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The Pillars of Samson - a Poem

John is a poet, short fiction, and freelance writer who also trained in home ministry and Bible study.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

And Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey have I struck down a thousand men.”

— Judges 15:16

Word Prompts Help Creativity ~ Week 36: Strength

A good friend and fellow poet Brenda Arledge kindly provides us all with a weekly word prompt to inspire our creativity. Many of us look forward to the challenge.

Unfortunately, some of the inspiration to take part has been spoiled by the current state of difficulty in commenting. For that reason, and a number of other factors, I have decided to rework (improved the text, added new images) this older poem based on the Bible story of Samson. After all what better example of "strength" than this character who was known worldwide for that very trait. When I have the time I may write another response to Brenda's prompt, but for now, I hope many readers enjoy this.

It was originally written in response to a picture prompt by Ann Carr (you will see that below.)

Ann's Challenge

Fellow hubber Ann Carr recently issued the following challenge in her article Chalk Figure on a Hillside: Base your response on the photo above, 'The Long Man of Wilmington'. You may include the photo if you wish, with suitable attribution, please.

A challenge is designed to test, to dare, to inspire, to enthuse. Get your thinking chapeaux on! Make your fingers dance over the keyboard! Create your best piece of writing yet!

Rules? What rules? Fiction, non-fiction, poetry or prose, just go with the flow!

My favourite Bible story growing up was the tale of Sampson and Delilah (Judges 16). When I saw Ann's photo of The Long Man of Willmington I immediately thought of Samson pushing the pillars of the temple, apart. Therefore, my response to Ann's challenge is this poem "The Pillars of Samson."

I hope you enjoy.

The Ancient 'Long Man of Wilmington', South Downs, Sussex

The Ancient 'Long Man of Wilmington', South Downs, Sussex

But his father and mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.

— Judges 14:3

The Pillars of Samson

Samson was an Israeli judge

Or so the Bible says,

He exercised great vengeance

On many Philistine heads.

His love fell on Delilah

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From the Valley of Sorek,

It would prove to be his downfall

But she was stunning, what the heck!

Samson had the strength of ten,

It instilled respect and fear.

Delilah, though, was bribed with gold

To deceive the one held dear.

So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you.

— Judges 16:6

She lured Samson into her lair

Through seduction and deceit.

He refused to tell his secret,

But her requests just didn't cease.

Becoming drunk on lust and mead

The secret he did share,

So when he fell into a deep sleep

She shaved off all his hair.

On awakening, his strength was gone.

His struggles were in vain.

They took him from Delilah's bed,

And in a cell, he was detained.

Now she had men lying in ambush in an inner chamber. And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he snapped the bowstrings, as a thread of flax snaps when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known.

— Judges 16:9

Bound and tortured, whipped and flailed

To kill the prisoner they'd reject.

Instead, they had his eyes gouged out,

They showed him no respect.

Samson was blind but laboured hard

His job was grinding grain.

But his captors had failed to see

That his hair had grown again.

The Philistines took their prisoner

To the Temple of the Clouds,

For a sacrificial festival.

To parade for heckling crowds.

Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.”

— Judges 16:23

The Philistines had gathered

To watch the sacrifice

Of this prized Israeli enemy.

Samson would pay the price.

Now his hair had grown back long,

And his strength had since returned.

Samson prayed to his God

With all the wisdom he had learned.

His hands chained to vast pillars each

Though escape was not his plan.

He pushed them with his mighty strength,

Much more than any man.

Then Samson called to the LORD and said, “O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.

— Judges 16;28

The pillars moved, first just an inch,

But then began to fall.

The crowd looked up in mortal shock

As the temple crushed them all.

In this one special selfless act

Samson's final sacrifice,

More of Israel's enemies were slain

Then in all the battles of his life.

Samson pushing the pillars apart: Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay

Samson pushing the pillars apart: Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on January 17, 2018:

Thank you for reading this Vedant. Your generous comment is much appreciated.

Vedant Singh from India on January 16, 2018:

A very good story and very well-written by you. I loved the poem

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 15, 2017:

Thank you Robin, it certàinly is an interesting and popular story..

Robin Carretti from Hightstown on December 15, 2017:

This is historically a fascinating read with videos indeed how he grasped the two pillars apart. Samson means the sun the world changes his hair has significance with flair so seduced by Delilah they become one the testament clean as a mint they smile more

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 06, 2017:

Thank you for that interesting comment, Manatita. Cheers bro.

manatita44 from london on December 06, 2017:

Nice! A great story for many of us growing up as christians. We had this in the books, the schools, the comics and the Bible, of course, not to mention movies.

Yes, a similar kind of build from behind, perhaps, but I see this man as coming to the end of his journey. He is being consoled by a woman. Her breasts are seductive, yes, but the man on her left shows concern as are the people standing in the door way. Just another take, Bro.

"Reposed in sleep ... or death,

He paints upon a canvas of sorrow.

A focus of concern taints his brush,

Dabbling at the onlookers gaze;

Calligraphing a maze of awe.

