Samson – Biblical Hero

Okay, all you lovers of the Bible as the Word of God.  I just finished the story of Samson in the book of Judges. It is about as yuckie a story as one can conjure. Tripple R rating for sex and violence. I thought to myself, “Why did the author give this guy any press, let alone credit him with being some kind of worthy leader?”  Here is a summary of the story:

Even though his parents raised him in the faith, when Samson was a young adult, he coerced them into going to the Philistines to get a young woman to whom he was attracted. Enroute to the Philistine city, he kills a young lion for no reason than his roaring. At his bachelor party he taunted the men with a riddle about the lion but they couldn’t figure it out. So, they got his new wife to get the meaning of the riddle out of him  while they had sex. If she cooperate, they threatened to kill her and her family. When Samson found out what they did, he went to the nearby town and killed 30 men, stripped them, and gave their clothes to the guys who had tricked him. Then he went home in a huff.

Some time later, Samson went back to claim his wife only to find out she’d been given to another man. He got so mad, he captured 300 foxes, took two at a time, tied their tails together and put torches into the knots. He lit the torches and let them loose into the Philistines’ wheat fields and olive orchards.  Because of this, the Philistines went to the house of her father and burned it along with her and her family. Then they went to attack the people of Judah. The people were afraid so they captured Samson and turned him over the Philistines. After being captured, he broke free of the ropes that bound him and with a jawbone of a donkey, he killed a thousand Philistines.

Years later, Samson goes to the Philistine city of Gaza to find himself a prostitute. When the people found out he was there, they planned to capture him when he left her house. But he outsmarted them and escaped at midnight. As he left the city, he broke down the city gate, supporting posts, lock and all.

Later he lusted after a woman named Delilah. The Philistines bribed  her to trick Samson into telling her why he was so strong. While they were alone doing their lusty thing, he told her a number of lies about the what the Philistines would have to do to overcome him and each time she told them. Each time they tried to capture him and each time he’d get away. He kept going back to Delilah in spite of her continual betrayal. His sexual addiction had clearly taken him over.

Finally Samson told Delilah that the strength was in his hair. So she lulled  him to sleep and chop-chop – off with his hair. Sure enough, when he woke up he was weak as a flapping fish out of water. The Philistines captured him and put his eyes out, chained him and put him to work grinding stone in prison. Meanwhile his hair started to grow back.

One day, the Philistines decided to have a celebration and offer a sacrifice to their god Dagon. For entertainment, they brought Samson out of prison and made him stand between between two columns. While the people sang and danced, he reached out and pushed the columns apart, collapsing the building. All the people inside were killed as well as the Philistine kings and 3000 men and women who were standing on the roof watching Samson. (One might wonder whether Samson should really get credit for the building’s collapse). Samson died under the rubble and his brothers came to get his body and bury him in his father’s tomb.

I have more to say about what I think about this biblical horror story, but I will let that wait until tomorrow while you let it sink in. Just don’t let it ruin your day.

This entry was posted in Midrash and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Samson – Biblical Hero

  1. Marie Zapf-Taylor says:

    Samson is one of the few in Scripture whose birth was divinely pre-announced to his parents (Judges 13:3). He shares this honor with Isaac, John the Baptist, and Jesus. Samson, meaning “sunshine,” was born sometime between 1045 B.C and 1000 B.C., during a dark period of Israel’s history. Seven times this nation had turned from God and now found themselves under the oppressive rule of the Philistines.

    Samson was born a Nazirite, meaning “separated” or “set aside” for God. This meant that he was not to drink wine or fruit of the vine. He couldn’t go near or touch a dead body, human or animal, or could cut his hair. Samson ignored his Nazirite vow of godly devotion and relied upon his own strength and abilities rather than upon God’s. Although God empowered him with supernatural strength to begin the deliverance of the people of Israel from the Philistines (Judges 13:5), it was his weakness for the Philistine women that did him in (Judges 14:1-3, 16:1-22). His passion for women was more important to him than God’s expressed will (Deuteronomy 7:3).

    Samson was a powerful man with supernatural strength and was also very intelligent with an unusual sense of humor. He not only failed to deliver his people, but killed himself. He was filled with disobedience, defeat, disgrace, and destruction. His sexual yearnings of the flesh controlled his life (1 John 2:16). Courageous before men, but weak when it came to women (Proverbs 5:3, 6:32; Matthew 5:28).

    There are many valuable lessons we can get from the story of Samson and Delilah. Though born with unbelievable potential, Samson’s life was forfeited because of sin.

    The lesson for us is that the deeper we allow ourselves to be influenced by the glamour and allurement of ‘wordly things’, the more blind we become to God.

    This extraordinary story tells us that Samson was spiritually blind long before his eyes were gouged out (Judges 16:21).

    We must come to recognize and accept the reality that sin can seep deep into our lives. We must know and remember that sin has a blinding impact on us; otherwise, we find ourselves trapped by it, just as Samson did.

    All sin, comes with its own sometimes deadly consequences. We must heed the stern warning: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

    We learn that God can use the wicked as well as the righteous to accomplish His will. We also discover that our own righteousness or wickedness will not deter God from doing His will. Though God punishes wrongdoing, He may wait in delivering the punishment.

    God is great!!

    • Judy says:

      Thank you, Marie, for sharing this reflection on Samson. I appreciate the lessons. I know that many who meditate on the scriptures are able to learn great lessons no matter the story line. This is the work of the Spirit, I believe. Nevertheless, I can’t bring myself to like the story itself. Pretty gruesome. Hollywood would( in fact, has) had a heyday with it.

      • Marie Zapf-Taylor says:

        You may want to stay away from the book of Revelations. That’s one scary book too.

        • Judy says:

          Unfortunately, I am headed into Revelations this morning. I haven’t read the Bible through in years, but decided about a year ago to do it once again. I am seeing things very differently than whenever the last time I did it. Clearly, it is I that is changing because the words are the same.
          So…I might be griping about Revelations in the posts to come. but feel free to jump in with your wisdom.

  2. Cathy says:

    Good grief – inspirational reading …

Comments are closed.