Samson Brings the House Down
22 A while later, in the time it took for Samson’s hair to start to grow back, the Philistine council held a festival and gathered the people to celebrate the capture of Samson. 23 They marked the occasion with an atrocious blood sacrifice to their god Dagon, which was completely different from the civilised blood sacrifices the Israelites performed.
24 As the guards dragged Samson in, the Philistines sang:
‘Dagon is an awesome god,
He brought us victory.
Now Samson is bound up in chains,
And we can dance with glee.’
But much to their disappointment, the guards kept walking, intending to put him straight into prison.
25 ‘Hey, don’t lock him up!’ cried the crowds, who were quite drunk and rowdy at this point. ‘Make him do karaoke for us! It’ll be funny.’
So, they dragged Samson up on stage and stood him in front of the microphone.
‘Which songs do you know?’ asked the guard, realising that Samson wouldn’t be able to read the prompt as his eyes had been gouged out.
‘Do you have Mandy by Barry Manilow?’ he replied.
26 It turned out that they did. They played the backing track, and Samson gave the kind of heartfelt rendition that would make Simon Cowell turn to jelly. 27 The place was packed - there were three thousand Philistines on the roof alone - and by the end of the song, everybody was in floods of tears.
28 Now, unbeknownst to the Philistines, the sparse covering of hair on Samson’s head had restored his magical super strength, so when he stumbled off stage, he asked the guard to lead him to one of the pillars of the temple so that he could rest against it.
29 Samson called out to the Lord, ‘Please remember me as a good man and not the vicious killer that I am.’ And he pushed the pillar loose and yelled, ‘Die, Philistine scum!’
30 There was a tremendous creak as the ceiling buckled. Bits of masonry rained down upon the people. They all clambered for the door, but it was too late, the temple collapsed on top of them.
With that final act of malice, Samson killed more Philistines with his suicide than he had during his lifetime.
31 When Samson’s family went down to retrieve his body, they found him looking like a spatchcocked chicken that had been pounded even flatter with a tenderising mallet. They buried his remains in the tomb of his father Manoah, between Zorah and Eshtaol. This also brought his twenty-year career as a judge to an end.