Samson The Mighty Warrior
Samson was the 12th military leader of ancient Israelites. During that time, they had no country and no king yet. Military leaders took the lead to fight against the enemies of Israelites. While other military leaders gathered troops to fight, Samson fought alone. Samson is the strongest man. Samson had no haircut since birth. His long hair was made into seven braids. Seven is a number related to God.

In 11th century BC, Israelites violated the commandments of God and thus became weak. They were ruled by Philistines for forty years. There was a couple who feared God but the wife was barren. One day, an angel appeared to the woman, telling her that she would bear a son and this son would be a Nazarite unto God. Nazarite means being separated for God. Besides following the commandments for Israelites, a Nazarite must also abstain from drinking alcohol, having haircut and going near to a dead body. God had a series of plan to save Israel from Philistines and the woman's son would make a start. The woman then gave birth to a son and named him Samson.

Samson grew up. He knew about his mission. However he put priority on his personal affair instead and carried out his mission only when it was convenient. He wanted to marry a Philistine woman although his parents objected. He violated two commandments here: honour parents and do not marry a person of different religion. He thought that the marriage could both fulfill his love towards the Philistine woman, and his mission to weaken Philistines. One day, he went to see the woman for a chat. On the way a lion roared at him. He ripped the lion apart alive with his bare hands. After some days he passed by that place again and he wanted to take a look at the dead lion. He violated a commandment here: do not go near to a dead body. He saw that honey bees had built a hive in the carcass. Ignoring the possible contamination from the dead body, he ate the honey and took some honey back for his parents to eat. He violated a commandment here: do not eat unclean thing.

Samson held a wedding feast at the woman's house. Thirty Philistines attended the feast. Samson wanted to give them a riddle, with a wager of thirty sets of clothes under a time frame of seven days. They agreed. The riddle was based on personal experience, in which nobody would know the answer: "out of the eater came forth something edible, and out of the strong came forth something sweet." They could not get the answer. They threatened the bride to burn her and her family if she could not give them the answer. Philistines were barbaric. The bride hassled Samson with a lot of crying. Samson could not stand it and revealed the answer. The thirty Philistines gave the answer: what sweeter than honey is and what stronger than a lion is. Samson went to another city to kill another thirty Philistines to get their clothes to pay his bet. He was angry that his wife sold him out, so he went back to his father's house.

After some days, Samson wanted to see his wife. His father-in-law thought that he did not want her anymore, so she was given to his best man. Samson was once again betrayed by the bride's side. Philistines did not treat a marriage seriously. Marriage should not be changed by mere speculation. It was a great dishonour to the bridegroom's side. Samson caught three hundred foxes. He tied their tails together in pairs, and fastened a torch to each pair of tails. He released the incendiary foxes into the farmland of Philistines. Crops, vineyards and olive groves were destroyed in fire. Philistines then burnt Samson's wife and father-in-law. After that, Samson killed many Philistines. A war began.

Samson went to stay in a cave in the land of Judah. Judah was a tribe of Israelites. The army of Philistines told people of Judah that they wanted to tie Samson up. Samson let people of Judah tie him up and delivered him to Philistines. Philistines shouted at him. He snapped the rope. He saw a fresh jawbone of a donkey and picked it up. He violated a commandment here: do not go near to a dead body. He used it to kill one thousand Philistines. He was thirsty and prayed to God. Water flowed out of the ground.

One night, Samson slept with a prostitute. He violated a commandment here: be holy. Philistines locked the city gate to confine him. He woke up at midnight and tore down the city gate in one piece. He carried the gate to the top of a hill to demonstrate his strength to Philistines.

After that, Samson was in love with a woman named Delilah. She was a wicked woman who was obssesed with money. The leaders of Philistines asked Delilah to get the secret of Samson's strength and each leader promised to give her one thousand one hundred pieces of silver. Delilah was not an Israelite, so she was not aware that Samson kept the commandments for Nazarite. She asked him about the secret. He lied to her three times. He violated a commandment here: do not bear falsehood. He could just ignore her without lying. Delilah did not give up and constantly nagged him every day. Samson was very sick of the nagging so he finally revealed the secret: he is a Nazarite unto God, in which his strength will be gone if his hair is shaved off. She knew he spoke the truth this time because he mentioned about God, indicating the seriousness. Delilah sent someone to ask the Philistine leaders to come. They came with the money. Delilah used a certain way, probably getting him drunk, to make him fall into deep sleep on her knees. She asked a skilled barber to shave off his seven braids without waking him up. He became bald. She woke him up by saying, "Philistines are here to get you, Samson." He wanted to go out to exercise his body but was caught. His eyes were gouged out. He was shackled with brass fetters and commanded to push a millstone in prison. His hair grew gradually.


One day, Philistine leaders wanted to give a great sacrifice to their idol in a very huge temple. They praised their god for defeating Samson so Samson was the candidate for the sacrifice. They got Samson from the prison and made fun of him like a monkey in public. Samson asked the youngster who held his hand to let him touch the pillars of the temple. The temple was full of people and there were three thousand people on just the rooftop. Samson was alone in his enemy's hand with no way out. Although held captive, as a warrior he did not want to let the enemy take away his life easily, so he wanted to use up all he had to make a desperate last minute stand to avenge his eyes. He was still putting personal matter on the first priority, and his mission the second. He prayed to God for the strength for the last time. His left arm took hold of a pillar and his right arm another. He broke the two pillars and the temple collapsed. He killed more Philistines when he died than when he was alive. Philistines lost their leaders and many people so the nation started to become weak.


There are two morals of the story. The first moral is to keep God's commandments. Samson as a Nazarite broke all commandments except one, keeping his hair. God was lenient towards him and let him have the strength albeit just one commandment was upheld. Note that his strength did not come from his hair, but from keeping God's commanndment. If he cut his hair and kept another commandment, he would still have the strength. By breaking God's commandments, Samson caused calamity on himself and had to sacrifice his life to accomplish his mission. Only by keeping God's commandments, the bondage of sin can be broken, like how Samson escaped from the binding rope. We do not have to keep the commandments for Nazarite of course but just keep the ten commandments. The second moral is we should not emphasize on personal affair over God because God is our Lord.

The story above begins from Judges 13.

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Posted: 2015-11-08; updated: 2015-12-25 by Ong Seng Aun.
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