The story of Samson the strong man, how he lived
and died in royalty free Christian art
and free lessons for all ages. Beautifully visual Bible
lessons by verses and people. Your Sunday School and Church resource.
What Came Before:
AFTER Jephthah three judges ruled in turn, named Ibzan,
Elon, and Abdon. None of these were men of war, and in their days the land was
But the people of Israel again began to worship idols; and as a punishment God
allowed them once more to pass under the power of their enemies. The seventh
oppression, which now fell upon Israel, was by far the hardest, the longest, and
the most widely spread of any, for it was over all the tribes. It came from the
Philistines, a strong and warlike people, who lived on the west of Israel upon
the plain beside the Great Sea. They worshipped an idol called Dagon, which was
made in the form of a fish's head on a man's body.
These people, the Philistines, sent their armies up from the plain beside the
sea to the mountains of Israel, and overran all the land. They took away from
the Israelites all their swords and spears, so that they could not fight; and
they robbed the land of all the crops, so that the people suffered for want of
food. And as before, the Israelites in their trouble cried to the Lord, and the
Lord heard their prayer.
When a child was given especially to God, or when
a man gave himself to some work for God, he was forbidden to drink wine, and as
a sign, his hair was left to grow long while the vow or promise to God was upon
him. Such a person as this was called a Nazarite, a word which means "one who
has a vow," and Manoah's child was to be a Nazarite, and under a vow, as long as
High Resolution Bible Art
THE STRONG MAN : HOW HE LIVED AND HOW HE DIED
Judges 13 - 16
Samson and Delilah, Gerrit van Honthorst c. 1615
New from Free Christ Images
"Illustrated Life of Jesus" Art CD
500 High Resolution Images
In the tribe-land of Dan, which was next to the country of the Philistines,
there was living a man named Manoah. One day an angel came to his wife, and
said, "You shall have a son; and when he grows up he will begin to save Israel
from the hand of the Philistines. But your son must never drink any wine or
strong drink as long as he lives. And his hair must be allowed to grow long, and
must never be cut, for he shall be a Nazarite under a vow to the Lord."
Samson and the Lion
Francesco Hayez 1842
Samson and Delilah
Lucas Cranach 1537
Samson and Delilah
Anthonis van Dyck
Blinding of Samson
The child was born, and was named Samson. He grew up to become the strongest man
of whom the Bible tells. Samson was no general, like Gideon or Jephthah, to call
out his people and lead them in war. He did much to set his people free; but all
that he did was by his own strength, without any help from other men.
Samson and the Lion
Nicholas of Verdun, 1181
When Samson became a young man he went down to Timnath, in the land of the
Philistines. There he saw a young Philistine woman whom he loved, and wished to
have as his wife. His father and mother were not pleased that he should marry
among the enemies of his own people. They did not know that God would make this
marriage the means of bringing harm upon the Philistines, and of helping the
As Samson was going down to Timnath, to see this young woman, a hungry young
lion came out of the mountain, growling and roaring. Samson seized the lion, and
tore him in pieces as easily as another man would have killed a little kid of
the goats; and then went on his way. He made his visit, and came home, but said
nothing to any one about the lion.
After a time Samson went again to Timnath, for his marriage with the Philistine
woman. On his way he stopped to look at the dead lion; and in its body he found
a swarm of bees, and honey which they had made. He took some of the honey, and
ate it as he walked; but told no one of it.
At the wedding-feast, which lasted a whole week, there were many Philistine
young men; and they amused each other with questions and riddles.
"I will give you a riddle," said Samson. "If you answer it during the feast, I
will give you thirty suits of clothing. And if you cannot answer it, then you
must give me thirty suits of clothing."
"Let us hear your riddle," they said. And this was Samson's riddle for the young
men of the Philistines to answer: "Out of the eater came forth meat. And out of
the strong came forth sweetness."
They could not find the answer, though they tried to find it, all that day, and
the two days that followed. And at last they came to Samson's wife, and said to
her, "Coax your husband to tell you the answer. If you do not find it out, we
will set your house on fire, and burn you and all your people."
