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Samson

Meaning: of the sun

the son of Manoah, born at Zorah

The narrative of his life is given in Judg. 13-16. He was a “Nazarite unto God” from his birth, the first Nazarite mentioned in Scripture (Judg. 13:3-5; compare Num. 6:1-21).

The first recorded event of his life was his marriage with a Philistine woman of Timnath (Judg. 14:1-5). Such a marriage was not forbidden by the law of Moses, as the Philistines did not form one of the seven doomed Canaanite nations (Ex. 34:11-16; Deut. 7:1-4). It was, however, an ill-assorted and unblessed marriage. His wife was soon taken from him and given “to his companion” (Judg. 14:20).

For this Samson took revenge by burning the “standing corn of the Philistines” (15:1-8), who, in their turn, in revenge burnt her and her father with fire. Her death he terribly avenged (15:7-19).

During the twenty years following this he judged Israel; but we have no record of his life. Probably these twenty years may have been simultaneous with the last twenty years of Eli's life. After this we have an account of his exploits at Gaza (16:1-3), and of his infatuation for Delilah, and her treachery (16:4-20), and then of his melancholy death (16:21-31).

He perished in the last terrible destruction he brought upon his enemies. “So the dead which he slew at his death were more [in social and political importance = the elite of the people] than they which he slew in his life.”

“Straining all his nerves, he bowed: As with the force of winds and waters pent, When mountains tremble, those two massy pillars With horrible convulsion to and fro He tugged, he shook, till down they came, and drew The whole roof after them, with burst of thunder Upon the heads of all who sat beneath, Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, or priests, Their choice nobility and flower” (Milton's Samson Agonistes).