Literature: Samson and Delilah

The story of Samson, better known as "Samson And Delilah", can be found in the biblical Book of Judges. Samson was one of the "judges" of Israel and ruled during Israel's subjugation by the Philistines.

Samson is noted for having Super Strength, a blessing of being chosen by God to be the one to free Israel from the Philistines. He's also the most unlikely person for the job, being something of a trickster and a skirt chaser. He also has a habit of choosing wives who tend to screw him over. In the end he sacrifices himself and takes everybody and everything with him. This is why Israel's massive retaliation plan in case of near military defeat is called The Samson Option.

This story been used several times in fiction since then,inspiring paintings by Rembrandt Van Rijn and Peter Paul Rubens, having Samson squared off against Superman in the Silver Ages and even having his own title (see Mighty Samson) highlighting him as a likely inspiration for and Ur Example of the modern superhero. Samson has a surprising amount in common with early Superman (superstrength, likes to screw with people, takes on corrupt government/aristocracy/business).

His life's story has been the subject of one theatrical film, 1949's Samson and Delilah starring Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr in the title roles, which was remade twice on TV, the first in 1984 (with Mature doing a cameo as Samson's father) and another in 1996 (which featured Dennis Hopper, Michael Gambon and Elizabeth Hurley); Delilah tends to get more screen time in the films than she does in the original story. There's also an operatic version by French composer Camille Saint-SaŽns, the source of the popular concert piece "Bacchanal."

Not to be confused with the talking dog from Flemish television.

Associated Tropes

  • Anti-Hero: A super strong man who is tempted easily.
    • And not just him. Sadly, a whole heap of Biblical Israel's heroes and leaders turn out to have their own terrible flaws.
  • Badass Israeli: The most Bad Ass of them all.
  • Batman Gambit: As he didn't start out a paragon of virtue, one could see God blessing Samson with super strength as this. A Super strong skirt chaser could do some damage. However, God being omniscient, already knew it would pan out to His advantage.
  • The Berserker: When "the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson", massive body counts ensued.
  • Bond One-Liner: "With a donkey's jawbone, I have made donkeys of them."
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Samson versus anybody who was stupid enough to try fighting Samson, unless they knew his Weaksauce Weakness.
  • Dumb Muscle: Gee, Samson, after the first few times Delilah springs the Philistines on you, maybe you'd figure out that she's setting you up and not tell her the actual secret of your strength?
  • Explaining Your Power to the Enemy: Samson explains this to Delilah, causing his doom.
  • Eye Scream: After finally capturing Samson, the Philistines gouge his eyes out.
  • Honey Trap: Did we mention Delilah was a Philistine?
  • Improbable Weapon User: He once killed a bunch of people with a donkey's jawbone.
  • Karma Houdini: Delilah sells Samson to the Phillistines and gets silver pieces.
    • She dies in the 1949 film version, killed in the temple Samson brings down on the Philistines.
  • Mata Hari: Delilah's sex appeal led to Samson's downfall when she sold him out to the Philistines.
  • Name and Name: Samson and Delilah.
  • One-Man Army: Samson killed one thousand Philistines with a donkey's jawbone. Give a medal to those 400 soldiers that thought they'd succeed where 600 of them had failed.
  • Riddle Me This: Samson challenges his wedding guests with a bet on the riddle, "Out of the eater came something to eat / Out of the strong came something sweet." The guests aren't able to guess it, so they resort to cheating by pressuring his wife to extract the answer from him. Samson doesn't take this well at all. (The answer is that Samson killed a lion and discovered that bees had made honey in its carcass.)
  • Super Strength: Samson.
  • Taking You with Me/Heroic Sacrifice: When he destroyed the Philistine temple, with himself and his enemies in it.
    • And thereby, with one act, killed more Philistines than in the rest of his life put together.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Samson revealing the real secret of his strength to Delilah, after she'd already demonstrated several times that he would be betrayed to the Philistines with whatever thing he told her was the secret of his strength.
  • Touched by Vorlons: The reason for Samson's strength is part of God's plan.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Cutting his hair, drinking alcohol, or touching the dead were all part of his vows, and when all of them were broken, he lost his strength.
    • According to the Bible, most of Samson's exploits happened after he disregarded all those rules, all except cutting his hair. His long mane was indeed the key to his strength, even after he reneged on his promise to God.

Alternative Title(s):

SA Mson