Jewish Personalities

Samson the Mighty

1. Samson, from the tribe of Dan, was the 13th judge to have judged Israel. His life story is recounted in the Book of Judges.

2. His mother was barren for many years, and an angel of G-d informed her together with her husband Manoach of her expected birth.

3. Samson’s mother’s name is not explicitly written in the Bible, but the Gemara (Bava Batra 91) says her name was “Hatzlelponi”.

4. The angel forbade Samson’s mother to drink wine during her pregnancy. She was told that Samson had to be a nazirite from birth, which means he was forbidden to drink wine and cut his hair.

5. As long as he kept his nazirite status, Samson possessed supernatural powers, which he used to terrorize the Philistines who were ruling the south of Israel throughout the period of his leadership.

6. Samson’s strength was a great impediment to the Philistines, and although they tried several times to tie him up and overcome him — all their attempts failed.

7.  The only one who managed to pull out of Samson the secret of his strength was Delilah. She nagged him for a long time until finally, when her nagging became unbearable, Samson told her that his strength lies in his hair which he had never cut. Now that he had given himself away, Delilah cut off his hairlocks, and the Philistines gouged our his two eyes and put him to work at the grindstone in prison.

8. The Philistines celebrated his defeat, and brought him to the Temple of Dagon, the Philistine god. Samson asked the boy leading him to the Temple to place him between the supporting pillars of the building. After praying to G-d to restore his strength just one more time, he grasped the pillars and called out: “Let me die with the Philistines”, and the building collapsed on all the celebrants.

9.  The Bible indicates that the number of Philistines that Samson killed at his death, was greater than the total number of Philistines that he had killed during his lifetime.

10. According to tradition, the graves of Samson and his father Manoach are located in the Tzirah forest near Beit Shemesh.

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