My life should have been so different.
I know this is not the life my parents had envisioned. From the time I was a young boy, they told me stories about the angel announcing my birth.
I was to be set apart from others, I was to be different.
Born to lead.
That may have been where my pride originated. Instead of challenging myself to be a more godly man, I just ate up their visions of grandeur for my life.
Everything came so naturally to me, I often forgot my abilities were a gift from the Lord.
Like my strength for instance.
I have always been strong, like freaky strong. It only took breaking the hands of three adults during a handshake for me to learn to control my grip.
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard at least one story about Samson’s Scary Strength.
There’s the one of how I caught 300 foxes, tied their tales together in pairs, placed a lit torched between them and let them go in the Philistine grain fields.
Shortly after that I beat down 1,000 Philistine men with only the jawbone of a donkey.
To be fair, they did give my wife away to another man. They had it coming…right?
I also heaved off with the entire gate to a Philistine city once.
Most of the time stories like these are exaggerated, but not mine.
Another thing which has made my life easy is how people have always liked me (I guess I should say Israelite people).
I have been told I have a very charismatic personality. Friends were easy to come by, and I could have had my pick of any Israelite women.
Which would have made my parents happy, I’m sure.
I suppose that was just too easy though. I liked the challenge of choosing a Philistine woman for my bride.
And yes, that is what led to trouble the first time around. I told the Philistines a riddle I came up with after killing a lion with my bare hands. They persuaded my new wife to convince me to tell her the answer so they could guess it.
I got angry and went to town, struck down thirty men, took their clothes and gave them to the men who cheated. This is actually what led to the fox and jawbone incidents.
After all this was behind me I thought for sure my relationship with Delilah would be different. She was so beautiful. I could not imagine my life with any other woman. I would never be happy until we were together. Once again I fell for a Philistine woman and pursued her, mostly because I could.
My pride was strong and I desired her more than anything.
It is why I allowed myself to be deceived by her. She never had feelings for me, which breaks my heart. She only spent her time with me to find out the source of my strength so she could receive payment from her people.
My pride got in the way, and by the third time she asked I could no longer keep the secret from her. I wished so much that she was asking to know me on a deeper level.
But the Philistine men came, cut off my hair, bound me and gouged out my eyes.
Now, I stand as a sport for the Philistines. I have been reduced to nothing more than their court jester.
If I had truly spent my life using my strength for more than personal gain things would have been so different.
If I had believed that my strength was found in the Almighty instead of in my flesh and bone, I could have led Israel into even greater victories.
Not just victories to heal my own pride.
Now I’m blind, almost bald, and just a spectacle, bound between these pillars.
Three thousand important Philistine officials are gathered here.
I place my hands, one on each pillar, and begin to push.
“O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes…Let me die with the Philistines.”
I feel the pillars shift and hear the screaming of those gathered around me.
I hope the next judge of Israel leads a better example than my own.