Samson felt a hand on his head and shifted his body.
Settling himself comfortably on the laps of Delilah, he drifted off to sleep again. He didn’t open his eyes again until minutes later when the bang of the door drowsed him from sleep.
He readjusted his body and tried to open his eyes.
The sudden stream of sunlight hurt his eyes and he blinked as he shielded his eyes from the rays with the back of his right hand.
As he raised his head, he felt a certain strange lightness around his neck.
Reaching out his fingers to touch his hair, Samson was shocked.
In his over forty years in the world, he had never felt his head so light.
His full hair had been shaved off.
His hands rested on his bare flesh with only very few strands of hair that survived the blade remaining.
It was then it all came to him.
He remembered telling Delilah about the secret of his powers last night as they shared dinner.
He should have known.
As he rose up and stood, he glanced all around and couldn’t see Delilah or any of the servants.
He heard movements just outside the door and knew the Philistines were at it again.
It would be the third time they would attempt to capture him.
As everything dawned on him, Samson saw the handiwork of Delilah and it hurt him.
He really loved her and she loved her too; or so he thought.
The fact that it was someone so dear to him that betrayed him made Samson’s heart sink and his hands shook.
‘This is not the time for self-pity’ he gathered himself and made a blow with his hands.
As he moved towards the door, it was pushed opened and Delilah faced him.
‘The Philistines be upon you!’ She shouted and the hate and anger in her eyes hurt Samson even more.
As soldiers surrounded him and the Captain ordered them to bind him, Samson shook himself as he’d done the other times when he’d tricked Delilah.
But even he knew things were no longer the same.
He shook himself again and shouted his battle cry.
It was loud and full of spirit but strength drained from Samson’s body.
He charged forward into the soldiers but they didn’t bulge.
All he felt was the pain in his shoulders after he’d hit the shields of the soldiers.
Heeding the command of their captain, the soldiers moved expertly around Samson and the ropes fell around his ankles.
As Samson moved his legs forward, he entangled himself more as another set of soldiers threw another rope around his neck and left arm.
They drew both ropes at the same time and Samson fell on his knee.
He shouted the name of the his father’s father for strength but it failed him.
The more he struggled, the more the ropes tightened and the more the Captain smiled.
After some moments, the anger he felt for the Philistines dissipated as he became more angry with himself.
‘I should have known’, he reasoned, painfully.
‘I should have know Delilah wanted my destruction…’
‘…but love blinded me’.
As the realization that he was indeed to blame set in, Samson gave up struggling.
Not that his struggles would have mattered anyway.
The Philistines tied his ankes with chains and his wrists with more chains.
His neck also bore another chain that looped around both arms.
With little shove, the Captain led Samson out of Delilah’s room.
When they came out of the house, Samson saw a large crowd already gathered- young boys and old women who came to catch a glimpse of the defeated warrior.
Looking away from the crowd, Samson saw Delilah laughing and whispering to the young woman beside her.
With great effort, he turned his face away and cursed her under his breath.
Looking down, Samson swore he would brake her bones as soon as he regained his strength.
The Captain led Samson through the streets of the town where everyone pelted small stones and abuses at the big man.
The crowd swelled more and more as they drew nearer to Gaza.
He was led through a large room with men and women decked with gold chains around their necks. They gave a loud applause as the lead soldier drew the chains tighter around Samson’s neck.
Wincing, Samson stopped and lowered his head. He cursed the fowl Philistines under his breath and cursed himself more loudly.
He was brought towards a oven full of hot coals. The heat made Samson flinch and more soldiers held him.
Expertly and quickly, three of the soldiers drew the chains and brought Samson crashing on the floor. More soldiers knelt on his back, holding him on the ground.
A soldier who was waiting in the opening of the oven drew a hot iron rod out of the heat and came nearer to Samson.
As he realized what was about to be done, Samson screamed and scratched, trying to lay hold of any support.
More soldiers joined the struggle and two of them held his head in place.
Despite his loud screams and fight, Samson could not move any part of his body, not even his head.
A rod with two sharp branched ends was removed from the fire and pressed hard on his eyes; each end on each eye.
If shout could kill, no one would remain in the hall.
He wailed with a loud voice.
He cried out to God, cried out to his mother and father, and shouted the name of Abraham.
The crowd clapped and cheered as they enjoyed the hurt and pain inflicted on the greatest enemy of their land.
Darkness was all Samson could see.
He used his hands to feel for any support but found none.
The soldiers stood from his body and left him struggling for balance.
His constant cries caused laughter among the crowds once again as they waved for him to be sent away to prison.
The soldier obliged the rich crowd.
Samson was led through a narrow passage that led to a more narrow room.
When he was pushed in, the door banged and the knocks were set.
‘This will be your new home forever’. The soldier laughed as he jammed the outer gate.
Sitting alone in the dark and narrow room, Samson shook his head and his hands and lips trembled. The pain in his face and head didn’t abate.
