Samson is known as the strongest man to have walked the earth. Bible history points to Samson as the 15th judge of Israel, and that he reigned as a judge for as much as 20 years. He is found on the Bible Timeline between 1154BC and 1124BC. Samson is a Hebrew name that translates: “Strong, distinguished.” One of the main highlights of Samson’s life was his involvement with the Philistine woman Delilah that translates as “languishing trouble.”
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Samson as a Judge
Samson may have been considered the most famous of the judges to have been appointed to Israel. He is also considered to be the most unusual with his unorthodox, and many times law-breaking ways of getting things done. The very nature of the tool with which Samson was blessed to deliver Israel (his strength) made him different and set him apart from other judges who led Israel. Samson was to single-handedly defeat the Philistines as opposed to using an army. Samson’s weakness was his love for Philistine women and his love for Delilah was to be his undoing. In spite of the many warnings that God gave him, Samson would allow the Philistine women to influence to sin over and over.
The Role of Samson’s Parents
Samson the Nazarite came from the tribe of Dan. He was born in a small town called Zorah close to the place inhabited by the Philistines. He was born to Manoah and his childless wife who one day had a visit from an angel. The angel that appeared to her told her that she would give birth to a son who would one day deliver the Hebrews from the hands of the Philistines.
The angel also gave her specifications as to how the child Samson was to be brought up, including his dedication to God from birth and his grooming. Manoah’s wife told him of the dream, and he prayed for another appearance from the Angel. His prayer was answered, and the angel appeared a second time to both Manoah and his wife. The angel repeated the predictions and the stipulations concerning the birth and upbringing of Samson.
The Lord at work in Samson
The Bible reveals that God started to manifest himself in the boy Samson from an early age while he was in Mahaneh Dan which is located between the place known as Zorah and the other Eshtaol. God had specifically blessed Samson with great strength so that he would be able to fight the Philistines and deliver Israel. His long hair was a symbol of strength, and no razor was to touch his head.
The Bible records that Samson’s first demonstration of the Lord’s strength in him came when he ripped an attacking lion apart while he was on his way to visit his Philistine bride-to-be. The Bible relates that the Spirit of the Lord took control of Samson, and he overcame the lion. The second manifestation of this power was to come when Samson, in anger against his father-in-law, destroyed the crops of the Philistine.
He did this by capturing three hundred foxes, tied their tails together then set them afire and turned them loose in the fields. Samson’s strength was again proven when he slew 3,000 Philistines with a donkey’s jawbone. When the Philistines locked their gates in an attempt to lock him inside their walls, the man of God responded by pulling the gates off their hinges and carrying them up the top of a hill. Samson’s final display of strength was to result in three major occurrences, the deliverance of the Israelites from the hands of the Philistines, the destruction of the Philistines and his death. Samson fell in love with another Philistine woman Delilah. She coaxed him endlessly to tell him the secret of his strength.
After tricking her by telling her lies, Samson finally gave up his secret that resulted in him losing the symbol of strength between him and God, his hair. The Philistines took advantage of the weakened judge of Israel, and they mocked him and put out his eyes. Unknown to them, as his hair grew back Samson’s strength returned.
He used this strength at the appropriate time while thousands of Philistines had gathered in the temple of Dagon to jeer him. He had his guide lead him to the main support pillars of the temple where through a fervent prayer to God for one last blessing of strength. He braced the pillars apart and brought the temple down upon the Philistines slaying them, and he died with them in the process.
Bible References to Samson
- Judges 13:1 to chapter 16:31. The birth and life of Samson.
- Judges 13:24. The Spirit of the Lord started to work through Samson while he was in Mahaneh Dan.
- Numbers 6:1-21. The vow of a Nazarene
http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/464035/jewish/Samson.htm http://www.bibleview.org/en/Bible/Judges/Samson/ http://www.sundayschoolsources.com/lessons/OT/Judges/Samson_text.htm
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