Skip links


A brief biography on the most infamous Nazirite judge.

Prior to the rule of any Israelite king—when everyone was, “doing what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6)—was born Samson. Even before the womb God had ordained him to be a judge and a leader among his people and to begin delivering the Israelites from the hands of the Philistines. He was to be a Nazirite, one set apart to God from birth. Yet his reckless behaviour and weakness for women made him seem a very poor choice. Commenting on his unbridled fondness for women one scholar notes that, “Samson’s interaction with women forms the backbone of the biblical account of his life. This feature is even foreshadowed in his birth narrative—when the Angel of the Lord appeared to Samson’s mother before his father, she understood ‘more than her husband.’”[1]

At first, everything seemed to be going according to plan. Samson “grew, and the LORD blessed him. And the Spirit of the Lord began to move upon him” (Judges 13:24b-25a). But Samson decided to marry a Philistine woman from the neighbouring village of Timnah five miles away which aggravated his parents. Yet, “There was no talking him out of it. This choice set him on a deadly collision course with the Philistines. Deadly for them. Deadly for him.”[2]

Indeed, though Samson’s parents were unaware, God was using this opportunity to ultimately bring the Philistines to ruin. It first began to manifest during the seven-day wedding feast. For when Samson discovers that he has been conspired against by his bride and some Philistines over a wager he made, he leaves in a rage. When he returns and finds that his wife has been given to another man, he catches three hundred foxes turns them tail to tail and puts a torch between each pair of tails and then lets them go into the Philistine grainfields burning their grain, vineyards, and olive groves. When the Philistines return fire by burning his wife and her father, Samson makes a great slaughter of them all. Though Samson escaped, he would soon be arrested by his own people and delivered back to the Philistines. However, “the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him” and with nothing more than a donkey’s jawbone he slew a thousand men (Judges 15:14-15).

“Let me die with the Philistines.”

Judges 16:30

Despite this incredible display of power, the Philistines refused give up and attempted to capture him during his one-night stay with a harlot in Gaza. But as before, they were unsuccessful. As a matter of fact, for twenty years Samson had overpowered and eluded the Philistines. But all of that was about to change because when they learn of Samson’s love for lady named Delilah, they offer her a significant sum of silver if she can discover the secret of Samson’s power. After a great deal of enticement, Samson finally breaks down: “No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man” (Judges 16:17). Now exposed, Delilah lulls Samson to sleep and has his head shaved. In moments the angry Philistine mob is upon him. But he is powerless. So he is blinded, shackled, and imprisoned.

Yet Samson’s divine mission was not yet complete. Sometime later when his hair had partially returned he is brought to the Philistine temple for the entertainment of thousands. But Samson sets himself between two supporting pillars and in one last prayer he pleads with God: “‘Let me die with the Philistines!’ And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life” (Judges 16:30).

Samson was certainly used by God as a judge and deliverer, yet his poor life choices led to an early and unnecessarily sad end.

Ryan Hembree is a daily co-host, speaker, and writer of Bible Discovery. He also hosts a YouTube channel that shows the unity of the Bible and how science and Scripture fit together. Ryan also has an honorary Masters of Ministry in Creation Science from Phoenix University of Theology.

[1] Todd, J. (2016). Samson the Judge. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
[2] Stephen M. Miller, Who’s Who and Where’s Where in the Bible, P.327.

Leave a comment