Judges 16: Samson’s Character Revealed

In this chapter we see the culmination of Samson’s character. Samson was imperfect, yet his faith in God led him to overcome seemingly impossible obstacles. Samson is mentioned by name as one among many in Hebrews 11:32-34 that accomplished much through faith.

In verses 1-3, there is evidence of Samson’s lack of righteousness and weakness in that he goes in to a harlot at Gaza. But he outsmarts his adversaries that wish to trap him by fleeing at midnight. His strength is indeed great as he places the gate doors of the city on top of a hill. 

The story of Samson and Delilah begins in verse 4. The Philistines were still looking to subdue Samson at this time, and just like with the woman from Timnah, the Philistines try to get to Samson through Delilah. 

She is to find out from Samson where his strength lies and report back to the Philistines so that they can finally subdue him. Instead of using threats as they did with the woman from Timnah, they bribe Delilah with money. 

Thus Delilah asks Samson where his strength is and how he could be bound. Three different times he seems to suspect her motives and he tells her things that really could not bind him. Three different times he escapes the trap that the Philistines set for him. Then, starting in verse 15, Samson becomes tired of her endless questioning, “his soul was vexed to death” (vs. 16). He tells her that his strength lies in his hair and she arranges for his hair to be cut and for the Philistines to take him. They put out his eyes and take him to Gaza where he is bound by bronze and forced to grind grain. Samson is humiliated and enslaved, but his hair begins to grow again. 

Notice in the latter part of verse 20 that even though Samson’s strength seemed to lay in his hair, the true source was the Lord. 

The climax of Samson’s death and that of some 3,000 Philistines is a memorable one, full of vengeance and might. The Philistines are sacrificing to their false god dagon and they also are rejoicing in how they finally captured Samson. 

Samson wants to take vengeance upon the Philistines because they took his eyesight and generally because of the adversarial history he has with them. Samson is able to bring down the temple on the Philistines and kill more of them with one act than he has done ever before. It is not his desire for vengeance that enables him to push on the pillars and bring down the temple. Rather it is Samson’s faith through prayer that God will give him the strength to do so. Add Samson’s faith to an environment where God seemed to be inclined to make the Philistines suffer and that Samson was a judge in Israel for twenty years, and you have the will of God bring enacted through Samson. Even with Samson’s faults and sins, God’s saw fit to bless him and use him. The same is true for us today. Even though we turn away from God, He still answers our prayers when we repent and call on Him in faith.

I am a sinner like Samson. I behave foolishly and selfishly and make decisions based on sinful desires. 

Samson, living under the old law, was not subject to the gospel call of Jesus Christ. But we are, so what saves us?

 – Faith

 – God’s grace

 – Obedience to Him and His word

 – Baptism for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16, I Peter 3:21)

We hear the Word of God and we believe. We repent of our sins and confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Then we are baptized and our sins are washed away. We become a new creation. 

God bless you as you study along with me tonight. Thank you for reading. Samson’s story is remarkable. Is your faith as strong as his was? Have you been saved?

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