And Samson's wife urged him to tell her the answer. She cried and pleaded with
him, and said, "If you really love me, you would not keep this a secret from
me." At last Samson yielded, and told his wife how he had killed the lion and
afterward found the honey in its body. She told her people, and just before the
end of the feast they came to Samson with the answer. They said, "What is
sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?"
And Samson said to them, "If you had not plowed with my wife, you had not found
out my riddle." Then Samson was required to give them thirty suits of clothing.
He went out among the Philistines, killed the first thirty men whom he found,
took off their clothes, and gave them to the guests at the feast. But all this
made Samson very angry. He left his new wife and went home to his father's
house. Then the parents of his wife gave her to another man.
But after a time Samson's anger passed away, and he went again to Timnath to see
his wife. But her father said to him, " You went away angry, and I supposed that
you cared nothing for her. I gave her to another man, and now she is his wife.
But here is her younger sister; you can take her for your wife instead."
But Samson would not take his wife's sister. He went out very angry, determined
to do harm to the Philistines, because they had cheated him. He caught all the
wild foxes that he could find, until he had three hundred of them. Then he tied
them together in pairs, by their tails; and between each pair of foxes he tied
to their tails a piece of dry wood which he set on fire. These foxes with
firebrands on their tails he turned loose among the fields of the Philistines
when the grain was ripe. They ran wildly over the fields, set the grain on fire,
and burned it; and with the grain the olive-trees in the fields.
When the Philistines saw their harvests destroyed, they said, "Who has done
And people said, "Samson did this, because his wife was given by her father to
The Philistines looked on Samson's father-in-law as the cause of their loss; and
they came, and set his house on fire, and burned the man and his daughter whom
Samson had married. Then Samson came down again, and alone fought a company of
Philistines, and killed them all, as a punishment for burning his wife.
After this Samson went to live in a hollow place in a split rock, called the
rock of Etam. The Philistines came up in a great army and overran the fields in
the tribe-land of Judah.
"Why do you come against us?" asked the men of Judah. "What do you want from
us?" "We have come," they said, "to bind Samson, and to deal with him as he has
dealt with our people."
The men of Judah said to Samson, "Do you not know that the Philistines are
ruling over us? Why do you make them angry by killing their people? You see that
we suffer through your pranks. Now we must bind you, and give you to the
Philistines; or they will ruin us all."
And Samson said, "I will let you bind me, if you will promise not to kill me
yourselves; but only to give me safely into the hands of the Philistines."
They made the promise; and Samson gave himself up to them, and allowed them to
tie him up fast with new ropes. The Philistines shouted for joy as they saw
their enemy brought to them, led in bonds by his own people. Little did they
know what was to happen. For as soon as Samson came among them he burst the
bonds as though they had been light strings; and picked up from the ground the
jawbone of an ass, and struck right and left with it as with a sword. He killed
almost a thousand of the Philistines with this strange weapon. Afterward he sang
a song about it, thus:
" With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps,
With the jawbone of an ass, have I slain a thousand men."
After this Samson went down to the chief city of the Philistines, which was
named Gaza. It was a large city; and like all large cities was surrounded with a
high wall. When the men of Gaza found Samson in their city, they shut the gates,
thinking that they could now hold him as a prisoner. But in the night, Samson
rose up, went to the gates, pulled their posts out of the ground, and put the
gates with their posts upon his shoulder. He carried them twenty miles away, and
left them on the top of a hill not far from the city of Hebron.
After this Samson saw another woman among the Philistines, and he loved her. The
name of this woman was Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines came to Delilah,
and said to her:
"Find out, if you can, what it is that makes Samson so strong; and tell us. If
you help us to get control of him, so that we can have him in our power, we will
give you a great sum of money."
And Delilah coaxed and pleaded with Samson to tell her what it was that made him
so strong. Samson said to her, " If they will tie me with seven green twigs from
a tree, then I shall not be strong any more."
They brought her seven green twigs, like those of a willow-tree; and she bound
Samson with them while he was asleep. Then she called out to him, " Wake up,
Samson, the Philistines are coming against you!"
