Michael Boling – How to Approach the Issue of Genesis 1-2 (Part 1)

How to Approach the Issue of Genesis 1-2 (Part 1)

There is undoubtedly a renewed debate in the church by both layman and scholars alike on how to approach the account of creation outlined in Genesis 1-2. This is truly an era of increasing influence of atheistic dogma to include the New Atheism espoused by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and others, most notably in the area of academia but increasingly making its way into the pulpits and books of even the most well respected and notable preachers and theologians. How is the believer to address such issues given the increasingly intense debate on the issue of origins? Should we seemingly acquiesce to the findings of the scientific community? Should we take the approach of those who favor Intelligent Design (ID) by wielding the “wedge of truth” espoused by ID author Philip Johnson? Should believers espouse the views of creationist organizations such as Answers in Genesis (AIG) or the Institute for Creation Research (ICR)? Or finally, should we just ignore the issue altogether and just focus on getting people saved? Despite what some pastors and scholars may proclaim, the issue of origins is vital to the interpretation of the entirety of scriptural truth and thus, we must address how to properly understand what the Bible actually says on this subject. So bear with us as this will be a somewhat lengthy discussion but it will be well worth the effort. In all likelihood, due to the depth of this topic, we will break this topic of discussion into several parts so be sure to check back often.

Let us begin by looking at what Genesis 1:1 says at face value: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (NIV). There are a number of important elements which must be noted in these opening verses to Scripture. Arguably the key items to point out are the phrases “In the beginning” and “God created.” These two phrases give the reader the impression at first glance that creation had a defined starting point with God being the creator of the heavens and the earth, in essence the creator of the entire universe. Continue reading “Michael Boling – How to Approach the Issue of Genesis 1-2 (Part 1)”

John Bradford – A Fruitful Sermon of Repentance

bradford_0 The life we have at this present is the gift of God, in whom we live, move, and are, and therefore he is called Jehovah. For this life we should be thankful, and we may not in any wise use it after our own fancy, but only to the end for which it is given and lent us; that is, to the setting forth of God’s praise and glory, by repentance, conversion, and obedience to his good will and holy laws whereunto his longsuffering, as it were, even draws us if our hearts were not hardened by impenitence. And therefore our life in the scripture is called a walking; for as the body daily draws more and more near its end, that is, the earth, even so our soul draws daily more and more near unto death, that is, to salvation or damnation, to heaven or hell!

Since we are most careless of this, and very fools, (for we, alas! are the same today we were yesterday, and not better or nearer to God, but rather nearer to hell, Satan, and perdition; being covetous, idle, carnal, secure, negligent, proud, &c.) I think my labour cannot be better bestowed, than with the Baptist, Christ Jesus, and his apostles, to harp on this string, which of all other is most necessary, and most especially in these days. What string is that? says one. Truly, brother, it is the string of repentance, which Christ our Saviour used first in his ministry; and as his minister at this present time, I will use it to you all, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matt. iv.

This sentence, thus pronounced and preached by our Saviour Jesus Christ, as it commands us to repent, so to the doing of the same, it shows us a sufficient cause to stir us up thereunto, namely, because the kingdom of heaven, which is a kingdom of all joy, peace, riches, power and pleasure, is at hand, to all such as do repent. So that the meaning hereof is, as though our Saviour should thus speak at present: “Sirs, since I see you all walking the wrong way, even to Satan and unto hell-fire, by following the kingdom of Satan, which now is coloured under the vain pleasures of this life, and foolishness of the flesh most subtle, to your utter undoing and destruction to behold and mark well what I say unto you, The kingdom of heaven, that is, another manner of joy and felicity, honour and riches, power and pleasure, than you now perceive or enjoy, is even at hand, and at your backs; as, if you will turn again, that is, repent you, you shall most truly and pleasantly feel, see, and inherit. Turn again therefore, I say, that is, repent; for this joy I speak of, even the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Here we may note, first, the corruption of our nature since to this commandment, Repent you, he adds a clause, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand; for by reason of the corruption and sturdiness of our nature, God unto all his commandments commonly either adds some promise to provoke us to obedience, or else some sufficient cause which cannot but excite as to hearty labouring for doing the same; as here, to the commandment of doing penance, he adds this cause, saying, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Again, since he joins the cause to the commandment, saying, “For the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” we may learn, that of the kingdom of heaven, none, to whom the ministry of preaching does appertain, can be a partaker, but such as repent, and do penance. Therefore, dearly beloved, if you regard the kingdom of heaven, as you cannot enter therein, except you repent, I beseech you all; of every estate, as you desire your own weal, to repent and do penance: the which that you may do, I will do my best how to help you by God’s grace.

