Samson – Judges 13-16

Samson is one of the most recognizable of the judges who ruled over Israel before the time of the kings.  There is much to unpack when it comes to this Nazirite judge. Although the post won’t cover everything about the life of this compulsive defeater of Philistines, it will highlight three major portions of his story and what we can take away from each.

As the people of Israel “did evil” in the eyes of the Lord, they fell into greater amounts of apathy, sin, idolatry which leads to bondange and destruction.

Samson Was a Nazarite. But What Is a Nazarite?

Reared to be set apart as a Nazirite as a miracle child to an infertile family, Samson seemed to try and break every rule in the book. Before we dive into that, we have to define Nazarites.

Those who took the Nazarite vow could not drink anything alcoholic, cut their hair, or go near anything unclean, such as a corpse (Numbers 6:3-7).

Samson was Strong Physically, but Weak Spiritually and Morally

Samson ignores the rules of his Nazarite vows.

  • He eats honeycomb out of the carcass of a dead lion he slew (Judges 14:9)
  • He attends a wedding feast, where alcohol is present. Although the text does not indicate whether or not he drank, this article says he still sinned during that occasion when he kills 30 Philistines when his wife, Timnah, tricks him out of a wager (Judges 14). Whether killing them came from a sound mind or a mind under the influence of alcohol, he sinned.
  • Later on, his wife cuts his hair, which causes him to lose his great strength he’d been renowned for (Judges 16:20).

Known for his temper and a bent for revenge, Samson also ends up committing a number of other acts of war. He ties the tails of 300 foxes together, fastens ablaze torches to them, and sets them loose in Philistine fields (Judges 15:4-5).

Later, he kills a thousand men with a donkey’s jawbone (Judges 15:16)

Samson Loved Delilah, Who Betrayed Him.

Sin has consequences. For Samson, it came in the form of Delilah, a Philistine woman whom Samson fell in love with. The Philistines used this to their advantage and bribed her with 1,100 shekels (about three years’ worth of wages) to divulge the secret to Samson’s strength so they can overcome him (Judges 16:5).

After a great deal of trial and error, Delilah procures the source of his strength, his hair, and cuts it. Then the Philistines blind the now weakened Samson and take him captive.

Samson Cried Out to God at the End of His Life.

Humiliated and now a slave to a Philistine grinding grain, Samson cries out to the Lord (Judges 16:28). He prays for strength one last time when the Philistines call him out to entertain them at their temple.

Placing both hands on pillars supporting the temple, he pushes the two supporting ones apart and kills himself and thousands of Philistines in the process.

What Can We Learn from Samson?

Although the story ends sadly with Samson’s death, we can derive several applications from his life.

1. God’s gifts are a blessing to be used for Him, but can be taken away.  

God gifted Samson with incredible strength, but he often abused it, using the might to show off, rather than bring glory to God. He learns the hard way that the Lord can give and take away gifts in a moment’s notice.

Samson didn’t see the immediate payout for some of his sin until much later, but it tends to catch us at the worst moments. When we feel like acting on impulse, like he had, we need to remind ourselves of the truth of Scriptures. We will encounter many Delilah’s in this world who will try to find our greatest weakness and exploit it.

3. Even in our failures, God can still use us. 

Derived of all strength and humiliated beyond measure, God hears Samson’s prayers, and returns his strength for one last showdown. Although Samson dies in the process, he ends up killing more of Israel’s enemies than he ever had while he lived.  Even in our failures, God’s purposes prevail.


Message Audio/Video and Outline:

Watch Messages: YouTube-Upwards Church

Facebook: Upwards Church

Source:  Adapted from an article at

About dkoop

Lead Pastor of Upwards Church: Leander & Jarrell, TX
This entry was posted in Judges and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Samson – Judges 13-16

  1. Pingback: Samson vs. Jesus | Upwards Church

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s