F**ked-up Heroes of the Bible: Samson

With as irate as fundamentalist Christians get about sex and violence in movies (well, sex at least- they are pretty okay with violence), it is surprising the kind Bible stories that get passed off as appropriate for the kiddies. Sunday School lessons are populated with all sorts of unsavory characters plucked from the pages of the Good Book, sanitized and shined up to be presented to impressionable children. Christians are so desensitized to the nature of what is really going on in the stories that they fail to see that maybe - just maybe - these Hall of Shame members are not the best role models for kids to look up to.

Today’s example: Samson, who even has been immortalized as an children's action figure.
Samson’s sordid saga is detailed in Judges, chapters 13 through 16. It is like one long and violent soap opera. For the sake of brevity, we’ll just hit the low-lights as I present evidence that this hero of the faith (Hebrews 11:32) was just a scoundrel living the thug life.

First of all, let me set up the story by saying that in chapter 13 of Judges, we find out right away that Samson is going to be special because his mom is infertile and the ‘angel of the Lord’ shows up and informs her that she is going to have a baby. There is a definite pattern throughout the Bible of women turning up pregnant after a visit from an angel. Ladies, just to be on the safe side, if you are ever visited by an angel, keep those knees together!

Anyway, his mom is told that he is not to have booze, forbidden foods, or haircuts. He gets the rock star look, without the partying. But, he will get the chicks, oh yes he will!

Exhibit 1:
One day when Samson was in Timnah, one of the Philistine women caught his eye. When he returned home, he told his father and mother, “A young Philistine woman in Timnah caught my eye. I want to marry her. Get her for me.” His father and mother objected. “Isn’t there even one woman in our tribe or among all the Israelites you could marry?” they asked. “Why must you go to the pagan Philistines to find a wife?” But Samson told his father, “Get her for me! She looks good to me.” His father and mother didn’t realize the LORD was at work in this, creating an opportunity to work against the Philistines, who ruled over Israel at that time. Judges 14:1-4 (NLT)

Basically, Samson is a horndog who dates pagan women. He has all the charm of a cave man: “Me want woman!” Not the best example for Christian children. But happily, our hero’s desire for bad girls is all part of God’s secret plan to ass-whip the Philistines.

Exhibit 2:
As Samson and his parents were going down to Timnah, a young lion suddenly attacked Samson near the vineyards of Timnah. At that moment the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon him, and he ripped the lion’s jaws apart with his bare hands. He did it as easily as if it were a young goat. But he didn’t tell his father or mother about it. When Samson arrived in Timnah, he talked with the woman and was very pleased with her. Judges 14:5-7 (NLT)

It is widely known that torturing animals is a warning indicator that you just might be a psychopath. That, along with lighting fires and late bedwetting. The Bible is silent as to whether Samson had incontinence problems, so we’re one out of three on the psycho checklist, but we’ll get to the pyromania shortly. Anyway, it’s all good because it was the Spirit of the Lord that made him do it. As you will see, every time Samson is touched by the Spirit, he clicks into Viking berserker mode and death and destruction are unleashed. Anyway, the Philistine chick was indeed one hot mamma, and that made Samson happy.

Exhibit 3:
Later, when he returned to Timnah for the wedding, he turned off the path to look at the carcass of the lion. And he found that a swarm of bees had made some honey in the carcass. He scooped some of the honey into his hands and ate it along the way. He also gave some to his father and mother, and they ate it. But he didn’t tell them he had taken the honey from the carcass of the lion. Judges 14:8-9 (NLT)

Okay, so the dude is now scooping honey out of the rotting lion corpse, and giving it to his parents to eat. Creepy and sick! His depravity knows no bounds; this Bible hero is a psycho, for sure.

Next, Samson makes a riddle-bet with thirty young gentlemen. If they solve the riddle, then he has to buy them all some fancy new designer togas. They end up putting the pressure on Samson’s bride, who worms the info out of him. They then give the correct answer to Samson, and boy, is he pissed. Apparently the Spirit of the Lord was pissed too, as we shall see.

Exhibit 4:
Then the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon him. He went down to the town of Ashkelon, killed thirty men, took their belongings, and gave their clothing to the men who had solved his riddle. But Samson was furious about what had happened, and he went back home to live with his father and mother. So his wife was given in marriage to the man who had been Samson’s best man at the wedding. Judges 14:19-20 (NLT)

Hello! This is just all kinds of wrong. Samson goes and kills thirty strangers so that he can steal their clothes and pay the riddle-winners. We can only hope he at least laundered the clothes before he gifted them, but the Bible doesn’t really say. Apparently, murdering strangers in order to steal their clothes was perfectly alright in this case, because the Spirit of the Lord empowered him to do it. When God moves us to kill and steal, who are we to argue with him – right? After all this ruckus, he is so butt-hurt that he decides to move back in with mom and dad. The final humiliation? Samson’s best man scores his bride. Needless to say, Samson is not a happy camper when he finds out.

That's all for now, kids.  The amazing story of our  Bible hero Samson will be continued in Part 2.

Written by J. M. Green