But first, because we cannot well tell what repentance is, through ignorance and for lack of knowledge and false teaching, I will show you what repentance is. Repentance, or penance, is no English word, but we borrow it of the Latinists, to whom penance is ‘forethinking’ in English; in Greek, it means ‘being wise afterwards;’ in Hebrew, ‘conversion or turning;’ which conversion or turnings, cannot be true and hearty, unto God especially, without some good hope or trust of pardon for that which is already done and past. I may well in this sort define it, namely; that penance is a sorrowing or thinking upon our sins past, an earnest purpose to amend, or turning to God, with a trust of pardon.

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Dr. Albert Mohler – Learning from Christopher Hitchens: Lessons Evangelicals Must Not Miss

The death of Christopher Hitchens on December 15 was not unexpected, and that seemed only to add to the tragedy. His fight against cancer had been lived, like almost every other aspect of his colorful life, in full public view. He had told numerous interviewers that he wanted to die in an active, not a passive sense. Then again, there may never have been a truly passive moment in Christopher Hitchens’ life.

Long before he was known as one of the world’s most ardent atheists, he was known as a world-class essayist and a hard-driving public intellectual. Born in England, he had made his home in Washington, D.C. for three decades. His range of interests was almost unprecedented. He wrote books on subjects as varied as Thomas Paine and the Elgin Marbles. He was a predictable man of the Left when he began his journalistic career in Britain, and he remained a staunch defender of civil liberties throughout his life. Nevertheless, he broke with liberals in the United States and Britain when he affirmed the Bush Administration’s decision to wage war against terrorism in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

He could write eloquent prose, but he could also write savagely. He was a self-described contrarian, even writing a book entitled, Letter to a Young Contrarian. In that book he described this contrarian stance as “a disposition against arbitrary authority or witless mass opinion.” In practice, for Hitchens it seemed to mean the right to attack any idea, any place, any time, no matter who might hold it.

In 2007 he launched a full assault upon theism and belief in God. In God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Hitchens declared himself to be the implacable and determined foe of all religious belief. Along with Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris, he became part of the Four Horsemen of the New Atheism.

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Dr. Albert Mohler – What Breathes Fire into the Equations? Professor Stephen Hawking at 70

Stephen Hawking celebrated his 70th birthday yesterday, though he was not able to attend the symposium held in Cambridge in his honor. Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, vice-chancellor of Cambridge University, made the announcement that Hawking, the guest of honor, would not be present.

The very fact that Stephen Hawking has reached his 70th birthday is an astounding fact in itself. Hawking, perhaps the world’s most famous scientist, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [ALS], more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, at age 21. That disease usually leads to death within three years of diagnosis, making Hawking’s almost half-century experience with ALS all the more amazing.

Add to this the remarkable productivity of Hawking’s work as a scientist and public intellectual. Confined to a wheelchair most of those years, he has been dependent upon a breathing tube for years now. No longer able to speak, he has communicated for several years through a special computer device that allows him to choose words as the machine follows his cues. Most recently, those cues are communicated only through voluntary twitches of his cheek. It can take him up to ten minutes to compose a single sentence.

