“The spirit of the LORD” motiff in the Tanach

David Playing Harp

Yes, I like word counts. In the Tanach, the phrase “the spirit of the LORD” occurs 23 times, 7 of those being in Judges, and 4 of those being just on Samson. Wikipedia lists 12 judges in the book of Judges (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_judges) . Other than Samson, the following “get the spirit”:
1) Otniel – 3:9-10
2) Gideon – 6:34 – this is the only time the spirit “clothed” vs “came upon”.
3) Jephthah – 11:29

Why do 4 of the judges have this spirit, and no mention is made in association with the others? Why does Samson seems to get it 4 times? Does he keep losing it? This would be easy to turn into a moral lesson, as twice he “goes down to … a woman…” (14:1,7). Perhaps God needed a vessel to perform certain deeds, but couldn’t stay in the vessel long term because of state of the vessel.

Saul prophecies when the spirit comes on him, I Sam 10:6, but is the only one that had it noted that it departed: I Sam 16:14 – and was further replaced by “an evil spirit from the LORD”. David gets it “from that day forward” I Sam 16:13, and II Sam 23:2 associates it with “His word was upon my tongue.”

“the spirit of God” also occurs 14 times, including creation Genesis 1:2 and came upon Balaam (Num 24:2).

Incidentally, I worked with a guy in Florida named Otniel – not Jewish, from Cuba (but pronounced it like Ot-Neal – easy to get mixed up with my name (Neal), and an Indian guy there named Anil).

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