And the woman bore a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.…
The history of Samson is surprising even in an extraordinary age. In several particulars he was the most distinguished of the Hebrew judges. And though never at the head of an army, nor on a throne, nor prime minister to any earthly potentate, it were difficult, perhaps impossible, to name another Hebrew that loved his country with more fervid devotion, or served it with a more hearty good will, or who was a greater terror to its enemies. I know not that there is any biography so completely characteristic or more tragical than his. It is full of stirring incidents and most marvellous achievements. He seems to us like a volcano, continually struggling for an eruption. In him we have all the elements of an epic: love, adventure, heroism, tragedy. Nor am I aware that any Bible character has lent to modern literature a greater amount of metaphor and comparison than the story of Samson. The "Samson Agonistes" of Milton has been pronounced by the highest authority to be "one of the noblest dramas in the English language." It reminds us of the mystic touches and shadowy grandeur of Rembrandt, while Rembrandt himself and Rubens, Guido, David, and Martin are indebted to this heroic judge for several of their immortal pieces. I am aware that some look upon Samson merely as a strong man. They do not consider that the moving of the Spirit of Jehovah gave extraordinary strength to Samson for special purposes. His peculiarities are not remarkable, because of anything that we perceive foreign to fallen humanity in the kind or composition of his passions and besetting sins, but in the fierceness and greatness of their strength. Ordinary men now have the same besetting sins — passions of the same character, but they are diminutive in comparison with him, and are without his supernatural strength. It must be confessed in the outset that Samson's spiritual history is very skeleton-like. We have only a few time-worn fragments out of which to construct his inner man. Now and then, and sometimes after long and dreary intervals, and from out of heavy clouds and thick darkness, we catch a few rays of hope, and rejoice in some signs of a reviving conscience and of the presence of God's Spirit. "His character is indeed dark and almost inexplicable. By none of the judges of Israel did God work so many miracles, and yet by none were so many faults committed." As an old writer has said, he must be looked upon as "rather a rough believer." I like not to dwell on Samson as a type of Christ. We must at least guard against removing him so far from us by reason of his uniqueness of character as to forget that he was a man of like passions with ourselves. We must carefully discriminate in his life between what God moved him to do and what his sinful passions moved him to. The Lord raised up this heroic Israelite for us. He threw into him a miraculous composition of strength and energy of passion, and called them forth in such a way as to make him our teacher. And besides being a hero, he was a believer. God raised him up for our learning, and made him, as it were, "a mirror or molten looking-glass," in which we may see some of our own leading features truthfully portrayed, only on an enlarged scale.
(W. A. Scott, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.