By Olawale Ogunsola
The Many Conquests of Samson
“‘Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.’ 1 Chronicles 16:22
The above statement is true in every sense of the words, most especially when a man of God is in the right standing with the Creator of Heaven and Earth. The warning of the Lord above is a strong one to all enemies of God’s servants especially those who obey Him.
It is pertinent to note that people of God must maintain their standing before Him. In the days of Judges in the land of Israel, God’s people “did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.” Judges 13:1. When the time was ripe for the people of God to be freed from the rod of God’s wrath, the Philistines, He raised someone to deliver them. As a result of their maltreatment, God purposed to take vengeance on the Philistines. Each time God determines to exercise His sole authority to repay evildoers, He raises a servant to do it.
So it was with Samson.
Samson had a unique ministerial assignment which called for a unique way of carrying it out; so He was well equipped to do it. The Scriptures confirms “…the Lord…was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines. For at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.” Judges 14:4b. Was Samson successful in his God-given task? Let us briefly consider some of his conquests, both direct and indirect. Come along with me!
1. Secret Conquest
“So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came to the vineyards of Timnah. Now to his surprise, a young lion came roaring against him. And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or mother what he had done.” Judges 14:5-6.
The carcass of the lion became an honey depot from where Samson took some to eat. He also gave some to his parents. I see this conquest as a training ground for the man of God. It was an opportunity to assure him of God’s Spirit and power to do wonders. He had the assurance that if he could win in the secret, he can do so in public. This he later did. Every minister of God will surely undergo such secret training under the Lord.
2. Riddle Conquest
The first conquest became the offshoot of the next one. How? He posed a very difficult riddle, if not impossible, to explain because the secret was between him and his Lord. That was the killing of the lion and it becoming an uncommon source of honey. The riddle was, “Out of the eater came something to eat, And out of the strong came something sweet.” Judges 14:14. His companions could not solve or explain the riddle for three days out of the seven he permitted them to do so. These companions approached Samson’s wife to entice him so that she would disclose it to them. The approach worked well for them to the detriment of the Philistines. How? The reward attached to the solving of the riddle was, “thirty linen of garments, and thirty changes of clothing.” Judges 14:12.
Relying on Samson’s heartthrob as a spy, they explained the riddle. What remained was the fulfillment of the reward attached, but how did Samson get them? The Holy Bible records, “Then the Spirit of the Lord came mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of their men, took their apparel, and gave the changes of clothing to those who had explained the riddle.” verse 19. By this conquest, the enemies of God’s people reduced by thirty and the fear of God in Samson’s life fell on them. The Philistines knew that the battle line had been drawn between them and Samson because they later referred to him as “…our enemy. The destroyer of our land, And the one who multiplied our dead.”. Read this in Judges 16:24.
3. Best Man Conquest
This can rightly be called “Alternative Conquest”. What really was the cause of this? The Holy Bible records, “And Samson’s wife was given to his companion, who had been his best man.” verse 20.
The father of the young woman found an alternative man to Samson for his daughter. He was the best man. This he did to the detriment of himself, family and nation at large. Then Samson said, “I shall be blameless regarding the Philistines if I harm them!” Judges 15:3. And he harmed them. They lost shocks, standing grains, vineyards and olive groves to burning fire kindled by Samson. Judges 15:4-5. What a great loss!
4. Indirect Conquest
Enemies of God destroyed each other. After the Philistines had inquired about the source of their losses and found that it was Samson and the reason he did so was for denying him his wife by the father-in-law and giving her to his best friend; they resolved to pay the father-in-law back in his own coin. What did they do? “So the Philistines came up and burned her (Samson’s wife) and her father with fire.” Judges 15:6. The enemies of God’s people were so reduced.
5. Revenge Conquest
Because of what the Philistines did to his wife and father-in-law, Samson would not allow it to go without retaliation. He took revenge on the Philistines. The Scriptures record, “So he (Samson) attacked them hip and thigh with great slaughter, then he went down and dwelt in the cleft of the rock of Elam.” verse 8.
6. Arrest Conquest
The above Conquest provoked the Philistines again to their own destruction. They went to the land of Israel to arrest Samson (verse 10). He made himself available to three thousand men of Judah, his men, who went to him that they may deliver him to the hands of the Philistines. They succeeded in doing this but what followed? “He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached out his hand and took it, and killed a thousand men with it.” Judges 15:15. This Conquest further increased the fear of Samson in the hearts of the Philistines.
7. Exit Conquest
This final conquest was the most fierce. It took place at the end of the Warrior’s life. This was at the end of Samson’s twenty years rule. The conquest cost Samson, not only loss of his eyes, but also his life. He chose to perish with his enemies. On that day, the enemies of God’s people, who had captured Samson and removed his eyes, requested for him to entertain them. It was a day when the “temple (the place chosen for the entertainment) was filled with men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were present and about three thousand men and women were on the roof watching Samson performed.” Judges 16:27.
When all the most influential among his captors had gathered, Samson approached the Lord who gives a second chance: “Let me die with the Philistines!” verse 30. And this was so, because “the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it.” (verse 30). This was how Samson fought his last battle and conquered God’s enemies.
It is worthy of note that the enemies’ agent in Samson’s life, Delilah, ought to be the heroine of her people and someone to honor on that day because she was the brain behind his capture. She may not have outlived Samson. All those lords who financed his arrest together with all those experts who were perfect in laying ambush for Samson perished. The Philistines suffered unforgettable and irreparable losses on that day. The Scriptures record, when the Lord took final revenge on the enemies of His people, “So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life.”Judges 16:30e.
On a final note, irrespective of human opinions and judgments on Samson, it is evident that he fought the Lord’s battles and finally worn. It was a unique war that was fought in unique ways by the unique man equipped for the work.
Beloved reader, what should matter most to you is the fulfillment of God’s purposes for your life. Fight the Lord’s battles! Do the Lord’s work as He had equipped you. However, run away from the sins of adultery, fornication and every evil act that can pitch you against God or give your enemies power over you.. Let there be a cordial relationship between you and the Lord your God. His presence is the all-important thing you will ever need.
Stay blessed and prepared for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Olawale was trained as an Accountant but now a full time Minister of God, an Author and Poet Raised to offer words of comfort to his generation. Not by my might or power, but by the Spirit of God.