pull the temple down on one’s head

to destroy oneself while destroying one’s enemies
—I told the head of the company, “If you insist on exposing the faults of the board of directors, you’re going to close down the whole company and end up pulling the temple down on your head.

Because of the Israelites’ sin, God allowed them to be occupied by their enemies, the Philistines, for a time. It was during this period that Samson became judge of Israel. Samson vowed never to cut his hair as a sign of devotion to God, and in return, God gave him great strength. Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, and the Philistines used her to trick Samson into revealing the source of his strength. They shaved his head while he was sleeping and made him their prisoner, gouging out his eyes and binding him with chains. Later, they made a sacrifice to their god Dagon and brought Samson to the temple to celebrate his capture. Samson asked to stand next to the building’s support pillars.

Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “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.” Samson took hold of the two middle pillars that supported the temple and he leaned against them, with his right hand on one and his left hand on the other. Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” He pushed hard, and the temple collapsed on the rulers and all the people in it. (Judges 16: 28-30)

As the Philistines were seen in the Bible as enemies of the truth, today, an uncultured or ignorant person might be called a philistine. Also, a strong man might be a Samson, and a treacherous woman a Delilah.

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  • All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://bible.org. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

    Scripture in brackets is from the King James Bible.

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    This work is licensed by Craig Thompson under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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