Apr. 11. Samson’s Intriguing Life and Death

Judg. 13:1-16:31

After a period of righteous living, the Israelites again left God. As punishment, He had delivered them over to the Philistines for forty years.

As He had done with Sarah many years earlier, God chose another barren woman to bear a special son. The wife of Manoah of the tribe of Dan was visited by an Angel of God. She was informed that she would bear a son and that he would be a Nazirite from birth. He would be forbidden to drink wine or strong drink; eat anything unclean; shave or cut his hair.

In due time, Samson, the next judge of Israel was born. God gave him special strength through the Nazirite vow. He would begin a long task of delivering Israel from the Philistines.

Contrary to God’s law, Samson married a Philistine woman. However, He had permitted that in order to begin the deliverance of Israel. After a series of events, Samson’s father-in-law gave his daughter to another man.

There has never been before or since, a man who possessed the strength of Samson. Lest one forgets, that strength was God’s method of punishing the Philistines by the hand of His servant.

Upon learning that his wife had been given to another man, Samson caught three hundred foxes and tied pairs of them together by their tails and set them on fire. As the foxes ran into the fields of the Philistines, wheat, vineyards and olive groves were destroyed. That resulted in the Philistines burning Samson’s wife and father-in-law in retaliation.

It seems like when one seeks revenge for a wrong, he begins a series of revenges and retaliations. Samson continued by attacking “with a great slaughter.”

Judah, the people God was trying to help even got into the controversy because Samson’s actions were causing them discomfort. They had become complacent in their existence as one may coexist with sin. He allowed them to arrest, bind and turn him over to the Philistines. Upon his escape, he killed a thousand men with the jawbone of a donkey.

Nothing could stop Samson—or could it? He loved a Philistine woman, Delilah. She repaid his love by a series of betrayals with the lords of the Philistines. Men oftentimes do foolish things because of love, lust or plain stupidity. All three probably contributed to the downfall of the mighty man, Samson. He eventually revealed that his strength would leave him if, “I am shaven.”

Disobedience caused God to leave Samson and his strength became as any other man. He was captured, blinded and enslaved by the Philistines. As a cat plays with his captured prey, the Philistines brought Samson into their temple as they worshipped their false god, Dagon. As they mocked and jeered, Samson prayed for his strength to return one more time. He pushed two pillars of the temple and caused it to collapse. Three thousand Philistine lords, men and women, more than he had killed before died with him as the temple fell.

Samson judged Israel twenty years.