Many of the Israelites had again gone back to worshipping idols, so Jehovah allowed the Philistines to control their land. But there were some Israelites who loved Jehovah. One such man was Manoah. He and his wife had no children. One day Jehovah sent an angel to Manoah’s wife. The angel told her: ‘You will have a son. He will rescue Israel from the Philistines. He will be a Nazirite.’ Do you know who the Nazirites were? They were special servants of Jehovah. Nazirites were not allowed to cut their hair.
In time, Manoah’s son was born, and he named him Samson. When Samson grew up, Jehovah made him very strong. He could kill a lion with his bare hands. On one occasion, Samson killed 30 Philistines all by himself. The Philistines hated him and kept looking for ways to kill him. One night while Samson was sleeping in Gaza, they went to the gate of the city and waited there so that they could kill him in the morning. But in the middle of the night, Samson got up, went to the city gate, and ripped it out of the wall. He carried the gate on his shoulders all the way to the top of a mountain near Hebron!
Later, the Philistines went to Samson’s girlfriend, Delilah, and said: ‘We will pay you thousands of silver pieces if you find out why Samson is so strong. We want to catch him and put him in prison.’ Delilah wanted the money, so she agreed. At first, Samson refused to tell her why he was so strong. But she nagged him until he gave in and revealed his secret. ‘My hair has never been cut because I am a Nazirite,’ he told her. ‘If my hair is cut, I will lose my strength.’ Samson made a big mistake by telling her that, didn’t he?
Delilah immediately told the Philistines: ‘I know his secret!’ She made Samson fall asleep on her lap, and then she had someone cut off his hair. Delilah shouted: ‘Samson, the Philistines are here!’ Samson woke up, and his strength was gone. The Philistines grabbed him, blinded him, and put him in prison.
One day thousands of Philistines gathered in the temple of their god Dagon, shouting: ‘Our god has given us Samson! Bring Samson out! Let’s have some fun with him.’ They made him stand between two pillars, and they mocked him. Samson called out: ‘O Jehovah, please give me strength one more time.’ By now, Samson’s hair had grown long again. He pushed the pillars of the temple with all his might. The whole building came crashing down, killing all the people in the temple, and Samson also died.
“For all things I have the strength through the one who gives me power.”—Philippians 4:13
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