- Judg. 13:1-16:31
Once again the Israelites did evil in the sight of GOD, so He gave them over to be ruled by the Philistines forty years. Then GOD raised up Samson, the strong man, to oppress the Philistines in return. Samson was a Nazarite, which meant that he could not shave his head or cut his hair all the days of his life.
Judges 13:25 says that the Spirit of GOD moved upon Samson and that's how he had such powerful super-human strength. Samson is a very unique leader among GOD's people because he did all of his fighting alone—he never led an army of Israelites. Additionally, Samson was a very world-minded man—meaning he did not have the character that was typical of most of GOD's spiritual leaders. Samson had one major flaw that stood out above all the rest—he loved pagan (that is, idol-worshipping) women. This would be his downfall.
We are told about several events in Samson's life:
- He married a Philistine woman which was against GOD's law.
- He tore a lion apart with his bare hands. Later, when Samson passed by the lion's carcass, he saw that bees had built a nest with honey inside the lion's dead body. Samson, apparently unafraid of the swarm of bees, grabbed some of the honey and took some to his parents.
- Later, when Samson had challenged the Philistines with a difficult riddle, they secretly threatened his wife that they would kill her and her family unless she obtained the answer to the riddle from Samson and told it to them. She did so and, when he found out, Samson was furious and he left his wife and returned to his parents' home.
- Samson's father-in-law thought Samson hated his wife so he gave her to Samson's friend to be his wife. When Samson heard this, he was so angry that he went and caught three hundred foxes and tied their tails together and set their tails on fire. The foxes ran into the Philistines' grain stockpiles destroying their food.The Philistines were so angry that they burned Samson's ex-wife and her father alive.
- One time the Philistines heard that Samson was sleeping in a certain city and they surrounded him intending to attack him when he awoke the next morning. But Samson got up during the middle of the night and picked up the doors of the city gate along with its two posts, tore them off and carried them to the top of a hill.
- After these things Samson again loved a Philistine woman, Delilah, who convinced him to tell her the source of his strength. After tricking her three times, she persisted and Samson finally told her everything.The Philistines shaved his head and the LORD left him so his super-human strength went away. The Philistines put out Samson's eyes and took him to a ceremony at their idol's temple and forced him to perform for the people. Samson, after praying to GOD for strength one more time, pulled down the entire building by knocking out the center columns, killing everyone inside and those on the roof, including himself.
Among the many lessons we can learn from Samson's life, one of the most important is to be careful who you trust. Samson had a great gift from GOD—his strength. But Samson didn't choose wisely to put his trust in GOD and instead chose to trust women from pagan nations that GOD had intended to be destroyed by the Israelites. Like Samson, putting our trust in the wrong people will lead to bad things and even, potentially, losing our life—or our soul. Make sure you choose the right people to trust, beginning with GOD. Trust people who have your best interest at heart.