Tuesday, February 16, 2010

10 Failures of Samson

Samson Made Bad Choices Which Led to His Death

Samson tried to follow God without being willing to turn from sin. Ultimately he was defeated because of lack of determination to follow God. His love for Delilah proved greater than his love for God. Here are some basic principles which can cause failure in the Christian life:

(1) He went where he should not have gone! (Judges 14:1) ~ Timnah was a Philistine town just a few miles from Samson’s home. The Philistines did not love God. Israelites were forbidden to go to the land of the Philistines.

(2) He involved others! (14:5) ~ Samson involved his parents with the Philistine woman.

(3) He partook of the forbidden! (14:8-9) ~ As Samson continues his downward slide the Bible says he went “down” to Timnah and came to the spot where he had previously killed a lion. He couldn’t resist looking to see if the carcass was still there which was expressly forbidden (Leviticus 11:27). We should not think of this as a skeleton of the lion—but the carcass. In hot dry climates all the moisture in a body evaporates sometimes in less than 24 hours following death—without passing into a state of decomposition. The body remains for a long time like a mummy—without change or stench. This is why bees often live in carcasses.

(4) He followed the pattern of the world and did the customary thing! (14:10) ~ Samson’s life had been consecrated to God. After his wedding Samson held a feast which lasted for a week. One favorite way of entertaining guests in those days was posing riddles—hard questions with tricky answers.

(5) He became a party boy! (14:11-12) ~ Samson enjoyed being in the limelight as the life of the party. It wasn’t long before trouble developed between him and his Philistine wife (14:20). Things continued in a downward spiral and his wife and father-in-law were burned to death (15:6).

(6) He began to play the field! (16:1-2) ~ For the second time Samson went back to Gaza, a Philistine city, to see a woman. Once again he was flirting with disaster.

(7) He met his match! (16:4) ~ Delilah was a Philistine woman whom Samson took into his confidence. She was not the first Philistine woman he saw. Sin has a way of allowing the sinner to appear to get away with sin at first.

(8) He lost his source of power! (16:4-19) ~ Three times Delilah tried to deliver Samson to the Philistines. By now his sins had desensitized him to the danger to which he had become accustomed.

(9) He was bound! (16:21) ~ Delilah most likely urged him to take a nap—customary for men during the hottest part of the day. Samson was in the habit of trusting the wrong people.

(10) He died in disgrace! (16:31) ~ Samson’s strength had been in the Lord, not in his hair. God used Samson mightily because of his Nazarite vows. But Samson continued in his own way until enough was enough! God humbled Samson.

Samson’s life warns us of the high cost of sin—and encourages us to trust the Lord and to resist Satan’s subtle temptations. “… truly, as the LORD lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death” (1 Samuel 20:3).

CONTEMPLATE: Samson’s failures (Judges 13-16) and their final result.


  1. This was horrible. Give Samson a break. He never once sinned against God. How could he sin and still have the Holy Spirit.

  2. Dear Anonymous,
    The Bible clearly teaches many things. Let me point out three critical things which relate to your comment:
    (1) Jesus Christ was the only man to ever live a perfect (i.e., sinless) life.
    (2) The Apostle Paul provides a glimpse into his own sins after his conversion: “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin” (Romans 7:21-25).
    (3) We don't surprise God when we sin after our conversion. He provided a way for us to re-establish the broken relationship that comes with our sin (we do NOT lose our salvation when we sin). “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:5-10).

    Anonymous, I hope this helps you in your understanding of what the Bible teaches regarding the life of a believer.
    Thankfully, in heaven we will be sinless.
    In Him,

  3. Hi, I'm not criticizing anyone here, Samson did make mistakes like many of Gods faithful followers, like David, Moses, or Solomon. All flawed, but God still saw something in them. God makes no mistakes when he calls someone. Even Samson. Here's an article that doesn't condone Samson's mistakes but offers a very different view of Samson's life. One that I've found very compelling. Please check it out.

    1. Dear Anonymous,
      While I agree with most of your comment please keep in mind ALN’s post the day before this post regarding the “12 Successes of Samson” located at http://robertlloydrussell.blogspot.com/2010/02/12-successes-of-samson.html

  4. If god has a plan for everyone why cant we think that it was God's plan for him to have a life like that. If God foreseen everything he would've known the end of Samson too? Who are we to judge him by having a title "Why Samson failed"? Do we even know that he failed ? what if his mission was to fail?

  5. Dear Anonymous,
    You ask meaningful and important questions. Yes, God has complete foreknowledge of our actions. As a parent I sometimes knew my kids would make the wrong choices—and I would try to teach them the right choice—yet they would still fail. Part of learning is from mistakes. “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord” (Romans 8:28).
    To start with God created man and woman “in His image” (Genesis 1:27). The key difference between humans and all other life is our creative ability. Only man builds automobiles, computers, etc. Second, if we understood it all we would be God. Someday (in heaven) we will have answers to our many questions. Third, God’s Word tells us that He not only is sovereign but He has given us free will (i.e., John 3:16). Beginning with Adam and Eve mankind does not always make the best use of this God-given free-will. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Only Jesus Christ lived a perfect sinless life on earth! Think about it, if we did not have the ability to make our own choices what satisfaction would God have in us loving Him. (Would you feel the same toward your spouse if your spouse could not help but love you all the time?) You are right, we are not to judge Samson’s motives (“Judge not” Matthew 7:1) but we are to judge Samson’s actions as being right or wrong (spiritual discernment is a mark of Christian maturity (Hebrews 5:14).
    Please also not that near the same time as this post I also posted “12 Successes of Samson.”
    One of Satan’s key tools is to cause an individual to be fatalistic and believe they cannot control their own choices and destiny.
    On the contrary, one of the many key lessons we learn from Samson is that God can use any one of us even after we have failed miserably. Look how God used Peter in the early days of the Church even though he had failed miserably earlier in his life. God called King David “a man after His own heart” (Acts 13:22) even though David had sinned terribly earlier in his life.