Samson’s 20-Year Career

By Jesse Becker

The Samson 20 year career graphic

I polled our Sunday School class to find out what we thought could have been Samson’s age when he brought down the house on Philistines and killed them and himself. I hadn’t thought much about it myself. As it turned out, most of us imagined Samson to be in his late 20’s or early 30’s. A lot of us imagined that he was reckless young man and kamikazed his life from an early age. Then I read the last verse in Judges 14:

And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

So, between slaying a thousand men with the jawbone of a donkey and tearing off the city gates and meeting Delilah, Samson did his job for 20 years. It seems that he lived without getting himself in trouble during this time. He actually did the job God called him to with some degree of success. He at least didn’t suffer any notable negative consequences.

Knowing the character of Samson, though, I would believe that he wasn’t living entirely right. Judges 15 starts by telling us that Samson saw a harlot in Gaza and went in unto her. The Gazites were planning on killing him when he took the doors of the city gate to the top of a hill and escaped. Samson was apparently living a secret life of sin and getting away with it.

After this event he met Delilah, and we know the rest of the story. The last verse of Judges 16 tells us that his family came an buried him, and reminds us that Samson judged for 20 years.

I believe Samson always lived on the edge of destruction. He played around with sin and figured out how to get away with a lot of it. He apparently relied on his strengths – physical and mental – to get him out of sticky situations. But, as we know, we reap what we sow. Samson was sowing the destructive seed of sin and deception, and he eventually reaped the horrible crop.

Many of us are living Christian lives that seem to be clean and free from consequences, while the truth is that we are constantly involved with sin. It could be lust; it could be disrespecting our spouse; it could be a bitter spirit. We think we can handle it because we get away with it for years. But God is not a liar. We will reap what we sow. We need to regularly examine our life and deal with sins that we think we can handle, asking the Holy Spirit to help us change. Time is not on our side.

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  • Darcy Houseman

    That is so true. I lived like that for a long time, it’s so wonderful to be free now. Thank you for this reminder to keep my eyes on freedom and not get sucked back into sin that does so easily beset me. Very good thought.