“Samson and Delilah”


"Delilah was a woman, fine and fair, Very pleasant looks and coal black hair... If I had my way I'd tear the building down." Delilah tricks Samson out of the secret of his strength; he is captured, but manages to tear the building down.


Most of this story is Biblically accurate. The story of Samson occupies chapters 13-16 of Judges. We may categorize:

* Delilah's beauty (not mentioned; we are only told that Samson loved her; see 16:4)

* Samson's birth: A miraculous event described in chapter 13

* "Strongest man that ever lived on earth": not explicit, but tales of his strength fill most of chapters 14-16

* "He killed three thousand Philistines": No such number is given. We read in 14:19 that he killed 30, in 15:15 of another thousand, etc., and in 16:30 that he killed more by knocking down the building than he had in life.

* The dead lion and the bees: 14:6, 8f.

* "They bound him with a rope" (first occurrence): 15:13

* The old jawbone, etc.: 15:15f.

* Samson told her, "Shave off my hair": 16:17

* "His strength became like a natural man": 16:19

* The final incident, where the blinded Samson is displayed before the Philistines, but has his revenge by pulling the building down on them, is told in 16:23-30. - RBW


  • Blind Willie Johnson, "If I Had My Way I'd Tear the Building Down" (Columbia 14343-D, 1928; Vocalion 03021, 1935; rec. 1927)
  • Celina Lewis, "Session with Celina Lewis" (on NFMAla6)
  • Rev. T. E. Weems, "If I Had My Way I'd Tear the Building Down" (Columbia 14254-D, 1927)


  1. Lomax-FSNA 251, "Samson" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Courlander-NFM, pp. 49-50, "(If I Had My Way)" (1 text)
  3. Roud #6700
  4. BI, LoF251


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1927 (recording, Rev. T. E. Weems)
Found in: US(SE,So)