Judges 13-16: Samson is one of the biblical stories from Children's Sunday School. I am surprised to see the extent of details that were left out in the children songs. Samson is found in Judges 13-16.
In Judges 13, an angel of the Lord says to Samson's mother, "You will soon be pregnant so don't drink wine or eat forbidden food, for your son will be dedicated to God and will rescue the Israelites from the Philistines." After the angel leaves, Samson's father prays to the Lord and asks for the angel to come back with more instructions. The angel does come back but answers no questions. I thought that was strange. After all, God did send the angel back to the parents. I realized that Samson's father didn't know the man speaking to them was the angel of the Lord until the very end of the second visit. It was really important to have Samson's parents understand Samson was a dedicated son to the Lord, especially since people in Judges did evil in the Lord's sight. When Samson was born, the Lord blessed him and continued to bless him as Samson grew up.
In Judges 14, Samson marries a Philistine woman. Samson was attacked by a lion during this time, but the Spirit of the Lord came down powerfully and Samson ripped the lion's jaw apart. During a party that Samson threw, Samson gave his guests a riddle to solve. His guests were so determined to get the answer that they threatened Samson's wife, so the wife nagged Samson until he gave up the answer. From Judges 14, we see that the Spirit of the Lord gave Samson the gift of strength.
In Judges 15, Samson learns that his father-in-law gave his wife to Samson's best man because he thought Samson hated her. Angry, Samson used foxes to destroy vineyards and olive groves. When the Philistines learned that Samson was angry because of his father-in-law and ex-wife, the Philistines burned them to death, and Samson becomes enraged. He killed a lot of people afterward out of revenge. In fact, he kills 1,000+ people here and even boasts about his victory.
In Judges 16, Samson falls in love with Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines promised Delilah a lot of money if she could find out the source of Samson's strength. Her tactic makes me laugh so hard. Three times, she uses the same method. Three times, she fails. Finally, she resorts to nagging Samson to death. Samson loses his strength and is thrown into jail after his eyes were gouged out. During a festival, Samson was brought out of prison to be a spectacle, but Samson prays to the Lord for one last burst of strength. Samson pushes one of the pillars and the building collapses along with Samson.
The story of Samson is still a very difficult passage for me to understand. During the twenty years that Samson ruled as judge, he only prayed to the Lord once, and that was at the end of his life. Samson seems to be doing everything for his own sake. In fact, tuned for next week! I will continue to examine why the story of Samson is in the Bible.