Samson was born to become a judge of Israel in the tribe of Dan when Israel was in bondage of Philistines for 40 years. But he had to wait to reach his manhood say 25 -30 years approx. God of Israel sympathized upon Israelites due to their cry against the affliction of their adversary Philistines. He sent an angel to inform and instruct his mother about the birth and the care she need to take for his un-defilement. Thus the angel said to her”
“Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:
For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines”. (Judges 13: 4-5)
- Drink not wine or anything of the wine tree.
- Eat not unclean thing
- No razor shall come on his head.
Samson grew to the age of Judge and the Spirit of the Lord guided him to Timnath, the city of Philistine, and made him to fall in love with a Philistine girl, and he told his parents to arrange a marriage with her. (Judges 14:4) (This action is lust of the eye and lust of the flesh according to New Testament commandment, and one needs to get rid of such act in the present period. But in the Old Testament it was not so.) Though they did not like it initially, but agreed with him. The marriage was arranged. Samson and his parents were in Timnath. Samson gave a marriage feast and the bride’s family brought thirty friends to cheer up Samson for seven days prior to the marriage. Now Samson put a riddle to his friends with a bet. If Samson wins the bet, he will get thirty sheets and change garments, one set, from each his friends but may earn the anger of his friends, which can cause nothing to Samson. If he loses, he needs to give thirty sheets and change garments to his friends, one set, for each of them, and the reaction of Samson is known only to the Spirit of God, because the Spirit of God led Samson to Timnath in order to make an occasion against the Philistines, and not to get married. (Judges 14:1-13)
So the Spirit of God made Samson to lose the bet. Samson was angry upon his friends as they played a trick through his wife and expounded his riddle. But the Spirit of God made her father to mistake the anger upon his daughter as she told the key of the riddle to his friends. The Spirit of God led Samson to Ashkelon city, and Samson killed thirty men and strip their garments and gave to his friends and without marrying her, left their house with furious anger. Her father, assuming that the angry Samson hated his daughter because of the riddle, and may not marry her, solemnized the marriage with one of the friends of Samson. Now the occasion on the Philistines is established in Timnath with a role of a beautiful girl, and a defeat in the riddle, followed by a chain of reactions. (Judges 14:14-20)
Few months later when Samson was cooled down, he went to Timnath to meet his would be wife. But he was shocked to hear that she was given in marriage to one of his friends. This made Samson to take revenge on the Philistines, and with the help of 300 foxes he managed to burn all their wheat fields, and wheat shieves, barley fields, and barley shieves, vine yards and olive fields completely during the night and went away. When the Philistines came to know that Samson did all because his wife was given to his friend by her father and they set fire both the father and his daughter and killed them. When Samson heard that the beautiful girl whom he loved was set on fire by the people of Timnath, he was outrageous and went to Timnath and brutally killed one and all hip and thigh. These chain of reaction of Samson promoted him to a position of a savior of Israel, an Army of One Man, in the sight of Philistines.Samson was one-man army against his enemies the Philistines! Unlike other judges who had an army with them in the battles. Now the Spirit of God elevated Samson to be a Judge of Israel and both the Israelites and the Philistines regarded him as a man of great strength. Of course through a philistine beautiful girl, and an apparent defeat in the riddle, his carrier began. (Judges 15:1-8)
Some modern preachers and others compare the holiness standard of Samson, an Old Testament saint, with the New Testament holiness standard and comment badly on Samson. They failed to notice, or noticed but disregarded that Samson is one of the Heroes of Faith mentioned in (Heb. 11:32) and say that Samson did not have control over his eyes, or he had lust of the eyes. Some say that Samson was dis obedient to his parents. Some say that he was a fallen man in flesh, and some comment that he ended his life with a suicide. We may call them as “Abusers of Samson” for our text. Is it right to say that a hero of faith was a fallen man and a sinner and certainly went to hell? If any person lived a sinful life, will God record his name among the Heroes of Faith? Truly speaking, God appointed Samson as a judge to deliver or begin to deliver the Israelites from the cruel activities of Philistines. For that, an occasion or occasions are to be created. In the case of the beautiful girl of Timnath, the Spirit of God prepared an occasion and made it established and Samson was made known as a mighty savior of the Israelites, and a judge over them. Here it is a warning to such people of God, that if they accuse Samson, truly they are not accusing him, but the Spirit of God, Himself.
