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Samson redirects here. For other uses, please see Samson (disambiguation)

Samson is the third to last of the Judges of the ancient Children of Israel mentioned in the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) and the Talmud. He is described in the Book of Judges chapters 13 to 16. The Book of Samson also appears in Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews, written in the last ten years of the 1st Century AD, as well as in works by Pseudo-Philo, written slightly earlier.

Samson is known for being given great strength by God to use against those who do not like him and to do great things that regular people cannot do: killing a lion with his bare hands, defeating a whole army with only a donkey's jawbone to fight with, and making a temple fall down.

He is believed to have been buried in Tel Tzora in Israel above the Sorek valley. There stand two large gravestones of Samson and his father Manoah. Nearby stands Manoah’s altar (Judges 13:19-24). It is located between the cities of Zorah and Eshtaol.

Biography[change | edit source]

Early life[change | edit source]

Samson's father Manoah, and his wife had been trying to have a baby for many years when an angel showed up in front of their house. The angel told them that they were to have a son, who was to be a Nazarite. The child was to never cut his hair, drink wine, or touch a dead person. A while later, Samson was born, and he obeyed the Nazarite laws just as the angel said.

First marriage and the lion[change | edit source]

Samson saw a pretty Philistine woman while he walked through Timnah. So he went to ask permission from her father to marry her. The Philistines at the time were the enemies of the people in Israel, so he had no idea of how his father would react. Later, a lion jumped on him. He killed the lion with his bare hands. After this, he told the Philistine woman that he wanted to be her husband. Samson gave the Philistines a riddle about the lion but when his wife told them the answer he realised he could not trust her. After the wedding, she was given to another man. Later, Samson's wife and father-in-law were burned to death.

Delilah[change | edit source]

Later, Samson found another attractive Philistine woman. Her name was Delilah. Little did he know that she would betray him to the Philistines. She tried many times to get the secret behind his great strength. This made Samson very annoyed with her. After a long time, Samson told Delilah that he would become weak if his hair was cut.

His capture[change | edit source]

After getting the information from her husband, Delilah told the Philistine army Samson's secret. She sang him to sleep at her feet and called a man to shave Samson's head. After receiving his haircut, Samson was tied up while still asleep. He woke up and tried to break free from the ropes they tied him down with, but without success. The Philistines poked his eyes out with their swords and took him to Gaza, where he was put in prison.

Samson's death[change | edit source]

While in prison, Samson worked on a treadmill, a machine used to grind grain. He did this for an unknown period of time that was not written in the Bible. However, his hair grew long again, and he was taken to a temple honoring the Philistine god Dagon. It was here that he performed for the worshippers. While on stage, Samson told a young boy nearby to move him in between two pillars. He pushed the pillars apart with his full strength, causing the temple's roof to fall down on top of himself and the his Philistine audience. Samson died from doing this, but he ended up killing twelve thousand of his enemies, defeating more Philistines in the event of his death than during his life.

Etymology of name[change | edit source]

Samson, Shimshon (Hebrew: שמשון), Standard Šimšon Tiberian Šimšôn; meaning "of the sun" – perhaps proclaiming he was strong, or "[One who] Serves [God]") or Shamshoun Arabic: شمشون or Sampson Greek: Σαμψών

Other websites[change | edit source]