the

The story of samson

Samson the strongman of the Bible if

ever there was a character deserving of

Hollywood treatment it was certainly

Samson the story is a familiar one

Israel is once again didn't body turning

away from the Lord and worshipping other

gods God delivers them up to the

Philistines to oppress them but Israel

doesn't learn its lesson this time

there's no repentance no crying out to

the Lord this time Israel has decided to

accept its servitude and let the

Philistines have their way they trade

their freedom for security but God isn't

willing to let Israel surrender he's

giving them a deliverer whether they

want one or not and so we have another

familiar scenario not so much familiar

from judges but when we see elsewhere in

the biblical narrative there's a woman

married to a man named Manoah she has no

children because she's barren but an

angel of the Lord appears to her and he

tells her that she's going to have a

baby

does the scene sound familiar well

obviously there are some similarities to

the story of Sarah and to Hannah the

mother of Samuel

and it's also reminiscent of the story

of Jesus the author of judges in his own

inimical style throws some comedy into

the narrative as manoa thinks that maybe

his wife has gone a little bit loony but

eventually everyone is on the same page

manoah's son is to be a Nazarite

a word which means devoted manoah's wife

is told not to drink wine or fermented

drinks nor to eat any grapes or anything

unclean

you can probably assume that the same

ideas are going to apply to her child

since these are typically requirements

from Nazarites explicitly however the

text only says that no razor is to touch

his hair is there a little ambiguity

here in the text perhaps

anyway Samson is born and when he grows

up he doesn't seem to be set on

delivering the Israelites in fact Samson

seems to be all about his own appetites

first he loves a Philistine girl get her

for my wife he demands well why not

maybe a good Jewish girl asked his

mother his parents didn't know that this

fatal attraction was of the Lord God was

going to stir up trouble between the

Israelites and the Philistines and what

better way to do it than to make Samson

fall in love with one of their daughters

this is going to be a constant theme in

the story of Samson he has got a

weakness for women in fact every major

episode seems to feature a dangerous

liaison between Samson and a lady

so Samson is on his way to Timna to

arrange the wedding and he wanders

through a vineyard what's he doing in a

vineyard he's not supposed to be eating

grapes is he just admiring the

appearance of the fruit perhaps little

to Sampson know there is a lion lurking

there and the lion decides to eat Samson

Samson is immediately filled with the

Spirit of the Lord and he becomes

super-powered he makes quick work of the

lion and he heads on off down to tinda

we should pause here a minute and

contemplate the fact that the Holy

Spirit works a little differently in the

Old Testament than he does in the new

the spirits present doesn't seem to make

people behave better in the Old

Testament instead his primary work seems

to be empowering people for certain

tasks that task might be prophesy it

might be leading the nation it might be

building the tabernacle it varies quite

a bit in the case of Samson the spirit

seems to empower him to break things

so after breaking the lion Sampson

proceeded to did not negotiate the

wedding

but on his way home he passes through

the same vineyard there he finds the

carcass of the lion and these have built

a honeycomb inside samson goes digging

into the carcass and scoops out some

honey apparently he has broken another

Nazarite prohibition the prohibition

against touching dead or unclean things

anyway samson gets married and Eddie's

wedding feast he bets his wedding guests

that they can't answer his riddle out of

the eater comes something to eat out of

the strong came sweetness well the

wedding guests can't figure out the

puzzle admittedly it doesn't seem

specially fair sort of like Bilbo

Baggins ass

golem dude tell him what's in his pocket

but anyway they pressure Samson's new

Brides reveal the secret when the

wedding guests provide the answer that

Samson is seeking he becomes enraged

realizing that his wife had given away a

secret if you had not plowed with my

heifer you would not have guessed my

riddle

so to pay off his debt Samson went out

and he killed three Philistines he took

their garments to give to the wedding

guests and then he went back home to mom

and dad just sulk

Samson's first recorded act of killing

Philistines had nothing to do with

delivering Israel it was all about a

personal vendetta and paying off a debt

a few months later

Samson decides to go get his bride

unaware of the fact that her father has

already given her to another man when

Samson learns that his wife is

unavailable he takes vengeance by

setting fire to the fields of the

Philistines note here that Samson is

punishing many Philistines for the

actions of one man and the Philistines

realized the same thing they took the

father-in-law and the daughter and they

burned them to avenge their loss now

when Samson hears about their deaths he

went out and he killed even more

Philistines the Philistines were

reasonably upset about this about the

fact that they were getting killed all

over the place and so they invaded Judah

and they demanded the Israelites

surrender Samson to their justice so the

Israelites went is a small army to

Samson and they gave their interesting

perspective on things don't you realize

that the Philistines are all rulers

Goethe had reconciled themselves to

slavery they handed Samson over to the

Philistines once in the Philistine camp

Samson easily broke his bonds and he

killed a thousand of his enemies with

the jawbone of a donkey now it seems

Samson has a special weakness for

Philistine women because his next

misadventure takes him into the house of

a prostitute in the Philistine city of

Gaza when the Philistines learned their

enemy is in their midst they barked city

gate so he can't escape but that doesn't

stop our hero he simply cares the gates

out of the wall and carries them off

sixty miles or so to Hebron

does anyone find it disturbing the per

spirit of God and power Samson to get

away with sleeping with Philistine

prostitutes finally there comes the most

famous dangerous liaison the one with

the woman Delilah Delilah lives in the

valley of Sorek which was located

between the lands of the Philistines and

the lands of the Israelites her name

however is Hebrew though there's some

question about its meaning it apparently

comes from the root delao which means to

droop down and it can refer to eyelids

drooping and a languorous or for tatius

manner it also sounds very much like the

Hebrew phrase of the night which would

be a very fitting name for the women who

plunges Samson into darkness by taking

his eyes

we won't recount here the way Delilah

wheedle Samson secret out of him how she

cut his hair and turned him over to the

Philistines it's interesting to consider

how Samson's strength was tied to his

hair however the Bible makes it clear

that Samson's strength came from the

Holy Spirit not from some physical

attribute like his hair why then does

cutting his hair make him weak was his

hair an epitome of his faithfulness to

God but if his hair were only a symbol

then why did his strength return when

his hair grew back get Samson feel that

cutting of his hair had cut him off from

God separating him from the Holy Spirit

or is this as some scholars would

contend merely old folk motif the hero

who receives power from his hair bound

together uneasily with some Hebrew

prayer

in any event Samson's downfall allows

him to be arrested blinded and brought

into the very capital city of the

Philistine territory there he set to

work winding grain while his hair begins

to grow back again

in the final scene of the story Samson

is brought into the temple of Dagon

during the great feast to the Philistine

so that he can be publicly clocked by

now Samson's hair has grown back and

apparently he knows his strength has

returned as well he asks to be placed

between the two great pillars and

support the temple's pavilion and there

he prays to the Lord not for forgiveness

not to deliver his nation from

oppressors rather he prays that he might

have vengeance for the loss of his eyes

Samson's final act of sacrifice the act

that delivers Israel from its oppressors

is actually an act of rage and

selfishness now the story of Samson

might remind us that God can use flawed

vessels to accomplish his goals it might

as well make us wonder if his work is

being carried out in the world today

through tools that we would never

identify as his but on the other hand we

probably shouldn't take this

laia thinking to find the period of the

judges was one of recurring apostasy and

religious

God used what he had available to

accomplish his purposes Samson is

reflection of Israel's spiritual state

of the time driven by desires the things

that God had forbidden attracted by the

foreign delights and ultimately enslaved

by the very things that had so enticed

him