The Jawbone Of An Ass
Judges 15:15 – And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith.
Judges 15:16 – And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.
Judges 15:17 – And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramathlehi.
Judges 15:18 – And he was sore athirst, and called on the LORD, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?
Judges 15:19 – But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof Enhakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day.
I have a done a couple blogs before on the topic of the jawbone of an ass. This story has really resonated with me, and this story carries so much truth. It is applicable and relevant to us today, and I hope this blog blesses you. This is a famous story from the Bible. Nearly everyone knows about Samson using the jawbone of a donkey to kill his Philistine enemies. I used to love this story, but it was just that, a story. I knew it must have some more meaning, and relevance to today. People love their superheroes, and Samson seems like a superhero, facing a thousand Philistines on his own and prevailing, and all while using such a humble, seemingly stupid weapon. Samson’s people betrayed him to the Philistines, as a judge he had lost his country, and his country had forsaken him. Samson was alone, and you might be alone, standing alone today. You may have battles, struggles, difficulties just like Samson, Samson was a fallible human being like everyone else. The key is not in yourself, but in putting forth your hand and taking the jawbone of an ass that the Lord has provided, and which we will discuss. We can all identify with Samson, capable of such strength, and yet such weakness. Victorious once second, defeated the next. Israel wanted peace at any cost, they were content with false peace under Philistine dominion. They said to Samson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? Are you content being ruled by the Philistines? Are you happy being a slave to your lusts, your flesh, to the world, to the devil? Do you want to be set free? Israel’s true peace and deliverance would come when Samson fulfilled God’s plan for his life in beginning to deliver Israel from Philistine rule. As there would only be true peace in the land when Samson was victorious, so we only have true victory and peace with God and with fellow believers through the Lord Jesus Christ, his person, his work, his truth. He is our peace, don’t settle for false peace, don’t compromise with the enemy, don’t surrender your faith as Israel surrendered Samson to the Philistines, don’t surrender your hope, don’t lay down your Bible, don’t swap your Bible for something inferior, don’t settle for anything less than the Lord Jesus Christ.
But we are discussing the jawbone of an ass. How is this relevant to us today? The jawbone of an ass represents the Word of God. It represents Jesus, the living Word, and the Bible, the written Word. Our victory over the Philistines in our life will come when we use the jawbone of an ass to defeat them. Those things that dominate us, those besetting sins. Ephesians 6:12 – For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. We have the victory, the jawbone, but we have to put forth our hand and take it. You may read your Bible, but will you actually take what it’s saying and lay hold of it, do you have heart belief, or just a head belief that even the devils have? The jawbone was God’s appointed weapon, the Bible says Samson found it. God provided it for Samson, Samson had but to take it. And Samson did not refuse it. He seized the jawbone, he put forth his hand and took it. Like we do. We have to put forth our hand and take hold of salvation. We have to receive what God has done for us. Salvation is a free gift, but it must be received by repentance and faith, it must be received by heart belief, as that is the belief that saves, receiving what Jesus has done for us and his life – his death, burial and resurrection for us in our place. We must put forth our hand and take the instrument of victory and life, God’s word. We all struggle with what is in the world, and the world is in us, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Do you want victory in your life over Satan, the world, the flesh? Put forth your hand and take the word of God. Christ is the victory. Read it. Believe it. Ask God according to his word, ask God according to his will, they are the same. God’s word gives his will. If you pray according to the word, you are praying according to his will, and you will receive answered prayer.
Let us stop a minute and consider something. We see that the jawbone was new. What on earth does that mean? A bit like the manna that was fresh every day, the jawbone, the Word of God, living and written, is always fresh, is always alive. It is because Jesus is alive, his body did not corrupt in the tomb, he is risen from the dead, he is passed into the heavens, he is seated at the right hand of God. Jesus, and the words of Jesus, never get stale. Consider Numbers 21:5 – And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. Do you get tired of the manna of God’s word? Maybe you should check your salvation. Maybe you should get right with God. Maybe you have fallen out of fellowship with God because of your unconfessed sin separating you from your God. Repent, ask for forgiveness, he is faithful to forgive and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. God’s word is life to the believer. God’s word is the river of living water. Psalms 46:4 – There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. We are city of God, we are the tabernacles of the most High. The Spirit of God dwells in us who are truly and sincerely born again. Never ever ever stray from the river, Jesus is the source, leave Jesus, you leave the source. Jeremiah 2:13 – For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. Do you worship a God of your own imagination, a Jesus of your creation, a Jesus that excuses your sin and sinful lifestyle, that justifies your lusts and covetousness and greed and envy? The Bible speaks of another Jesus, another gospel, have you forsaken the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible? Forsake whatever cisterns you have hewed out and return to the fountain of living waters.
