Samson and Wine


In Judges 13:2-5 Jesus, the Angel of the Lord, told Manoah’s wife that her promised son was not to drink wine (fermented wine) nor strong drink (beer), not to eat anything unclean and not to shave his head, because he was going to be a Nazarite from the womb (Judges 16:17). Jesus gave these instructions to preserve the health and focus of His servant and so that Samson would be in the best physical and spiritual health possible so that he could accomplish the tasks that God had set for him.


This counsel of not drinking wine or strong drink while doing service for God was in harmony with the counsel given to the Aaronic priesthood in Leviticus 10:1-11, for Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu had both been killed by God for coming into the sanctuary while under the influence of wine and strong drink (Leviticus 10:9; Patriarchs and Prophets 359-362) and using strange fire (or common fire) when offering the incense instead of the holy fire which God Himself had kindled. This error in judgment would not have happened if they had been worshipping God with clear minds not influenced by alcohol. God did not want this to happen to Samson so He reminded the family of the Nazarite vows of Numbers 6 for God wants all of His servants to be clear minded and focused on Him and not under the influence of alcohol or any other mind altering substances; and since all of God’s people are priests and in service to Him they should listen to this same counsel lest they do things that God can not bless (I Peter 2:1-10; Exodus 19:1-6).


When Samson was older he had challenged the Philistines by going into Gaza and going into fellowship with a non-believer and he escaped with his life by God’s gift of strength although he had not used God’s gifts of common sense. But it appears, at least according to Ellen White, that he learned from this experience and did not go back to the Philistines but instead decided to get into a relationship with a woman from the valley of Sorek (Patriarchs and Prophets page 565). White says that “The vale of Sorek was celebrated for its vineyards; these also had a temptation for the wavering Nazarite, who had already indulged in the use of wine, thus breaking another tie that bound him to purity and to God…” (Patriarchs and Prophets page 565).


Apparently Samson had developed a taste for wine that God had forbidden for him to have. This use of wine was one of the ways that can explain some of Samson’s unusual behaviors. We see in Judges 16:6-20 a variety of times that Delilah, the new love of his life, tries to extract an explanation of his strength, puts him to trial, and then Samson does not seem to learn from the experiences. This is similar to the principle of Proverbs 23:29-35:

Who has woe?
Who has sorrow?
Who has contentions?
Who has complaints?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
30 Those who linger long at the wine,
Those who go in search of mixed wine.
31 Do not look on the wine when it is red,
When it sparkles in the cup,
When it swirls around smoothly;
32 At the last it bites like a serpent,
And stings like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange things,
And your heart will utter perverse things.
34 Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying:
35 “They have struck me, but I was not hurt;
They have beaten me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?


When someone is under the influence of alcohol all kinds of things can take place and they do not feel it or perceive that it is happening to them. Alcohol alters ones perceptions and inhibits ones ability to learn or even perceive that an event is happening. It is this writer’s belief that it was alcohol, from fermented wine, that allowed Samson to perceive that Delilah was a good partner, and that it was ok to consume wine, as long as it was in moderation. The problem is that Samson made decisions that mixed the holy and unholy and in the end he was hurt from his own decision making (Leviticus 10:10; Ezekiel 22:26; II Corinthians 6:14-18).


These are the same things that happen to Laodicea in the end of time. She is God’s priesthood church and she to follows in the same steps as Samson and experienced many of the same things that he did. She also ends up being blinded by the things of the world until she is taken captive but has no awareness of how and why. But praise God that Jesus came to find His lost sheep and to rescue them from the problems of their own making.  Jesus delivered Samson, and He will deliver Laodicea as well. Praise God for His love and mercy.


Those of us who read the story of Samson have the opportunity of learning from all that he went through and if we are wise we can learn from his experiences without having to be blinded, or poor in spiritual things or have lost our garments of Christ’s righteousness. We can open the door to Christ (Revelation 3:20-22) before we are taken captive. We can learn about God’s health messages and avoid the food and drink of the world that defiles the mind and the body and defiles the spiritual experiences (Daniel 1:8). God has allowed us to have His holy Word and we can see what He says and take it to heart and thus we won’t have to sin against Him and we can walk with Him like Enoch (Genesis 5:22; Revelation 14:4). All of these things Jesus offers to all who will listen to His voice and hear Him.