Captured in this poignant river of solemn attraction,

Is a long sleep of muscle and dauntless adornment.

Arise! O my soul! Chisel a path of Light before me,

Only to illuminate the portals of the Beyond.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on November 20, 2017:

Thanks again Flourish. Glad I could capture the essence of the story. You can't blame the woman are weak lol.

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 20, 2017:

I don't know all the Bible stories, but I do know this intriguing one. Women always get the blame! Anyway, I love your crafty, succinct description of the story. You are always very clever.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on October 29, 2017:

Thank you, Lawrence. That is quite a compliment that I was able to convey the story and hold your attention in this poem. Yes, I always cheered Samson on too.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 29, 2017:


Very descriptive, I know the story well, yet had to read to the end, you held me there, it was like I was chained to those pillars, and I was cheering Samson on!

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on October 07, 2017:

Thanks Chris, much appreciated. it is certainly a challenge to try to tell a whole story in a poem. Glad you think I succeeded.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on October 07, 2017:

John, you captured every little point, I do believe. What a demonstration of your word skills. Thanks for sharing this poetry with us.

S P Austen from Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada on September 16, 2017:

You're welcome, John.

I hope that it helps. I tend to try a few words out, and really listen to what I like best. But sometimes, when we're writing, we can miss something. I doubt very much that my own writing is perfect every time!

P.S. you might get the same comment again, as the first was written without me being properly signed in, so I re-sent it.

Best wishes, and keep up the great writing!


John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 16, 2017:

Thank you, Stephen. When I wrote this I was actually torn between the two. If you think "deepest" is better I will change it. Much appreciated.

Stephen Austen on September 16, 2017:

I like this one, John; I would change one word though, if you don't mind me mentioning, as I feel it would flow better:

"Becoming drunk on lust and mead

The secret he did share,

So when he fell into deepest sleep

She shaved off all his hair."

I think 'deepest' works better than deep. Just an opinion, though!

Best wishes,


John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 15, 2017:

Thank you, Dianna. Yes, is one of those stories that always stayed with me. Glad I could capture the essence of it in a single poem.

Dianna Mendez on September 15, 2017:

The story of Samson inspires us all. Your version captures the entire book with great flair!

Tamara Moore on September 10, 2017:

I forgot to mention, John, that when my children were still in grade school, we had cartoon videos about God and Jesus that they loved to watch over and over, again. They were Biblically correct, too.

If you write more poems about The Bible, I will hope to be aware of them so I might read them, and perhaps share them with my family.

Sometimes, for some reason, I miss Notifications of New Hubs written by my fellow Hub-friends...

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 10, 2017:

Thank you foor that wonderful comment, Tamara. Yes, children need something extra to make the Bible attractive to them. We have or had a picture Bible like a comic book which our children liked to read but it only had a few selected stories in it and wasn't in rhyme of course which as you say is quite unique. As this seems to have proved popular I may write a few more.

Tamara Moore on September 10, 2017: this! I have not often come upon rhyming poems about Biblical people, and their experiences. This is fantastic!

I wish I had seen this when my children were small so that I might read them your poems on The Bible. The reason I like this so much is because it makes reading The Bible fun!

I have read the entire book of Ecclesiastics to my children in order to get the main point across that "Without God, Everything is Meaningless".

I also read them the book of Job, and many books from the New Testament, as well.

I read them the entire series of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, as they sat on my lap, or snuggled up very close to me, listening in great fascination. (We did miss the book, Prince Caspian, however, in the series).

Thank you for helping to bring back such lovely and cherished memories for me, John :-) I would not give up these precious times I spent with my children for all the treasures in existence.

If you create more Rhyming Poems about The Bible and/or its people, please let me know so I do not miss them.

Again, this is such a fun way to read the great lessons and Truths that God's Holy Word contains.

Thank you!



John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 09, 2017:

Thanks are always encouraging.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on September 09, 2017:

Hello John - I see you were inspired in an epic manner by Ann's challenge. Very interesting response. Yet another making of a children's book.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 09, 2017:

Devika, I always try to be as diverse as possible with my writing. I always appreciate you reading my hubs and the generosity of your comments.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 09, 2017:

Your great style in writing surprises me each time. I appreciate your efforts in sharing a new challenge.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 08, 2017:

Thank you very much, MsDora. I try to make my writing as interesting and diverse as possible. I bore easily myself lol. Thank you for your kind words about how it would be appealing for children especially.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 08, 2017:

One of the favorite Bible stories in poetry! Do you realize how interesting this would be to kids learning the story, or even to adults who appreciate this interesting form? Well done, Jodah. You excel in so many different styles of writing.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 07, 2017:

Thank you, Linda. Yes, I am sure everyone saw something different. Glad you enjoyed the poem.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on September 07, 2017:

John, this image did not speak to me of Samson, but I'm glad it gave you that inspiration. Your poem really tells the tale VERY well.


John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 07, 2017:

Thank you, Ann. It's the Samson was the first thing that came to mind when I saw the photo. Glad you liked the poem.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 07, 2017:

Thank you, Bill. I always love these challenges. A good way to write something you wouldn't consider otherwise.

