The Death of Samson

When he was an attorney, Abraham Lincoln was once approached by a man who insisted on bringing a suit for $2.50 against poor debtor who couldn’t pay. Lincoln tried to talk him out of it, but this man wanted his revenge. Finally, Lincoln took the case and charged the man legal fee … More

Revenge

Samson was the laughing stock of the Philistines (vv. 23-25). The Philistines celebrated Samson’s imprisonment by assembling to worship Dagon their fish-god. Dagon was given all the glory, not the God of Israel. There was a temple to Dagon and he appears to have been the chief deity of the Philistines. Samson, a man who the Philistines at one time had not dared to approach, was led in by a single attendant to entertain them (v. 26).

Samson evidently repented of his sin and God gave him one more opportunity to demonstrate his strength in one last victory over the Philistines (vv. 27-30). Calling on his God Samson seized the two middle pillars of the building where they were meeting and pulled them from their foundation. The building tottered and crashed into ruin. The exact number of casualties is not stated but it is said to have been more than the number killed by Samson in his lifetime. A conservative estimate would have been in the vicinity of eleven hundred. God had answered his prayer, but in defeating others he took his own life.

Samson, the judge, paid with his own life for his greatest victory over the enemies of Israel. He is remembered more for what he destroyed than for what he built up. He failed to check the impulse that began early in his career and twenty years later they killed him. His brothers and the rest of his family went to Gaza and took his body back home (v. 31). They buried him in his father’s tomb, which was located between Zorah and Eshtaol. Samson was a leader of Israel for twenty years.

Application

Samson had a wonderful start in life but he allowed his fleshly desires to take over. It would be very easy for this to happen to me unless I stay close to the Lord and in His Word every day.

Judges 16:23-31 (English Standard Version)

Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, "Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand." And when the people saw him, they praised their god. For they said, "Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us." And when their hearts were merry, they said, "Call Samson, that he may entertain us." So they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. They made him stand between the pillars. And Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, "Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them." Now the house was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about 3,000 men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained. Then Samson called to the LORD and said, "O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes." And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. And Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines." Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life. Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had judged Israel twenty years.

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