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A fun and entertaining look at Samson in the Bible. We will look at the life and lessons we can learn from this Bible story.
No matter how many times I read the book of Judges I’m floored by its stories. For example, the life of Gideon gives me hope that I also can be used by God. Deborah makes me feel like I’m not too far off being a modern-day Xena, warrior princess!
But then there is Samson and he honestly makes me scratch my head. He’s one of those guys that you read about and the whole time you’re thinking, “Seriously??” Then you keep reading and you meet, Delilah and that’s when you throw your arms up in the air and say, “Oh, no you didn’t!!!“
Overall, the story of Samson paints an amazing picture that despite our weaknesses God can and will still use us. While we are weak…He is STRONG!
On a side note here is a Table of contents to make hopping around easier.
Who is Samson in the Bible?
But before we dive into that part of the story with his scissor-happy seductress. Let’s take a look at Samson himself, the true man of steel.
In my little cute Italian head when I picture Samson I think of a mix between Fabio and Chuck Norris.
Those lovely long God-fearing locks that come with a round house kick that would make the bravest of Philistines pee their robes.
Samson Judge of Israel
Before Israel had kings God would call individuals to become a leader. In the book of Judges we see 12 Judges that God appoints. One of these is Samson.
Before Samson was even born his mamma and pop’s had a crazy visitation from the Angel of the Lord. He told them they would have a little boy and he was going to take down the Philistines and that they should dedicate him to the Lord to live a life holy and set apart as a Nazarite (Nazarite literally means ‘one separated‘).
With that came 3 VERY important rules to follow, on top of te 613 other rules in the Torah. Just in case you are a little rusty let me help you out with what the Nazarite vow consisted of:
1. Hair: Never to be cut
During the entire period of their Nazirite vow, no razor may be used on their head. They must be holy until the period of their dedication to the Lord is over; they must let their hair grow long. – Numbers: 6:5
2. The Vine: Never drink wine or strong drink. This also means no grapes, raisins, or grape jelly.
they must abstain from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or other fermented drink. They must not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins. As long as they remain under their Nazirite vow, they must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, not even the seeds or skins. – Numbers 6:3-4
3. Dead Bodies: Stay away and no funerals for you!
“‘Throughout the period of their dedication to the Lord, the Nazirite must not go near a dead body. 7 Even if their own father or mother or brother or sister dies, they must not make themselves ceremonially unclean on account of them, because the symbol of their dedication to God is on their head. 8 Throughout the period of their dedication, they are consecrated to the Lord.
9 “‘If someone dies suddenly in the Nazirite’s presence, thus defiling the hair that symbolizes their dedication, they must shave their head on the seventh day—the day of their cleansing. 10 Then on the eighth day they must bring two doves or two young pigeons to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
11 The priest is to offer one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering to make atonement for the Nazirite because they sinned by being in the presence of the dead body. That same day they are to consecrate their head again. 12 They must rededicate themselves to the Lord for the same period of dedication and must bring a year-old male lamb as a guilt offering. The previous days do not count, because they became defiled during their period of dedication. -Numbers 6:6-12
Now that we have that out of the way let’s get down to business!!
What does Samson mean?
Samson in Hebrew means: Sunlight
שִׁמְשׁוֹן Shimshôwn, shim-shone’; from H8121; sunlight; Shimshon, an Israelite:—Samson.
His name was a prophetic statement of what he was called to be “a bright light.”
He was going to bring light to Israel in this dark time. So, scripture doesn’t tell us anything about Samson’s childhood, except he grew and that God blessed him (Judges 14).
Samson and The Philistine Woman In Timnah
All of a sudden Mr. Samson decided to take a little trip to Timnah and of course, some exotic foreign feline catches his eye (typical). He wastes no time and runs home and tells mommy and daddy,
I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife. – Judges 14:2
SAY WHAT?! Who does that?? Apparently, people in the Bible! Not going to like wish I could do that. “Hey mom, see that cute guy over there in the second-row worshipping Jesus with all his heart? Make him marry me…ok?”
Remember that one time, when the Benjaminites went to that dance party to get wives (Judges 21:19-25)?? Talk about get-r-done!!
