The Israelites sinned against the
and he let the Philistines rule them
for forty years.
At that time
there was a man named Manoah form the town of Zorah. He as a member of the
tribe of Dan. His wife had never been able to have children.
The LORD's angel appeared to her and said, "You have never been
able to have children, but you will soon be pregnant and have a son. Be
sure not to drink any wine or beer. or eat any forbidden food; and after our son
is born, you must never cut his hair, because from the day of his birth he
will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite. He will begin the work of rescuing
Israel from the Philistines."
Then the woman went and told her husband, "A man
of God has come to me, and he looked as frightening as the angel of God. I
didn't ask him where he came from, and he didn't tell me his name. But he
did tell me that I would become pregnant and have a son. He told me not to
drink and any wine or beer, or eat any forbidden food, because he will be
dedicated to God as a Nazirite as long as he lives."
Then Manoah prayed to the LORD, "Please,
LORD, let the man of God that you sent come back to us and tell us what we must
do with the boy when he is born."
God did what Manoah asked, and his angel came back to the
woman while she was sitting in the field. He husband Manoah was not with
her, so she ran at once and told him, "Look! The man who came to me the
other day has appeared to me again."
Manoah got up and followed his wife. He went to the man
and asked, "Are you the man who talked to my wife?"
"Yes," he answered.
Then Manoah said, "Now then, when your words come true,
what must they body do? What kind of a life must he lead?"
The LORD's angel answered, "Your wife must be sure to do
everything that I have told her. She must not eat anything that comes from
the grapevine; she must not drink any wine or beer, or eat any forbidden
food. she must do everything that I have told her."
Not knowing that it was the LORD's angel, Manoah said to him,
"Please do not go yet. Let us cook a young goat for you."
But the angel said, "If I do stay, I will not eat your
food. But if you want to prepare it, burn it as an offering to the
Manoah replied, "Tell us your name, so that we can honor
your when your words come true."
Then angel asked, "Why do you want to know my
name? It is a name of wonder."
So Manoah took a young goat and some grain, and offered them
on the rock altar to the LORD who works wonders. While the flames were
going up from the altar, Manoah and his wife saw the LORD's angel go up toward
heaven in the flames. Manoah realized then that the man had been the
LORD's angel, and he and his wife threw themselves face downward on the
ground. They never saw the angel again.
Manoah said to his wife, "We are sure to die, because we
have seen God!"
But his wife answered, "If the LORD had wanted to kill
us, he would not have accepted our offerings; he would not have shown us all
this or told us such things at this time." The woman gave
birth to a son and named him Samson. The child grew and the LORD blessed
And the LORD's power began to strengthen him while he was
between Zorah and Eshtal in the Camp of Dan.
One day Samson went down to Timnah, where he noticed a
certain Philistine girl. He went back home and told his father and mother,
"There is a Philistine girl down at Timnah who caught my attention.
Get her for me; I want to marry her.
But his father and mother asked him, "Why do you
have to go to those heathen Philistines to get a wife? Can't you find a
girl in our own clan, among all our people?"
His parent did not know that it was the LORD who was leading
Samson to do this, for the LORD was looking for a chance to fight the
Philistines. At this time the Philistines were ruling Israel.
So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and
mother. As they were going through the vineyards there, he heard a young
Suddenly the power of the LORD made Samson strong, and he tore
the lion apart with his bare hands, as if it were a young goat. But he did
not tell his parents what he had done.
Then he went and talked to the girl, and he liked her. One
the way he left the road to look at the lion he that killed, and he was
surprised to find a swarm of bees and some honey inside the dead body.
He scraped the honey out into his hands and ate it as the
walked along. Then he went to his father and mother and gave them some.
They ate it, but Samson did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the
dead body of a lion.
His father went to the girl's house, and Samson gave a
banquet there. This was a custom among the young men. When the Philistines
saw them, they sent thirty young men to stay with him. Samson said to
them, "Let me tell you a riddle. I'll bet each one of you a piece of
fine linen and a change of fine clothes that you can't tell me its meaning
before the seven days of the wedding feast are over. "
"Tell us your riddle." they said. "Let's
"Out of the eater came something to eat; Out of the
strong came something sweet." Three days later they had still not
figured out what the riddle meant.
