Was Samson forgiven of his many failures?
Samson started on the right track, accomplishing great things with God’s power. But he dabbled with danger, playing games with Delilah that led to his downfall. Finally he repented and God restored his strength – though it cost Samson his vision and life.
Let’s start at the beginning where God had a dream for Samson. In Judges 13:2 Manoah and his wife were childless. In those days it was a tragedy for a woman not to have children, many people unaware of a physical problem blamed their loss on a judgment from God.
An angel of the Lord appeared to her and said that she will conceive a son. God knows our individual needs and specific problems better than we do. Our prayers do not provide information God does not know, look at Matthew 6:8…your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
God only had a special command for this baby boy [Judges13:4-6]; he was to be born a Nazarite, and he was to be sanctified [set apart for the Lord use]. This baby would begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.
A Nazarite means separated or dedicated. If you look at Numbers chapter 6, you will have the requirements for those who would live this unusual status: they were to abstain from anything that comes from the grapevine, never shave their hair, and refuse to touch any dead body. By these actions they would be set apart from normal life. Taking the Nazarite vow may be for only a short season in order to carry out a command from the Lord. But this time it was different; Samson was to be a Nazarite from birth until the day he died.
For forty years before Samson’s birth, the people had suffered great oppression. Many knew of no other way of life other than the oppression from the Philistines, and so the inhabitants of Israel cried out to God to save them.
God has a similar dream for you today. Your life is not a random chance of coincidences; the Lord measures each step you take. I love Jeremiah 29:11 where God says “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. God had the same plans for his Old Testament people who were burdened with slavery and oppression.
Samson started his walk with the Lord with good intentions, but eventually his desire to please himself controlled his life. He spent his time at parties, with people who did not know God. (Read Judges 14:10, 17.) Then came a sad day. He spoke to his father who loves God. ‘I have seen a woman. Get her for me. I want to marry her’ (14:2). He wanted what he saw. The whole story of his life shows his proud attitudes. It controlled him. He thought that nobody could overcome him. So, he used hard questions for fun (Judges 14:12-18). He played with the enemy. (Read Judges 16:4-16.)
Then there was something even worse. He had an *awful spiritual pride. He thought: ‘I will escape like I did before.’ How proud he was. The Bible adds some very sad words. ‘But Samson did not know that the *Lord had left him.’ (Read Judges 16:17-20.)
That is what ‘being worldly’ means. Samson became very ‘worldly’ in his attitudes and behavior.
Even though we may stray from the Lord’s will, He still remembers us. Samson came from a good home. His parents loved and obeyed God. They wanted to know God’s plan for their son’s life. Before he was born, they prayed about him. ‘Teach us what we should do for the boy that will soon be born’ (13:8). ‘How shall we train the child?’ ‘What must the boy do?’ (13:12). What wonderful parents he had. But this did not prevent him from being worldly later.
Samson was a very attractive gentleman. His name means ‘sunlight’. There are only a few words about his childhood. They are in Judges 13:24. ‘Samson grew and the *Lord blessed him.’ (This means that God did good things for him.) Then we read: ‘The Spirit of the *Lord began to work in Samson’ (13:25).
There was no doubt that Samson was attractive. He could have been of great use to God. But his nature became a danger to him. He loved to be popular. This ruined him in the end. He did not make the same choice as Moses had done. (Read Hebrews 11:25.)
Samson had a good religious background. Its rules should have been of help to him. Samson made some special promises to God. (Read Judges 13:3-5 and Numbers 6:2-8.) He should have remembered them. He was responsible to God. There is a clear warning here. *Religious tradition and training in the church we attend is no good if we do not love and obey God. Samson made promises to God. It was easy not to keep them. This was because he was being worldly.
Samson also experienced the Holy Spirit in his life. (Read Judges 14:6, 19 and 15:14.) But he still continued to be worldly. The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament blessed very few people. Samson also knew what it was like to have his prayers answered by the Lord. These prayers should have encouraged him to stay close to God. There was a time of weakness and danger in his life. (Read 15:18-19.) He cried to God for help. The Lord provided for his immediate need.
You can see now why Samson slid away from the Lord’s blessings even when he knew the Lord. There are serious dangers for us too. We might think that we would never be like Samson. But the Bible warns us to be careful. We could fail too. (Read 1 Corinthians 10:12.) ‘Do not be proud, but be afraid’ (Romans 11:20).
I would like to talk to you about Samson who failed.
1. He became proud and worldly. He caused so much pain and despair. It affected his family, his nation and himself. It made God very sad too.
