4 June Judges 16:16-31

4 June.  Samson destroys the Temple of Dagon at Gaza

“Then Delilah said to him, ‘…You haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.’ She kept bothering Samson about his secret day after day until he felt he was going to die! So he told her everything.”

“He said, ‘I have never had my hair cut, because I have been set apart to God as a Nazarite since I was born. If someone shaved my head, I would lose my strength and be as weak as any other man.’”

“When Delilah saw that he had told her everything sincerely, she sent a message to the Philistine rulers. She said, ‘Come back one more time, because he has told me everything.’ So the Philistine rulers came back to Delilah and brought the silver with them.”

“Delilah got Samson to sleep lying in her lap. Then she called in a man to shave off the seven plaits of Samson’s hair. In this way she began to make him weak, and his strength left him. Then she said, ‘Samson, the Philistines are here.’ He woke up and thought, ‘I’ll leave as I did before and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the LORD had left him.”

“Then the Philistines captured Samson and tore out his eyes. They took him down to Gaza, where they put bronze chains on him and made him grind grain in the prison. But his hair began to grow again.”

“The Philistine rulers gathered to celebrate and to offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon… While the people were enjoying the celebration, they said, ‘Bring Samson out to perform for us.’ So they brought Samson from the prison, and he performed for them.”

“They made him stand between the pillars. Samson said to the servant holding his hand, ‘Let me feel the pillars that hold up the temple so I can lean against them.’… Then Samson prayed to the LORD, ‘Lord God, remember me. God, please give me strength one more time so I can pay these Philistines back for putting out my two eyes!’”

“Then Samson turned to the two centre pillars that supported the whole temple. He braced himself between the two pillars, with his right hand on one and his left hand on the other. Samson said, ‘Let me die with these Philistines!’”

“Then he pushed as hard as he could, causing the temple to fall on the rulers and all the people in it. So Samson killed more of the Philistines when he died than when he was alive.”

“Samson’s brothers and his whole family went down to get his body. They brought him back and buried him in the tomb of Manoah, his father, between the cities of Zorah and Eshtaol. Samson was a judge for the people of Israel for 20 years.”

          (Judges 16: 16-31)



Samson was having an affair with Delilah, a Philistine woman from the Valley of Sorek. After several attempts to trick him, and a great deal of nagging and bribery, she finally persuaded Samson to tell her the secret of his strength, then got a servant to shave off the seven locks of his hair while he was asleep in her lap.

Samson had now broken his ‘Nazirite’ vow not to shave his head (see Judges 13:5 & Numbers 6:1-21), and with this disobedience his strength disappeared.

The Philistines rushed in, overpowered Samson, and he was blinded and led to the Philistine city of Gaza (see 3 on the map on 10 May).

While in prison in Gaza, Samson’s hair began to grow again and some of his strength returned. As a final act of defiance, Samson destroyed the Temple of Dagon in c.1061BC by pushing the pillars apart, causing the roof to collapse. In this act of revenge he killed the whole court of the Philistine kings, along with himself.

Samson was buried at his Israelite family’s tomb between Zorah and Eshtaol (see 11 on the map). This brought to an end one of the most depraved chapters in the story of the people of Israel.

The photo (by Davidbena) shows the alleged site of Samson's tomb in the Zorah (Tzora) forest.

You can read more about Samson @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/28-the-israelites-face-continuing-opposition/samson-challenges-the-philistines/

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