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The Pillars Of Dagon's Temple

Samson is one of the best-known people of Bible History, along with Delilah. Samson was of the Israelite tribe of Dan (Judges 13:2) and lived in the southern territory of Dan (see Tribal Lands), adjacent to Philistine Gaza. Samson's conflict with the Philistines is recorded in Judges chapters 13 to 16, but he is of course most famous for his being captured by the Philistines, through Delilah (who was also a Philistine) after his hair was cut.

Samson was a Nazarite (also spelled Nazirite). Cutting his hair caused his loss of strength, which was actually a loss of God's protection, because God's protection in Samson's case involved physical strength and skill as a warrior. Having long hair didn't somehow make Samson strong; it was merely a part of his consecration, along with not consuming wine or having any contact with the dead (Judges 16:17, see also the Fact Finder question below about Nazarites). If Delilah had gotten him to drink wine or go near a dead body, it would have had the same result as cutting his hair (some claim that Jesus Christ was also a Nazarite from birth, but He could not have been because the Scriptures plainly state that the Messiah drank wine; see also Wine or Grape Juice?)

"I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me"

After his capture, the Philistines gouged out Samson's eyes and "detained" him in a prison in Gaza. One day, while they were celebrating their apparent victory over one of God's servants, they brought Samson into their pagan temple of Dagon to gleefully mock and further abuse their then defenseless captive. Samson pleaded to God to restore his strength one last time to avenge not only their blinding him, but what they were doing to a man of God. The Lord granted his request. Samson still lost his life, but he knew that they were going to kill him anyway. What Samson did was not a "suicide" as some have claimed, but a single-handed military attack from which 3,000 enemy Philistines died with him.

Samson

"Then The Lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their God, and to rejoice: for they said, Our God hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand."

"And when the people saw him, they praised their God: for they said, Our God hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us."

"And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars. And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them. Now the house was full of men and women; and all The Lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport. And Samson called unto The Lord, and said, O Lord 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. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon The Lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life."

"Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged (see also The Judges) Israel twenty years." (Judges 16:23-31 KJV)

Fact Finder: Samson was "a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death" (Judges 13:7 KJV). What was a "Nazarite"?
See Nazirites


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