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    Samson - Strongman - Hero or Legend?

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    Eastern Daily News

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    Samson
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia;
    Samson, Shimshon (Hebrew: שִׁמְשׁוֹן, Modern Shimshon Tiberian Šimšôn, meaning "man of the sun"); Shamshoun (Arabic: شمشون‎ Shamshūn/Šamšūn) or Sampson (Greek: Σαμψών) is the third-to-last of the Judges of the ancient Israelites mentioned in the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) (Book of Judges chapters 13 to 16).
    Samson was granted supernatural strength by God in order to combat his enemies and perform heroic featssuch as wrestling a lion, slaying an entire army with only the jawbone of an ass and destroying a pagan temple.Samson is believed[by whom?] to have been buried in Tel Tzora in Israel overlooking the Sorek valley. There reside two large gravestones of Samson and his father Manoah. Nearby stands Manoah’s altar (Judges 13:19–24). It is located between the cities of Zorah and Eshtaol
    Samson's activity takes place during a time when God was punishing the Israelites, by giving them "into the hand of the Philistines".The Angel of the Lord appears to Manoah, an Israelite from the tribe of Dan, in the city of Zorah, and to his wife, who had been unable to conceive.The Angel of the Lord proclaims that the couple will soon have a son who will begin to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines.The wife believed the Angel of the Lord, but her husband wasn't present, at first, and wanted the heavenly messenger to return, asking that he himself could also receive instruction about the child that was going to be born.
    Requirements were set up by the Angel of the Lord that Manoah's wife (as well as the child) were to abstain from all alcoholic beverages, and her promised child was not to shave or cut his hair. He was to be a "Nazirite" from birth. In ancient Israel, those wanting to be especially dedicated to God for a while could take a nazarite vow, which included things like the aforementioned as well as other stipulations. After the Angel of the Lord returned, Manoah soon prepared a sacrifice, but the Angel of the Lord would only allow it to be for God, touching his staff to it, miraculously engulfing it in flames. The Angel of the Lord then ascended up into the sky in the fire revealing that it had been God in angelic form, as the Angel of the Lord and "an" angel are two different things. This was such dramatic evidence as to the nature of the Messenger, that Manoah feared for his life, as it has been said that no-one can live after seeing God; however, his wife soon convinced him that if God planned to slay them, he would never have revealed such things to them to begin with. In due time the son, Samson, is born; he is reared according to these provisions.
    When he becomes a young adult, Samson leaves the hills of his people to see the cities of the Philistines. While there, Samson falls in love with a Philistine woman from Timnah whom he decides to marry, overcoming the objections of his parents who do not know that "it is of the Lord".The intended marriage is actually part of God's plan to strike at the Philistines.On the way to ask for the woman's hand in marriage, Samson is attacked by an Asiatic Lion and simply grabs it and rips it apart, as the spirit of God moves upon him, divinely empowering him. This so profoundly affects Samson that he just keeps it to himself as a secret. He continues on to the Philistine's house, winning her hand in marriage. On his way to the wedding, Samson notices that bees have nested in the carcass of the lion and have made honey. He eats a handful of the honey and gives some to his parents.At the wedding-feast, Samson proposes that he tell a riddle to his thirty groomsmen (all Philistines); if they can solve it, he will give them thirty pieces of fine linen and garments.The riddle ("Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet") is a veiled account of his second encounter with the lion (at which only he was present).The Philistines are infuriated by the riddle. The thirty groomsmen tell Samson's new wife that they will burn her and her father's household if she does not discover the answer to the riddle and tell it to them. At the urgent and tearful imploring of his bride, Samson tells her the solution, and she tells it to the thirty groomsmen.