chapter  3
27 Pages

Manoah, Manoah’s Wife, Samson, and Delilah

Despite having triumphed over Canaan at the conclusion of Judges 4, Israel resumes its familiar patterns of behavior and does evil in the eyes of God.1 In response, God likewise adheres to divine patterns of behavior and delivers Israel into the hands of new enemies until Israel, predictably, cries out.2 God then appoints new judges and restores order. But chaos always returns in Judges. As I argue in Chapter 2, Judges depicts an unstable world that lacks effective and unifying male authority figures to justify the establishment of a monarchy and to secure God’s ultimate authority. A king is crowned in the Bible’s next book, but even this king must learn the power of divine authority. King Saul, Israel’s first king, must lose the throne in order to learn that God values obedience most of all.3 Saul’s successor, David, understands better that God demands obedience and transmits this value at the end of his life to his son and heir Solomon.4