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Chariots of Fire (14 of 18)
Only This Once-Samson
Clarence E. Macartney
The Philistines, the hereditary enemies of Israel and
of God, were having a great celebration at Gaza, the
capital of the kingdom. The celebration was in honor
of their god Dagon. There were pantomimes, shows, and
games, and the altars smoked with a thousand
sacrifices. Their chief theme of rejoicing was that
their god Dagon had delivered the mighty Samson, the
Hebrew champion who had slain so many Philistines,
into their hands. This, to them, was proof that Dagon
was a mightier god than the God of Israel. When the
people were well drunken, they began to shout and call
for Samson to be brought forth and to exhibit his
great strength. "Bring out Samson, the blind Hebrew
giant! Hath not Dagon delivered him into our hands?"
And here he comes! Poor, blind Samson, led by a little
Like the births of John the Baptist and our Lord, the
birth of Samson had been heralded by an angel. When he
was born, they called him Samson-"Sunshine"-but now,
alas, how dark was the night that had closed in on
him. He had betrayed the secret of his great strength
to the Philistines, who had bored out his eyes and
harnessed him to the mill at Gaza. In Samson
Agonistes, John Milton in one perfect line described
the plight of Samson: "Eyeless in Gaza, at the mill
Now here comes Samson, led by the lad! The spectators,
crowding the roof garden of the temple and palace,
commented with amazement upon the magnificent
proportions of the blind giant. "Look at those legs
like bronze pillars! And those shoulders like two
hills! And that neck like a bull of Bashan! That back!
Those great arms and hands! But now with his eyes out
he is helpless!'' Then they began to jeer, and taunt,
and mock Samson: "Where is your Jehovah? Our Dagon is
mightier than your God and has delivered you into our
hands. Now you will slay no m ...
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