Samson

                    In Judges 13-16 we find the story of a man you would definitely want to be your friend, and not your enemy. Samson was the Son of a judge of Israel (this was a position of leadership previous to the time of the kings), named Manoah. Manoah’s wife was thought to be infertile.

                    An angel appeared to Manoah’s barren wife, and told her she would soon have a son who would be a Nazirite even in the womb. Does this not remind you of a couple of others - namely Samuel and John the Baptist?

                    It was a rule that those who took the Nazirite vow did not eat certain things. That was a choice made by the individual in his keeping the Nazirite vow. Yet, Samson had no choice in the matter. (Nor did his mother, as she was to carry him in her womb.) God decided that Samson would be a Nazirite.

                    Samson was also forbidden to cut his hair, his ‘seven locks.’ This was part of the Nazirite vow (the Nazirite vow can be seen in Numbers 6:1-21). Samson’s role in life was to ‘begin to save Israel’ from the marauder Philistines.

Another Visit

                    The angel again appeared to Manoah’s wife; this time Manoah was present as well. After confirming what was in store for Samson, the angel rose to the sky in the smoke of their burnt offering.

                    Now, you might have Samson pictured as sort of a nice, godly fellow, but listen. There is no record of Samson marrying, yet he certainly had some relationships with women. Not only that, he didn’t bother with those Israeli women - no, he went straight for the enemy. Three women entertained this ‘man of God.’ One woman was from Timnah, a second a Gaza prostitute, and the other was Delilah.

The Trouble Begins

                    Samson demanded that his parents allow him to marry the Philistine woman from Timnah. Well, this just was not very Nazirite-like. They remembered the two visits from the angel before Samson was born. Of course, this did not please them. But he did it anyway. It seems that it was part of the mechanism by which Samson would carry out his mission (see 14:4).

                    On the way to the wedding, a strange thing happened to Samson. When a lion attacked him, the spirit of the LORD came upon him, causing him to kill the lion with his bare hands. That was only a foreshadowing of the strange things to come.

                    Later, when Samson passed the lion’s carcass, he discovered there was a swarm of bees and decided to try out some of the honey. Oops! He forgot that Nazirite vow, again.

The Adventures of Samson, Man of God

                    Samson told a riddle about the carcass and the honey at the wedding feast: Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. After the Philistines answered Samson’s riddle (by having his almost-wife pry the answer from him), the enraged Samson killed thirty Philistines in Ashkelon.

                    Upon his return, he discovered his near-wife’s father had given her to someone else. He sent 300 pairs of   foxes with firebrands tied to their tails into the Philistines’ fields. The Philistines retaliated by setting the woman’s parents afire.

                    Three thousand Philistines surrounded Samson on the top of a hill. He agreed to go back with them. But when he arrived at the city, the men wanted to do him in. With an ass’s jawbone, he killed one thousand of them.

The Woman to End It All

                    But Samson’s greatest story was Delilah.  She, being a Philistine, tricked him into telling the secret of his strength, his seven locks. She had them cut off as he slept. Then the Philistines moved in to capture him.

                    As the Philistines were having a holy feast, they thought it would be fun to have Samson entertain them. After he was brought into the temple, he had the last laugh. He asked an attendant to show him where the two central supporting columns of the temple were. Samson spoke a final prayer to his God, then brought the temple down.    DTB

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