We make such a huge deal over who we should marry. Praying, and fasting just to see if we should ask someone out to coffee. And these dudes are like “Dang, she really knows how to play that tambourine, I’ll take her!!! What?? She has a sister for my cousin?!”
Mind blown… But see the Benjamins stayed within their peeps (the tribes of Israel). Samson on the other hand wants someone from the enemy’s camp. I give props to Samson’s parents though, they don’t back down and totally confront him, but it doesn’t help. He likes what he likes and nothing is going to change his mind. He’s not teachable.
Just to make sure we are on the same page. The Philistine hottie, Samson wants to marry is not Delilah. She doesn’t come into the picture tell later. Now, they take a family trip to Timnah, and on the way, he randomly kills a lion…
Then he went down and talked with the woman, and he liked her. – Judges 14:7
I bet their conversation was not even deep, probably something about sheep and goats. Nothing important like “Since you are a pagan worshiper, do you own a lot of idols? Because I don’t know if I’m down with that since I worship and serve the One True Living God.”
Samson lets the lust of his eyes make his choices.
Now, I’m going to jump foreword a bit and give you some of my thoughts.
Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass. – Judges 14:8-9
I find it interesting that this happens during the wedding bell bliss. This couple was unequally yolked in more than one obvious way. She was a bad influence on him and I could seriously preach on how a woman can either break or make a man.
Women are called to be ezer (helper) to their husbands. In some places in scripture, that word is used to describe military reinforcements that without it your army would be crushed.
If your helpmate is corrupt or immature this will affect the way you fight your battles.
So, what’s the big deal about a little honey? Nothing honey is GREAT! But it came out of a dead animal. <—- uhhh, gross.
The thing is that it doesn’t just stop at gross, but carries a huge spiritual implication. Let’s take a look at Leviticus:
If a person touches any unclean thing, whether a carcass of an unclean beast or the carcass of unclean cattle or a carcass of unclean swarming things, though it is hidden from him and he is unclean, then he will be guilty. – Leviticus 5:2
By touching the lion’s dead body to get the honey Samson became unclean and by sharing it with his family he caused his whole household to become unclean.
He put everyone in a place where they can be spiritually attacked by the enemy. He pretty much painted a large red target on himself and his family. All because Mr. Samson stomach desired something sweet.
Just like he had his eyes dictate his action for picking a mate. He lived fully by his fleshly desires and he didn’t care who it affected, and that was his downfall.
So, before we even get to Samson and Delilah these are some lessons we can learn from Samson.
1) Be teachable – Always have a heart that’s open to the opinion of those who love you and have spiritual maturity.
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. – 1 Peter 5:5
2) Don’t marry just for looks – I know we can laugh at this but attraction or good looks is not a good gage of character and compatibility. Real love goes deeper than attraction and remember love is a choice…
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. – Proverbs 31:30
3) Don’t be led astray by your desires – When we go after the things of our flesh we are living to please one person and one person alone, and that is ourselves! When we give our lives for Christ we give up our lordship and ask God to be Lord of our life. We no longer live for ourselves, but for Christ.
Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. – Timothy 2:22
Samson And Delilah
Now let’s talk about the Samson and Delilah story in Judges 16. We can see that Samson hasn’t learned anything and is still dealing with a major lust problem and to top it off he falls in love with another woman and this time from the Valley of Sorek, called Delilah.
Now, hopefully, you all remember what Samson’s name means. If not I will extend mercy and remind you that it means “sunlight.”
Delilah’s name isn’t as easy to track down it’s meaning, but most experts break it down to a few. The most interesting one is that in Arabic the word “Lilah” means night and all together with “De” it means “Queen of the Night“. In Hebrew, the meaning doesn’t get any better,
“She who weakens, languishing, to bring low, dry up, be not equal, to become impoverished”
In other words, this woman is Samson’s polar opposite and I don’t mean that in a good way.
He was sunlight, one who is supposed to bring light to his people, to be an example of the Father of Lights (James 1:17).
And she was the one who ruled the night. Her name couldn’t be more prophetic. She did weaken him to the point it brought down his own destruction. But God is bigger then the night and darkness…
Samson and his lady friend never tie the knot but are very much shacking it up. Wait, can I say that as a Christian? Well, too late I did and it’s true. You would at least think it was a mutually loving relationship, but sadly no.