Let us now consider the jawbone particularly as the written word of God, God’s word, the Bible. As the jawbone may have seemed stupid and offensive to Samson, so the Bible seems stupid and offensive to so many. The Bible is foolishness, the preaching of the cross is foolishness to the unbeliever. The ass is a humble, simple, servant animal, taken for granted while being so reliable and able to bare many burdens. When Balaam, the greedy prophet, was on his way to meet Balak to curse Israel, God opened the mouth of his ass which he mercilessly beat as it stopped and fell in the way, because it saw the angel of the Lord with his sword drawn standing in the way, while Balaam did not. God opened the ass’s mouth, and the dumb ass rebuked Balaam for his madness. The ass saw the angel of the Lord while Balaam could not for all his greed, the ass spoke the truth, she had been loyal to Balaam all his life, and the ass saved Balaam’s life and incurred his anger for it. God’s word is the jawbone of an ass. Do you take the ass for granted as Balaam did? The ass does a lot for you which you may neither realize or appreciate. God’s word saves us from death, God’s word speaks the truth, God’s word is faithful and loyal, God’s word bares the ridicule, the scoffing, the mockery. God’s word is very humble. And God’s word bares witness of the Lord Jesus Christ, who took on him the form of a servant, who bare our sins in his own body on the tree, who bore the sins of the world, by whose stripes we are healed. The Bible has been persecuted, its message unwelcome, its life unwanted, its light rejected. Yet it carries such great authority, yet it gives such victory. We through faith in God’s word have victory over the world. We forsake our own opinions, thoughts, imaginations, devices and submit to the humble Bible. We fall at the feet of Jesus Christ, we fall as dead, realizing how utterly worthless, depraved, incapable we are. The ass, the jawbone of the ass, God’s word, will save your life, as it saved Balaam’s, as it saved Samsons. The ass sees what we don’t see, reveals what we cannot see, it is the mouthpiece for God, it carries God’s message to a lost and dying world. The humble Bible, the jawbone of an ass is the weapon through which you will slay the Philistines in your life.
Samson made a poem about his victory, he was proud of his victory. But he forgot that it was the Spirit of the Lord, and the provision of the jawbone which had given him his victory. He cast away the jawbone thinking he was done with it. And immediately he was sore athirst. What great spiritual truths! There is never a time we are done with the word of God. We are never independent of God. We need him every moment, every day, he is sufficient. He is strong when we are weak. As the jaw was the of the living water, Jesus is the source of living water. How easily we can cast away the jawbone the moment we get victory! It is so easy to forget. It is so easy to get proud of ourselves, when it is God and his word that gives us the victory. Pride is so stupid, it is so, so deceitful, it rears it’s ugly head in so many different ways, it is so hard to let go. We have nothing, we are nothing, just as Samson was. Samson was an ordinary man, he had no superpowers, his power came from the Spirit of the Lord coming upon him. Without the strength of the Spirit, without Jesus Christ, we are weak, helpless, hopeless. Do not cast away your Bible if you are saved. Do not cast aside your God given weapon, which is also the source of living water, the words are living water. The Spirit and the Word are inseparable, you ditch the Word, you ditch the Spirit. Jesus commanded to keep his words, to keep his commandments, both in terms of obeying them but also physically and spiritually keeping them. Do not surrender the Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God!
