Samson: Superman of the Bible
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” Matthew 26:41
The book of Judges is such an interesting part of the Bible. It was a time when there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6). This led Israel to turn their back on God and to do evil several times.
Our story begins when the children of Israel are in bondage to the Philistines and they cry out to God for help. A man by the name of Manoah, a Danite whose wife was barren, was visited by the Angel of the Lord announcing that she was to have a child who would begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines. This was the first and only time that a deliverer would not totally free his people.
Manoah’s wife told Manoah all that she had heard and he asked the Lord to send the angel to him, so that they might inquire on how to instruct the child. The child would be a Nazarite (set apart) unto life and the Angel instructed her and Manoah that she was not to have anything from the vine or anything that is considered unclean during her pregnancy.
The Nazarite vow (Numbers 6) was a period of time in which a man or woman would set themselves apart unto God. The vow consisted of:
• Having nothing from the grapevine, this included raisins. There are times when God wants us to abstain from things that are not bad.
• No razor would come upon their head. Their hair would be in locks so that others would know that they were Nazarites.
• They could not be near a dead body. If a family member died during their vow period they could not have any contact.
Before the Angel left, Manoah tried to get the angel’s name, but the angel said it was a secret (wonderful; beyond imagination). They realized that this had to be God himself. The woman conceived and gave birth to a son and named him Samson, (meaning sunlight) and the child grew and the Lord blessed him.
Years have passed and we now see Samson as a man who was
• Physically strong
• Morally weak
• Had no accountability in his life.
This would bring about pride which would also produce disrespect to the Nazarite vow he was separated for.
An unequally yoked marriage
Samson was on his way to Timnath to see a woman who was a Philistine whom he wanted to marry. His parents did not wish for him to marry, but he instructed them of his wishes which they obeyed. This showed that Samson had no respect for authority or honor to his parents.
On his way there a young lion attacked him and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and Samson killed the animal. Later he returned and found a beehive in the dead lion. He took the honey and ate it and gave some to his parents thus breaking one of his vows of not touching a dead body.
When the time of the feast was at hand, Samson’s pride got the best of him. He gave the Philistines a riddle and made a bet that they could not answer it. During the feast the men went to Samson’s wife and threatened her if she did not give them the answer. Instead of going to her husband and telling him of the threat, she tricked him into giving up the answer.
Even though this was an area of pride, the Lord used it to begin to rid the Philistines from Israel, for the spirit of the Lord came upon him. When we make unwise decisions usually they effect the people around us, for when Samson came to get his wife she was given to another man.
Samson burned the Philistine’s crops using foxes and in return Samson’s wife and father were burned with fire. Again Samson took those responsible and killed them with a great slaughter.
Samson’s people turn against Him
The army of the Philistines camped near the tribe of Judah. Samson’s own people had turned against him, and they would now turn him in. Judah saw Samson not as a deliverer but as someone who was causing trouble because of personal reasons.
They made a deal that they would not kill him, but bind him and turn him over to the Philistines. When they met the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him and with a new jawbone of an ass, he slew one thousand Philistines.
His pride came out again when he said: “With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with a jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.” Did you notice how “he” did it and not the Lord. When he cast the jawbone aside he soon became very thirsty and then he realized that it was God who gave the victory and he was just a servant.
“Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant;” Judges 15:18
The very instrument that that was used to destroy the Philistines was used to revive Samson with water.
Samson and the Gates of Gaza
Sadly here we find the worldliness of Samson. Not only has he broken nearly every vow of the Nazarite, he has disgraced himself to his enemies. The lust of the flesh would be the downfall of Samson. While in Gaza after being with a harlot, the men tried to trap Samson so that they could kill him. Later that night he took the gates of the city and carried them off.
Samson and Delilah
By this time the Philistines have realized that Samson’s strength is not by his mere physical being but somehow supernatural. Knowing Samson’s weakness for women, they hired a woman that could get the job done. Her name was Delilah (meaning dainty one). She was able to trick Samson, just like his first wife, to tell him the secret to his strength. Samson showed no discernment in why she was asking and when she had vexed his soul unto death he told her. When she had his hair cut and told him the Philistines were upon him, he had not realized that the Lord had left him. The one vow he had not broken was gone and with it God’s protection. Samson’s problem was with his eyes. So the Philistines put out his eyes and placed him in prison grinding meal.
Samson brings down the House
When God’s people fail in the work that God has called them to, and the world sees it, it gives them the opportunity to praise their god and to mock the one true God. During one of their great sacrifices to their god, they brought Samson out that they might humi*liate and make sport of him. When he grabbed the two pillars which supported the temple he asked God to give him strength that he might die with his enemies.
Legends of Samson
In Greek mythology, we find the story of Hercules bearing resemblance to the exploits of Samson. Samson was bound and taken to the Philistines to be destroyed, but he broke loose slaying a thousand men. In the legend of Hercules, he was imprisoned by the Egyptians but broke loose from his bonds and slew his captors. While in Gaza, Samson ripped off the gates of the city and carried them some 50 miles away. In Cadiz, Hercules ripped off the gates of the city, which interestingly had the form of two pillars. Other similarities include the slaying of a lion and their long hair.
Other legends are found that tell of a man possessing a god-like strength. Among the Hindu, we find the legend of Bala Rama. The Assyrians worshipped a sun god named Sandan who was a lion killer. Another example is found among the Babylonians in the legend of Izdubar. This heroic lion-slayer was remembered for his long flowing hair.
Even though Samson was not the greatest of the Judges, his life is an example to the weakness and dangers of the flesh. His courage unto death as well as his other feats puts him in the hall of faith found in Hebrews 11.
You may be reading this and you have never answered the most important question in your life and that is …
How does anyone get to heaven?
First realize that they cannot get to heaven on their own merits. The Bible says that “For all have sinned and come short (that means everybody can’t get to Heaven on their own) of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
Jesus Christ (who is the Son of the living God) came to earth and was born of a virgin woman (therefore he was not born of the curse of mankind) he lived a sinless life and died on a cross for all the sins in the world. Three days later, God the Father raised Him from the dead. He was seen of 500 witnesses and returned to heaven. God’s word says that if we believe these things and call upon the Lord, we will be saved. Romans 10:9 - 13