Verses 1-2, Never one to hold a grudge, Samson allows his anger to pass and then returns to receive his wife, yet discovers that his father-in-law has already married her off to his best man.
Verses 3-5, Wronged and angry, Samson feels justified in returning the ill-treatment with a mischievous and radical plan of his own. He catches 300 foxes–or jackals–and ties them in pairs to a torch.
–I think it is interesting to note that Samson never once employed the help of another, and seems to have hatched and executed this plan on his own as well.
–Samson then lets the flaming animals loose in the Philistine harvest and burns it to the ground.
Verse 6, Enraged by the destructive act, the men of the city take out their anger on Samson’s almost wife and her father, burning them and their home.
–Note the threat of 14:15 comes to pass anyway. It never pays to escape suffering by sinning. See Mt. 5:10-12; 1 Peter 3:14-17
Verses 7-8, Samson ends up in a skirmish with the men of the town and utterly slaughters them. Winning the battle he retires to a protective rocky region in the tribe of Judah.
Verses 9-13, Here we are confronted with a sad picture of the men of Judah. They are so set in their slavery that they are willing to sacrifice the one person who has proven powerful enough to set them free.
–Though they do not kill Samson themselves, they do hand him over to the Philistines knowing that their intention is to kill Samson. Be careful not to be a partaker in other men’s sins. See 1 Tim. 5:22 and think Judas + Pilate.
Verses 14-15, The Spirit empowers Samson to win a remarkable victory.
Verses 16-17, There is a very ingenious wordplay in the Hebrew, again highlighting Samson’s keen wit. It translates roughly:
With the jawbone of an ass I have slain mass upon mass
With the jawbone of an ass I have slain an ox-load of men
Verses 18-19, After this battle Samson is nearly overcome with thirst and fatigue. I believe that God wants Samson to know that he must be continually dependent upon Him.
–God then graciously answers that need by bringing forth water from a rock.
Verse 20, Here we have an often forgotten and overlooked fact of Samson’s life. He proceeds to judge the people of Israel in apparent safety and common good for 20 years! We ought to measure this in as we weigh the worth of Samson’s life!