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Intelmin Week in Review – Week of 30 Mar-5 Apr 2015


Here is what made it on Intelmin last week:

Michael Boling – Reflections on Judges 16-18 http://intelmin.org/2015/04/michael-boling-reflections-on-judges-16-18/

Michael Boling – Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Feast of Pesach (Passover) http://intelmin.org/2015/04/michael-boling-jesus-as-the-fulfillment-of-the-feast-of-pesach-passover/

Lyndon Unger – Always Being Prepared To…What? http://intelmin.org/2015/04/lyndon-unger-always-being-prepared-towhat/

Martin Luther – The Eighth Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness http://intelmin.org/2015/04/martin-luther-the-eighth-commandment-thou-shalt-not-bear-false-witness/

Michael Boling – Judges 13-15 http://intelmin.org/2015/04/michael-boling-judges-13-15/

Book Review – Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary: Ruth http://intelmin.org/2015/04/book-review-two-horizons-old-testament-commentary-ruth/

Michael Boling – Feasts of the Lord: The Feast of Pesach (Passover) http://intelmin.org/2015/04/michael-boling-feasts-of-the-lord-the-feast-of-pesach-passover-2/

Matthew Poole – Gossip http://intelmin.org/2015/04/matthew-poole-gossip/

Scott Redd – Avoiding a Spirit of Lethargy (Part 2) http://intelmin.org/2015/04/scott-redd-avoiding-a-spirit-of-lethargy-part-2/

Michael Boling – Reflections on Judges 10-12 http://intelmin.org/2015/04/michael-boling-reflections-on-judges-10-12/

Michael Boling – Isaiah 58 and the Observance of the Sabbath http://intelmin.org/2015/04/michael-boling-isaiah-58-and-the-observance-of-the-sabbath/

Book Review – EP Study Commentary: Acts http://intelmin.org/2015/04/book-review-ep-study-commentary-acts/

Albert Mohler – The Integrity of Words and Our Confession of Faith http://intelmin.org/2015/04/albert-mohler-the-integrity-of-words-and-our-confession-of-faith/

Martyn Lloyd-Jones – Contrast Between the Christian and the Non-Christian: Exposition of Romans 8:5-17 http://intelmin.org/2015/04/martyn-lloyd-jones-contrast-between-the-christian-and-the-non-christian-exposition-of-romans-85-17//

Michael Boling – Reflections on Judges 8-9 http://intelmin.org/2015/04/michael-boling-reflections-on-judges-8-9/

Book Review – Glory Hunger: God, the Gospel, and Our Quest for Something More http://intelmin.org/2015/04/book-review-glory-hunger-god-the-gospel-and-our-quest-for-something-more/

Scott Oliphant – Around and Around We Go http://intelmin.org/2015/04/scott-oliphant-around-and-around-we-go/

Andy Horvath – What You Probably Don’t Know about ‘The Least of These’ http://intelmin.org/2015/04/andy-horvath-what-you-probably-dont-know-about-the-least-of-these/

Michael Boling – Reflections on Judges 6-7 http://intelmin.org/2015/04/michael-boling-reflections-on-judges-6-7/

Nick Batzig – The Curse Reversed http://intelmin.org/2015/04/nick-batzig-the-curse-reversed/

Book Review – Continuity and Discontinuity: Perspectives on the Relationship Between the Old and New Testaments http://intelmin.org/2015/04/book-review-continuity-and-discontinuity-perspectives-on-the-relationship-between-the-old-and-new-testaments/

Micah Fries – Why You Should Care for Creation Now http://intelmin.org/2015/04/micah-fries-why-you-should-care-for-creation-now/

Michael Boling – Reflections on Judges 3-5 http://intelmin.org/2015/03/michael-boling-reflections-on-judges-3-5/

Book Review – Roman Catholic Theology & Practice: An Evangelical Assessment http://intelmin.org/2015/03/book-review-roman-catholic-theology-practice-an-evangelical-assessment/

John MacArthur – The Cost of Compromise http://intelmin.org/2015/03/john-macarthur-the-cost-of-compromise/

Austin Brown – Reflections in Genesis 3:15 http://intelmin.org/2015/03/austin-brown-reflections-in-genesis-315/

