What Happened at the End? The Philistine leaders assembled their people to offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon and to celebrate their capture of Samson which they credited to Dagon.
The people demanded Samson to be brought out so they could ridicule him. At his own request, Samson was placed between the two main pillars of Dagon’s temple. As the Philistines jeered at Samson, Samson prayed to God. He asked God 1) to remember him, 2) to strengthen him just one more time, and 3) let him with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for loss of his eyes. Then, Samson reached out both arms and placed his right arm on one pillar and his left on the other pillar. With all of his strength, Samson pushed on the two pillars that held the temple roof up. At the same time, Samson prayed: “Let me die with the Philistines.’ The pillars swayed and the roof tumbled down on the rulers, people, and Samson alike.
The Bible noted that Samson killed many more Philistines when he died than when he lived. This is the only time Judges recorded that Samson prayed before he took action that required supernatural strength. Samson’s days turning a grindstone may have allowed/caused him to think about God and that God was the source of his strength, the strength that Samson took for granted or perhaps gloried in over the years of his adulthood became the source of his debasement. God used Samson’s seeming strengths as part of his punishment on the Philistines.
Samson’s brothers and his father’s (Manoah) family went to the Philistine town and retrieved Samson’s body. They buried Samson in the tomb of Manoah between Zorah and Eshtaol. Samson is in the Hebrew Hall of Valor (Hebrews 11:30). The Bible identified him as a judge over Israel for 20 years.
Reflection: Samson is a heart-breaking Bible hero. Even the last day of his life, immediately before he destroyed Dagon’s temple, he thought of revenge. Most of us aren’t that much different from Samson. Don’t we want revenge on our foes rather than allowing vengeance to God?
Copyright on December 17, 2019; Carolyn Roth