled Israel for twenty years. ST October 6, 1881, par. 15