Harry Whittaker
Judges And Ruth

20. Samson - A Double Type

There can be little doubt that God intended Samson to provide for the people of his time a foreshadowing of the greatness and goodness of the promised Messiah, the One who should crush the power of sin, who should possess the gate of his enemies, who should be a Prophet like unto Moses, who should minister holiness as a Priest and rule in the midst of his brethren. And indeed, if all that was weak and disreputable about Samson be discarded, the resemblances to Christ are striking enough, and would doubtless have been more so, if only he had fulfilled his early promise and the devout hopes reposed in him by his parents.

It is an interesting and worthwhile exercise to attempt to set out the similarities between this saviour who failed and the Saviour who overcame. Here are some of the more obvious details:

The birth of each was announced by an angel, and in very similar terms. The resemblances between Luke 1 :28 and the Septuagint version of Judges 13:3,4 are very striking.
Each was named by his mother (Judges 13:24; Luke 1:31).
“The child grew, and the Lord blessed him” (Judges 13:24).

“The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40).
Of Samson it was said: “He shall begin to save Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”

But of Jesus: “He shall save his people from their sins” — “It is finished.”
“Samson” means “Sun”. Jesus “the Sun of righteousness....with healing in his wings” (Malachi 4:2). “The Sun which is as a Bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race” (Psalm 19:5).
To both was given an unusual endowment of the Holy Spirit.
Samson was a Nazarite, holy unto the Lord, in imitation of the High Priest, all his life. With Jesus, it was his meat and his drink to do the will of his Father. He was, in the fullest possible sense of the term, “Holy to the Lord”. And he is now High Priest for ever on behalf of his people. Do Samson’s seven locks of hair correspond to the seven-fold gift of the Holy Spirit promised to the Messiah (Isaiah 11:2)?
When the lion roared at Samson, he slew it without help and later had from it honey both for himself and for his family.

Similarly Jesus vanquished the power of sin himself (1 Peter 5:8) and so brought the blessings of forgiveness unto others.
Samson’s enemies were not able to stand before him. It is written about Jesus: “No man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.”
Samson suffered himself to be bound for the sake of his brethren and yet overcame. So also did Jesus.
Both were betrayed for money. But why the disparity between the two payments?
Each won a final victory by his death.
Each fought the enemy single-handed (Samson is unique among the judges in this respect).

From this list it can be seen that in spite of the way in which Samson ruined the Messianic image in himself, there are still remarkable correspondences between the two. But for Samson’s deplorable weaknesses, what other similarities might there not have been!!

As it is, it becomes easier in many respects to trace a resemblance to God’s other “firstborn”, the people of Israel. Here again, especially this time in the sections that concern Samson’s failures, the agreement is striking:

  1. Samson was a child of promise. “Israel is my son, my firstborn.”
  2. Both Samson and Israel were named from an angelic appearance (Judges 13:17; Genesis 32:28).
  3. Samson was a Nazarite — “Holy to the Lord”. At Sinai God said: “Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:6).
  4. Both were marvellously blessed with the Holy Spirit.
  5. Samson lapsed repeatedly into entanglements with women. Israel continually went a-whoring after the idols as well as the women of other nations.
  6. Samson was repeatedly bound and yet broke loose. This was also Israel’s experience throughout the period of the Judges and for a long time after. The similarity is specially apt for these Last Days.
  7. Samson’s bondage in captivity corresponds to Israel’s long dispersion and affliction by the Gentiles, and also to the final oppression soon to come.
  8. Samson’s blindness prefigures the spiritual blindness of Israel (Isaiah 43:8,10).
  9. Samson was mocked and derided. Israel: “a proverb, and a by-word, among all nations” (Deuteronomy 28:37).
  10. Does blind Samson’s display before the Philistines correspond to the irrepressible vigour of the new state of Israel, always the centre of world politics?
  11. At the last Samson renewed his vow of holiness and appealed to God for help. Here doubtless is prefigured the long-awaited repentance of Israel.
  12. As Samson and his enemies died together, so also the State of Israel will be destroyed in the final holocaust when judgment comes to the nations.
  13. But Samson will rise from the dead, justified by his faith. So, too, Israel will rise nationally from a valley of dry bones.

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