It was the first time his hand would shake.
He recalled the events of the previous night and how he had gladly told his God-given secrets to Delilah.
‘I thought she loved me.’ He wondered aloud.
‘I thought I would still be strong even with my head shaven.’
‘I thought my power was mine and mine alone’.
As Samson remembered his folly and regreted his actions, he felt tears in his eye socket but no tear came.
And when he recalled the numerous warnings of his mother and father, he knew his disobedience and lust had finally brought an end to him.
Kneeling on the hard stony floor, blood streamed down Samson’s face and it all dawned on him.
Instead of being a deliverer, he was bound in chains and broken, praying to be delivered.
Rather than save Israel, he was a prisoner in the hands of the enemy of Israel.
The time he should have used to conquer God’s enemies, he had used the time to pursue his own affection and lust.
And lust had finally brought him down.
‘My passions have destroyed me.’ Samson whispered his thoughts, still kneeling.
As more fluid flowed, Samson begged for another chance. He prayed for an opportunity.
Till midnight that day, he didn’t sleep.
He lied face-down on the floor of the prison and whispered the same prayer over and over again,
‘God, give me one more chance’.
He didn’t know when he drifted off to sleep.
The next morning, no one came to see him- not for food nor water.
Nor the day after that.
For three days, save the water he was given on the third day, nothing came through his mouth.
By the end of the week, he had grown so weary and weak that he could barely stand upright.
It seemed the prison guards noticed too for the next day, Samson was given bread and honeyed water.
He almost thanked the soldier who brought the miserly meal. He sunk his teeth into the bread and finished it in two bites.
And for the next weeks, bread and water was fed to him every afternoon.
After the second month in bondage, Samson was allowed to walk around the courtyard and work in the mill.
His dimished strength was further sapped each day as he pushed the heavy machiney that is used to grind stones.
Samson was behind the grinding mill in the courtyard of the Prison when the news was delivered to him.
His father was dead.
He staggered as the words hit him and held on to the handle of the mill for support.
Without even a glance of concern, the soldier who brought the news turned and left him.
Samson held on to the handle for some minutes as he tried to regain his composure.
His mother had died that previous month, now his father was dead too.
‘I have no other reason to live.’ He shook his head and held back the tears.
He ran his fingers through his head and felt the short crop of hairs that had slowly began to fill up his scalp.
‘He’s here!’, the shout of two soldiers jolted Samson back to life.
Another soldier came nearer and ordered for Samson to be bound hand and foot.
He didn’t struggle as the chains clasped around his wrist and ankles.
‘You will be entertaining the guests today.’
‘You should count yourself lucky. Only the best dancers and warriors of the land are usually called to perform in this occasion.’ The soldier spoke the words into Samson’s ears.
He also gave him instructions of what to do and how to act.
‘Perform well and you will be given the rest of the week off.’
‘Who knows, you may even be rewarded with better food and a woman’.
The words brought a bitter taste to Samson’s mouth as they dragged him away from the grinding mill.
With the sorrow of the loss of his parents still very deep in his heart, Samson lowered his head as he was led out of the prison and into a large hall.
At least five thousand men were seated in the hall with an extra three thousand men and women on the roof, all shouting in revellery and almost half of them drunk already.
As Samson was led into the large hall, loud boos and chants could be heard from different corners.
The Philistines didn’t hide their hatred for him.
Searching for support, Samson told the young man holding his right hand to lead him to the nearest pillar.
Some women looked lustily upon him as he was led to the large pillars in the centre of the hall.
As his hands felt the architecture and design of the pillars, Samson suddenly knew what to do.
It seemed terrible and appalling but he knew it was the will of God and he offered prayers to the same God.
‘O Lord God, please remember me, please strengthen me just this once.’
He could barely speak up the prayers as a strong emotion of sadness filled his heart.
‘Please Lord, strengthen me and have mercy on me that I may have vengeance on these your enemies.’ He whispered with heavy voice.
‘Son, you should get out of here’ he told the young man who led him.
The young man asked no question, neither did he speak to anyone. He left Samson inbetween the two giant pillars and ran out.
When Samson was sure he was gone, he held the two pillars, each with one hand- one on the right and one on the left.
With a loud voice, deeper and louder than the crowd’s cheers and murmurs and the music that played, Samson shouted and held the pillars tighter.
‘Oh Lord! Let me die with these Philistines!’
And with those few words, he pushed the pillars with all of his might, holding his breath as he did so.
As he pushed, the pillars shifted a little and gasps of fear went through the crowd.
Samson pushed more and the pillars shifted further.
And then it happened.
First, a large chunk of stone came dropping down. Before it landed, the roof also came crashing down.
People, both small and young, ran for cover and the thousands of people on the roof fell on one another.
And so it was that the building fell on the chiefs, the soldiers and all the Philistines trapped inside.
Over seven thousand people dead bodies were counted when the deed was done.
And Samson was one of them.
Samson Stories: Episode 5, the last episode.