This comes from Judges 13-16.
Sampson was born to a woman who had been barren but an angel of God told her that she would have a child. He was never supposed to be a Nazirite. He was born. He was foretold to help Israel start to break from the tyranny of the Philistines.
However, Samson already seems to have a problem when we see him again. He wants to marry a Philistine. God had commanded that they NOT marry foreigners so that they didn’t get led astray by them and made to serve foreign gods. Samson’s parents discouraged him. However, he said, “I still want her! “ so they let him marry her. However, though normally not encouraged, and though still wrong, God had let this happen so that he could use it against the Philistines. God can use our bad actions to accomplish His purposes.
Samson was going to meet the woman (It’s usually NOT a good idea to be so in love with a woman that you want to marry her, even though you’ve never met her but only seen her!) when he got attacked by a young lion. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him. He killed the lion with his bare hands, ripping it apart (Cool!). He didn’t tell his parents about this (I wonder why. Maybe he didn’t think they’d believe him.)
Samson went and talked to the woman. He decided that he liked her and wanted to marry her. He came across the carcass of the lion and found honey in it. He took the honey. (This was bad as his Nazirite vow prohibited him from touching dead bodies.) He ate some of the honey and gave them the honey too. But he didn’t tell them that he had gotten it from the carcass of a lion.
Samson met some guys at a feast (likely having to do with the wedding) and he bet them 30 pairs of clothing each if they won and that they’d have to give him 30 pairs from each of them if they lost. He told them the riddle. The answer was that he got honey from the lion. Naturally, the guys were baffled. Samson had given them seven days to answer the riddle. They talked to his wife and asked her to get Samson to tell her the answer.
She went and pouted to Samson, saying that he didn’t love her because he hadn’t told her the answer to the riddle (I have heard that women often try that trick to get men to do things. Men, beware!). She did this for seven days (poor Samson!). Finally, Samson caved and told her the answer. She told the other guys. They answered and poor Samson had to pay up. Samson knew that his wife had given it away. (One would have hoped that he learned a lesson about gambling and also about trusting a pagan wife to keep a secret. Also, one wonders if his wife smacked him across the face for calling her a heifer.)
Samson may have had trouble paying up. (Or maybe he was just resourceful, and, er, brave.) The Spirit of the Lord came upon him. He went and killed 30 Philistines and took their clothes and used them to pay the guys that he owed. He went back to his parent’s house and his wife was given to his best man instead. (It appears that it was her father’s fault, as he thought that he hated her and let her marry the best man. Meddling parents!)
Samson was ticked when he found out what her father had done. He vowed to get back at the Philistines. He had a clever plan. He got 300 foxes and tied their tails together. He then tied torches to their tails and sent them scurrying toward some Philistine fields. This burned down their crops. (Good thing PETA and the EPA weren’t around then or he’d have been in big trouble!) Naturally, the Philistines were ticked! The Philistines found out what had happened and burned Samson’s wife and her father to death. (Jerks!) Samson was REALLY mad now!
He went and killed some Philistines. Then he went and hid in a cave. Some Philistines went to the tribe of Judah, asking for him. The guys from Judah went to the cave and asked what he had done. He told them. They tied him up, but, upon Samson’s request, didn’t hurt him. They put two ropes on him and gave him to the Philistines. The Spirit of God came upon him and he broke the ropes, found the jawbone of a donkey, and killed 1000 bad guys with it. Samson then got thirsty (no wonder!) and asked God for water. God gave him water. Samson was made a judge and stayed a judge for Israel for 20 years.
Samson was doing well. However, one day he went to Gaza and saw a prostitute and decided to stay with her (bad idea!). The bad guys had stayed near the city gate and hoped to ambush him at dawn. However, he left at midnight. He grabbed the city gate, including the posts and bars, and walked to a nearby hill with them. (The bad guys don’t seem to have challenged him. Perhaps they fled in terror.)
Samson then fell in love with a Philistine woman named Delilah. The Philistines soon found this out and, perhaps having heard how Samson had a weakness for telling women things, offered her lots of silver if she got him to tell the secret of his strength so that they could get him. She agreed. (Samson seems to have a habit of choosing women that have a habit of betraying him.)
She asked him the first time. He lied and said that if he was tied up with seven fresh bowstrings, he’d only have the strength of a regular man. She tried this, but he broke free easily. She called him a liar and asked him again. He said that he had to be tied up with new ropes that hadn’t been used before. She tried this, but he broke free again. She was even madder and called him a liar again. She asked again. This time he said that she would need to put seven braids of his hair on a loom and tighten it with a pin. She tried this, and, as expected, he was able to break free. She was mad. This time she tried the “You don’t really love me!” tactic and kept it up for several days.
Finally, after feeling that she was pestering him to death, he finally told her the truth. He said that he had never had his hair cut and that if he did, he would lose his strength. She sent a secret message to the Philistine bad guys to come. She went and cut seven braids of Samson’s hair. His strength left him.
She cried “The Philistines are upon you!”, as she had the previous times. This time, they were. He didn’t know that his strength had left them and wen to go fight. They easily overpowered him. They cut out his eyes and took him to Gaza. (And, presumably, they paid Delilah.) They put him in chains and made him work to grind grain. However, his hair slowly grew back.
One day, the Philistines went to celebrate their pagan god Dagon. They said that Dagon had helped them beat Samson. They brought him to the temple of Dagon and mocked him. They put him between the columns of the temple. He asked someone to lean his hands against the temple where he could feel the columns. The guy did this.
Samson asked God to get his strength back one last time. He said he wanted to beat the Philistines. God allowed him to get his strength back. He pushed down the columns of the temple. The place collapsed, killing many Philistines, as well as Samson. (As a side note, Samson was the first of six suicides listed in the Bible. The others were Saul, Saul’s armor bearer, Ahithpotel, Zimri, and Judas.) He killed more Philistines in death than he had in his life up to that point. His family went and buried him. We should be sure to remember what happened to Samson and not let lust lead us away from what God would have us to do.