Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | History
Taken from Wikipedia "Samson"
This biography should not have been here, but because of one reference to it, it is given here.
Samson's activity takes place during a time when God was punishing the Israelites, by giving them "into the hand of the Philistines". An angel appears to Manoah, an Israelite from the tribe of Dan, in the city of Zorah, and to his wife, who had been unable to conceive. This angel proclaims that the couple will soon have a son who will begin to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines. The wife believed the angel, but as her husband wasn't present, at first, and wanted the heavenly messenger to return, asking that he himself could also receive instruction about the child that was going to be born.
Requirements were set up by the angel that Manoah's wife (as well as the child) were to abstain from all alcoholic beverages, and her promised child was not to shave or cut his hair. He was to be a "Nazirite" from birth. In ancient Israel, those wanting to be especially dedicated to God for a while could take a Nazarite vow, which included things like the aforementioned as well as other stipulations. After the angel returned, Manoah soon prepared a sacrifice, but the Messenger would only allow it to be for God, touching his staff to it, miraculously engulfing it in flames. The angel then ascended up into the sky in the fire.
This was such dramatic evidence as to the nature of the messenger, that Manoah feared for his life, as it has been said that no-one can live after seeing God; however, his wife soon convinced him that if God planned to slay them, he would never have revealed such things to them to begin with. In due course of the time the son, Samson, is born; he is reared according to these provisions.
On his way to the wedding, Samson notices that bees have nested in the carcass of the lion and have made honey. He eats a handful of that honey and gives some to his parents. At the wedding-feast, Samson proposes that he tells a riddle to his thirty groomsmen (all Philistines); if they can solve it, he will give them thirty pieces of fine linen and garments. The riddle ("Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet") is a veiled account of his second encounter with the lion - at which only he was present. The Philistines are infuriated by the riddle. The thirty groomsmen tell Samson's new wife that they will burn her and her father's household if she does not discover the answer to the riddle and tell it to them. At the urgent and tearful imploring of his bride, Samson tells her the solution, and she tells it to the thirty groomsmen.
On the seventh day, before
sunset, they said to him, "What is sweeter than honey? and what is
stronger than a lion?"
He flies into a rage and kills those thirty Philistines of Ashkelon for their garments, which he gives his thirty groomsmen. Still in a rage, he returns to his father's house, and his bride is given to the best man as his wife. Her father refuses to allow him to see her, and wishes to give Samson the younger sister. Samson attaches torches to the tails of three hundred foxes, leaving the panicked beasts to run through the fields of the Philistines, burning all in their wake. The Philistines find out why Samson burned their crops, and they burn Samson's wife and father-in-law to death. In revenge, Samson slaughters many more Philistines, smiting them "hip and thigh".
Samson then takes refuge in a cave in the rock of Etam. An army of Philistines went up and demanded from 3000 men of Judah to deliver them Samson. With Samson's consent, they tie him with two new ropes and are about to hand him over to the Philistines when he breaks free. Using the jawbone of an ass, he slays one thousand Philistines. At the conclusion of Judges 15 it is said that "Samson led Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines".
Later, Samson goes to Gaza, where he stays at a harlot's house. His enemies wait at the gate of the city to ambush him, but he rips the gate up and carries it to "the hill that is in front of Hebron".
Samson Marries Again
One day the Philistine leaders assemble in a temple for a religious sacrifice to Dagon, one of their most important deities, for having delivered Samson into their hands. They summon Samson, so women and men gather on the roof to watch. Once inside the temple, Samson, his hair having grown long again, asks the servant who is leading him to the temple's central pillars if he may lean against them (referring to the pillars).
"Then Samson prayed to 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" (Judges 16:28)". "Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" (Judges 16:30) He pulled the two pillars together, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more as he died than while he lived." (Judges 16:30).
After his death, Samson's family recovers his body from the rubble and buries him near the tomb of his father Manoah. The fate of Delilah is never mentioned.
Created by Sushma Gupta On 5/27/04
Modified on 10/20/12