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Samson struggles with a dangerous gift and temptation.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Samson - Mighty and Tangled, part five

Samson’s life plunged and spun! How could he get tangled by women and bizarre acts of violence, and still be judge of his country and free his people from the Philistines?

As a little boy he knew that he was different from his friends. An angel had visited his mother and predicted his birth. God’s messenger told his parents that Samson was to be raised according to the nazirite vow, which included never cutting his hair. His mission was to rescue his country from Philistines. God would give him astounding strength.

His first marriage to a Philistine woman crashed the first week, when his wife betrayed him. He abandoned her and killed thirty Philistine men. Without Samson’s knowledge, his wife married again.

He retaliated by catching three hundred foxes and tying them together in pairs, so a burning torch could be attached to each pair. The foxes raced through Philistine fields burning their grain and olive trees. The Philistines struck back by killing Samson’s wife and her father. Samson attacked again and many Philistines were killed. The

Israelites’ enemy was being destroyed, but not nation against nation. The fight had become Samson versus the Philistines in ways that shamed the Nazirite vow for his life. God continued to give Samson ferocious strength as he struck the enemy.

In one fight Philistine warriors set up base in Israel. Israelites asked, “Why are you here?”

The Philistines replied, “We plan to catch and bind Samson. We will treat him as he has treated us.”

Three thousand Israelite men gathered and asked Samson, “Don’t you understand that the Philistines rule us? What are you doing to us?”

Samson answered, “Just like they have done to me, so I have done to them.”

“We intend to bind and deliver you to the enemy.”

Samson answered, “Promise that you will not kill me.”

They promised and bound him with two new ropes. The Philistines soon saw him and shouted, “This dog’s life ends now!!”

God’s strength came mightily to Samson and his ropes fell off like burned flax. He grabbed the jawbone of a donkey and tore into the Philistine warriors. One thousand were killed and lay in heaps.

Samson threw the jawbone away and called out to God, “You have delivered me. Now I have great thirst. Am I to fall into the hands of the enemy?” God caused water to come from a hollow in the ground. Samson drank and revived.

He served twenty years as judge of Israel. Israel had a theocratic form of government. Their leader was to be God. Under Him there was to be a national judge with local judges. The Israelites would have greater freedom than if they had a king with demands for taxes and service, but the Israelites’ usual behavior was to want God’s guidance only if they were desperate for help.

When Samson got involved with another Philistine woman, she brought great suffering and loss to him. He was captured by the Philistines who gouged out his eyes.

Soon we will be observers in Samson’s final chapter.

Samson’s life surprisingly occupies four chapters of the book of Judges in the Bible.

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