Samson, who appears in the Old Testament of the Bible, was an exceptionally strong hero of the Israelites of the ancient Near East. According to the story, an angel visited Samson's parents before his birth to tell them they would have a son. The boy was to be raised devoted to God, and he must also refuse all strong drink and never cut his hair.

Samson had tremendous physical strength and led the Israelites against the Philistines*. He performed many remarkable feats, such as killing 1,000 men using only the jawbone of a donkey as a weapon. However, he fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who tricked him into telling her the source of his strength—his long, thick hair. While Samson was asleep one night, Delilah cut off his hair. Samson grew weak and the Philistines seized him. They put out his eyes and chained him to pillars in the temple of their god Dagon. After a time Samson's hair grew back, and his strength returned. During a celebration in the temple, Samson pulled down the pillars to which he was chained. The temple collapsed, killing Samson and all the Philistines inside.

See also Delilah .

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