Samson

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Related to Samsonian: Samsonite, Smithsonian Museum

Samson,

in the Bible, judge of Israel. His long hair was a symbol of his vows to God, and because of this covenant Samson was strong. The enemies of his people, the Philistines, accomplished his destruction through the woman Delilah. By cutting his hair she forced him to break his vow and thus destroyed his might. Captured and blinded and chained in the temple of the Philistines, he regained his strength as his hair grew long again, and with his bare hands he pulled down the temple, destroying himself along with his enemies. The Samson cycle was probably drawn from popular oral folk tales and may be a myth connected with the cult of sun worship. Milton's Samson Agonistes is a celebrated English poem on the blinded Samson.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Samson

 

(in Hebrew Shimshon, presumably from shemesh, “sun”), in biblical mythology a hero to whom supernatural physical strength and bravery were ascribed.

Samson performed many exploits in fighting against the Philistines—for example, he slew 1,000 of the enemy and stole the gates of the city of Gaza. He fell into enemy hands as a result of the treachery of the Philistine woman Delilah, who cut off Samson’s hair, the source of his magic strength. While in captivity, Samson’s hair grew back, and his former strength returned to him. When the Philistines led him out to the temple of Dagon, Samson used all his strength to topple the pillars supporting the building, and the temple came crashing down. Samson perished along with his enemies.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Samson

Israelite hero treacherously blinded by Philistines. [O.T.: Judges 16:4–21]

Samson

strong, brave judge of Israel; strength was in his hair. [O.T.: Judges 13–16]
See: Bravery

Samson

the Hercules of the Israelites; rendered powerless when Delilah cut off his hair. [O.T.: Judges 13–16]
See: Hair

Samson

hero of Israel. [O.T.: Judges 13–16]
See: Heroism

Samson

possessed extraordinary might which derived from hair. [O.T.: Judges 16:17]

Samson

consecrated to God in abstinence. [O.T.: Judges 13:4–5]

Samson

brings down the temple of the Philistines to avenge their blinding of him and dies in the process. [O.T.: Judges 16:28-30]

Samson

strength derived from his hair; betrayed by Delilah. [O.T.: Judges 16]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Samson

a judge of Israel, who performed herculean feats of strength against the Philistine oppressors until he was betrayed to them by his mistress Delilah (Judges 13--16)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005