The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.” – Judges 16:5
In a nutshell, Delilah prostituted herself for shekels a.k.a moola in hopes she could get Samson to share his weakness. Her goal was to bring Samson to a place of false intimacy through his sexual weakness.
Over and over again she tried to get him to tell her what gave him strength. Each time Samson lied to her, but she was so persistent that the scriptures say “she vexed him till he was sick with death” Sweet Jesus!! That’s when part of me is like “DUDE!! Pack your bags she ain’t worth it!” but he doesn’t. And let’s talk about why.
Delilah Seduced Samson
Most of the time when we think of seduction we think it’s all about sex, but in reality, seduction feeds off of having control (a form of witchcraft). The point of seduction is to lure (tempt, entice, attract) you in through an area of weakness to rule over you.
If someone wants something I have and I tempt them with it, I then have gained power over them. <— By the way doing that IS witchcraft and a sin.
If we were to fall into that trap then in short the seductress or the seducer has become our God. We will do anything to have what they are flaunting in front of us. The majority of the time this is through sexual activity. Delilah operated with a spirit of seduction and with Samson’s lust issue, it was definitely a match made in hell.
They Became One Flesh
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24
Scripture is very clear that intercourse creates a physical, emotional, and spiritual bond.
In the Hebrew “becoming one flesh” is the knitting of two souls together. Now, if you think about it, its a really beautiful picture in marriage, but outside of marriage, it can cause a lot of issues.
A great book to read more on this topic is Loveology. Samson and Delilah had knitted their souls together creating a bond with each other that was void of real love.
These two factors enslaved Samson and even though he was physically strong, he was spiritually weak.
Samson’s hair was a source of his strength because it was part of his vow and consecration before God. When he gave this information to Deliliah he valued more her relationship more than God’s. This was the biggest downfall for Samson. But it wasn’t his hair that just suffered.
Samson Lost His Strength
Once Samson’s hair was cut he was done! Samson lost his strength and broke his covenant with God. Leaving him very vulnerable.
The Philistines captured him. But they don’t stop there they gouge out his eyes and make him a slave doing work. (Working a grinding stone)
Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison. – Judges 16:21
According to one of written collection of the Jewish oral traditions (mishnah) it is said that Samson’s eyes were gouged out as a punishment for the lust of his eyes.
MISHNA: The mishna provides additional examples of people who were treated by Heaven commensurate with their actions. Samson followed his eyes, therefore he was punished measure for measure, as the Philistines gouged out his eyes, as it is stated: “And the Philistines laid hold on him, and put out his eyes” (Judges 16:21). (source)
Again this is a spiritual truth to us. When we sin or walk away from God we become weak and vulnerable to the enemy’s attack. The enemy blinds us so we can no longer see clearly and makes us a slave to sin. (Romans 6)
The God of Second Chances
As you have read through this post or even Samson’s story in the Bible. You know there is a lot of cringe-worthy moments. Ones that shake your head and think why on earth did the Lord pick him?
Oh, but that is the beauty and power of God. When we read Samson’s story you see God at work using this man.
The philistine’s wanted to gloat over their victory of capturing and rendering Samson useless. <— At least that is what they thought!
So they decide to throw a big shindig for their god Dagon, which is basically a mermaid or should I say, merman. <— Want to learn more about mermaids? Check out Are Mermaids in the Bible?
They brought Samson out so they could be entertained by their victory over a judge in Israel. But it says that Samson’s hair began to grow again. I believe it wasn’t just his hair that was growing, but that something was happening spiritually with Samson and the Lord.
Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. 28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”
29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived. – Judges 16:27-30
Despite Samson’s failures and sin, God heard his prayers and answered. He gave Samson a second chance and restored his strength. And this truth is for us as well. No matter how far we have gone or what we have done. We are one heartfelt prayer away from experiencing God’s love, acceptance, and kindness!
I hope you enjoyed learning about Samson in the Bible. His story can teach us a lot if we will read it with an open heart towards the Lord. If you would like to grow more in God, please check out my Christian Faith Page that offers more articles.
And feel free to drop me a comment below. I would love to hear from you and what God is doing in your life.
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…