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THE LIFE OF SAMSON
The Demise of Samson (8)
Victor M. Eskew
I. THE DOORS CARRIED OFF (Judg. 16:1-3)
II. DELILAH CONQUERS SAMSON (Judg. 16:4-22)
III. DEATH BRINGS VICTORY (Judg. 16:23-31)
A. The Celebration of the Philistine (Judg. 16:23-24)
B. The Call for Samson (Judg. 16:25)
C. The Conquest by Samson (Judg. 16:26-30)
1. The Request (Judg. 16:26)
2. The Representatives (Judg. 16:27)
3. The Requisition (Judg. 16:28)
And Samson called unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.
a. Butler reveals four positive things about Samson’s prayer.
b. Butler points out two negatives in this prayer.
1) Samson’s desire for strength was to execute personal revenge.
2) Samson limited his request to “only this once.”
a) Could God have completely delivered Samson and used him another day in His service? Certainly.
b) Example: Joash and his request through Elisha (II Kings 13:14-19).
Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and
wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And Elisha
said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows. And he said to the king of Israel, Put
thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king's hands. And he
said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow
of the LORD'S deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till
thou have consumed them. And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel,
Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed. And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou
shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou
shalt smite Syria but thrice.
c. Gluchoski: “In my view, I don’t see repentance in this prayer – only the desire for revenge for the loss of his two eyes!
“Suffering at the grist mill evidently hasn’t changed Samson, rather it seems to have placed the stronghold of vengeance back to work in his life” (121).
d. Grossman: “It is a shattering cry of one who knows that his God has abandoned him, and who has come to realise that he has failed abjectly in performing the mission for which he was created. Samson in this hour addresses God with three different, holy Hebrew names, as if he is trying to enter the heart of God through all of its gates, to reach a place where a portal will be opened into a most personal, intimate deity, the one who chose him and took him when he was still in the womb, the one whose spirit had empowered Samson all his life” (140).
4. The Retribution (Judg. 16:29-30)
And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and one which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein.
a. It was great in regard to might.
1) This was supernatural strength given to Samson.
2) Lesson: “It was too bad Samson did not have the moral strength to match his muscle strength. But, like many today, he was not interested in moral strength. And this eventually cost him his muscle strength” (Butler, 173).
b. It was great in regard to numbers.
1) Three thousand men and woman were on the roof (Judg. 16:27).
2) “…the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein” (v. 30).
c. It was great in regard to judgment.
1) This feat involved the wrath of God executed upon the enemies of God’s people.
2) “The Philistines were having a terribly vile and wretched God-dishonoring orgy, and God simply stepped in and ended it all with a swift stoke of justified judgment” (Butler, 174).
3) Psalm 7:11
...and God is angry with the wicked every day.
d. It was great in regard to government.
1) “…and the house fell upon the lords…” (v. 30).
2) The slaughter of all five lords at once would have a debilitating effect upon the government of the Philistines for some time. There may have been several other high-ranking officials in the crowd as well.
3) “What a sobering demonstration of how easy it is for God to quickly disable an ungodly government” (Butler, 174).
e. It was great in regard to religion.
1) God dealt Dagon a massive blow.
2) The destruction of Dagon’s temple would show his weakness before the Almighty God.
3) Lesson: “God will not tolerate competition. All false gods and their worshippers will be brought low sooner or later” (Butler, 174).
f. It was great in regard to Samson’s achievements.
1) Samson had slain several Philistines in the past.
a) 30 men of Ashkelon
b) He smote them “hip and thigh” after the death of his wife and her father
c) A thousand men with the jawbone of an ass
2) Between the 3000 men and woman plus the lords, this was greater than any slaughter of the past.
(NOTE: The above six points were taken from Butler, pp. 172-175)
g. Discussion: Samson’s act was a sacrifice or a suicide?
1) Suicide: the intentional taking of one’s own life “…there is no escaping the thought that Samson was, in a sense, the first suicide-killer; and although the circumstances of his deed were different from those familiar to us from the daily reality of the streets of Israel, it may be that the act itself established in human consciousness a mode of murder and revenge directed at innocent victims, which has been perfected in recent years” (Grossman, 142-143).
2) “Samson’s sacrifice is ‘an instance of that strange law which makes the greatest good to men dependent on the sacrifice of the benefactor’ (Adeney)” (Butler, 175).
3) Was Jesus’ death a suicide? (See John 10:18).
No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself…
4) We, too, have been called upon to sacrifice our lives for Christ (Matt. 16:25).
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
1) Even after we have experienced terrible moral failure and defeat, God can still use us if we will turn to him.
2) Samson did not live up to his potential. Are we like Samson at times? Are we half-heartedly living up to the potential God has for us?
3) “We must see the connection between continued sin and the loss of unfulfilled purpose” (Gluchoski, 140).
D. The Conclusion in Burial (Judg. 16:31)
Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the burial place of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.
1. We might wonder how his family retrieved the body?
a. They might have gone personally to reclaim Samson’s body. The devastation was such that the Philistines were not concerned with the presence of Samson’s family.
b. The Philistines may have released the body to the family since Samson was now dead.
2. We might also wonder why Samson’s family gave him such an honorable burial.
a. He was a judge of Israel and was honored for his position even though he had many moral failures (Ex., John Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.).
b. Israel was in a time of extremely low morality. Thus, Samson’s actions were not looked upon at being that bad.
c. We have only been given a few actions of Samson’s life over the course of a twenty year period. There may have been many good things that Samson did as a judge.
d. Family often honors their own, even though the person is not a very good individual.
A. “In studying Samson’s life, I don’t think anyone can be neutral in their feelings toward him. I personally experienced a wide range of emotions while writing these words.
“As we look at his heroics or his failures, I believe we can all find a little bit of ourselves in Samson. As we do, let’s make the needed changes” (Gluchoski, 140).
B. We, too, can fail in our life at times. God, however, can use our lives again. “He delights to use imperfect people for two reasons. First, because that’s the only kind He has – we are all imperfect people. Second, He works through imperfect people because He gets all the glory” (Henderson, 122).
C. Samson seems to have had three glaring sins in his life.
1. First, he did not fear the Lord as he should (Prov. 9:10; 10:27; 16:6)
2. Second, he was a man whose heart was full of pride (Prov. 16:18).
3. Third, he was a man with a lack of self-control (Prov. 16:32; 25:28).