Michael Boling – Reflections on Judges 1-2 http://intelmin.org/2015/03/michael-boling-reflections-on-judges-1-2/

Book Review – Behold the King of Glory http://intelmin.org/2015/03/book-review-behold-the-king-of-glory/

J. C. Ryle – 10 Marks of the Holy Spirit in a Believer http://intelmin.org/2015/03/j-c-ryle-10-marks-of-the-holy-spirit-in-a-believer/

John Piper – Charles Spurgeon: Preaching Through Adversity http://intelmin.org/2015/03/john-piper-charles-spurgeon-preaching-through-adversity/

Tim Chaffey and Jason Lisle – Old Earth Creationism on Trial: Prosecution – Biblical Age for the Earth

by Tim Chaffey and Jason Lisle

Welcome to the trial of the century, or better, the trial of the last three centuries. This particular battle has been raging since the early 19th century. Arguments have been promoted in every conceivable media outlet: newspapers, books, magazines, the Internet, television, and video programs. Hopefully, after examining the arguments, the reader will see that there can only be one correct interpretation of Genesis 1–11. That interpretation is known as young-earth creationism. Consider the following summary of the young-earthers’ major arguments.

The Plain Teaching of Scripture

Young-earth creationists have argued that their position is the clear teaching of God’s Word. The Bible teaches that God created everything in six days, and that Adam was created on the sixth day. The genealogies recorded in Scripture indicate that Abraham lived about 2,000 years after Adam was created. And since Abraham lived about 4,000 years ago, this means the earth is about 6,000 years old. The earth could be much older if and only if there were substantial gaps in the genealogies, or if God had taken much longer than six days to create. One young-earther put it this way:

Taking Genesis 1 in this way, at face value, without doubt it says that God created the universe, the earth, the sun, moon and stars, plants and animals, and the first two people within six ordinary (approximately 24-hour) days. Being really honest, you would have to admit that you could never get the idea of millions of years from reading this passage.

This statement offers an accurate summary of the young-earthers’ claims on this point. The Bible should be allowed to speak for itself. If it states that God made everything in six literal days, then it does not matter that the majority of scientists disagree with it.

Some old-earthers admit that this is a major strength of young-earth creationism but still adhere to an old-earth interpretation because of their acceptance of modern scientific theories concerning the age of the earth. Biology Professor Pattle Pun of Wheaton College stated:

It is apparent that the most straightforward understanding of Genesis, without regard to the hermeneutical considerations suggested by science, is that God created the heavens and the earth in six solar days, that man was created on the sixth day, and that death and chaos entered the world after the fall of Adam and Eve, and that all fossils were the result of the catastrophic deluge that spared only Noah’s family and the animals therewith.

Pun is not alone in making this type of claim. The late Dr. Gleason Archer, an Old Testament scholar, wrote:

From a superficial reading, the impression received is that the entire creative process took place in six twenty-four hour days. If this was the true intent of the Hebrew author (a questionable deduction, as will be presently shown), this seems to run counter to modern scientific research, which indicates that the planet Earth was created several billion years ago.

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Old-Earth Creationism on Trial

Michael Boling – Reflections on Judges 16-18


Judges 16-18

The part of the life of Samson most are familiar with now becomes the focus of discussion in Judges, namely the entrance of Delilah and the downfall of Samson.

The rather crazy life of Samson continued, one that did not reflect his calling as one set apart to God. In Judges 16 we find him once again in the land of the Philistines, this time in Gaza. He cast his eyes on a prostitute and spent the night with her. Word got around that Samson was in town and the people of Gaza plotted to kill him at dawn. Samson got up in the middle of the night, took hold of the city doors, tore them off posts and all and carried them to the top of the hill facing Hebron.

At a later point in time, Samson again was spending too much time with the Philistines and fell in love with a woman named Delilah. Secretly, the rulers of the Philistines went to Delilah to have her try and trick Samson into telling her the source of his great strength. Delilah, using every trick in her seductress handbook, attempted to woo Samson into giving us his secret. After a series of ploys, all of which failed as Samson was not able to be bound by that which he claimed would control him, Delilah really laid on the charm, prodding him day and night to give up the secret. He finally caved, telling her the source of his strength was his hair. After learning of this, she sent word to the rules of the Philistines, telling them to come back one more time as this time they would be able to capture Samson.

