Q on Two Hairy Guys: Samuel and Samson

I am confused about Samuel and Samson. I thought Hannah promised God she would not cut Samuel’s hair, and he would be sworn unto serving Him. I thought he got his strength from his hair, but I seem to have my stories mixed up. So, please set me straight: a) Why was Samson given such strength? b) What is the rest of the Samuel’s story?

I thought some Sdopers could explain the two stories in simplest terms, in modern English. Thanx, - Jinx

Samson is the one with the hair and the strength

The Nazerites were Jews who had made a special vow to God which involved not cutting the hair or drinking wine, amongst other things - see Number Ch6 for more details.

Samuel was dedicated to God by his mother at the age of three years old - see 1 Samuel Ch1 for the story - and went on to become one of the greatest leaders of the Hebrew nation.


Interestingly, Samson was not the only famous Nazarite.

John the Baptist is often thought to have been a Nazarite. Which, when you think about it, doesn’t make his head fit for a particularly appetizing meal, which would make you wonder why anyone would want it, even if it was on a silver plate. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the insight, but I will find for you the verse when Hannah promises God that a razor will never touch his head. Childless Hannah makes this promise to God when she gives birth to Samuel, so-named from the Hebrew for “I asked for him”, or words to a similar meaning.

This is how I have somehow gotten the two stories intermixed, perhaps as a child when first learning these stories. - Jinx

Jinx: the verse you’re thinking of is I Samuel 1:11.

The Talmud (Nazir 9:5), and the commentaries on this verse, discuss the question of whether Samuel was a Nazirite. The crux of the dispute is the meaning of the Hebrew word morah: it can mean “a razor,” in which case Hannah is promising that her son will be a Nazirite and will never shave his hair; or it can mean “fear,” in which case the sense of the verse is that she will train him to fear only G-d and no other power.

In any case, even according to the opinion that Samuel was a Nazirite, I’m not aware of anywhere in the story of his life where this plays a significant role (unlike with Samson).