4.30 Judges -- Samson 3
d. Samson as judge
These sporadic outbursts went on for many years:
Samson led Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines (Judg 15:20).
There were no doubt many more battles than Scripture records. We make two observations about his actions:
1. Samson's street-fighting and raids failed to alter the balance of power and set Israel free from Philistine oppression. He was a continuous thorn in the flesh to them, but no threat to their rule.
2. We have no record of any activities of his other than whoring and fighting. He did not prophesy, he did not decide disputes, he did not lead the tribes into battle. He was just a Bad Boy.
His next recorded escapade was a solo night on the town, the town being the Philistine city of Gaza (Judg 16:1-3). Samson had no reluctance to go into the camp of his enemies. As the song says about Davy Crockett, he was "the man who don't know fear." Though the Philistines waited for him outside the home of the prostitute (which was very accommodating of them -- they could have just barged right on in), he left early, broke the city gate apart and carried it up a hill. Another college prank, like they do today with football goalposts. Strangely enough, no Philistines died in Gaza that night. Something must have gone wrong.
e. Delilah and Downfall
Samson apparently never married, never had a family, never grew past sexual adolescence. Even after 20 years of leading Israel, to him women were just sex toys. His lusts plus his confidence in his own indestructibility led him to arrogance and folly. He was an easy mark for Delilah's treachery (Judg 16:4-22). It is not stated that she was a prostitute, but she well knew how to manipulate a man of shallow character. Samson failed to protect the sacred in his life, the secret gift of God to him. He treated it as something common, the wages of a harlot, just as Esau despised his birthright. So he lost it and didn't even know it till it was gone.
When his hair was cut off, his vow as a Nazirite was broken, and "the Lord left him" (Judg 16:20). The Philistines captured him, blinded him, and made sport of him in the temple of Dagon. He who had taken hold of massive city gates was himself seized; he who had witnessed miracles with his own eyes was blinded; he who had slaughtered an army was set to the menial work of grinding grain; he who had always burst all bonds was shackled and imprisoned. Perhaps David thought of Samson when he wrote of his own suffering,
"My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes" (Psalm 38:10).
In this place of defeat and despair Samson uttered a prayer from the heart:
"O Sovereign Lord, remember me!" (Judg 16:28).
One last time, God's Spirit moved upon Samson, he pressed against the temple pillars, and the roof collapsed.
Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived (Judg 16:30).
f. Legacy of Samson
Samson had no successors. He left no teachings, and only a negative moral example. He was unique in Bible history, and in the type of anointing he possessed. Yet we can get glimmers of a kindred spirit in a few later passages:
The Lord goes forth like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his fury; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes (Isa 42:13 RSV).
So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables (Jn 2:15).
In this act of "holy mayhem," we can see an example of Samson's anointing on Jesus. It is especially important to remember this aspect of the wildness of God in an age like ours, that extols a religion of conformity and subservience to the surrounding culture.