What You Thought About Samson Might be Wrong
I remember thinking while reading Judges that God was using Samson’s strength to conquer the Philistines. Brad Gray tells us we may be looking at Samson’s story wrong.
The stories of people in the Old Testament often showed how people’s lives were without endorsing all of the things they did.
In fact, the New Testament in Romans 15:4 (HCSB) teaches:
For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures.
Mr. Gray reminds the readers (if they forgot) or tells them (if they don’t know) that Samson was a Nazarite from birth. He tells the significance of this:
Numbers 6 lists three restrictions a Nazarite must adhere to. First, a Nazarite must not consume anything from the grapevine, including wine, or any other alcoholic drink. Therefore, no grapes and definitely no wine. Second, a Nazarite must not cut their hair. Their long hair is a visible identifier of the vow taken before God. And third, a Nazarite is not allowed to be in the vicinity of a dead body. (Page 6 in paperback edition)
If you recall the stories if you went to Sunday School, it seemed that Samson was killing people – a lot. And the Bible mentions God’s Spirit coming over Samson a couple of times before he did it. So, I assumed it was God’s intention that he conquer the Philistines.
Mr. Gray says he believes that because of Samson’s calling, it was actually the Spirit warning him not to do it, and Samson refused to heed the warning.
In fact, the entire story of Samson in Judges tells one after another things that Samson does that breaks his Nazarite calling.
The book, though it focuses on Samson’s miserable failures, uses them as a jumping off point to teach how our lives should be instead. He talks about humility, what it is is and isn’t, and about revenge.
The book gives background information of word meanings in the original language, fascinating facts about the layout of the land, and the paperback version includes maps throughout the book. He uses these to show why some of the things Samson did were outrageous.
The author also explains the significance of letting the hair grow long in Nazarites, background history of the culture. It is a very researched book.
Mr. Gray points out that with all of the failures that Samson had in his life, he appears in a list of people who are used as an illustration of faith.
Perhaps this is why we can get hope and encouragement from the stories of people’s lives in the Old Testament. The Bible doesn’t leave out the sins of people who were great men of faith (or even those with little faith).
We can learn a lot from Samson’s life, and I learned a lot from Brad Gray.
Here is a link below to the book at Christian Book if you want to purchase the book. It is also available as an ebook:
Note: The above link is not an affiliate link.