Samson and the Harlot of Gaza


After being a judge for Israel for 20 years Samson apparently started to participate in his final fall from grace (Galatians 5:4) by going in to a harlot in Gaza. Now Gaza was one of the five major cities of the Philistines (I Samuel 6:16-17) so for Samson to go into the main camp of his enemies was to have great trust in God or great trust in his strength while not listening to God. This is one of Samson’s many problems – he trusted in the gift while rejecting the Giver of the gift.


While Samson was with the harlot (Proverbs 7:1-27) apparently the news was spread to the leaders of the Philistines for they surrounded the city and would try to kill Samson in the morning light. It also appears that Samson had calculated this effort on the part of the Philistines and he had a plan in mind as to how to escape. He waited until midnight and lifted the doors of the gates, and the beams that they rested upon and carried them to the top of the hill before Hebron which is about 40 miles away from Gaza. This display of God’s power was lost upon the Philistines, who continued to keep Israel under servitude, upon Samson, who still trusted in his strength rather than the God of Israel, and upon the Israelites for they saw this miracle and still did not believe that God wanted to deliver Israel from the Philistines.


It is impressive that God would allow Samson to display His gifts in such a manner. It would seem to us that God would strike down Samson for such flagrant misuse of His gifts and yet at the same time we see the grace and love of God Who would still be constantly trying to communicate to all of His children – Samson, the Philistines, and to Israel. All three of these groups needed to understand the grace of Jesus, our Creator and Redeemer, for only when we recognize our need will we respond to the gift of the grace of God who came seeking to find us.


It is interesting that as we read of the story of Samson that we often get caught up in the foolishness of Samson and the various displays of the power of God. Yet we must always remember that God was seeking to save souls by these displays of His power even though He used Samson as the individual He chose to display His power through.


All Bible stories are to tell us of our great need of a Saviour and our great need of His strength. All of the gifts of the gospel were displayed in the life of Samson, and for the benefit of the Philistines, the Israelites, and finally for us who observe these things in the end. Apparently even the angels are blessed by these displays of the greatness, the mercy and the power of God to save others (I Peter 1:10-12).


We do not see many souls “saved” in this story but we do know that by the deliverance of Israel from Egypt that many Egyptians were saved (Exodus 9:20-21;12:38); and that Rahab and her family and all who feared the Lord were saved in Jericho (Joshua 6:22-25). Even though we can not always see how God’s hand is at work to save souls we do know that in the end there were over 600 families ( I Samuel 15:18-22) that came out of the land of the Philistines and part of that conversion process could have started with the displays of power that God had been granted to Samson. So when all is said and done we know that Jesus died for all of His creation. He displayed His power, patience, love, and grace through Samson and whenever God’s grace is lifted up He will draw all men unto Himself that He may save as many as will choose to accept these gifts of grace.