‘Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the temple stood and on which it was borne up — of the one pillar with his right hand, and of the other with his left. Then Samson said: “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he bowed himself with all his might. And the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were there. So the dead which he slew at his own death, were more than they which he slew in his life! Then his brothers and all the house of his father came down and took him…, and buried him.’ Judges 16:28-31.
Samson had already slain many of God’s enemies the Philistines (Judges 14:3-19 & 15:9-16). So the Philistines ensnared him; put out his eyes; and dragged him into their temple which was full of all their lords with three thousand Philistines on its roof alone (Judges 16:21-27). Then Samson grabbed the two main pillars of that temple, prayed, and brought the house down (Judges 16:28-30)!
Calvin remarks in his Institutes III:20:15: “Fervour….seized Samson when he prayed. (He then reverently pleaded:) ‘Strengthen me please just this once, O God, so that I may at once be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes!’ (Judges 16:28)….
“There was some mixture of good zeal…. God assented…. Prayers are effectual!” For Samson, despite all his sins, lived by faith (Hebrews 11:31-32)!
The Philistines had seized him while asleep, put out his eyes, and led him to Gaza fettered with double brass-chains. There, Samson was obliged to turn the handmill in the prison, and grind corn. Grinding a handmill was the hardest and lowest kind of slave labour. The capture of this hero was regarded by the Philistines as a great victory, which their princes resolved to celebrate in their temple with a joyous festival in honour of their god Dagon to whom they ascribed this victory.
All the Philistines took part in this festival, and sang songs of praise to their idol-god whom they believed had given into their hands their enemy who had laid waste their fields and slain many of their countrymen. They had Samson fetched out of prison, so that he might make sport before them — and they put him between the pillars of their temple.
But there, Samson prayed to the Lord for strength. He embraced the two central pillars of the temple, and leaned on them. Then he said: “Let my soul die with the Philistines!” Samson’s deed was not suicide but the act of a hero who saw the necessity for him to plunge into the midst of his enemies with the inevitable certainty of death — in order to effect the deliverance of his people.
Thus Samson gained the greatest victory over his foes, in the moment of his own death. The terror of the Philistines when alive, he became a destroyer of their temple of the idol Dagon when he died. Through this last act of his, he vindicated the honour of Jehovah the true God — against Dagon the idol of the Philistines.
Thus, by faith, Samson slew more of his enemies at his death — than when alive!