Samson’s Exploits

Judges 13-16

During the days when Israel was led by judges, Samson was born to an Israelite couple from the tribe of Dan near the border of Philistia. Samson was specially dedicated to God as a Nazirite (see Numbers 6:1-21), and the Lord foretold that Samson would lead the Israelites against the Philistines, who were oppressing Israel at the time. When Samson grew up, he asked his parents to arrange for him to marry a Philistine woman he had seen in Timnah. During the feast before the wedding, Samson told a riddle and promised to provide his guests with new garments if they solved the riddle before the feast was over. After they solved the riddle, Samson went down to Ashkelon, killed thirty men, and took their garments to pay off his wager. Later when the Philistines tried to capture Samson at Lehi, Samson killed a thousand of them with only the jawbone of a donkey. Another time the people of Gaza were waiting to kill Samson at dawn, but in the middle of the night he left the city, tearing off the city gates and carrying them all the way to Hebron. After this the Philistines succeeded in binding Samson, gouging out his eyes, and taking him to Gaza as prisoner. Then the Philistines brought Samson into the temple of Dagon to celebrate their victory, but the Lord answered Samson’s prayer to gave him strength one last time. He knocked down the two central pillars holding up the temple, killing many people gathered there.

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