This Week's Story

Samson and Muhammad Ali discuss Samson's unique mission.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Ali and Samson; Life and Mortality, part three

Muhammad Ali boarded a jet in New York City in 1987. A day later he was straddling a camel in 1070 B.C. and on his way to Samson. Ali was age 45, a three-time world heavyweight boxing champion, famous, talented, and controversial.

Parkinson’s Disease was attacking Ali’s central nervous system, yet he was getting onto a camel for the first time. His boxing career was over, but living with purpose had not stopped.

His Israeli guide advised him: “Straddle the camel or put your legs on one side. Sway with the camel. Don’t try to control the animal. Relax. If the camel spooks, speak evenly and calmly. Expect to be uncomfortable.

After a long ride Ali arrived in northern Israel in the town of Zorah, where Samson’s parents lived. Samson, now the judge of Israel, greeted Ali.

After a long meal the two men sat for one of their straight talks. No drama, trash talk, riddles, or impromptu poetry. With those they could charm and irritate their public.

“Samson, you told me you were born with a mission. When did your mission begin?”

“My mother was unable to have children. One of God’s angels appeared and told her, ‘You will have a son. From his birth until he dies, he is to be a nazirite.’

“A nazirite vow is part of the laws God gave to Moses. It means a person is to be holy and set apart for a special purpose. Sometimes the person takes the vow voluntarily. For me it started at birth. I was the son the angel promised. I was not supposed to drink wine or other alcoholic beverages, or have my hair cut, or touch a dead body.”

“Why not have your hair cut?”

“Hair represents life. Only a living man produces hair. My hair was a symbol that my strength was dedicated to God’s use.”

“Did the angel tell your mother anything else?”

“Yes; my mission was to rescue my people, the Israelites, from the Philistines. For 40 years they had dominated us.

“’Mother was told that she could not drink wine or any alcoholic beverage or eat any forbidden food.”

“What did your father do?”

“Mother told my father that the visitor was like one of God’s angels and scary to look at. She did not know his name or where he came from. Father prayed that the angel would visit again. The angel returned and told Father, ‘Be sure your wife follows the instructions I gave her.’

“When Father wanted to know the angel’s name, the answer was mysterious, ‘Why do you ask my name? You would not understand if I told you.’

“My father built an altar. As the flames shot upward, the angel disappeared and did not return. My parents thought the news and miracles were wonderful.

“As promised, I was born. I am told that God blessed me as I grew.”

“Ali, we can talk tomorrow. Perhaps you would like a camel ride.”

Ali smiled, but did not reply.

This is Barbara Steiner soon to return with more of Samson’s story.


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