Note: has anyone come across a suggestion of a Samson cycle? The significance of the middle incident may be found in Genesis 22:17 where Abraham is told that ” thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies”. Samson took the gates of Gaza to Hebron, the burial site of Abraham.
A. Samson’s birth and dedication as a Nazarite 13:1-25
13:5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines …8 Then Manoah intreated the LORD … 24 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him.
B. Samson and a woman in Timnath 13:25-15:20
15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson’s wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle … 16 And Samson’s wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not … 17 And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people …
C. Samson and the harlot of Gaza 16:1-5
16;1 Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her. 2 And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him. 3 And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.
B’. Samson and Delilah 16:4-17a
… 6 And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth … 15 And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me?… 16 And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; 17 That he told her all his heart …
A’. Samson’s Nazarite vow broken then renewed and his death 16:17b-31
… 17 and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man … and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head … And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him … 22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven. … 28 And Samson called unto the LORD .… 31 Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.