2. He did not obey God’s Word. The special promises that he made meant that he was a Nazarite, someone who follows God on a journey toward heaven. Samson did not think that this promise was important. He went to parties where there would be alcohol. Most probably, he was drinking it too. (Read Judges 14:10, 11, 17, 18.)
3. He did not follow the rules of a Nazarite. A Nazarite had a set of restrictions they must follow:
a. Samson was often in quarrels and fights. These fights ended in the murder of many people.
b. He told Delilah about the third rule. He must not cut his hair (16:17).
4. Samson disobeyed the most serious of rule breaking: he married a woman who did not fear the Lord. (Read Judges 14:1-3; Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3 and Joshua 23:12-13.) This is where being worldly begins.
5. He did not love God’s people. Samson insisted that he would marry a woman from the enemy nation. This clearly shows his failure to love God’s own people. Their friendship was not important to him. He did not really care about them. If he did, he would not want to hurt them by his marriage. His father appealed to him. He wanted Samson to marry one of his own people. But Samson would not listen (14:3).
6. He did not give honor to God. God had a purpose for Samson. He wanted Samson to rescue his people (13:5). But Samson became a complete failure. He should have brought honor to a holy God. Instead, his evil life brought dishonor for his nation’s God. (Note: Dishonor is the opposite of honor.) The enemy declared: ‘Our god helped us to defeat Samson our enemy’ (16:23).
We should have one great ambition in life. It should be to please God. He loves us. He saved us. So, we should want our lives to show everybody how great He is. Then they would want to know him too.
Samson finally realized his awful mistake in the end. This only happened when he was a prisoner. He now had no eyes, so all was dark. All day, and every day, he had to work for his enemies. He made flour from grain (16:21). Samson spoiled his life.
Now to your question, even though Samson was not good in the eyes of the Lord, the Lord still loved him. When Samson cried out to the Lord to forgive him, God overcame his past by grace.
Grace is the goodness and kindness from the Lord to a person who does not deserve it. Samson’s hair began to grow again’ (16:22). God gave Samson another opportunity. God’s grace is so great. He will not refuse to allow Samson to fail because Samson turned from his wicked ways and repented to the Lord. That is so much like you and me, when we fail in our walk with the Lord, we are to repent and ask God for forgiveness. (This means to turn away from evil and towards God. This choice will mean a complete change of life.)
Samson was finally overcome with prayer to change his life and to walk uprightly in the Lord. (16:28) ‘Most powerful Lord, remember me. God please give me strength one more time.’ When we realize our mistake, we should pray immediately. God has promised that He will help us.
Even though Samson in life failed, he did not fail in his death. Samson’s prayer ended with ‘Let me die’ (16:30). By his own death, he overcame his enemies. There is something similar for the Christian. It is probably the only way to escape from being worldly. Jesus spoke to anyone who wanted to go with him. He said: ‘That person must accept his cross, and he must follow me. Whoever gives his life for me and for the Gospel will save it.’ (Read Mark 8:34-37.)
One final note, There are many “Delilah’s” out there looking for a secret that will topple you spiritually. Learn from Samson to fight the temptation of spiritual compromise. Otherwise, before you know it, you’ll be blinded. God is a restorer and will help you when you fall, but it might cost you something precious.
If Samson could have written this letter to you, he would have asked you not to do what he did. God loves a committed Christian. I trust this will shed some insight on Samson.
Associate Director of Bible Questions
I have talked with a number of learned men about this question and honestly until now I had not made up my mind about Samson. I suppose through the years I have taken the story of his life and death pretty much for granted. I have even preached a number of sermons with Samson as the text.
I am one of those folks that adhere to the doctrine of the possibility of a Christian committing themselves back to the bonds of sin and becoming an apostate. As such I could very easily jump on Samson as a perfect example of an apostate. However as I studied this question and sought after God’s truth I have come to the decision that Samson was saved. Does the former sentence mean I am correct, no, for there are questions we will never answer on this side of heaven and I suppose they will not even be remembered in the presence of our Lord when we make heaven our eternal home. But I will give you the thoughts that have lead me to my decision and if we disagree, we will continue to love each other as children of God and worship together at His feet.
A very fine minister that I count as a friend made this statement and this man is truly a man of God, he said Samson did not live a holy life and this is true, and then he said he did not think Samson could have earned heaven by his final act of asking God to give him the strength to destroy the building and kill the Philistines. It is a good thought, but then I thought, no one ever can earn heaven. Let me remind the reader that this man is a fine theologian and my friend, but he is as human as you and I and I do not find fault with him for his statement, I simply disagree, and we both could possibly be wrong in our thoughts concerning some of the things of God.
Here is why my thoughts brought me to my conclusion.
