Was Samson naturally strong?

An etching of Samson destroying the temple of Dagon, from an 1882 German Bible

Here’s a question I’ve pondered for years. Was Samson born naturally strong, or was he only strong when the Spirit of God moved on him? I think the answer is yes (both).

In Judges 15, 3,000 Jewish fighters were afraid of him enough to get his permission to handcuff him. In Judges 16:21, he was able to grind grain alone like an ox. So he was naturally strong.

But he wasn’t strong enough to break the Dagon temple pillars on his own, and he wasn’t strong enough to break the cords or bronze his hands were bound with on his own. That required the powerful Spirit of God.

To me, this is a lesson on being naturally strong in an area and getting confident in our own abilities, dismissing God. He felt confident that if he told Delilah about cutting his hair, he would be able to manage without the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s important for those of us who are gifted, to stay humble and dependent on the One who gave the gift in the first place.

Rephrasing 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “When I am strong, but not strong enough - the power of His anointing (Christ) makes me strong.”

B”H – b’esrat Hashem – with the help of God.

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