One the fourth day they said to Samson's wife, "Trick
your husband into telling us what the riddle means. If you don't we'll set
fire to your father's house and burn you with it. You two invited us so
that you could rob us, didn't you?"
So Samson's wife went to him in tears and said, "You
don't love me! You just hate me! You told my friends a riddle and
didn't tell me what it means!"
He said, "Look, I haven't even told my father and
mother. Why should I tell you?" She cried about it for the
whole seven days of the feast. But on the seventh day he told her what the
riddle meant, for she nagged him so about it. Then she told the
So on the seventh day, before Samson went into the bedroom,
the men of the city said to him,
"What could be sweeter than honey? What could be
stronger than a lion?"
Samson replied, "If you hadn't been plowing with my cow,
You wouldn't know the answer now. "
Suddenly the power of the LORD made him strong, and he went
down to Ashkelon, where he killed thirty men, stripped them, and gave their fine
clothes to the men who had solved the riddle. After that, he went back home, furious about what had
happened, and his wife was given to the man that had been his best man at the
Some time later Samson went to visit his wife during the wheat
harvest and took her a young goat. he told her father, "I want to go
to my wife's room."
But he wouldn't let him go in. He told Samson, " I
really thought that you hated her, so I gave her to your friend. but her
younger sister is prettier, anyway. You can have her, instead."
Samson said, "This time I'm not going to be responsible
for what I do to the Philistines!" So he went and caught three
hundred foxes. Two at a time, he tied their tails together and put torches
in the knots. Then he set fire to the torches and turned the foxes loose
in the Philistine wheat fields. In this way he burned up not only the
wheat that was still in the fields. the olive orchards were also
burned. When the Philistines asked who had done this, they learned that
Samson had done it because his father-in-law, a man from Timnah, had given
Samson's wife to a friend of Samson's. So the Philistines went and burned
the woman to death and burned down her father's house.
Samson told them, "So this is how you act! I swear
that I won't stop until I pay you back!" He attacked them fiercely
and killed many of them. Then he went and stayed in the cave in the cliff
The Philistines came and camped in Judah, and attacked the
town of Lehi. The men of Judah asked them, "Why are your attacking
They answered, "We came to take Samson prisoner and to
treat him as he treated us." So these three thousand men of Judah
went to the cave in the cliff at Etam and said to Samson, "Don't you know
that the Philistines are our rulers? What have you done to
us?" He answered, "I did to them just what they did
They told him, "We have come here to tie you up, so we
can hand you over to them."
Samson said, "Give me your word that you won't kill me
"All right, "they said, "we are only going to
tie you up and hand you over to them. we won't kill you." So they
tied him up with two new ropes and brought him back from the cliff.
When he got to Lehi, the Philistines came running toward him,
shouting at him. Suddenly the power of the LORD made him strong, and he
broke the ropes around his arms and hands as if they were bunt thread.
Then he found a jawbone of a donkey that had recently
died. He reached down and picked it up, and killed a thousand men with
it. So Samson sang,
"With the jawbone of a donkey I killed thousand men;
With the jawbone of a donkey I piled them up in piles."
After that, he threw the jawbone away. The place where
this happened was named Ramath Lehi.
Then Samson became very thirsty, so he called to the LORD and
sad, "You gave me this great victory; am I now going to die of thirst and
be captured by these heathen Philistines?" Then God opened a hollow
place in the ground there at Lehi, and water came out of it. Samson drank
it and began to feel much better. So the spring was named Hakkore; it is
still there at Lehi.
Samson led Israel for twenty years while the Philistines
ruled the land.
One day Samson went to the Philistine city of Gaza, where he
met a prostitute and went to bed with her. The people of Gaza found out
that Samson was there, so they surrounded the place and waited for him all night
long at the city age. They were quiet all night, thinking to themselves,
"We'll wait until daybreak, and then we'll kill him." But Samson
stayed in bed only until midnight. Then he got up and took hold of the
city gate and pulled it up--doors, posts, lock , and all. He put them on
his shoulders and carried them far off to the top of the hill overlooking
After this, Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah,
who lived in Sorek Valley. The five Philistine kings went to her and
said, "Trick Samson into telling you why he is so strong and how we can
overpower him, tie him up, and make him helpless. Each one of us will give
you eleven hundred pieces of silver. "
So Delilah said to Samson, "Please tell me what makes
you so strong. If someone wanted to tie you up and make you helpless, how
could he do it?"
