Samson: Man of Weakness and Strength

KEY VERSE: “Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O LORD God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” —Judges 16:28


SAMSON was raised up by the Lord to serve Israel during the period of the judges. These judges served the people in times of great need, especially when they were being oppressed by their enemies. Samson’s judgeship lasted for twenty years, and it was during a time when the Philistines dominated the land.—Jud. 15:20; 16:31

The birth of Samson was by a special dispensation of God, for his mother had been barren. An angel informed Samson’s mother that his head should not be shaved. His long hair was a token that he was a Nazarite.

As we recall, Samson was endowed with great physical strength; and because of his experience with Delilah, many suppose that his long hair was the source of his strength. Actually, it was merely the symbol of his strength, in that it was a token of the fact that he had been set apart for the service of God, and that God gave his servant strength. When Samson compromised himself with Delilah, and she had his hair cut off, his great strength was gone. Concerning Samson’s viewpoint of his loss of strength, the record states, “He wist not that the Lord was departed from him.”—Jud. 16:20

Samson is one of those who are distinctly spoken of in the Bible as endowed by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. When bound with strong cords by the Philistines, we read, “The Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands losed [Margin, Hebrew—‘were melted’] from off his hands.” (Jud. 15:14) We read concerning Samson’s ability to destroy a lion, “The Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand.”—Jud. 14:6

As noted, it was when Samson went contrary to his vow of faithfulness to the Lord, and his hair was cut, that the Lord’s Spirit and favor departed from him, and he was helpless in the hands of the Philistines. They put out his eyes, and he was made to perform hard labor in a prison at Gaza.—Jud. 16:21-24

The record does not indicate what period of time Samson was held in prison, but during his imprisonment his hair grew long again. (vs. 22) The time came when the Philistines made a feast unto their god, Dagon, and they said, “Call for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.”—vss. 23-25

Samson’s indignation was aroused, and he asked the boy who was holding him by the hand to permit him to feel the great pillars which were supporting the temple, so that he might “lean upon them.” (vs. 26) Then he prayed earnestly to the Lord to remember and strengthen him. It is obvious that the Lord heard his prayer, for this now physically blinded judge in Israel was given the strength, and he was able to topple the pillars, and the temple came crashing down, killing all the people in it and on its roof, and Samson with them.

In Hebrews 11:32, Samson is mentioned as one of those who proved worthy of a “better resurrection.” He had his faults, as did David and others, but it seems evident that at the end the Lord stood by him and rewarded his faith in answering his petition for strength to destroy the enemies of the Israelites.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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