All right. I have a confession to make. (I may have made it before, I can't really remember). I have never really liked the story of Samson. He was a judge with a problem. He was arrogant, angry, and antagonistic. (Oh yeah, three "A"s!) I have never understood why we tell this story to children!
BUT, I was reading his story last night and I decided to read the study notes at the bottom of the page... It appears that every other time (during the time of the judges) the people would be disobedient and God would allow an enemy to conquer them for awhile. The people would realize their sin, repent and call out to God. He would then send a judge who would help them to get out from the enemy's grasp.
Well, this time around, the Israelites had gotten so used to living under the Philistines rule, they didn't even bother to call out to God... They had become so used to the oppression, they just lived with it.
Then in comes Samson. Samson's job it seems, was to enrage the Philistines so that they would come down heavier on the Israelites, so that they would be come uncomfortable and call out to God for help.
And I have to say is, if that was his job, he was good at it. He killed 30 of them just because of a riddle, he killed a whole bunch of them with a fresh donkey jawbone. (And just as an aside, a "Fresh" donkey jawbone? Does that mean what I think it means? Did this jawbone have flesh hanging off of it? Did it stink? bugs crawling along the gum line? yuck! Again, Why do we teach this to our children?)
Anyway, Samson did (I suppose) ultimately redeem himself at the end of his life, although not enough to put him on my top 10 list of favorite biblical people, that's for sure.