The Israelites, once again, sinned and turned away from God. As a result, the Philistines enslaved them for forty years. But all was not lost yet. An Israelite man called Manoah lived with his wife in the town of Zorah.
Manoah and his wife were loyal to God. But they were not able to have any children. One day, an angel of God appeared before Manoah’s wife and said, “You will soon have a son. He will save Israel from the Philistines.”
“But you have to raise him like a Nazirite. He should never cut his hair, drink alcohol or touch dead things all his life,” the angel added. Manoah and his wife were grateful to be blessed.
Manoah’s wonderful son was named Samson. God blessed Samson with extraordinary strength. He was so strong that he could kill a lion with his bare hands and a thousand Philistines with a donkey’s jawbone!
The Philistines were terrified of Samson and wanted to destroy him. They tried to capture him, but in vain. Samson was too strong to be bound in ropes and chains.
Samson’s trouble started when he fell in love with a Philistine girl named Delilah. When the Philistine rulers learnt about this, they offered Delilah a large amount of money to discover the secret of Samson’s strength.
Delilah was a greedy woman. She troubled Samson to tell her his secret. He kept on telling her all kinds of things but not the real secret. The Philistines were disappointed with Delilah.
Delilah now became desperate. She troubled Samson so much that he finally told her, “My strength is in my hair. As long as I don’t cut it, no one can defeat me.” This time, Delilah knew that Samson was telling her the truth.
Delilah informed the Philistines at once. She made Samson sleep and quickly called for a barber to cut Samson’s hair. Then she called out, “Samson, wake up; the Philistines are upon you!” Samson awoke, and realized that he had lost his strength.
Samson tried to resist the Philistines as before, but he could not do so. The Philistines took hold of him. They blinded him and imprisoned him. They put Samson in chains and made him work, grinding grain in the prison.
The Philistine kings celebrated with a feast to their god Dagon, praising him for delivering their enemy into their hands. During the feast, the Philistines mocked Samson even more.
Time passed and Samson’s hair started growing once again. One day, the Philistines held a great feast in the temple of Dagon. They ordered for Samson to be brought there.
A young boy led Samson into the temple. The temple, its courtyard, as well as the roof over it were crowded with more than three thousand men and women. Everyone was eager to see the mighty Samson in chains.
Samson was placed between two pillars. He said to the boy who had brought him, “Please put my arms around the pillars supporting this temple.” The boy did so.
Then, Samson pleaded with the god of Israel, “O God, please strengthen me only one more time. Let me die punishing these Philistines.” Holding the pillars with his outstretched arms, Samson bowed down with all his might.
God graciously returned Samson’s strength. The pillars supporting the temple crashed, bringing the whole building down! That day, Samson killed more people in his death than he had done in his life.