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   Samson | Biography
Here are Samson's greatest moments, told in the Bible's own words...

Samson's riddle
A lethal jawbone
Delilah's cunning plan
Samson brings the house down
2-Minute biog

Born miraculously to a couple who were thought to be infertile, Samson was dedicated to God from birth. Forbidden ever to cut his hair, he was compensated with legendary strength. Thus equipped, he led Israel and delivered the people from their Philistine overlords.

But a weakness for a pretty face got Samson involved with a girl called Delilah, who was paid about 500 years wages by the Philistines to find out the secret of his strength. The secret was his long hair, of course, which symbolised his dedication to God.

When Delilah finally wangled the secret out of him, she lulled him to sleep and had his hair cut. Samson was overpowered, captured, blinded and enslaved.

However, by the time he was brought out as entertainment at a Philistine celebration, his hair had grown back. He brought the house down by pulling on a temple pillar, killing himself and 3,000 Philistines.


The "Samson option" is the State of Israel's alleged nuclear strategy, inspired by Samson himself: "If we go down, so does everyone else."

Under the name "the British Samson", Thomas Topham lifted three barrels of water at 1,836 lb in London in 1741. Eight years later he killed himself, but without the use of pillars.

Samson gave his name to the strong pillar on a ship's deck and to a 16th-century mousetrap.

Samson's name means "like the sun".


"Temptations, when we first meet them, are as the lion that roared upon Samson, but if we overcome them, the next time we see them we shall find a nest of honey within them."
John Bunyan

"The first and most mythic shtarker of them all."
Linda Grant ("Shtarker" is a Yiddish word for "thug")

"Ask for this great delievrer now and find him
Eyeless in Gaza, at the mill with slaves."
John Milton

"Samson hath quit himself
Like Samson, and heroically hath finish'd
A life heroic."
John Milton

"Samson slayed the Philistines with the axe of the apostles."
Student's religious education exam paper
The Ark © 2003
*Samson not drawn to scale