So, be warned!Please never compare the holiness standard of Old Testament saints with that of New Testament saints. Keep separate the old wine and the new wine and also the old wine bottle and the new wine bottle!
For example, let us take the life of Abraham. His character of faith on God was an important factor. When he heard the voice of God, to go to an unknown place, he obeyed and started his journey. Secondly when God asked him to sacrifice his only son, he obeyed and carried out the act. Had not God stopped him, surely he could have sacrificed his only son Isaac. So Abraham was a man of Faith and we need to take his faith as an example for our life. But if we take his life with Hagar, an Egyptian maid, and Keturah a concubine who begot many sons, those activities are not an example for our life, and if any one makes bad remarks on Abraham, on those grounds, it is unwise act only. Because Abraham was a saint of the Old Testament and comparing his life of weakness with the New Testament saints is unwise only. (Gen. 25:1-6)
Also, during Timnath experience, Samson killed a lion by bare hands. Later, on another occasion, he took the honey from the dead body of the very lion killed by him, and tasted it. Let the “Abusers of Samson” ask a Question to themselves whether Samson was defiled by touching an unclean animal’s bones or the car-case? Or not? But we see God continued to be with Samson revealing the might and power of God. This shows that among the three conditions given to his mother by the angel of God, now God maintains only two conditions on Samson! 1. Wine 2. Razor on his head. And all other defilement conditions are winked at by Him. God permitted Samson to move freely in the land of Philistines to show his strength, and he need to take his meals among the Philistines. He might be eating unclean food like pork or rabbit’s meat etc., knowingly or unknowingly, which God winked at. As we read in (Numbers. 23:21) “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them”. Again let the “Abusers on Samson” ask a question to themselves, why God did not count it defilement when Samson killed 30 men in Ashkelon city and stripped their garments from the dead bodies in order to hand over to his friends as he was defeated in the riddle?
The “Abusers of Samson” are holding the tail and beating their drums instead of the head!
Various judges judged Israel for: 80, 40, 23, 20, 10, 8, 7, 6, 3, years and Samson was in the fourth rank, and he judged Israel for 20 years.
- Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. Judged for 40 years. (Judges 3:3-11)
- Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man left handed, Judged for 80 years.) (Judges.3:15, 30)
- Shamgar the son of Anath judged Israel. (Judges 3:31) Period not mentioned.
- Jael judged Israel. (I Sam. 5:6) Period not mentioned.
- Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth judged Israel. (Judges 4:4,5) Period not mentioned.
- Gideon Judged for 40 years. (Judges 6:16, 8:28)
- Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal ruled as king for 3Years. (Judges 9:1,22)
- Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim. Judged for23 years. (Judges 10:1,2)
- Jephthah the Gileadite judged for6 years. (Judges 11:1, 12:7)
- Ibzan of Bethlehem Judged for 7 years. (Judges 12:8,9)
- Elon, a Zebulonite, Judged for10 years. (Judges 12:11)
- Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, Judged for8 years. (Judges 12:13,14)
- Samson Judged for 20 years. (Judges 16:31)
- Eli Judged for40 years. (I Sam.4:18)
- Samuel Judged forall the days of his life. (I Sam.7:15) Period not mentioned.
- Joel, the first born of Samuel, judged Israel. When Samuel was old, he made his two sons judges over Israel. Period not mentioned.
- Abiah, Samuel’s second son judged Israel. (I Sam.8:1,2) Period not mentioned.