After Samson fell asleep on her lap, Delilah shaved his head and then yelled that the Philistines were coming. As before, Samson leapt up to deal with the Philistines, only this time his strength was no more for God had left him. In reality, the strength did not lie in the hair. It was obedience to God’s commands that gave him strength. His disobedience resulted in God leaving him. The Philistines bound him with bronze shackles and forced him to grind grain in prison. While in prison, his hair began to grow.

The rulers of the Philistines gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon, their god. When they were in high spirits (drunk), they brought Samson out of prison to make sport of him. They stood him among the pillars, but Samson asked the servant if he could be placed between two pillars. The temple was full of Philistines. Praying to God for one last feat of strength to which God answered his prayer, Samson pushed against the pillars, collapsing the entire temple. In doing so, he killed more Philistines at that point that in his entire life.

A man named Micah had taken 1100 shekels of silver from his mother. Returning it to her, she consecrated her silver to the Lord so that her son could make an image and cover that image with the silver. Micah made a shrine, an ephod, and some household gods and installed one of his sons to be the priest. A Levite was passing by from Bethlehem, looking for a place to stay. He came upon the house of Micah who offered for the Levite to stay with him. Micah also offered to pay the Levite and installed him as priest. The text declares that since there was no king, everyone did what was right in their own eyes. Clearly they had forgotten God as being their king.

The Danites were looking for a place to say as they had not yet come into their inheritance of land. They sent five of their leading men to spy out the land. They entered the hill country where Micah’s house was located. They met the Levite who was priest and asked him to inquire of God if their journey would be successful. The priest told them to go in priest for God was with them.

The men left and came to Laish and upon seeing the people there were living in peace and safety and that the land was good, they decided to attack them and take their land. 600 armed men of the Danites departed and set up camp near Kiriath Jearim. The five men who had earlier spied out the land, told their fellow Danites about the house of Micah and that it has an ephod and household gods. The 600 Danites armed for battle stood at the entrance of Micah’s house. The five spies went in and took the household idols and the ephod. Seeing what they were doing, the Levite priest confronted them. The spies told him to be quiet and offered for him to join them and to serve as their priest. He agreed.

After the men had gone some distance from the house of Micah, those who lived near Micah overtook the Danites and asked them what they were doing. The Danites called out to Micah and asked him why he had sent his men to fight them. Micah responded by telling them they had stolen his ephod and household gods. The Danites told Micah that if he attacked them, he would lose everything. Seeing they were too strong for him, Micah returned to his home.

The Danites attacked Laish and attacked them, burning down their city. The Danites rebuilt the city and settled there. They also setup for themselves an idol with Jonathan son of Gershom, the son of Moses and his sons serving as the priest of the Danites. They also used the idols taken from Micah. The house of God remained in Shiloh.

Jared Wilson – Easy Like Friday Afternoon: A Manifesto on Hard-Believism

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
— Matthew 7:13-14 (in the King’s English)

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
— Matthew 19:25-26

It is still scandalous to say what the Scriptures say, which is that no man who doesn’t take up his cross is worthy of Jesus (Mt. 10:38). Many are they who want to extrapolate from sola fide to something that is not fide at all. They assume oddly that because faith alone justifies, real faith may be alone, unaccompanied by works, or that the sum total of salvation is justification alone and not also sanctification.

We saw this in the relatively recent “Lordship salvation” debate, in which many solid Reformed brothers helpfully affirmed the classic doctrine of “faith alone” while also affirming what the Bible both says and implies: saved people are changed people. To have Jesus as Savior is to have him as Lord. It is not legalism to say the new birth begins a new life. Yes, we still battle the flesh — crucifying it daily — but this in itself is a change from the old life, in which we cared nothing about battling the flesh. We still have sin in us, but we are conscious of it, convicted about it, and concerned to be rid of it. This is not works salvation; this is the fruit of salvation.

