Lessons from Samson

This is the first installment on a series of blogs examining Samson and his many issues in romantic relationships.

For those who aren’t familiar with Samson, let’s revisit his story. Samson was anointed even before conception (Judges 13). Although his mother had not been able to conceive children, an angel appeared to her and gave her instruction on how to care for herself while carrying the child she would raise. The son was to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth so he can begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.

Moving on to Judges 14, Samson marries a Philistine woman. Her name isn’t mentioned; she’s only referred to as a Philistine and as Samson’s wife. Long story short, he gives the Philistines a riddle they can’t answer so they ask Samson’s wife to get the answer for them. She cried for SEVEN DAYS, relenting until he finally revealed the answer. Of course, she told her kinsmen and they then attempted to appear wise before Samson with the answer. However, Samson knew what was up, called his wife a “heifer,” and then her father ended up arranging a different marriage for her. Samson gets angry and basically burns the whole town and even though the Philistines almost get him to exact their revenge, he breaks free and wrecks shop.

In Chapter 16, Samson meets Delilah. The chapter starts with him spending a night with a Philistine prostitute and yet again, God allows him to escape the hands of the Philistines. A few verses down, he meets and falls in love with Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines conspired with her to find the secret of Samson’s strength so they could capture him. Twice she asked him to share the secret of his strength and twice, he lied to her. She then pulled out the “If you love me” card and continued to nag him until he told her that his hair had never been cut and that if his head were shaven, he’d become as weak as any other man. After he revealed this, Delilah somehow knew that this was the truth and sent word to the rulers of the Philistines that they should come back and she’ll have Samson ready for them. She put him to sleep with his head on her lap and called someone to shave his head while he slept. When he awoke, he just thought he’d be able to shake himself free as he’d done the two times before, but he did not know that Lord left him. The Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes, and took him to Gaza. However, his hair did begin to grow.

After being captured, the Philistines celebrated their god Dagon since their enemy had been delivered into their hands. They then called out for Samson to come and perform for them. However, he prayed to God for strength so he could get revenge on the Philistines for his eyes and God granted him his desire. He then pushed down two pillars that supported the roof and killed thousands of people, including himself.

That’s the story in a nutshell. To get the details, read Judges 13-16 in various versions. NIV and The Message are my personal favorites, but whichever you choose, please read it for yourself. To me, it reads like a juicy novel or even a soap opera. Happy reading!

So, what’s the deal with Samson? And why does it seem that Samson can’t learn a lesson the first time it’s taught? I think it’s primarily the same reason why we keep walking around the same mountains in our lives. God delivers us, gives us the strength to fight our enemies, then we fall back into the same traps and repeat the same stupid behaviors. Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at different lessons we can learn from Samson’s mistakes so we don’t have to repeat them. Next up, we’ll examine why you shouldn’t let everyone play in your hair….

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