Samson was the seventh judge of Israel. His birth and commission to be a Nazarite were foretold by an angel, an honor given to very few in scripture. He was endowed with miraculous strength which he used to fight the Philistines. At this point, the Philistines had ruled over Israel for forty years. (Compare Judges 13:1 and Judges 15:11)
Samson had a preoccupation with the women of Philistia which was overruled by God for the improvement of Israel’s national situation. (Judges 14:4) His romantic interests became a pretext for personal conflict with the Philistines.
At the celebration of his marriage to a woman of Timnah, Samson challenged his Philistine companions to solve a riddle. Unable to solve it, they threatened his bride and her family for the answer. In reponse Samson paid his debt with the garments of thirty Philistines he killed in a neighboring town.—Judges 14:10-19
In his absence, his bride was married to another. (Judges 14:20-15:2) This started his feud with the Philistines that defined his judgeship. This feud led to spoiling the Philistine economy by burning their crops at harvest (Judges 15:3-5), the killing of a thousand men with a jawbone (Judges 15:14-16), and the destruction of the gates of the city of Gaza.—Judges 16:3
Samson’s fall came from his relationship with Delilah who convinced him to share the secret of his strength—his relationship with God, as symbolized by his hair. With his hair cut, Samson lost his strength, was blinded, and imprisoned. In the moment of his greatest weakness, chained to two pillars in the temple of Dagon, Samson asked God for strength. Receiving it, he destroyed the temple, killing himself and 3,000 Philistines, including their leaders. Thus, he freed Israel from Philistine oppression for the next twenty years.—Judges 16:23-30
Samson’s story is an example that God can use imperfect people to accomplish his plans. It reminds us of the danger of giving in to our fallen human tendencies. It reveals that when we are at our weakest, God is still with us. If we ask for his strength to do his will, He is faithful to hear us.—Lam. 3:22,23
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