“What can we learn from the life of Shimshon (Samson)?”
AND the children of Yashar’el did evil again in the sight of YAHUAH; and YAHUAH delivered them into the hand of the Pelishtiym forty years.
And there was a certain man of Tsor’ah, of the family of the Daniym, whose name was Manoach; and his woman was barren, and bore not.
And the angel of YAHUAH appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, את eth-you are barren, and bear not: but you shall conceive, and bear a son.
Now therefore beware, I pray you, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:
For, lo, you shall conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Naziyr unto ELOHIYM from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver את eth-Yashar’el out of the hand of the Pelishtiym.
SHOFETIYM (JUDGES) 13:1-5 Eth Cepher
And the woman bore a son, and called את eth-his name Shimshon: and the child grew, and YAHUAH blessed him.
SHOFETIYM (JUDGES) 13:24 Eth Cepher
Samson, Hebrew Shimshon, (shim-shone, Sunlight; Shimshon; of the tribe of Dan; a Yashar’e’liy.) legendary Yashar’e’liy (Israelite) warrior and judge, or divinely inspired leader, renowned for the prodigious strength that he derived from his uncut hair. He is portrayed in the Book of SHOFETIYM (Judges) (chapters 13–16).
Question: “What can we learn from the life of Samson?”
Answer: Samson’s life is one of contradiction. First, he was to be “a Nazirite, set apart to YAHUAH from birth” (Judges 13:5), yet he continually broke his vow. The Ruach (Spirit) of YAHUAH came upon him many times, giving him great strength to fight the Philistines, the oppressors of the Yashar’e’liym (Israelites). At the same time, however, Samson was a womanizer and a vengeful man, full of sin. Samson’s life illustrates that giving in to temptation leads to sin, that YAHUAH will use even a sinful man to enact His will, and that YAHUAH will not let us escape the consequences of our sin.
The life of Samson – giving in to temptation leads to sin
Samson’s story begins with a violation of YAHUAH’s law. He wants to marry a Philistine woman despite his parents’ protests and in violation of YAHUAH’s law about intermarriage with pagans. His mother and father accompany him past the vineyards of Timnah (Judges 14:5) to obtain his new bride when a lion attacks and is killed by Samson.
As a Nazirite, Samson had to follow the laws written in Numbers 6:1-21.
First, he was to “abstain from wine and other fermented drink and…not drink vinegar made from wine or from other fermented drink. He must not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins.” By passing by the vineyards of Timnah, he invited temptation to violate this portion of his vow. Had he not walked so openly into temptation, he would not have encountered the lion, another source of later sin. When Samson came back by the carcass of the lion, it was filled with a honeycomb, which he ate. This was a clear violation of the second part of the Nazirite’s law:
“Throughout the period of his separation to YAHUAH he must not go near a dead body” (Numbers 6:6).
Samson seemed to know what he was doing was wrong because when he gave the honey to his parents, “he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass” (Judges 14:9).
The customary feast described in Judges 14:10 was, literally, a “drinking party.” Although Scripture does not indicate whether Samson drank wine or fermented drink, it was yet another source of temptation that ultimately led to sin. In this case, Samson offers a wager on a riddle, and his wife betrays him and gives the answer to his riddle to her countrymen, the Philistines. In response, Samson murders thirty men.
The life of Samson – YAHUAH will use even a sinful man to enact His will
Samson willingly went into situations that led to sin, but each time, YAHUAH used him for His glory. YAHUAH created Samson to “begin the deliverance of Yashar’el (Israel) from the hands of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5).
Even sinful men cannot prevent YAHUAH’s will.
When Samson killed the lion, it was his first recorded test of strength. It gave him confidence to face the Philistines. He murdered 30 Philistines out of vengeance in order to pay a debt. Later, Samson swears to “get even with the Philistines” (Judges 15:3) and to “get [his] revenge on [the Philistines]” (Judges 15:7).
Both occasions were for personal reasons and were not righteous, but YAHUAH used them as a springboard to launch Yashar’el (Israel) out of their oppression. Despite Samson’s sin, YAHUAH’s will would not be thwarted.
The life of Samson – YAHUAH will not let us escape the consequences of our sin.
Even though YAHUAH’s will is unstoppable, Samson still experienced the consequences for his sin.
When he met Delilah and she begged to know the secret of his strength, he broke the final part of the Nazirite law: “During the entire period of his vow of separation no razor may be used on his head. He must be holy until the period of his separation to YAHUAH is over; he must let the hair of his head grow long” (Numbers 6:5).
After Delilah’s countrymen cut his hair, Samson still expected YAHUAH to be with him. “He awoke from his sleep and thought, ‘I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that YAHUAH had left him” (Judges 16:20).
He had gained confidence from previous violations which appeared to have gone unpunished, but his continual willful disobedience had reached an end.
When Samson had finally broken all of the Nazirite laws, he had to face the consequences of his actions.
The lessons we can learn from Samson’s life are that if we willingly and repeatedly walk into temptations which lead to sin, we will suffer the consequences of our disobedience even though YAHUAH still uses us to accomplish His will.
In the end, Samson understood the true source of his strength, but he never understood his true purpose. “Then Samson prayed to YAHUAH, ‘O Sovereign ELOHIYM, remember me. O YAHUAH, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes’” (Judges 16:28).
We see from this verse that Samson was more concerned about revenge than about doing YAHUAH’s will, and it cost him his life.
“Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived” (Judges 16:30). YAHUAH’s will was done, but the many blessings Samson might have seen were never realized.