Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Samson, (Hebrew: שמשון Shimshown "like the sun")  is the third to last of the Judges of the ancient Children of Israel mentioned in the Tanakh, and the Talmud. He is described in the Book of Judges chapters 13 to 16.
Samson captured by the Philistines
The exploits of Samson also appear in Antiquities of the Jews written by Jewish historian Flavius Josephus in the last decade of the 1st Century AD, as well as in works by Pseudo-Philo, written slightly earlier.

Samson is a Herculean figure, who is granted tremendous strength through the Spirit of the Lord to combat his enemies and perform heroic feats unachievable by ordinary men: wrestling a lion, slaying an entire army with nothing more than the jawbone of an ass, and destroying a temple.

He is believed to be buried in Tel Tzora in Israel overlooking Nahal Sorek. There reside two large gravestones of Samson and his father Manoah. Nearby stands Manoach’s altar.
19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the LORD, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. 20 And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the LORD went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.

21 The angel of the LORD appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the LORD. 22 And Manoah said to his wife, "We shall surely die, for we have seen God." 23 But his wife said to him, "If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these." 24 And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the LORD blessed him.
—Judges 13:19-24

The altar is located between the cities of Zorah and Eshtaol.

Biblical Narrative
Samson's activity takes place during a time when God was punishing the Israelites, by giving them "into the hand of the Philistines." An angel appears to Manoah, an Israelite from the tribe of Dan, in the city of Zorah, and to his wife, who had been unable to conceive. This angel proclaims that the couple will soon have a son who will begin to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines. The wife believed the angel, but her husband wasn't present, at first, and wanted the heavenly messenger to return, asking that he himself could also receive instruction about the child that was going to be born. Requirements were set up by the angel that Manoah's wife (as well as the child himself) is to abstain from all alcoholic beverages, and her promised child is not to shave or cut his hair. He was to be a "Nazirite" from birth. In ancient Israel, those wanting to be especially dedicated to God for awhile could take a nazarite vow, which included things like the aforementioned as well as other stipulations. After the angel returned, Manoah soon prepared a sacrifice, but the Messenger would only allow it to be for God, touching his staff to it, miraculously engulfing it in flames. The angel then ascended to Heaven in the fire. This was such dramatic evidence as to the nature of the messenger, that Manoah feared for his life, as it has been said that no-one can live after seeing God; however, his wife soon convinced him that if God planned to slay them, He would never have revealed such things to them to begin with. In due time the son, Samson, is born; he is reared according to these provisions.


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