Skip to content

Did Samson Commit Suicide?

At Samson’s death, his final words were, “Let me die with the Philistines!” (Judges 16:30). He pushed down the pillars of the temple, killing himself and his enemies. Was Samson’s death a suicide?

An important distinction in this account is that Samson did not take his life; he sacrificed his life. The Philistines were at war with the Israelites during this time. Samson was Israel’s leader, yet had been captured after Delilah discovered the source of his strength.

When captured, Samson was beaten and tortured, and had his eyes gouged out. Judges 16:22 share, “Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.”

The Philistines later brought Samson into the temple of Dagon to “entertain” them (Judges 16:25). Samson asked God for strength one more time to defeat his nation’s enemy. He realized it would also end his life, but was willing to sacrifice himself to help his people.

Some have argued Samson was also out for revenge. In Judges 16:29, he prayed, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Revenge was one motive (seen elsewhere with Samson), but his mission was much greater than revenge for his eyes. He sought to defeat Israel’s enemy.

In the New Testament, Hebrews 11 mentions the spiritual heroes of the Old Testament times. These include Samson (v. 32). His name is noted among those of whom we read “the world was not worthy of them” (v. 38).

Hebrews 11:39-40 add, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Samson’s life did not end with suicide, but by completing the mission God had given him as a leader of Israel who helped defeat their enemies.

His actions are also like what we read in John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Samson did not give up on life. Samson gave up his life so others could live.

His actions also foreshadow the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Though innocent, Jesus gave His life for others. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). We are called to believe in Him and live for Him still today.

In crisis? Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit This page is not monitored 24/7 and is not intended for crisis intervention.


  1. Avatar A believer on April 26, 2019 at 10:29 pm

    You are adding to the word of God, it only says he wanted revenge for his eyes, you are trying to whitewash…God forgives murderers think about David and Moses. Samson murdered himself to get revenge for how he was being treated which is consistent with his life. He accomplished God’s will despite himself. The Bible doesn’t white.wash the saints thus giving hope to the worst of sinners

    • Avatar BWM on September 16, 2019 at 3:02 pm

      What are you talking about? The writer did not white-wash anything. Samson is Israel’s leader (And a reckless one) and he had wanted revenge on the Philistines after they killed his wife and God did tell his parents that he will be the one to deliver Israel and Samson even talked to God to remember him before he died. Regardless, the topic is whether he suicide, which he did not.

  2. Avatar JonathanBlow on January 16, 2020 at 10:46 pm

    So if you give your life for God’s people or His works it’s not suicide

  3. Avatar David on May 24, 2020 at 4:17 am

    Eh, i disagree. Samson’s death wasn’t self-sacrificial. It was self-indulgent. Motivated by his own revenge and not God’s will. It’s only by God’s sovereign and gracious will that his death was used for God’s purposes, but the motivations for his actions were far from righteous… far from pleasing to God…. And I think its a mistake to believe that God’s use of Samson’s death was an implicit blessing on Samson’s intent in his prayer.

    We can compare it with the case before Samson, when God gave Jephthah victory. I think we can agree that God didn’t give Jephthah victory in exchange for his vow to sacrifice a human. Jephthah was motivated by greed… he needed to ensure that he got victory so he could become head of Gilead. But scripture shows that had God already clothed Jephthah with his Spirit for victory before Jephthah ever made his vow, making his vow superfluous. It had no relation with God’s intent in giving him victory. Yet Jephthah’s poor theology lead to his vow and his misinterpretation as to why he was victorious. So in his mind he was bound to do to his daughter as he had vowed to God.

    I think its fair to say that Samson did commit suicide and that the writer of Judges is not approving of his decision to kill the Philistines by killing himself. It was a self-indulgent death that God used to preserve Israel as a state but was incapable of saving them from their depraved hearts as we can see in the concluding chapters of Judges. Only Christ’s righteous death is true self-sacrifice and capable of giving spiritual freedom from sin.

Leave a Comment


Dillon Burroughs serves as senior writer at The John Ankerberg Show and has written nearly 40 books on issues of faith and culture. He is also an associate editor for The Apologetics Bible for Students and has contributed to many works on apologetics and Christian worldview. Dillon is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and holds a PhD in Leadership from Piedmont International University. He lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his wife, Deborah, and their three children.

Lastest Post

Sorry, we couldn't find any posts. Please try a different search.

Related Answers

These questions were similar to the one you looked up

What is God like?

Although we cannot fully understand God, we still can know Him. We know Him through a personal relationship of faith and through a study of what the Bible teaches about His nature.

What does the Bible say about #MeToo?

America’s recent #MeToo movement has forced our culture to directly address how women are treated. As followers of Jesus, our goal is to honor him in every area of life, including how men treat women....

Have a question without an answer?