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A hero of the Tribe of Dan. He was the son of Manoah who received a message from Yahweh's angel before the child was born that he was destined to "rescue Israel from the Philistines" (Judges 13:5). There is no evidence that he succeeded in this. A number of incidents are related of his prodigious strength. On one occasion he tore a lion to pieces with his bare hands (Judges 14:6). In fighting the Philistines he set fire to their cornfields and vineyards (Judges 15:5). But his moral strength did not match his physical strength, especially in his relations with women. A love affair with a woman named Delilah proved his undoing. The Philistines bribed her into learning the secret of his strength. They took him captive and blinded him, but in a final display of power, he destroyed the building and killed himself and his captors (Judges 16).
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.