God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw. Are you thirsty? The same jawbone of an ass, so easily cast aside, is the source of life giving water. Read the word, abide in Jesus, abide in him. Jesus’ side was pierced and forthwith flowed blood and water. Jesus cried out while dying on the cross, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? It was the Lord Jesus Christ’s once for all atoning sacrifice, where the shepherd was smitten, where the Lamb of God gave his life for the sins of the world, where he abolished the sacrificial system in the sacrifice of himself, as a perfect sinless sacrifice for the sins of the world, that enabled the life giving water to flow. Our life stems from all that he has done, from his life which he has right now, seated in the heavenlies. The fountain was opened that day at Calvary. The fountain that washes away our sin. We must realize that the jaw is both an instrument of death and life. What will you do with the gospel? If you reject it, it carries the message of judgement and condemnation, if you receive it, it carries the message of life and hope, of forgiveness of sins. It is so easy to use the Bible to condemn others, as it was for Samson to smite the Philistines. But we must also carry the good news, the gospel of Christ, which gives life to all who receive it. We are in the ministry of reconciliation as Christians, we are peacemakers, we hold forth the word of life. Put forth your hand and take the jawbone today. Smite the enemies, drink the water that springs forth from it. The Bible is all about the Lord Jesus Christ, he is the jawbone of an ass to a dying world, he is the jawbone of an ass to us all. What will you do with the jawbone? There’s even more. We can be the jawbone for God. We can be that jawbone of an ass. God can open our mouths and we can be used mightily for him. We can be that foolish, refused instrument for him. We can hold forth the word, which is the savor of death to some, but life to others. There is much we can learn from the jawbone, will you put forth your hand and take it? Will you be a jawbone for him?
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Joseph View All →
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 32 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)
I found your blog because I searched the jawbone of an ass.
I believe all that you have said here.
However I am confused why God allowed Samson to use a jawbone of a ass to slay the Philistines. As you know, Samson had taken the Nazarite vow: not touch unclean or dead animals. God must have considered it clean at some point because He used it to bring forth water. Do you have anything to add?
Thank you for your commentary.
God bless you, friend!
Thanks for your comment and glad it was of some value to you!
It’s a good point you’ve raised, I’ve actually wondered that myself without really thinking about it further. So I’ve really only got my thoughts on it off the top of my head rather than anything definitive in my mind.
It wasn’t just the jawbone, but also killing people also made you unclean according to the Nazarite vow, and you were meant to shave your head, offer sacrifice and the days of your vow would be lost.
So Samson could have kept the Nazarite vow for say 20 years and then made one mistake, stuffed up, and not only his vow ended, but also meant all that time of dedication and separation and commitment was all lost! What an impossible standard! That’s how serious sin is and that’s the level of perfection God requires… and one which only one man… and not Samson could attain to.
So killing one person made you unclean, how about a thousand in one go? A thousand times unclean. Samson violated every part of his vow. He even violated the way someone ending their vow was supposed to do it according to the law!
I think the most important things we can glean as Christians from Samson’s story and his Nazarite vow is the spiritual significance of the vow. In and of itself it was just a few dos and don’ts that really don’t make you closer to God. Like say you took the Nazarite vow, what is that really doing for you? Where God deals is the heart first and foremost. Really grabbing a jawbone is the least of Samson’s worries.
And honestly, I think it all shows that whatever vow we make, it can only be broken. What can we truly vow to God and keep? That’s why vows are not something to mess with, because we don’t know the future, and what life will bring us, so “let thy words be few”.
Also worth considering that the Nazarite vow was a fairly self directed thing. People didn’t have to do it, but they could choose to do it if they really loved God and wanted to serve him. The vow was about really dedicating yourself to God and going further. But Samson was unusual in that he was born into it, he didn’t necessarily choose it, and his life reflected a real struggle with the way he was raised and how that vow sat with him.
I think also the whole thing also shows that although things were classified as clean and unclean, where cleanliness really matters is the heart. Romans 14:14 “I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself…” So yeah, now as we read looking back, we see this thing through the light of Christ.
It’s a bit like the Gentiles were considered unclean and the holy Jews separated from those dead people, and yet God cleansed them. So there’s a lot we don’t yet understand about God, how he works and what he does.