Next, Samson was in Gaza city in a harlot’s house and Philistines planned to kill him on the next day morning, and waited outside the city. Samson spent half of the night with the harlot and arose in the midnight and came out. The Spirit of God came upon him and he could remove the closed city gate with the doors and the two posts and the bars and locks and kept them on his shoulders and carried to a nearby hill top and rested. (Judges 16:1-3)
Here the “Abusers of Samson” may call him as a sinner. A man fallen in the flesh. But let them ask a question to themselves, if Samson is filthy man, a sinner, a man defiled his body with a harlot, how the Spirit of God still came upon him mightily and he could remove the city gate and walk away? Here God did not see Samson as these “Abusers of Samson” see him. Here one must understand that Samson’s parents wanted that he marries an Israeli girl and live a life in the society. But the Spirit of God did not. So, God permitted him to live a life with a harlot or so, but certainly not with somebody’s wife, which is certainly a punishable sin. Here let us remember prophet Hosea. To reveal God’s love towards Israelites of whoredom, He asked him to marry a whore, and he married a whore a begat three children. (Hosea 1: 1-9) Once again God asked him to marry another adulteress of immoral life, and he married. (Hosea 3:1-3) Here too let the “Abusers of Samson” ask a question to themselves, whether Holy God will ask His Prophet, a saint, to defile himself by marrying a whore? If defilement is preferred, God would have asked His Prophet to take somebody’s wife! So, in this aspect we understand that God did not want a sinful act by His Prophet. One should not forget that Hosea was an Old Testament saint and his standard of holiness should never be compared with that of a New Testament Saint. If the act of the holy prophet was justified by God, why not Samson’s act? Samson never took somebody’s wife because he had great strength and no man to question him. Again let the “Abusers of Samson” ask a Question to themselves that if God justifies a man who am I to condemn the very person?
Next, Samson stayed on the top of the rock Etham and the Philistines army wanted to capture him and went to Judea and the men of Judea agreed to tie him and deliver Samson to the Philistines. They went and talked with Samson and he agreed to be delivered by them. When they came to the Philistines the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson mightily, and the rope tied him was broken as if burnt by fire and Samson picked a new jaw bone of an ass and by that he killed one thousand soldiers. (Judges 15: 15, 16)
Here, Samson touched an unclean animal’s bone and God winked at his act and did not count it a defilement. Now let the Abusers of Samson ask a question to themselves that did God consider touching a new jaw bone of an ass, an unclean animal, by Samson a defilement to his Nazarite consecration?
Then Samson loved and lived with a woman and not a harlot called Delilah. Then the Princes of five Philistine Provinces, agreed to pay her 1100 silver coins each, amounting to 5500 silver coins in order to find out the secret of his strength. It was a big money as Joseph was sold for 20 silver coins by his brothers, and Jesus was betrayed for 30 silver coins by Judas Iscariot. The love for the money made her to find out his secret. When she asked him the first time, “Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee”. Will a loving person ask such a question, to his or her companion? If such question is asked what would be the reaction of the companion? Will he not think why such question is asked? Whether the other person wants to rob his strength? A person with a common I.Q. will easily understand the theme behind such question. But Samson did not. Why? Again she asked and Samson told a false reply. He found that she carried out her act of disarming him! The third time she asked and he gave another false reply and she tried again! The fourth time also she did the same act! Also on the contrary, instead of Samson scolding her, she told Samson that he was fooling her! Was Samson so big fool that he could not understand her purpose? Certainly he was not! Though he was a judge and the Spirit of God broods over him always and at any point of necessity, He comes on Samson mightily, is it possible to become a big fool? Certainly not? If so what made him to act as a big fool in disclosing the secret of his strength? You have to agree that, his end time has come, and God was going to perform His will and purpose upon Samson! As the angel of God told Samson’s mother “He shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hands of Philistines.” For the past 20 years he began to deliver them but not accomplished his deliverance mission, and still they were under the rule of the Philistines, unlike other judges like Othniel, Ehud Deborah, and during their periods the enemies were dethroned and Israel was free Nation. (Judges 15:11) Judges 3:10-11, 23-30, 5:31)
Now let us remember the beginning of Samson’s carrier as a judge. He was led to a beautiful girl in Timnath, by the Spirit of God, in order to make an occasion on Philistines and Samson was made to face a defeat in the riddle he put forth to his 30 friends, and the defeat was a stepping stone of victory, for Samson to reveal his might and killed the people of Timnath hip and thigh, by catching 300 foxes, he burnt all the wheat fields, barley fields, shieves, wine yards, and olive yards, and killed 30 men in Ashkelon city and ripped them off their clothes. Now at the closing also the Spirit of God repeats the same action by an apparent defeat, which caused his precious hair shaved off, his great strength left him, (Or God departed from him) his both the eyes were plucked off, he was humiliated and reproach and shame covered his face, he was made to grind the mill in the prison! But it was also a stepping stone for a greater victory, in which he killed 3000 men, women and children including the Nobles of Philistines, in which he killed more at his death than his living! Secondly, his relatives came and searched and found his body from among the ruins of the collapsed building, carried him from Gaza to his father’s burying place, between Zorah and Eshtaol and conducted a burial service and buried him with his father Manoah. His end was of more glorious than his beginning! He judged Israel for 20 years righteously with the help of the Spirit of God. “If a man begets a hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he”. (Eccl.6:3) As Solomon the wise addressed the words of wisdom of God, Samson had a burial and that too with his father Manoah was a great blessing at his end of life!
