One of the Israelite judges, of the tribe of Dan (Judg. 13: 24–16: 31). He was a Nazirite, but sat lightly to his vows (Judg. 14: 8–10). He carried on a mostly individual battle against the Philistines. The stories of Samson's erotic attachment to women are legendary. They include the discovery by Delilah of the secret of his astonishing strength, which lay in his uncut hair. When it was shorn, he was captured and blinded, but in a last display of strength, as his hair grew, he seized the pillars which supported the house where the Philistines were celebrating, and died together with his mocking captors (Judg. 16: 4–31). The story of Samson was used by Handel for his oratorio, and there are many great pictures (by Rubens, Rembrandt, Reni) in the art galleries of London and other cities.
Subjects: biblical studies.