The Samson Option
Will Israel be Forced to Take It
"We have always said that in our war with the Arabs we had a secret weapon––no alternative….The Arabs can fight, and lose, and return to fight another day. Israel can only lose once." ––Golda Meir
With the recent news that two suicide bombers struck in Dimona near Israel’s Nuclear Reactor, the thought of Israel’s so-called Sampson Option comes to mind. Some readers may know that the Sampson Option describes Israel’s planned, last-resort, massive retaliation with nuclear weapons against enemy nations if they appear to be winning in a war of annihilation against Israel. It is said that during the Yom Kippur War (1973) when it appeared that the Arab nations were about to over-run Israel, Golda Meir and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan discussed the possibility that they would take the Samson Option rather than see Israel destroyed by her enemies.
Background: In 1949, French and Israeli atomic researchers embarked upon a geological survey in the Negev desert in search of recoverable uranium and set up operations in Dimona, about 40 miles from the Egyptian border. Three years later, Israel formed the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission. While the Israeli government has never publicly acknowledged that Israel has nuclear weapons, it has served as a deterrence factor against her many enemies.
Samson, who rebelled against his calling to be a Nazirite of G-d from the womb to the day of his death (Judges 13:7), found himself in a Philistine prison, surrounded by his enemies who had blinded him. But, when he was brought to the temple arena so that the lords of the Philistines could mock and humiliate him, G-d allowed Samson’s strength to return. He prayed to G-d for strength, took hold of the two middle pillars, which supported the temple and cried out.
“‘Let me die with the Philistines!’ And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the L-rds and all the people who were in it.” (Judges 16:30)
Like Samson, most of Israel is blind to her G-d-given mandate and is surrounded by her enemies who desire to annihilate her. Samson even thought his lover, Delilah, was interested in his welfare when in fact, she conspired to see his downfall while continuing her close relationship with him.
Samson’s enemies sought to know from where his great strength came because they knew the only way to defeat him was to remove his strength. However, neither Israel’s enemies, nor his lover understood that his strength was in the G-d of Israel, not in his hair or in his Nazirite vow.
What does the Bible say about this prophetic scenario that is being played out today as is evidenced by the news? Who are Israel’s enemies and who is Delilah?
Israel today lives in the confidence of her military strength and her close relationship with the United States. She has, to date, successfully deterred her enemies with the threat of her military might, but the L-rd says that confidence will not remain forever. Jeremiah, in lamenting over the destruction of Jerusalem said:
“The L-rd has trampled underfoot all my mighty men in my midst; He has called an assembly against me to crush my young men; the L-rd trampled as in a winepress the virgin daughter of Judah… I called for my lovers, but they deceived me…” (Lam. 1:15, 19a)
G-d did not spare His people in the days of Jeremiah due to their rebellion against Him and He will not spare them today for the same reason. Isaiah spoke the warning to the leadership of Israel before the destruction and exile.
“Therefore hear the word of the L-rd, you scornful men, who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, because you have said, ‘We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we are in agreement, when the overflowing scourge passes through, it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood we have hidden ourselves.’…Therefore thus says the L-rd G-d… ‘Your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overflowing scourge passes through, then you will be trampled down by it.’” (Isaiah 28:14, 15, 16a, 18)
This passage makes it clear that Israel is deceived by her military strength and the peace agreement (covenant of death) that she seeks to enter with her enemies. Lies and falsehood have blinded her to the realities of her situation. The agreement (covenant) she makes with her enemies will be broken and Israel will be trampled (Daniel 9:27). When her strength is gone, it is then that the L-rd will rescue Israel.
“For the L-rd will judge His people and have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their power is gone… for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and render vengeance to His adversaries; He will provide atonement for His land and His people.” (Deut. 32:36, 43)
Just as G-d strengthened Samson to carry out the destruction of the L-rds of the Philistines, G-d will strengthen Israel to render vengeance on her adversaries.
“In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place––Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:6)
The only way Israel could be as a fire of destruction to the surrounding peoples would be by nuclear warfare. Isaiah 17, describing the destruction of Damascus, could best be seen as the beginning of a nuclear war in the Middle East; yet, it also describes desolation in Israel as well. Does this indicate that Israel might take the Samson Option sometime in the near future?