Samson

Hebrews 11:32; Judges 13‑16  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Son of Manoah, of the tribe of Dan. His birth had been pre-announced by an angel to his mother, who had long been childless. The angel told his parents that he was to be a Nazarite (that is, a separated one) from his birth. When Israel was in bondage to the Philistines, the internal enemies of God’s people, a Nazarite had to be raised up by God to work out their deliverance. The statement that “he judged Israel twenty years,” doubtless signifies the south-west parts of the land near the country of the Philistines. It was said of Samson before his birth: “He shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”
His marriage with a woman of Timnath was so far “of the Lord” that it became in the ways of God an occasion against the Philistines to whom he had allied himself. His going down to her was the occasion of his killing a lion; this led to Samson’s riddle, and the riddle to his slaying thirty of the Philistines. Then, his wife being given to another man, Samson burned up their corn, their vineyards, and their olives, and smote the Philistines with “a great slaughter.”
When the Philistines gathered themselves together to arrest Samson, the men of Judah would not defend him, but, owning their bondage, said, “Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us?” and three thousand of Judah bound Samson and delivered him to the Philistines. Thus Samson, through God’s inscrutable ways, was separated from his own people: they delivered him up, as afterward the people of Judah delivered up the Lord Jesus, the true Nazarite, who came to save them.
When in the hands of his enemies, he was mightily moved by the Spirit, and with the jaw-bone of an ass slew a thousand of the Philistines. After this great victory he fainted for water, and cried unto the Lord, who clave a hollow place in the rock [also called lehi, “a jaw-bone”] and gave him drink.
His humiliating end was brought about through his lust after strange women. It was extreme folly to make known the secret of his strength to Delilah when he knew she would betray him. It is a striking instance of the foolish things a Nazarite (and all Christians are morally Nazarites) may do if he gets out of communion with the Lord. The strong man was blinded and made to grind in a dungeon for his enemies.
But God had not forsaken him, and his hair began to grow again. The Philistines offered a great sacrifice to their god Dagon, and they praised their god, and said it was he that had delivered Samson into their hands. Then they sent for him to make sport before them; but he cried unto the Lord, and asked Him to strengthen him this once, that he might be avenged on the Philistines for the loss of his two eyes. God strengthened him, and he pulled down the house, on the roof of which there were about three thousand souls, and thus he slew at his death more than he had slain in his life.
Notwithstanding the failures of Samson, God accomplished the purpose for which He had raised him up in subduing the Philistines; but it was only accomplished in his own death. Among the cloud of witnesses who “obtained a good report through faith,” Samson is named, but his acts are not there recorded (Heb. 11:3232And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: (Hebrews 11:32)). His history is given in Judges 13-16.