The meaning of Samson

Samson and Delilah. When I was young, every school child in the English speaking world knew this story. Every school child was educated in the stories and the wisdom of the Bible. That is history now. The prejudice and ignorance of godless men has censored the record and excised Christ from western consciousness. This censorship was deliberate and systematic. We live today with the terrible consequences. God help us and God help future generations ! 

That is the theme of the book of Judges whose stories we have been examining. Judges in the Old Testament is a series of historical stories about how the people of God, the Israelites continually offended God by worshipping false gods and therefore falling under the power of their godless enemies. When the Israelites cried out to God under the pain of their oppression, God heard them and sent them a deliverer. This happened several times. 

They sinned; they felt the terrible oppression as a result of their idolatrous ways;  and so they cried to God their Maker to deliver them. He did so. They behaved for a while, but then fell back into their godless ways and so fell under oppression yet again. 

In today’s world people are oppressed by hopelessness and despair, by crime and social breakdown. They are troubled, often frightened for themselves and their futures. Godless and selfish men rule over us and keep promising to give us all we want. But they are not the answer, nor is more consumption, nor freedom to do our own thing. We need security – the security which comes from obeying God’s laws and knowing his power defending us against evil. We need the truth – not the distractions and distortions pumped into our lives daily by politicians, media and television. 

In considering the biography of Samson we are looking at a classic example of an Old Testament ‘type’ of jesus Christ: that is a figure who foreshadows in certain aspects the life and ministry of Jesus Christ – the Son of God who came centuries after all the events recorded in the Old Testament. 

Moses is one of the most obvious such types. Moses led the people out of oppressive Egypt. Moses brought God’s law to the people – the Ten Commandments. Moses interceded before God on behalf of the people. In all these aspects he prefigured the ministry and meaning of Jesus Christ many centuries later. 

Samson is just such a figure. He was one of the ‘judges’ God appointed to deliver the people from the oppression of their enemies. His story is recorded in chapters 13 to 16 of the book called “Judges” in the Old Testament. 

There are three particular aspects of Samson’s biography I’d like us to note. They concern the circumstances of his

  • birth 
  • life 
  • death

Samson was already appointed as a leader and deliverer of his people in the great plan and purpose of God before he was even born. His birth and his special status were foretold by angelic visitation, just like that of Jesus Christ. 

During his life, Samson fought against the enemies of Israel and defeated them. And he did so by God’s supernatural strength. But let us note, that while Samson fought a physical and violent battle with the enemies of God’s people, Jesus did no such thing. Jesus did indeed fight against the enemies of God’s people, but they were not human but spiritual. On the physical plane,  Jesus fought against hunger and disease. On the spiritual plane, Jesus fought against moral enemies by teaching the people to love God and love others. 

In his death, Samson killed more of Isreal’s enemies than he had done during his entire life. And he did so by sacrificing his own life. He collapsed the two pillars which held up the building where the Philistines were celebrating their power. In the very moment of the triumph of evil,  God acted through Samson’s sacrifice to defeat Israel’s enemies, the Philistines.  

At the cross of course, Jesus did far, far more. In the very moment that sinners in this world triumphed over the Son of God to destroy him, God achieved the purpose for which he had sent Jesus. He assuaged his anger with our sin, and enabled forgiveness and absolute pardon for his people – God’s chosen people as defined in the New Testament: the people of faith – the people who trust in Christ’s sacrifice and who live trusting Jesus teaching whatever the opposition and oppression. Just like Jesus. 

In his death, Jesus killed no-one. In his death, Jesus set us an example to follow. In his death, Jesus gained for us the precious Pardon of God for us sinners. He gained not the death of God’s enemies, but their salvation – he saved them from themselves and from God’s hostility to them. 

While Samson was a mere man playing a pre-ordained role for a particular time and place, Jesus Christ was God himself. His sacrifice was once and for all time; it was to usher in an entirely new dispensation based on trusting in him and his teaching. The New Testament. 

Finally I’d like to mention the meaning of the women Samson was so interested in. There were 3 – his wife, a prostitute; and the famous Delilah. 

All of them betrayed Samson, or were the source of his betrayal. What do they represent ?

They represent the people of God themselves – the Israelites. The nation which persistently over the centuries betrayed God by worshipping other deities – the false and petty gods of the nations they were destined to dispossess. And they were to dispossess those nations because they worshipped false gods, not the one true Creator God. The Isrealites, the Jews, committed the same evil. 

That is why Jesus Christ came. To introduce a New Testament – a new agreement between God and his creation, you and I. The Jewish nation had failed God. The lesson is clear for Christians. Let us not fail God by works of the flesh, instead of living by his Holy Spirit. 

Christian Preacher

By Christianity

The personal icon photograph shows God's creation, the world. It reminds us that God is the Creator of all - the almighty, the all knowing and all present - the one who is most important of all. The one to whom we owe all, and the one to whom we will answer for all. The site's header image of the Bible [King James Authorised Version], a map, a light and a compass represent to us that God's word in the Bible is our spiritual map, illumination and guide through this life. Those who obey his teaching will know his presence and power - Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 23

%d bloggers like this: