Samson is likewise a tragic figure, more antihero than hero.
His story begins well.
As with Abraham and Sarah, an angel appears and tells a barren couple that they will have a son, but this son must be perpetually dedicated to the Lord in a Nazirite vow.
This vow entails three key conditions that are essential for reading the Samson story: avoiding alcohol, avoiding contact with dead bodies, and, finally, refraining from cutting one’s hair (Nm 6).
On those conditions, Samson is blessed with great strength.
Samson’s story continues abruptly when he asks his father to arrange a marriage with a Philistine woman who “pleases me” (Jgs 14:3).
As Samson travels to his wedding, he goes through the vineyards of Timnah.
This detail is significant, because the Nazirite vow against alcohol goes so far as to prohibit any contact with the fruit of the vine whatsoever.
Suddenly, a lion attacks him in the vineyard (a sign perhaps that Samson shouldn’t be there), and Samson slays it with his bare hands. (MUFASA, NOOOOOO NOT AGAIN!!!!! 😉)
The narrator makes a point that Samson did not tell his father or mother about it—probably because he was in a forbidden place, a vineyard!
The next day, Samson passes by the carcass and finds it full of bees and honey.
Besides the subtle note that Samson returns to the forbidden place, Samson’s eating honey out of the corpse of the lion is yet another, and more obvious, violation of his vow, due once again to his lust for pleasure (Now, wouldn’t a day-old decomposed Mufasa carcass stink to high heavens? No amount of honey is worth that to me…unlessssss...it was in BAKLAVA!!! 😋😋😋)
Immediately after this, Samson holds a feast in Timnah for his wedding.
The word for “feast” literally means a drinking bout, and surely implies that Samson is drinking wine, suggested by his recent and repeated trips to the vineyard.
Samson makes a bet and humiliates thirty Philistine men from Timnah, leading to a spiral of violence in which Samson’s wife dies and he avenges himself on the Philistines.
After this, Samson pursues a harlot in Gaza, a location that indicates she was a Philistine.
This liaison increases the conflict with the Philistines, but they cannot overcome Samson’s strength.
So we heard from a couple different Judges
Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon
And finally, we have Samson
Samson is probably the most famousest (Fr. Mike’s word, not mine 😉) of all the Judges
Keep in mind the THEME of couples who long for a child
Samson’s story is no different
We will hear this again in 1 Samuel with Hannah, the mother of Samuel
Manoach and his wife long for a child
The Lord God blesses them with Samson
Whenever we have this theme it is SO IMPORTANT TO STOP AND PRAY
Pray for ALL COUPLES who are UNABLE TO CONCEIVE, WHO HAVE CRISIS PREGNANCIES, WHO HAVE HAD MISCARRIAGES, WHO HAVE HAD TO BURY A CHILD
We need to PRAY FOR THEM
Some POWERFUL THINGS HAVE HAPPENED in the Bible In A Year COMMUNITY
WE ARE A COMMUNITY
WE ARE FAMILY
Samson is consecrated from birth as a NAZIRITE
Remember, for a Nazirite Vow, the one making the vow would go on a “retreat”, abstain from alcohol, not cut their hair, and not come into contact with dead bodies
It is VERY RARE that someone is consecrated as a Nazirite from BIRTH and remains that way FOR LIFE (I was consecrated as a Washington Redskins fan from birth and even THAT is proving difficult to hold onto my entire life 😉)
We have three famous examples of Nazirite: Samson, Samuel (but we don’t know for sure about him), and John The Baptist
Samson is NOT a good guy
Samson is an action hero
Fr. Mike’s favorite stories in his Action Bible were the stories of Samson
But when you get to know Samson’s full story, you realize something
Samson is STRONG, but he is NOT WISE
Samson is CONSECRATED, but he is NOT LIVING A CONSECRATED LIFE
Samson killed MUFASA and eats honey from MUFASA’S carcass
He broke his VOW to not touch a dead body
He also shared that honey with his mom and dad, and made them unclean
Even when he defeats the 1,000 people at Lehi, he uses the jawbone of a DONKEY (I’m guessing it’s not DONKEY FROM SHREK, that would be TOO powerful a weapon since Donkey could never shut up 🤪)
This jawbone was an UNCLEAN OBJECT (dead animal)
Samson may be strong, BUT HE HAS A LOT OF WEAKNESSES
Samson’s weakness is his PASSION
Samson’s weakness is his ANGER
Samson’s weakness is his LUST
Boy, does his LUST get him into trouble
One thing we recognize for ALL OF US is that all of us have CERTAIN STRENGTHS
All of us have CERTAIN WEAKNESSES
Those strengths DO NOT MAKE UP FOR those weaknesses
We MUST address the weakness
We can’t just say, “Well, I’m strong in this area so I can tolerate the weakness.”
What we must do is say to God, “Ok, Lord, I am strong in these areas. And yet, I also recognize that I am in great great need of purification. I am in great need of strengthening in a number of other places.”
So rather than despairing over our weakness, we come to The Lord with them
We should not dismiss those weaknesses so we come to the Lord with them
Fr. Mike invites us to acknowledge your strengths by PRAISING GOD for them
ADDRESS THE WEAKNESS
Neither DESPAIR because of your weakness
Nor DISMISS the weakness
Bring them and entrust them to The Lord
Say to God, “Lord, whatever you want to do with this weakness, I give you permission to purify it from my life. I give you permission to release me from my weakness. I give you permission to heal me of this weakness. I give you permission to give me the strength to not let these weaknesses become my downfall.”
The weakness will be Samson’s downfall
Is it really a spoiler alert if we all know what’s about to happen to him? 🤔
Keep praying for Fr. Mike
Keep praying FOR EACH OTHER
Pray for couples who are having difficulty conceiving a child, for couples who are having difficult pregnancies, couples who have lost a child from pregnancy to any age, pray for couples who have lost multiple pregnancies and children no matter what age
THEY NEED OUR PRAYERS!!