Obeying the commands of God does not save us, but it is the way we prove saved. This is the testimony from Abraham onward to the new covenant. It is the testimony of James — So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead (2:17) — and of Jesus himself — “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

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Michael Boling – Judges 13-15


Judges 13-15

We now encounter one of the more familiar characters in the book of Judges – Samson. Israel once again did evil in the sight of the Lord, a recurring theme in Judges if you have not noticed. This time, God delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for 40 years. A man named Manoah who had a wife who was childless. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and told her she would give birth to a son. This child was to be set apart as a Nazirite, meaning she was to drink no wine, fermented drink, or unclean food while she was pregnant. Her son’s head was to never be touched with a razor. God was raising him up to deliver the people from the Philistines.

The woman told her husband the message of the angel of the Lord. Manoah prayed to God for help in learning how to raise this son, given the special instructions. God heard Manoah and appeared again to the woman. She went, got her husband, and took him to the angel who reiterated the instructions regarding the set apart regulations the boy would need to follow as well as the need for the woman to refrain from wine, fermented drink, and unclean food.

Manoah offered to prepare a young goat for the angel, but the angel declined the offer. The angel did tell them if they prepared a burnt offering to ensure it was to the Lord. Manoah took a young goat and along with a grain offering, offered the goat to the Lord. As the flame from the offering rose into the air, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground, realizing this was an angel of the Lord that had visited them. As God had promised, the woman bore a son and she named him Samson.

Samson went down to Timnah and saw a Philistine woman. Returning to his parents, he asked that they get her as his wife. They refused, given God’s commands to Israel not to intermarry with the surrounding nations. Samson insisted they get this woman as his wife. As Samson and his parents went down to Timnah, a young lion came to attack them. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson and he tore the lion apart with is bare hands.
At a later date when Samson journeyed again to Timnah to marry the Philistine woman, he came upon the carcass of that dead lion and discovered bees and honey in the carcass. He scooped up some of the honey from the dead carcass, an activity forbidden a Nazirite. He took the honey to his parents and they ate some of it, but Samson did not tell them where he had found the honey.

Samson held a feast in celebration of his marriage of the Philistine woman. Being rather brash, Samson told his companions a riddle, stating that anyone who could solve the riddle would be given 30 linen garments and 30 sets of clothes. If they could not answer the riddle, the men would have to give him 30 linen garments and 30 sets of clothes. After three days, the men could not figure out the riddle so they convinced Samson’s wife to coax the answer from him. After seven days of pleading, Samson caved and told his wife the answer and she then relayed it to the men. When Samson found out he had been tricked, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he went down to Ashkelon, struck down 30 of their men, stripped them of their clothes and gave those clothes to the men who had “solved” the riddle. Samson’s wife was given to one of the men who had attended the feast.

Later, at the time of the wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat and jouryeyed to visit his wife. Her father told Samson she had been given to another man. In response to that, Samson took 300 foxes, tied them tail to tail in pairs, fastened a torch to each pair of tails, lit the torches on fire and let them loose in the wheat fields of the Philistines, thus destroying their entire harvest, along with the vineyards and olive groves. In response, the Philistines burned Samson’s wife and her father to death. Samson attacked them and slaughtered many of them. He then stayed in a cave in the rock of Etam. The Philistines came down to where Samson was at, causing concern among the people of Judah. Three thousand men of Judah came to Samson, telling him to stop causing such a stir among the Philistines. Samson responded by telling the men of Judah he was simply repaying them for what they had done to him. They tied Samson up to a rock with two new ropes, leading him to the Philistines. As they approached Lehi, the Philistines came towards Samson. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson and his arms became like charred flax, causing the ropes to drop from his hands. Taking a jawbone of a donkey, Samson killed a thousand Philistines.

Being thirsty after such a slaughter, Samson cried out to God in his thirst. God opened up a hollow place in Lehi and water came forth. Samson led Israel for 20 years.