Who is…

Hebrew: שִׁמְשׁ֑וֹן —transliteration: Shimshon —meaning: man of the sun

Samson was the son of Manoah and was born at Zorah.

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

The first recorded event of his life was his marriage with a Philistine woman of Timnath (Judges 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 (Exodus 34:11-16; Deuteronomy 7:1-4). It was, however, an ill-assorted and unblessed marriage. His wife was soon taken from him and given “to his companion” (Judges 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 20 years following this, he judged Israel; but we have no record of his life.

Probably these 20 years were simultaneous with the last 20 years of Eli’s life.

After this we have an account of his exploits at Gaza (16:1-3), and of his infatuation with the Philistine woman 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, counselors, or priests, Their choice nobility and flower” —Milton's Samson Agonistes

Tel Tsar'a (site of ancient Zorah) and Samson’s Tomb in Israel—satellite view

“Unlike Samson, who succumbed to the evils of the Philistine culture, our lives must be distinctive, virtuous, and godly if we are to effectively influence modern society.” (from video “On the Promised Land: Crossroads of the World”

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Article Version: June 20, 2024