Some years ago, in a community I was serving there was a rash of suicides. Situations like that always send pastors to the word of God for appropriate words to deal with the aftermath left behind for the families of those who have lost or nearly lost, a loved one. It was during that season of ministry that I developed a simple tool to help many of the survivors of these attempts to come to grips with what they had done and to try to understand what the Scripture said and didn’t say about this impulse to self-murder.
It was also during this time that I came to the conclusion that Samson did not commit suicide and to use his example as a proof text in support of suicide was misguided and fraudulent by those who sought to do so. Samson’s death was not a suicide but the sacrifice of a life for a military objective. The following brief article is from Kairos Journal makes essentially the same point.
Did Samson Commit Suicide?—Francis Turretin (1623 – 1687)
The death of Samson has been raised as an example of self murder – and employed as an argument in the arsenal of those who wish to see suicide legal and morally praiseworthy.1 Francis Turretin, a professor of theology in Geneva in the seventeenth century, has a ready response to those who misuse the story of Samson in this way.
The example of Samson (Jdg. 16:30) does not favor suicide because in the ruins of the house which he threw down he buried himself no less than others. This was a singular deed, perpetrated by the extraordinary influence of the Holy Spirit, as appears from … [Hebrews 11:34 which] says that he did this by faith and from the prayers which he offered to God for obtaining extraordinary strength for this act and from their being heard (Jdg. 16:28). God increased his strength and bestowed the desired success that he might be an illustrious type of Christ causing the great destruction of his enemies by his own death and breaking the tyrannical yoke resting upon the neck of his people. Finally, the design was not private revenge simply, but the vindication of the glory of God, of religion and of the people, since he was a public person and raised up by God from the people as an avenger.2