Fastening Torches to the Foxes Tails

Wesley taught about Prevenient Grace, Justifying Grace, and Sanctifying Grace. - And even if we know about those forms of grace that Wesley emphasized, - I think that we still have a hard time understanding what grace really is. - I once heard it explained this way. - Suppose tha … More


It is important to note that the wife that Samson asked his parents to get for him apparently continued to live with her parents. He was probably taking her an expectant gift on his periodic visit. However Samson learns that his bride had been given to another by her father who thought Samson hated her (vv. 1-3). (The same word is used for divorce in Duet. 24:3).

Samson is unimpressed with the offer of marriage to her younger sister and he again takes his anger out on the Philistines, this time by burning the grain fields. He did this by fastening torches to the tied tails of 300 pairs of foxes (vv. 4-5). (The Hebrew word also means jackals which run in packs and are more easily caught). The fiery destruction was to the dry shocks of grain already harvested and spread to the standing grain yet to be  harvested. It also spread to the vineyards and olive groves. Thus it destroyed the land’s three main crops. (Deut 7:13, Hag 1:11).

When the Philistines found out that Samson caused the destruction, they retaliated by burning his wife and her father to death (v. 6). Because Samson was motivated again by personal revenge he slaughtered many of the Philistines and then went to a cave (vv. 7-8). The Philistines camped in Judah and when the Judean learned about Samson they sought him with 3000 men to turn him over to the Philistines (vv. 9-12). Samson let them surrender him to the Philistines and they bound him with 2 new ropes (v. 13).


It is never right when I try to take vengeance into my own hands. I always need to let the Lord fight my battle for me and he always knows what is best.

Judges 15:1-13 (English Standard Version)

After some days, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife with a young goat. And he said, "I will go in to my wife in the chamber." But her father would not allow him to go in. And her father said, "I really thought that you utterly hated her, so I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister more beautiful than she? Please take her instead." And Samson said to them, "This time I shall be innocent in regard to the Philistines, when I do them harm." So Samson went and caught 300 foxes and took torches. And he turned them tail to tail and put a torch between each pair of tails. And when he had set fire to the torches, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines and set fire to the stacked grain and the standing grain, as well as the olive orchards. Then the Philistines said, "Who has done this?" And they said, "Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife and given her to his companion." And the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire. And Samson said to them, "If this is what you do, I swear I will be avenged on you, and after that I will quit." And he struck them hip and thigh with a great blow, and he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam. Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah and made a raid on Lehi. And the men of Judah said, "Why have you come up against us?" They said, "We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him as he did to us." Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, "Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?" And he said to them, "As they did to me, so have I done to them." And they said to him, "We have come down to bind you, that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines." And Samson said to them, "Swear to me that you will not attack me yourselves." They said to him, "No; we will only bind you and give you into their hands. We will surely not kill you." So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock.

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