Here too the “Abusers of Samson” criticized him saying, he suicides and ended his life! Alas! What an abuse it is! Who suicide his life? Only a coward. Or a person who committed a great sin and comes under the clutches of the devil like Judas Iscariot, or a person goes through or expected to go through a great difficult path of reproach, shame and humiliation due to his inability to face them, or a man faces a great defeat in war, and going to be humiliated by his enemies, like King Saul. But Samson cannot suicide as he had no strength to pull down the pillars, which was lost. He was not a coward as he prays to God to strengthen him in order to avenge his enemies for his two eyes plucked by them. He did not commit any great sin like Judas Iscariot. Also God will not strengthen him if he is going to suicide! Let the “Abusers of Samson” ask a question to themselves, did God support his suicide by granting him his great strength? The fact is that; the time of Samson’s end has come. The Spirit of God was doing a great work of finishing touches in his life, so that his end would be more glorious than the beginning. Also, look at the work of the Spirit of God towards the Philistines! They rejoiced telling that their god Dagon, gave them victory over Samson and made great sacrifice to Dagon and also arranged a celebration of their victory. When they all gathered in a great hall of ground floor and upper floors, filled with 3000 people of men, women and children of all cadres including their nobles, supported by many pillars, the great men desired to bring Samson in their midst in order to make fun as he was blind. They brought him from the prison and tied him between two middle pillars, and troubled him and made him to jump here and there because he could not see and rejoiced over his funny actions. Then he prayed to help avenging Philistines for his both the eyes. Here one can understand that the Philistines’ great joy, great sacrifice to their god Dagon, great celebration etc. are usual and normal. But bringing blind Samson from the prison in their midst to make fun was the work of the Spirit of God, to accomplish the final touches of His great Will. Here God answered Samson’s prayer and strengthened him, and he pulled the two great middle pillars and the whole building came down killing all the people. As his end time has come, he said, “Let me die with the Philistines” and the words of God fulfilled in his life that “He will begin to deliver Israelites out of the hand of the Philistines”. (Judges 16:30& 13:5)
Here is a question to be asked? Why and how God answered Samson’s last prayer? When great Moses made a mistake by beating the rock the second time instead of speaking to it, God did not answer his prayer of permitting him to enter Canaan, the land flows with milk and honey, and the great David the king about whom Jesus said I am the root and off spring of David and the bright and morning star, (Rev.22:16) when he prayed for the male child, born to Bathsheba, to be healed with fasting, God did not hear his prayer because of his sin. Here let the “Abusers of Samson” answer a question to themselves, how God answered the prayer of a Sinner Samson? So, Samson was a mighty man or one-man army, he was undefiled as God winked at and counted him holy, he was undefeated, as apparent defeat was a stepping stone for his greater victory, and he was a righteous judge as he never desired money.
So, let me conclude that, when any one refers to Samson, he must speak about his great strength only! It is the head and the tail is his permitted life with harlots, and certainly not with some body’s wife, which is punishable sin, and he was pure in that respect. Similarly, when any one refers about Abraham, he must speak about his Faith which is head. And the tail is a life with Hagar and Keturah. If anyone refers about King David, let him speak about his close life with God and a life pleased God always and God built an everlasting house for him and Jesus Christ became his root and the off spring, which is head, and the tail is his dealings with Bathsheba and Uriah. And please never compare or equate the holiness standard of Old Testament saints with that of New Testament saints and condemn the Old Testament saints. May God bless us!