Samson prayed for God to give him the physical strength one last time and God answered his prayer.
Judges 16:28 “And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” John 9:31
Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
Judges 16:22 “Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.”
What went on between Samson and God during this time of his captivity?
We do not know because the Bible does not tell us. Did he ask God for His forgiveness? We really do not know, but we do know that God answered his prayer and God’s word has told us that He does not answer sinners!
Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
These verses have brought me to the conclusion that Samson must have made amends with God though repentance, after he was imprisoned.
Another thought that comes to mind, is this. Who among us have not ever had to go back to God in repentance of sin since we first came to Christ for salvation. I know I have and I believe each of you that read this has had to repent of some sin, since being saved.
Am I correct, I think I am, but then those that take an opposing view think that they are also. Let us share our thoughts and move on to the business at hand and that is the sharing of the gospel with a lost world of men and let us continue to lift the name of our Lord in praise and worship until that day when we will lose this cage of flesh that has our souls trapped and soar to heights beyond our feeble minds grasp.
Associate director of Bile questions for Answers2Prayer.org
I believe completely that Samson was forgiven of his failures! It is written throw out the scripture that God forgives the failures of individuals.
No matter how large or small the mistake might be, there’s a God that Cares and Loves US enough to Forgive them. We as human beings find that hard to accept since we have a tendency to not to forgive others. But be assured no matter what people do or don’t do God will accept you as you are and will Forgive!
In Judges 16:28 Samson prayed to the Lord, “O Sovereign God, please strengthen me just once more and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” That prayer was answered.
In Hebrews 11:32 Samson is named among those commended for their faith.
According to Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” All who call upon Him in faith are forgiven.
Hebrews 11:32 lists Samson among the faith filled people of God, along with Gideon, Barak, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets (not to mention those mentioned earlier in the chapter). I dare not disagree.
Samson is depicted in the Book of Judges as being ruled by passion, which, although the cause of his downfall, nevertheless provided the means with which he struggled for the vindication of God. His death in the temple is presented not as suicidal but, according to the general interpretation of biblical scholars, as a return to the original mission (as “judge” and Nazarite) that he had temporarily abandoned.
In Judges 13 it tells of the birth of Samson.
In Judges 14 it tells of how Samson married a Philistine woman.
In Judges 15 it tells of how Samson smote the Philistines.
In Judges 16 it tells of how Samson was betrayed by Delilah and of his death.
28 And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.
29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.
30 And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.
31 Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.
So yes, scripture tells that Samson was forgiven.
Yes, I believe that Samson was forgiven and was allowed to have revenge on the Philistines for the loss of his two eyes when he destroyed the temple and was killed. See Judges 16: 28-30.
Yes, he was forgiven for his failures.
I say yes he was.
Jdg 16:28-30 “And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.”
Samson’s prayer was obviously answered. According to the following…had he not been forgiven then God wouldn’t have heard his prayer.
Isa 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.
To sufficiently and accurately answer this question, let us take an historical pilgrimage into Samson’s birth.
Samson was born as a strategic frontier of God’s desire to liberate His people from oppression by annihilating their enemy, the philistines. To accomplish this mission, he was endued with supernal pre-potency which was manifested in his Nazarene hair. His rule of life or engagement was to abstain from wine and keep God’s covenant in obedience as a Jew. (Jews were not to associate with gentiles or intermarry).
Evidently, the fountain of Samson’s Insuperability was his outgrown Nazarene hair. Evidently also, is the reason God asked him to abstain from wine-so that He would not lose his senses from intoxication and disclose the secret of his power. Though he did not drink wine as he was commanded, he broke God’s covenant by his unholy alliance with Delilah and thus the secret was cheaply given out.
While in captivity however, he became penitent and contrite. His hair began to grow again. His communication with God shows that the roadblock to God, “the sin of disobedience which led to unholy alliance with Delilah and consequently, the disclosure of the secret of his power” was removed. The transmission link to God could only have been established because God has forgiven him his sin. The prayer of a sinner is an abomination unto God. David Says in the Psalms “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear my prayers.”
Samson was forgiven for his failures that was why his hair grew again. And because he had become right with God, God answered his prayers and empowered him once more so that he destroyed more philistines in one day than he had done all his life.
There is no doubt in my mind that blinded Samson grinding at the mill like an ox came to repentance during that time. He certainly had time to reflect on the foolishness of his decisions. That he was forgiven is evident especially when God answers his final prayer and gives him the strength to carry out a feat that, though it caused his own death, destroyed more of Israel’s idolatrous enemies in one day than Samson had destroyed in his life time.
Absolutely Samson was forgiven. The Bible tells us:
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:17
Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. Isaiah 55:7