To put it into perspective now looking back, you could “not” touch the jawbone and be ceremonially clean, but be the most vile wicked person in the world. Like the Nazarite vow was very external, but God really was doing a work in Samson’s heart, just like with us. And it’s not always how it looks.
And far worse than Samson touching a jawbone and defending himself was the actions that came from his heart which is what really cost him and made him unclean.
I don’t know if that helps, it’s mostly just thinking out loud, but its not the only strange thing Jesus can be pictured as. Jesus referenced the brazen serpent in the wilderness as a picture of himself… and I believe there’s a lot more gold in this story than I have begun to unearth or ever will unearth.
Wow! That is a lot to think about regarding the vow…
So now I am chasing rabbits but I would like to pick your brain.
In terms of a vow, what are your thoughts on divorce and remarriage regarding a born again believer and a lost man?
I think It was Nahum when God told his people to divorce their wives—even those with whom they had children. He told them to go find godly women and marry them instead.
Most people say that you should not get remarried after a divorce. But scripture says if the unbeliever departs let them go, we are not under bondage in such cases. If we are not under bondage why are we told never to remarry—even a believer? Can you shed light on this? Thank you, Joseph
You have to come before God yourself in light of scripture.
The Bible has a lot to say about marriage. Marriage is ordained by God. It pictures Christ and the church. It is a serious covenant commitment made before God between one man and one woman. It involves vows, and vows are very serious to God.
I think it was Nehemiah you were meaning? The context of that was that they had married a bunch of women who were ungodly and they were trying to rebuild Jerusalem and a right walk with God after so much wrath and judgment. So how to prevent that from happening again?
They were trying to learn from the past. And they recognized like for instance that Solomon’s problem was all the strange women he married, and the power that an ungodly spouse has to pull you in a different direction to God’s word.
They didn’t want to follow the same formula for disaster that the nation had gone again and again and again and again and again. Because they’d always done the same thing, intermarried with the heathen.
We know the Bible says that God hates putting away. We know that divorce in Israel was not God’s purpose but because of man’s hard heart.
But there are other factors also, like if your spouse wants a divorce and you don’t want it, but they go through with it. I don’t know, that’s why its important to have your own walk with God. The best result is to stay married and reconcile how and where possible, because divorce is a poor testimony and witness in this world, ruins family, pulls children in two different directions.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure… best not to marry someone that is unsaved rather to marry presumptuously and then cry foul after the fact.
Worth considering this verse in light of that… Ecclesiastes 5:6 “Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?”
This verse particularly applies to people who violate what the Bible says knowingly then go oops sorry fix my bad now God. That is provoking God, and we know that Israel had a track record in provoking God like in the wilderness.
All that said, I don’t give advice to anyone on here to disobey or violate what is set forth in scripture. Sometimes people come on here to find if I’ve got an excuse for them. I don’t. Read the Bible for yourself and find out for yourself. I know that in 1 Peter it says that an unsaved husband can be won by the conversation of the wives, so if you are married, it’s best to stick and stay and pray that God can move in a situation. But if you’ve gone into a situation where you’ve done what you wanted, knowing what the Bible said before, and now want God to fix it, then that’s not a good place to be for a Christian.
Sorry if that’s not the reply you’re looking for, and hopefully God brings peace to your situation, if a Christian gets into a divorce situation, it’s reasonable to hope that it wasn’t them that was responsible for it. As I said, the best rule of thumb is read the Bible for yourself because he is the Judge who you and I and everyone else will alone stand before.
Thou hast well said, my friend! Thank you for always telling the truth. That is all that anyone wants to hear—especially the Lord. God bless you for your ministry.
Trusting Jesus—that is all!
Good morning Brother Joseph. Thank you for allowing The LORD to use you in a mighty way. I was awakened about 2:00 am this morning and the Spirit of the Lord was heavy upon me with the jaw bone of an ass scripture. I knew about how Sampson used it to kill the Philistine, so I Googled it anyway. That’s how I cam upon your blog. I know it was the Holy Spirit who directed my path. Thank you for letting the LORD use you to reveal the hidden Manna 🙏
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Thank for you for the comment Dennis, I’m glad this was helpful to you 🙂