Hey, look, Israel does evil in the sight of the Lord. My goodness… what a surprise. I’m shocked. Shocked!
So God sends the Philistines to oppress them.
There’s a guy named Manoah, whose wife was barren and had borne no children. So God sends an angel to his wife.
Angel: You’re barren and you’ve borne no children.
Thanks, Captain Obvious!
Angel: There’s more. You’re going to have a son and he’s going to sort of deliver Israel… okay, mostly, he’s going to be an ass and murder random Philistines, but eh… what are you going to do? Anyway, he’s going to be a Nazarite from birth, so make sure he doesn’t drink wine, doesn’t become unclean, and don’t cut his hair.”
So she tells this to her husband and he asks God to send the angel back, so God does.
Manoah: Uh… so… what’s, uh, what’s our son’s job going to be?
Angel: Seriously? I’m an angel. A literal supernatural being with access to the Creator of the Universe and you’re asking me what your kid’s going to be when he grows up? Look, like I told the lady, don’t drink win, and don’t eat anything unclean.”
Manoah: Uh… can I make you something to eat?
Angel: Sigh… no. I don’t eat your type of food. Offer a burnt offering to the Lord.
And the Angel and the couple were immediately destroyed because the Law clearly states that only the priests were to offer burnt offerings to the Lord.
Ah, no. They weren’t because… I don’t know… I’m sure there’s some apologist argument out there for why they’re given a loophole.
Manoah: So what do we call you?
Angel: Sigh… you hairless apes couldn’t possibly understand my name, so why are you asking?
Then they offer the goat and the angel returns to heaven via the fire.
Manoah: We’re going to die! We’ve seen God!
His wife: Lots of people in this book have, we’re fine.
So Samson was born, and I think after reading this chapter, I see that he got “being a dumbass” from his father.
So Samson is walking around in Timnah and sees a hot girl and says, “Hey, Dad, I want that girl. Buy her for me.” Because that was how it was done in those days.
“Son, why can’t you meet and settle down with a nice Jewish girl?”
“Because that girl is hot.”
Oh, but apparently Samson’s boner was from God, because God wanted a cause to get all smite-y on the Philistines? Really? Because God ordered someone killed because he was picking up sticks on Saturday. I’m pretty sure He could find a reason to kill some Philistines that didn’t involve getting a girl and her family burned to death by an angry mob.
But I’m jumping ahead.
So Samson’s family goes down to Timnah, and Samson gets attacked by a lion, and he, and I quote, “tore him as one tears a young goat.”
Was goat tearing a thing? Were people tearing goats apart back then? So much so that the writer is using it as an analogy?
He comes back a week later to visit his fiancée and finds a beehive in the lion carcass and he eats some of it and gives some to his parents, not telling them that it has dead lion carcass germs all over it. Because, dead lion carcass honey is DEFINITELY not kosher.
So they have a wedding feast and as they’re drinking, Samson offers to play a riddle game with the prize being 30 changes of clothes. Then he asks them a “riddle?” about where he got the honey. After three days, they can’t figure it out, so this group of 30 Philistines goes to Samson’s wife and demands she find out the answer or they’re going to burn her and her family alive. Dudes, seems harsh over a Kohl’s gift card, guys.
So his wife goes and cries and begs him to tell her for seven days, so Samson finally gives in and tells her and she tells them and they tell Samson. And “the Spirit of the Lord” came upon him mightily, so Samson leaves town, goes to another city, kills 30 random people, strips their corpses naked, and uses their clothes to pay off his bet. Then he storms home and leaves his wife behind, so his former Father-in-Law marries the girl off to Samson’s friend.
Yes, God directed Samson to kill 30 random guys who hadn’t done him any harm.
So a few months later, Samson is horny and wants to go have sex with his wife, but his ex-Father-in-Law explains that he thought Samson hated her so he married her to another man. Samson gets mad again and promises to hurt the Philistines some more.
He somehow catches 300 foxes. And presumably cages them and feeds the caught ones for the days or weeks or months it takes him to get 300. Then he engages in animal cruelty and ties a torch to their tails and sends them out into the wheat fields to burn all of the Philistines crops.
The Philistines get mad and demand to know who was responsible for burning all their crops. Why it’s Samson and he did it because he was made that his father-in-law married off his wife to another man. So the Philistines go up and set the girl and her family on fire. At this time, Samson comes back and is surprised and angry that they killed his ex-wife and kills them. Then he goes and lives in a cave.
The Philistines gather their army and go and camp outside a Jewish city. The Jews freak out a bit and ask why they’re bothering them. The Philistines say they want Samson. The Jews send 3000 men go get Samson.
Jews: Dude… not cool.
Samson: Eh. They had it coming.
Jews: Come on now, you’re under arrest.
Samson: Okay, if you promise not to kill me.
Jews: We’re not going to kill you.
The Jews bring him to the Philistines and Samson breaks out of his bonds, grabs a donkey’s jawbone and kills a thousand men with it. At this point, just knowing what I know about Samson and the apparently widespread practice of ripping goats apart, I’m just hoping the donkey was dead before Samson took it’s jaw.
Then Samson gets thirsty and demands some water from God and God gives him some water.
Samson’s horny again, so he visits a prostitute, and somehow rather nonsensically carries a city’s gate on his shoulders up a mountain.
Then he falls in love with Delilah and the Philistines offer her a bribe if she can figure out where his strength comes from.
Delilah: Sam, what’s your kryptonite? I’m just asking. I’m totally not going to use it against you.
Samson: Well, okay then. If you tie we up with seven wet pieces of rope, I’ll be helpless.
He falls asleep. She ties him up with seven wet pieces of rope.
Delilah: Wake up, Samson. Some men would like to kill you.
Sam wakes up, breaks the ropes and presumably kills or thrashes the guys waiting to ambush him.
Delilah: You lied to me! I’m so hurt!
Samson, being a dumbass, doesn’t point out that she betrayed him, but continues to hang out at her house.
Delilah: What’s your Kryptonite?
Samson: Okay, bind me with new rope.
He falls asleep. She binds him with new rope. She wakes him up and he breaks the rope and thrashes some more guys waiting in ambush. He still hangs out at her house.
Delilah: What’s your kryptonite?
Samson: Tie up my hair in a web and fasten it with a pin.
He falls asleep, she does so. Repeat the thrashing of the new guys sent in to ambush him.
Delilah: You don’t love me!
Samson: Okay, I’ll tell you the truth. Cut my hair.
He falls asleep. Samson is the stupidest man alive. She cuts his hair, he gets captured and blinded, and they throw him in prison and make him a slave. But they forgot to give him regular haircuts, and then during a party, they call him out, let him near a couple of load bearing pillars and Samson collapses the house on himself and the Philistines and dies taking out a few thousand of the Philistine nobles.
Okay, the Philistines were pretty stupid too.
So what can we take away from the story of Samson? God’s okay with killing 30 random people for their clothes. God is okay with having sex with prostitutes. God is okay with animal cruelty. God is NOT okay with getting a haircut.
But, perhaps above all other lessons: don’t be a dumbass.