Samson – whose greatest victory was his death.


This is the final post in the series of seven on how the seven national saviours in the Book of Judges together promise Jesus, the ultimate world Savior (click to start at the beginning)

samson as youthThere are some Biblical hero’s who stand out for their colour and character (or lack of), and Samson is one of those in the extreme, a man who on losing a bet with the Philistines that lead to a rift in his first marriage and his first wife being given to another man, Samson gets into the habit of catching foxes and tying a smouldering stick to their tales and setting them off through Philistine wheat fields and olive groves, Judges 15. Tragically the Philistines burn Samson’s first wife and her family in revenge.

Samson’s birth was announced before hand by an angel like Jesus and John the Baptist. Samson was also a Nazarite from birth, like John, while Jesus of course was a Nazarene. But after these initial connections it would seem there is little connection between Samson and Jesus. But as we will see, Samson is a type of Jesus, adding to our overall picture of the ultimate saviour promised by the seven mini-saviours in the book of Judges.

The Hebrew word “נזיר”/”nazir” means “consecrated” or “separated”  it implies holiness and a simple lifestyle… Samson must have avoided wine, it was part of the Nazarite deal… but he made up for the lack of alcohol with women (two gentile wives and a prostitute from Gaza) and occasional song (“Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet”, Judges 14:14).

Ancient Rabbinic traditions see some level of comeuppance in Samson’s downfall related to all three women, not just Delilah who finally betrays him. Seven times the Torah forbids the Israelites from intermarrying with the tribes in and around the Promised Land, but when Samson sees a Philistine woman from Timnah he says to his parents: “Get me that one, for she is right in my eyes” (sometime translated as “right for me” or simply “the one I want”). And so when finally captured by the Philistines they gouge out the eyes that had led him astray, Judges 16:21.

samson-and-delilah-victor-matureNext, “Samson went to Gaza”, Judges 16:1 where he sleeps with a prostitute, so we discover that after his capture, they “brought him down to Gaza”, Judges 16:21 where he is made a “He became a grinder in the prison”. Rabbis point out that as in our day, “grinding” was used in the Hebrew world as a euphemism for shabby sexual immorality, see Job 31:10.

It is while in prison that Samson rediscovers the purpose of his consecration to the Lord. Samson’s final act models the cross with arms out stretched his own death brings about a Victory for his people… but there are a lot more points of contact with Jesus than just this visual image and outcome. the table below draws them out..

A Nazarite from birthA Nazarene by lineage (both Mary and Joseph where from Nazareth)
An Angel foretold his birth to his parents. Judges 13:5
An Angel foretold his birth to his parents. Matthew 1:20, Luke 1:27-31
… at a time when Israel had been handed over to their enemies. Judges 13:1… at a time when Israel had been handed over to their enemies. Luke 2:1
Had a gentile "bride". Judges 16:4Will take a "gentile" bride. Revelation 19:7
Fights and kills the lion Judges 14:6 Christ defeats the devil, a roaring lion 1 Peter 5:8
Handed over by his own people to a foreign power Judges 15:12+Handed over by his own people to a foreign power. Matthew 27:1-2
Betrayed for “pieces of silver” by someone he trusted. Judges 16:5,18Betrayed for “pieces of silver” by someone he trusted. Matthew 26:15
Samson dies stretched out between two pillars Judges 16: 29,30 . Jesus is stretched between two other crosses. Matthew 27:38
Samson's greatest feat was his death
Jesus' ultimate victory was his death
Brave Israelites remove Samson’s body Judges 16:31Brave Israelites remove Jesus’ body John 19: 38,39

Christen Forster

Christen Forster is widely recognised as an original Bible teacher who brings people into a love of and confidence in scripture.

Christen has planted churches, been a youth worker, mission administrator and church leaders. The author of several books, Christen is now an itinerant minister, helping churches to step into a more deliberately spiritual experience of the Christian life while at the same time firmly rooting their practice in scripture.

© 2000 - 2024 Christen Forster
Christen Forster

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