Judges 16: 29 – 30
29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived
A week of last words.
The final words of two gentleman who perhaps were slightly more cynical about faith or at least religion than some. Firstly the Italian statesman and writer Nicolo Machiavelli who as he died in 1527 told his assembled family, “I desire to go to hell and not heaven. In the former place I shall enjoy the company of popes, kings, and princes, while in the latter are only beggars, monks, and apostles”. Some two hundred and fifty years later in 1778 the French philosopher Voltaire when asked by a priest to renounce Satan and all his works replied “Father, now is not the time to be making new enemies”.
Samson was no philosopher as we would know the term; he despite being a Judge of Israel was no man for political machinations either. He was a physically strong man and he thought and acted as a man who knew no man could match him in a fight. Because he was a straight forward man it was perhaps not surprising that Delilah could use her wiles and charms upon him to discover his secrets and where his strength came from.
His moral compass may well have been slightly askew now and again but he used his strength for what he saw as God’s work among his people. To protect them from and indeed to liberate them from the Philistines who had more or less conquered God’s chosen people.
Eventually betrayed weakened blinded and humiliated Samson is led into the Temple of a Philistine corn god Dagon, there the rejoicing Philistines would make sport of their once invincible enemy.
Samson asks God for one last helping of strength and he then has the power once more that he can destabilise the building (probably aided by the fact that many revellers were on the roof at the time) and as he brought it crashing down he too crushed the five Philistine kings and their courts in one final victory and thought nought that it would cost him his own life too. To serve the Lord’s purpose was his sole intent and that he did.
His self-sacrifice must have impressed the surviving Philistines for no one tried to stop his brothers taking Samson’s body away for burial. Ordinarily an enemy falling in conflict would be mutilated and his body desecrated but here Samson is recognised as a great warrior worthy of respect. His own people revered him as a saviour and agent of God.
Lord God our loving Father in Heaven, we may lack Samson’s physical strength but when we feel your Spirit within us we feel the power of knowing you are with us. Help us to face our trials that we might succeed in glorifying your Holy name.
In your Mercy hear our prayer,