Ann Carr from SW England on September 07, 2017:

Sorry I'm a bit late getting to this.

What an interesting slant on the photo, John!

I love your poem. It tells the story well.

I'm delighted you responded to my challenge and I thank you.

Will add the link to my hub now.


Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 07, 2017:

Excellent response, John! The images are sharp and clear, the flow smooth....but then, I expect nothing less from you.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 07, 2017:


Thank you very much for the generous comment. I enjoy telling a story through verse. Glad you enjoyed this tale.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 07, 2017:

Interesting story and beautiful poem!

I like the flow and the narration is excellent as you always do.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful hub!

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 07, 2017:

Thanks, Tim. Yes, it is a popular story and has inspired a lot of others based on similar outlines. Glad you enjoyed this.

Tim Mitchell from Escondido, CA on September 07, 2017:

Well done Jodah. I enjoyed the poetic verse reminding me of Samson's story. I can see how the image inspired your verse.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 06, 2017:

Thank you Venkat. Glad I could introduce you to the Samson and Delilah story. Thanks for the kind comment.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on September 06, 2017:

Very interesting story. It is new for me. You have narrated it so beautifully in the poetic form, meeting the challenge of Ann Carr perfectly. Thanks for it.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 06, 2017:

Thank you Michael you summed up the meaning of the story very effectively. Always good to get your comments.

Michael-Milec on September 06, 2017:

John , out of a real life story, you've created in an awesomely rhyming poetry outcome of life's righteous consequence.

There is a spiritual assignment to every human ( Samson here ) we receives from the Creator. Samson prospered successfully while in obedience using his secret might. All is changed though when he choses lust over favor with God a fall is imminent.

Your concluding " final sacrifice" -a moral lesson: victory, when the power of Almighty returns into the obedient heart.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 06, 2017:

Thank you, John. I don't think there are any winners and losers in this competition though. Just for fun.

John Ward on September 06, 2017:

Well done, John, Enjoyable. You have my Vote.

Lori Colbo from United States on September 06, 2017:

Sampson was a studmuffin but a bit of a fool. Is lust directed into a relationship with a pagan woman. I think his parents were enablers also because he asked them to give him this pagan wife and they did it. All that aside, I love the poem.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 06, 2017:

Hey Clive. Thanks Man.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 06, 2017:

Hey Clive. Thanks Man.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 06, 2017:

Thank you Mark. . It is a great story. Wow, better than the movie! :)

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 06, 2017:

Hi Linda. I have ni idea what The Long Man of Willmington really signifies but Samson was the first image I got in my mind when I saw it. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 06, 2017:

This is a creative response to Ann's challenge, Jodah. I would never have thought of it on my own, but you're right, the Long Man of Wilmington does look like Samson pushing the pillars of the temple apart!

Mark Tulin from Long Beach, California on September 06, 2017:

Thanks, John. Better than the movie!

Clive Williams from Jamaica on September 06, 2017:

Nice..I Like....

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 06, 2017:

I thought you'd be a fan of Samson, Eric. Hope your little boy Gabriel is too :)Yep better hold off with the haircut, don't want you losing strength.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 06, 2017:

Jo, I appreciate the kind comment. I think Samson may be a story more appealing to boys but glad you enjoyed the poem.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 06, 2017:

Thanks for the constructive comment, Luke. Glad the meter and rhyme scheme worked as I had more trouble with this than most of my poems trying to get it right. Yes, it seems his hair was either in five or seven dreads or braids depending on the various versions. I have seen some amazing feats of strength by present day strong men so I wouldn't discount the possibility that he actually brought the temple down.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 06, 2017:

Ralph, I actually reread and rewrote this a couple of times to try and get the rhyme scheme correct. I was hoping the story carried it.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 06, 2017:

Thanks for reading this Val. I think the story of Samson is one of those that can be enjoyed by anyone faith or religion aside. There is a lesson to be learned, and I know I liked it as a kid. Glad you enjoyed it.

JourneyHolm on September 06, 2017:

Wow! Great meter and rhyme scheme. I'd forgotten that Samson gained his power back and demolished the temple. What an epic story! Do you think he really had such strength? I heard his hair was locked into 7 dreads, although I don't remember where I heard this, and don't know if it's at all true. Thank you for sharing. I really enjoyed this poem :)

Jo Miller from Tennessee on September 06, 2017:

Great poem, but I was never a great fan of the Samson story in the Bible.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 06, 2017:

I like it! One of my favorite stories also. Reminds me that I need a haircut, but now I will put it off.

Ralph Schwartz from Idaho Falls, Idaho on September 06, 2017:

Great scheme and your obvious understanding of the story has made this a solid piece. Very nice.

ValKaras on September 06, 2017:

John---What a nicely written and also inspiring poem, teaching us how man's dormant power can be brought back even when all odds are against him. I really enjoyed reading it.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 06, 2017:

Thank you, Marie. Good to get a comment from you.

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on September 06, 2017:

Well written, John. I enjoyed this epic poem of Samson's story.

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