Scrawny Samson

I heard something from a man named Chad Bird the other day that got me thinking.  He suggested that we reevaluate what we think of when we picture Samson. 

From the time I was very small, probably from the first time I heard the story, when I thought of Samson, I pictured a very large man.  All of the drawings of Samson that I can remember from bible class were of a large muscular man.  In television and movies, he has always been played by very large, very strong men like Nonso Anozie and Taylor James.  So, is that a fair assumption?  Was Samson this huge musclebound specimen?  Did he look like what we might see in a strongman competition today?    

Here's the problem with that assumption:  If Samson really was bigger and stronger than everyone else, why would the Philistines be puzzled about the source of his great strength?  Wouldn’t they be able to look at him and just know if it was about his size?  Another thing jumps out when you read the text.  When Samson displayed “his” great strength, it says that “the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him…” (Judges 14:6, 19; 15:14). 

When Samson foolishly explained to Delilah what the source of his strength was, he said, “No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a Nazarite to God from my mother’s womb, If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.” – Judges 15:17. Was it about the hair?  If I were to grow out seven locks of hair (don’t laugh) and take a Nazirite vow, would I have the strength of Samson?  The hair alone would be a minor miracle for me, but no, great strength would not come because of long hair or abstinence from grape products or staying away from dead bodies.

Obviously, God was the source of Samson’s great strength.  It wasn’t Samson’s strength at all.  As long as Samson’s oath was kept, God had agreed to bless him in this way. 

Samson is a fascinating person from the book of Judges.  He was flawed.  He appeared to be selfish and vengeful at times. Let’s also just say that he had some issues pertaining to his love life.  However, God uses the flawed to teach those who come after them.  God uses the flawed to accomplish His purpose. 

I have no idea what Samson looked like.  Maybe he was a big guy.  If you want to continue to picture him that way, go right ahead.  I choose to picture an average guy with very long hair - an ordinary man with an extraordinary gift from God.  Even if Samson was his day’s Lou Ferrigno (kids, ask your parents), his strength did not come from those muscles; it came from God.  Picturing a normal, even a scrawny Samson reminds me where his strength truly came from.   



Psalm 28:7 - The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.


Psalm 27:1 - The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?


2 Corinthians 12:10 - Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.


Exodus 15:2 - The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.