- Samson's birth had been foretold by an angel to Manoah's wife, who had been barren for many years. The son was to be a Nazarite and thus had to take certain vows, the most important being not to cut his hair. Samson wedded a Philistine maiden. At the festivities Samson propounded a riddle based on his experience with a lion and wagered that no one could answer it. His wife begged him to tell her the answer secretly. He gave in and complied, and lost the wager when she betrayed the answer to the Philistines. To pay for his lost wager, Samson went to Ashkelon, slew thirty Philistines, and took their spoils. He returned and found that his bride had been given to another, making him so incensed that he slew a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. Samson then went to Hebron, where he became enamored of another Philistine maiden, Delilah. Delilah, at the instigation of the Philistines, used her charms to elicit the secret of Samson's strength. He fended her off for a while, but at last fell victim to her wiles. Learning that his strength lay in his long hair, she cut off the hair while Samson was asleep. He was then overpowered by the Philistine enemy, and his eyes were put out. He was taken to Gaza, where he was forced to turn the mill in prison. However, as his hair grew back, so did his strength return. One day Samson, still confined in prison, was dragged to a temple to grace a victory orgy of the god Dagon. At the orgy the Philistines, led by Delilah, heaped scorn on Samson. While they were mocking him, Samson invoked the true God Jehovah, praying for a brief return of his strength. As Samson was standing between the two largest pillars supporting the temple, his prayer was answered. He grasped the pillars, pulling them down upon the drunken Philistines, Delilah, and Samson himself. A Samson is a man of unusual physical strength.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.
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