When someone talks about Samson in the bible, they tend to accentuate his supernatural strength due to his fine long locks. But what deeper meaning is hidden on this controversial story of betrayals in the arc of Judges? Is there a connection about what happened to this heroic man respectful to our own battles?
Let us find out how Samson is People Just Like You.
Samson’s Back story
The protagonist of this story is doubted a good reflection. He did not follow God’s plan and has broken the sacred rule of being a Nazirite. Not to mention his anger issues and arrogance that led him to his ultimate betrayal.
Samson is widely known for the treachery of the love of his life, Delilah, by tricking him to expose his superhuman strength’s secret to his enemy. While sleeping the night after he was betrayed, his lover’s allies cut his hair and left him useless to even protect himself from harm. They gouged his eyes out of its sockets and was forced to obey their command. He was kept captive (even set him to grinding grains in prison) and became a mockery of the opposing enemy. It is until he asked God for his powers back to avenge for his eyes and wiped out the majority of his assailants, including himself, that he fulfilled his main duty for his people.
see full story in the bible: Judges 13-16
However, before all the betrayals, Samson came from a barren family. He was meant to deliver the Israelites from the hands of the Philistines, the strongest people in his era. But, in one condition: he was to be born a Nazirite and MUST obey the rules.
What is a Nazirite?
The word Nazirite means “consecrated” or “separated” (fully described in Numbers 6:1–21). It is a declaration of the full dedication of one’s life to God.
This vow requires a person to:
– Avoid drinking wine and consuming any products from grapes,
– Refrain to cut off the hair on one’s head.
– Abstain from being unpure by touching unclean objects such as corpses and carcasses,
Samson became a Nazirite from birth. He followed the rules and possessed the strength and ability in a physical battle against the Philistines. Still, he was held captive from the darkness of this world.
First act of Israel’s Deliverance
Walking downtown to Timnah, Samson saw a young Philistine woman and with no doubt wanted her to become his wife. He asked his parents to marry that girl and slowly gained their approval. This is in fact from the Lord to get ahold of their enemies.
In this episode, Samson and his parents went to Timnah to talk to the girl he wanted to marry. While walking through the vineyards, he encountered a ferocious lion. The animal was ready to engulf him but by the grace of the Lord, Samson tore it to pieces. He never told anyone about his onslaught, not even his parents.
Time passed by and he went back to marry her. He turned to the carcass of the lion he once fought. There he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. He scooped it with his hands and ate some then he gave it to his parents. They didn’t have any idea where it came from.
From this small but informative piece of the story, he broke an important rule of being a Nazirite by touching an unclean object (the lion’s carcass and the handful of honey).
In the time of Samson’s wedding, he was given 30 companions. While having fun, he asked a riddle.
14 He replied,Judges 14:14
“Out of the eater, something to eat;
out of the strong, something sweet.”
If they answer it correctly within seven days, Samson will give them thirty linen garments and an additional thirty sets of clothes. If they fail, they will provide him thirty linen garments and an additional thirty sets of clothes.
For three days, Samson’s companions could not think of an answer for a tricky question that only he knew. On the fourth day, they threatened his wife to be burned alive with his father’s household if she did not plead Samson for the answer. For a whole week, she cried and asked him to give it up. The in-loved young heart explained what the riddle is all about just for her to let it go.
18 Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to himJudges 14:18
“What is sweeter than honey?
What is stronger than a lion?”
Samson said to them,
“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
you would not have solved my riddle.”
He was furious for they have betrayed him by using his wife. Samson then went down to a nearby town in Philistine and with the Spirit of the Lord came through him, he killed thirty men and stripped them of everything and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he returned to his father. Later, his wife was given to one of his companions who attended the feast.
Samson went back to Timnah to visit his wife. Rather than good news, he was informed that his wife was already given to his companions as the father knew Samson hated her. He was offered his wife’s more attractive sister instead.
Betrayed for the second time, our hero became violent and decided to catch three-hundred foxes, tied their tails into pairs and latched lit torches. Then he let them loose. They wrecked most of the Philistines’ harvests. The enemy was shattered. They were told it was Samson, for his father-in-law gave his wife to his companion. So, the Philistines went and burned her and her father to death.
Samson was not happy and threatened the Philistines until he gets his revenge. He attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them.
He stayed in a cave in the rock of Etam to let his cool. The Philistines went to Judah and was searching for Samson because they wanted to get retributions about what he did to their people. For his last betrayal in this act, the Judah people went down to Etam and turned Samson to the enemy. If they promised not to kill him themselves, he will surrender. They agreed.