And Samson rose up, and broke the twigs as easily as if they had been charred in
the fire, and went away with ease.
And Delilah tried again to find his secret. She said, "You are only making fun
of me. Now tell me truly how you can be bound."
And Samson said, " Let them bind me with new ropes, that have never been used
before; and then I cannot get away."
While Samson was asleep again, Delilah bound him with new ropes. Then she called
out as before, "Get up, Samson, for the Philistines are coming!" And when Samson
rose up, the ropes broke as if they were thread. And Delilah again urged him to
tell her; and he said:
"You notice that my long hair is in seven locks. Weave it together in the loom,
just as if it were the threads in a piece of cloth."
Then, while he was asleep, she wove his hair in the loom, and fastened it with a
large pin to the weaving-frame. But when he awoke, he rose up, and carried away
the pin and the beam of the weaving-frame, for he was as strong as before.
And Delilah said, " Why do you tell me that you love me, as long as you deceive
me, and keep from me your secret !" And she pleaded with him day after day,
until at last he yielded to her, and told her the real secret of his strength.
" I am a Nazarite, under a vow to the Lord not to drink wine, and not to allow
my hair to be cut. If I should let my hair be cut short, then the Lord would
forsake me, and my strength would go from me, and I would be like other men."
Then Delilah knew that she had found the truth at last. She sent for the rulers
of the Philistines, saying, "Come up this once, and you shall have your enemy;
for I am sure now that he has told me all that is in his heart."
Then, while the Philistines were watching outside, Delilah let Samson go to
sleep, with his head upon her knees. While he was sound asleep, they took a
razor and shaved off all his hair. Then she called out as at other times, "Rise
up, Samson; the Philistines are upon you."
He awoke, and rose up, expecting to find himself strong as before; for he did
not at first know that his long hair had been cut off. But he had broken his vow
to the Lord, and the Lord had left him. He was now as weak as other men, and
helpless in the hands of his enemies. The Philistines easily made him their
prisoner; and that he might never do them more harm, they put out his eyes.
Samson spent his days in prison turning a heavy millstone to grind gain, just as
though he were a beast of burden. But while in prison, Samson's hair grew long
One day a great feast was held by the Philistines in the
temple of their fish-god. More than three thousand people crowded in the temple
and on the roof over the temple. They sent for Samson, to rejoice over his
capture, and Samson was lead blind into the temple. After a time, Samson said to
the boy who was leading him, "Take me up to the front of the temple, so that I
may stand by one of the pillars and lean against it."
The Samson Option
While Samson stood between two of the Pillars, he prayed
to the Lord God of Israel and said, "O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and give me strength only this
once, O God; and help me, that I may obtain vengeance upon the Philistines for
my two eyes!"
Then he placed one arm around the pillar on one side, and the other arm around
the pillar on the other side; and he said, "Let me die with the Philistines."
And he bowed forward with all his might, and pulled the pillars over with him,
bringing down the roof and all upon it upon those that were under it. Samson
himself was among the dead; but in his death he killed more of the Philistines
than he had killed during his life.
Then in the terror which came upon the Philistines the men of Samson's tribe
came down and found his dead body, and buried it in their own land. After that
it was years before the Philistines tried again to rule over the Israelites.
Samson did much to set his people free, but he might have done much more, if he
had led his people, instead of trusting alone to his own strength; and if he had
lived more earnestly, and not done his deeds as though he was playing pranks and
making jokes upon his enemies. There were deep faults in Samson, but at the end
he sought God's help and found it; and God used Samson to begin to set his
The tribe to which Samson belonged was the tribe of Dan, a people who lived on
the edge of the mountain country, between the mountains and the plains by the
sea-coast, which was the home of the Philistines. The tribe-land of Dan was
northwest of Judah, southwest of Ephraim, and west of Benjamin. Samson ruled
over his own tribe, but not much over the other tribes. Yet his deeds of courage
and strength kept the Philistines, during his lifetime, from getting control
over the lands of Judah and Benjamin ; so that Samson helped to save Israel from
Navigation and Searching |
Contact Us |
© 2011, 2010, 2009 Free Christ Images