Was Samson a godly man?

Trying to answer that question is a bit difficult — especially when you come to Judges 16.

“In this chapter we find him behaving in so wicked a manner, that many question whether or not he were a godly man. But the apostle has determined this, Heb 11:32. … The peculiar time in which Samson lived may account for many things, which, if done in our time, and without the special appointment of Heaven, would be highly criminal. And there might have been in him many exercises of piety, which, if recorded, would have reflected a different light upon his character.”1

But the record of Scripture points out only two main things about Samson: his amazing power and and his love for strange women (not quite the example we’d like to share with our children).

Was Samson a godly man? The answer is not as easy as you would expect. The last verse of the chapter reports that he had judged Israel for twenty years! Despite the glaring weakness of his later years, Samson was God’s chosen leader to guide the Israelites back to the himself. Samson may have been a godly leader during those years, but any record of good is completely overshadowed by his sinful choices. Samson’s life, then, is more of a warning to each of us who desires to be used by the Lord. Guard yourself from the sins which “so easily beset you” as they can severely limit your usefulness for the Lord.


1Matthew Henry’s commentary on Judges 16

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