Samson and the Holy Spirit


In the story of Samson we find an interesting statement of fact. It is an overriding concept in the story of Samson that he was guided, prompted, encouraged, and empowered by the Spirit of God. We know from his birth that Samson was accounted a Nazarite from the womb (Judges 16:17). This is virtually the same story as that of John the Baptist that connected the Holy Spirit and his status as a Nazarite (Luke 1:13-17). This connection of the Holy Spirit and the position of a Nazarite from birth are very clear for Samson and all those who read the story of Samson.


In the introduction of Samson we find that Jesus (the Angel of the Lord) came to Samson’s parents to heal them of their barrenness and to bless them with the gift of a child. In all things that the Godhead does the Holy Spirit is an active participant and helped Manoah and his wife to believe the testimony of Jesus (Revelation 19:10). Then the Holy Spirit is the agency to help us remember the Words of God and to apply them in a manner that is in harmony with the mind of God (John 14:26)


In Judges 13:25 we find that “the Spirit of the Lord began to move upon him”. This would signify that Samson was growing old enough that he was having personal experiences with God and new thoughts were beginning to have an effect upon him and that he was responding to the promptings of God Who was preparing Samson for his ministry of starting the process of delivering the Israelites from the control of the Philistines (Judges 13:5).


In Judges 14:4 Samson sees a Philistine woman who pleased him well. His parents protested this selection of a woman for it was not in harmony with the Word of God. Yet even in this manifestation of poor judgment the Holy Spirit was moving upon Samson to take advantage of his choices to bring him more and more in conflict with the Philistines. Eventually this marriage would set off a series of events that would create war between Samson and the Philistines and start the process of reminding Israel that they did not have to be in slavery to the Philistines and that God can raise up deliverers to free them.


In Judges 14:6 we find that the Holy Spirit empowers Samson to kill the Lion who has roared against him while he was on the way to spend time with his Philistine bride to be. This confrontation with the Lion was used by the Holy Spirit to inspire him with the riddle that foretells of the Crucifixion of Christ. God has many ways of accomplishing His purposes even if we are as rebellious as Samson.


Again the Holy Spirit moves upon Samson and in anger over the betrayal of his wife, and the solving of the riddle by deception. He is moved upon (directed) by the Holy Spirit and he goes to one of the five major cities of the Philistines and kills 30 men to pay off his bet to the 30 companions who attended his 7 day wedding feast. It is interesting to think of the Holy Spirit directing in such a manner, but in war there are many casualties. These events were to prepare the war between righteousness and evil and to set Israel free, both physically and spiritually.


When Samson came back to Timnath, after his anger had settled, he is denied entrance to meet with his wife and finds out that his father in law had given his wife to his companion. In anger he is prompted to find 300 foxes and to destroy the food supply of the Philistines. We often think that we are brilliant and we think up these things on our own but the Bible has testified often enough for us to believe that the Holy Spirit prompted this unusual form of judgment upon the Philistines. Please see the study on Samson and the judgment of the Foxes in another study on this website.


Again in Judges 14:14 we find one of the hall mark stories of Samson in the fact that he slew 1000 men under the influence and power of the Holy Spirit. It is indeed unusual that the Spirit of peace and love has this side of Him that is displayed in the story of the deliverance of Israel through the hand of Samson.


After Samson had his conflict with the Philistines he felt weak from the tremendous physical exertion and he called out to God to deliver him from thirst. God again displayed His tender loving care for Samson by providing him a place to get a drink and slake his thirst. This is another side of the power and care of God.


In Judges 15:20 we have a brief story of the care and wisdom that God granted Samson by making him a judge in Israel for 20 years. During this time God must have blessed Samson with much understanding and wisdom to take care of the needs of God’s people.


In Judges 16:1-3 Samson is again off center and he goes to visit a Philistine harlot in Gaza, one of the 5 major Philistine cities. The men of Gaza surround the city and in the morning they will try to attack Samson knowing that it could go very poorly for them. At midnight God inspires and supports Samson to free himself from this dilemma and Samson lifts the gate and the gate posts and carries them off to a place several miles away and the display is so intense that the men of Gaza do not attack him.


In Judges 16:4-15 we have to believe that the Holy Spirit prompted Samson a number of times to be able to “see” that Delilah was deceiving him and yet Samson was so secure in his strength that he chose not to “see”. After a time of pestering Samson succumbed and told Delilah the spiritual things on his heart. He shared spiritual things with a swine and she turned and trampled his heart (Matthew 7:6). It appears that the Holy Spirit allowed things to unfold this way with Samson to alert him that there is no security in the gift but only in the power and care of the Giver. In this case the Holy Spirit did not deliver Samson but allowed him to lose his strength and his physical sight. None the less the Holy Spirit did not abandon Samson but as he meditated upon his life his thoughts turned more and more to God until he prayed again and the Holy Spirit responded to all sincere prayers and chose a special way to answer Samson’s prayer.


Although the people of the cities of the Philistines had heard the same gospel message as Rahab of Jericho had done, yet they did not choose to listen to the many displays/messages of the gospel in the life of Samson. They chose instead to credit all power to their god and not the God of Israel. They decided to have a feast day and on this day they gave all praise to their god. As in the case of Babylon (Daniel 5) it would appear that they probation was closed and they had been judged and found wanting. As a result of their decision God chose to answer Samson’ prayer and restore unto him the gifts of wisdom and the gift of strength for a very short period of time. Samson was led into the full temple and made sport of. Samson, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit asked to be led to the central pillars of the temple that he might lean upon them. When there he asked God for His blessing and the Holy Spirit allowed him to be a type of Christ and pull the temple of Satan down upon the leadership of the Philistines and if ready Israel could have claimed deliverance from the Philistines that day, but Israel could not see the hand of God in these events and appeared to be content to stay under the control of the Philistines.


Many people wonder if Samson had committed suicide in his death and thus wonder if he was saved. But the Holy Spirit conveyed one more gift on Samson, that he did not know about (Ecclesiastes 9:10) and that is that the Holy Spirit recorded Samson’s name in the list of faith heroes in Hebrews 11:32. We can not read the hearts of men and women but the Holy Spirit can. He knew Samson’s heart and He knew the depths of repentance that Samson experienced. God blessed Samson in granting him power and He blessed him in recording Samson’s name in this chapter of faith.


Praise God that He can lead and control, and use, and accomplish things even through a man like Samson. The blessing is that even though we make many, many mistakes God still has a plan for us that He will use us to accomplish His holy purposes just as He did to and for Samson. How God treated Samson gives us hope as to how He will treat us. His love never fails.