Samson answered, "If they tie me up with seven new
bowstrings that are not dried out, I'll be as weak as anybody else."
So the Philistine kings brought Delilah seven new bowstrings
that were not dried out, and she tied Samson up. She had some men waiting
in another room, so she shouted, "Samson! The Philistines are
coming!" But he snapped the bowstrings just as thread breaks when
fire touches it. so they still did not know the secret of his strength.
Delilah told Samson, "Look, you've been making a fool of
me and not telling me the truth. Please tell me how someone could tie you
He told her, "If they tie me with new ropes that have
never been used, I'll be as weak as anybody else."
So Delilah got some new ropes and tied him up. Then she
Samson! The Philistines are coming!" The men were
waiting in another room. But he snapped the ropes off his arms like
Delilah said to Samson, "You're still making a
fool of me and not telling me the truth. Tell me how someone could
tie you up."
He told her, "If you weave my seven locks of hair into a
loom, and make it tight with a peg, I'll be as weak as anybody else."
Delilah then lulled him to sleep, took his seven locks of
hair, and wove them into the loom. She made it tight with a peg and
shouted, "Samson! The Philistines are coming!" But
the woke up and pulled his hair loose from the loom.
So she said to him, "How can you say you love me, when
you don't mean it? You've made a fool of me three times, and you still
haven't told me what makes you strong." She kept on asking him, day
after day. He got so sick and tired of her bothering him about it that he
finally told her the truth.
"My hair has never been cut," he
said. "I have been dedicated to God as a Nazirite from the time I was
born. If my hair were cut, I would lose my strength and be as weak as
When Delilah realized that he had told her the truth, she
sent a message to the Philistine kings and said, "Come back one more
time. he has told me the truth. " Then they came and brought
the money with them.
Delilah lulled Samson to sleep in her lap and then called a
man, who cut off Samson's seven locks of hair. Then she began to torment
him, for he had lost his strength. Then she shouted, "Samson! The Philistines
are coming!" He woke up and thought, "I'll get loose and go free, as
always." He did not know that the LORD had left him, The Philistines
captured him and put his eyes out.
They took him to Gaza, chained him with
bronze chains, and put him to work grinding at the mill in the prison. But
his hair started growing back.
The Philistine kings met together to celebrate and offer a
great sacrifice to their god Dagon. They sang, "Our god has given us
victory over our enemy Samson!" they were enjoying themselves, and so
they said, "Call Samson, and let's make him entertain us!" When
they brought Samson out of the prison, they made him entertain them and made him
stand between the columns. When the people saw him, they sang praise to
their god: "Our god has given us victory over our enemy, who devastated our
land and killed so many of us!"
The building was crowded with men and women. All five Philistine
kings were there, and there were about three thousand men and women on the roof,
watching Samson entertain them.
Then Samson prayed, "Sovereign LORD, please remember me;
please, God, give me my strength just this one time more, so that with this one
blow I can get even with the Philistines for putting out my tow eyes."
So Samson took hold of the two middle columns holding up the
building. Putting one hand on each column, he pushed against them and shouted,
"Let me die with the Philistines!" He pushed with all his might, and
the building fell down on the five kings and everyone else. Samson killed
more people at his death than he had killed during his life.
His brothers and the rest of his family came down to get his
body. They took him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the
tomb of his father Manoah. He had been Israel's leader for twenty
Friend, can you not draw
encouragement and teaching from this man of God?
God has a place for you; He has a work for you. Are you in that
place, and are you doing that work?
If not, will you not listen to the still small voice of God's Spirit in
your heart? Will you not now listen to His Word and look to the Lord
Jesus Christ for salvation?
Repent and obey His divine Word. Now is the time. This is the
hour to start.
May God help you to go forward
the way of faith as did Samson.