A-Z: Famous stories from the Bible: Samson and the Philistines

Definition

SamsonAfter Samson had been captured by the Philistines, following Delilah’s betrayal, his hair was shaved and his eyes gouged out. Imprisoned in Gaza, he was made to work at humiliating tasks. 

One day, the Philistines held a great festival to offer sacrifices to Dagon, their god. They made merry and gloated in their victory over Samson, who had killed many of them in battle in the past. As the party became merrier, they summoned Samson to entertain them, hoping to have a good laugh at his expense. Samson was now blind but his shorn hair, the symbol of his incredible strength, had begun to grow again.

Samson asked to be led to the central pillars which supported the whole building, including 3,000 people on the roof alone. He then prayed, asking God to strengthen him one more time, just as he had in the past, that Samson might be avenged on the Philistines and then die with them. 

Samson placed his hands on each of the pillars and, as his strength returned, he pushed both pillars down. More Philistines were killed in the collapsing building than those he had previously killed in battle. 

Samson, a judge of Israel for twenty years, was buried by his brothers in his father’s tomb.

The story illustrates: 

  • Pride comes before a fall
  • God hears and answers prayers, even from those who have previously failed him
  • God will not allow mockers to have the last laugh.

Related topics

Big ideas from the Bible: Prayer

Bible References

Judges 16:21-30
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