Samson and Delilah by Tony Nester

Samson and Delilah
Tony R. Nester
Judges 16:18-30

One of the best things Evelyn and I discovered when we moved from New Jersey to Iowa was ''open houses'' for high school graduates. We didn't have those when we graduated from our high schools back East. Up go the displays of school pictures, ribbons, trophies and awards. Out comes the food. And if you look into the eyes of the parents you can sense a mixture of pride, relief, joy, and hope and a touch of anxiety about what's to come.

One of the famous stories in the Bible about young people and their potential is the story of Samson and Delilah.

Samson's story starts in Chapter 13 in the Book of Judges and Delilah comes in at the end of the story in Chapter 16.

The story is in the genre of tragedy. Read literature or go the movies and you'll see lots of tragedies. The great poet Milton wrote a famous poem about Samson called ''Samson Agonistes''. Handel wrote an oratorio on Samson.

The story of Samson and Delilah is all about how these two young people make their choices and the tragic consequences that follow.

As in any good tragedy Samson's life starts out with great promise. His birth is foretold by an angel. His parents are told that their son will grow up to deliver his people, the Israelites, from their enemies, the Philistines. The parents dedicate their son to the service of God.

Samson's parents consecrated Samson as a Nazarite. Nazarites were not allowed to drink any alcohol. They must never allow themselves to come into contact with any dead animal or person. And they must never cut their hair.

God worked in Samson's life and blessed him with physical strength and beauty. Samson became a Hebrew version of Brad Pitt in the movie ''Troy''. No man could best him. Every woman swooned for him.

But Samson couldn't handle his blessings. His life went out of control as he began to take whatever he wanted and act with impunity. He began ignoring God to whom he had been ...

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