With fresh ropes, they tied Samson’s hands and went on their way to the land of Lehi. The mighty Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. The ropes embracing him was tore like threads and began his assault. Finding only a fresh donkey’s jawbone, he killed a thousand men.
Note: it is written in the Nazirite rule that he MUST not touch anything unclean a.k.a. donkey’s jawbone.
16 Then Samson said,Judge 15:16-17
“With a donkey’s jawbone
I have made donkeys of them.
With a donkey’s jawbone
I have killed a thousand men.”
17 When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone;
and the place was called Ramath Lehi.
Twenty years, Samson led the Israelites from the hands of the Philistines.
Second Act of Israel’s Deliverance
Samson went to Gaza one day to meet a prostitute. He spent the night and the whole town knew about his whereabouts. They surrounded the place, lay wait at the gates, and decided to take action at sunrise. He waited until midnight before tearing the gates apart with its posts, bar and all, carrying it up the hill that faces Hebron.
Skipped through time, our loverboy fell yet again for another woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah: his ultimate betrayal. The rulers of Philistines knew that Samson, their mortal enemy, was left enslaved by a beauty and took the chance to bribe her. They made a deal that if she told them where Samson’s strength lies, all of them will give the lady eleven hundred shekels of silver each. (That is, about 28 pounds or about 13 kilograms).
Delilah asked Samson to tell her the secret of his unnatural strength. Each time, he playfully answered:
“If anyone ties me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I’ll become as weak as any other man.”
“If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I’ll become as weak as any other man.”
“If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin, I’ll become as weak as any other man.”
But each and every moment, she failed to see the expected outcome. Delilah pleaded and act like he doesn’t care about her every time she asked. Then Samson had enough and told her the truth.
17 So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.”Judges 15:17
Samson went to sleep and that was the only time Delilah needed to execute her plans. They cut his hair and gouged his eyes. For this was their way to be tranquil that he may not harm them ever again. He was binded with bronze shackle and was sent to grinding grain in prison. The hair in his head grew longer after it was shaved.
The Death of Samson
The Philistines gathered around to have a feast to make a sacrifice to Dagon their god to celebrate Samson’s captivity. They were high spirited that they wanted Samson to entertain and perform to them.
Samson asked the servant to place him beside the pillar for support. It is crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were present to see him perform.
A prayer. He, in his last minutes, prayed to God for his strength back to get a revenge for his eyes. And in that moment, he was restored and he reached towards the two central pillars on which the temple stood.
“Let me die with the Philistines!”
It was his last words and down fell the temple with all the people who once made the Israelites captive and tested their faith in God.
We reflect on Samson because:
Abusing our Gifts.
In contrary to Samson’s strength in using it to harm and kill the Philistines, people use their talents in non-Gospel adaptations. We dedicate our capacities diverse to what God has planned for us. For example, we are good at singing but we do not value it by returning it to Him whole-heartedly.
Not good with friends.
We do not notice sometimes but what friends we choose can affect our lives. It is important to make a better choice based on what the Bible tells us.
We act based on emotions.
Anger is an emotion that causes havoc. If it is not tamed, one may regret the outcome. Other emotions including jealousy, envy, and arrogance can create damage. Sometimes, we act based on the theme of revenge. Let us remember, the Lord said in Romans 12:19
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Every sin has its consequences.
Let us remember that God gave us free-will to do what we want. He will consent one to make a mistake for him to realize what he did wrong. Just like Samson, he acted through his arrogance and angered the Philistines that led to his betrayals. He loved a rivalled beauty and pushed himself to his death.
In our lowest, God still uses us for His purpose.
It is not too late for us to get back in our tracks. God knows. He will still make His purpose come through. Always. Samson did came back and asked God once more for His guidance, but it is too late to be alive and give back what God has given him.
Today is the day that the Lord has made. Give back all the talents He has given you. Serve Him now that you have all the time in the world. Make His purpose in your life significant. Aim to be a light for others and not to stumble others. God has a plan. He has a purpose for you. Use it for His glory.
Every one of us went through betrayals at least once in our lifetime. The hurt, pain, agony and sorrow that can cause more destruction than peace. Fill our hearts with forgiveness. Pour out love in our path. Bring happiness to others that may come back one day. It is only through God that leaves us the tranquillity that we need to overcome the trials of this treacherous world we live in.
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