The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 54: Samson
< Prev T. of C.
... Next >
Just as he was entering upon manhood, the time when he
must execute his divine mission—the time above all others when
he should have been true to God—Samson connected himself with
the enemies of Israel. He did not ask whether he could better
glorify God when united with the object of his choice, or whether
he was placing himself in a position where he could not fulfill
the purpose to be accomplished by his life. To all who seek first
to honor Him, God has promised wisdom; but there is no promise
to those who are bent upon self-pleasing.
How many are pursuing the same course as did Samson!
How often marriages are formed between the godly and the ungodly,
because inclination governs in the selection of husband
or wife! The parties do not ask counsel of God, nor have His
glory in view. Christianity ought to have a controlling influence
upon the marriage relation, but it is too often the case that the
motives which lead to this union are not in keeping with Christian
principles. Satan is constantly seeking to strengthen his
power over the people of God by inducing them to enter into
alliance with his subjects; and in order to accomplish this he
endeavors to arouse unsanctified passions in the heart. But the
Lord has in His word plainly instructed His people not to unite
themselves with those who have not His love abiding in them.
"What concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he
that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the
temple of God with idols?" 2 Corinthians 6:15, 16.
At his marriage feast Samson was brought into familiar
association with those who hated the God of Israel. Whoever
voluntarily enters into such relations will feel it necessary to
conform, to some degree, to the habits and customs of his
companions. The time thus spent is worse than wasted. Thoughts
are entertained and words are spoken that tend to break down
the strongholds of principle and to weaken the citadel of the
The wife, to obtain whom Samson had transgressed the
command of God, proved treacherous to her husband before the
close of the marriage feast. Incensed at her perfidy, Samson
forsook her for the time, and went alone to his home at Zorah.
When, afterward relenting, he returned for his bride, he found
her the wife of another. His revenge, in the wasting of all the
fields and vineyards of the Philistines, provoked them to
murder her, although their threats had driven her to the deceit with [p. 564] which the trouble began. Samson had already given evidence of
his marvelous strength by slaying, singlehanded, a young lion,
and by killing thirty of the men of Askelon. Now, moved to
anger by the barbarous murder of his wife, he attacked the
Philistines and smote them "with a great slaughter." Then, wishing
a safe retreat from his enemies, he withdrew to "the rock Etam,"
in the tribe of Judah.
To this place he was pursued by a strong force, and the
inhabitants of Judah, in great alarm, basely agreed to deliver him
to his enemies. Accordingly three thousand men of Judah went
up to him. But even at such odds they would not have dared
approach him had they not felt assured that he would not harm his
own countrymen. Samson consented to be bound and delivered
to the Philistines, but first exacted from the men of Judah a
promise not to attack him themselves, and thus compel him to
destroy them. He permitted them to bind him with two new
ropes, and he was led into the camp of his enemies amid
demonstrations of great joy. But while their shouts were waking the
echoes of the hills, "the Spirit of Jehovah came mightily upon
him." He burst asunder the strong new cords as if they had been
flax burned in the fire. Then seizing the first weapon at hand,
which, though only the jawbone of an ass, was rendered more
effective than sword or spear, he smote the Philistines until they
fled in terror, leaving a thousand men dead upon the field.
Had the Israelites been ready to unite with Samson and follow
up the victory, they might at this time have freed themselves from
the power of their oppressors. But they had become dispirited
and cowardly. They had neglected the work which God commanded
them to perform, in dispossessing the heathen, and had
united with them in their degrading practices, tolerating their
cruelty, and, so long as it was not directed against themselves,
even countenancing their injustice. When themselves brought
under the power of the oppressor, they tamely submitted to the
degradation which they might have escaped, had they only
obeyed God. Even when the Lord raised up a deliverer for them,
they would, not infrequently, desert him and unite with their
After his victory the Israelites made Samson judge, and he
ruled Israel for twenty years. But one wrong step prepares the [p. 565] way for another. Samson had transgressed the command of God
by taking a wife from the Philistines, and again he ventured
among them—now his deadly enemies—in the indulgence of
unlawful passion. Trusting to his great strength, which had inspired
the Philistines with such terror, he went boldly to Gaza, to visit
a harlot of that place. The inhabitants of the city learned of his
presence, and they were eager for revenge. Their enemy was shut
safely within the walls of the most strongly fortified of all their
cities; they felt sure of their prey, and only waited till the morning
to complete their triumph. At midnight Samson was aroused.
The accusing voice of conscience filled him with remorse, as he
remembered that he had broken his vow as a Nazarite. But
notwithstanding his sin, God's mercy had not forsaken him. His
prodigious strength again served to deliver him. Going to the
city gate, he wrenched it from its place and carried it, with its
posts and bars, to the top of a hill on the way to Hebron.
But even this narrow escape did not stay his evil course. He
did not again venture among the Philistines, but he continued
to seek those sensuous pleasures that were luring him to ruin.
"He loved a woman in the valley of Sorek," not far from his own
birthplace. Her name was Delilah, "the consumer." The vale of
Sorek was celebrated for its vineyards; these also had a temptation
for the wavering Nazarite, who had already indulged in the
use of wine, thus breaking another tie that bound him to purity
and to God. The Philistines kept a vigilant watch over the
movements of their enemy, and when he degraded himself by
this new attachment, they determined, through Delilah, to
accomplish his ruin.
A deputation consisting of one leading man from each of the
Philistine provinces was sent to the vale of Sorek. They dared
not attempt to seize him while in possession of his great strength,
but it was their purpose to learn, if possible, the secret of his
power. They therefore bribed Delilah to discover and reveal it.
< Prev T. of C.
... Next >