Samson is sans hair. This is a clear violation of his covenant, and we have confirmation that he no longer has strength. It was unobtrusively slipped into verse 20 that “the Lord had left [Samson].” This reinforces that the strength was a gift directly tied to the covenant regarding Samson’s hair. No other force governs it. Certainly, Samson was never beholden to following other commandments.
This is interesting as it shows a departure from the Abrahamic Covenant. That one, as we’ve already gone over, stipulates that Israel needs to follow God’s path, which is actually a very broad range of commands, but the payoff is that the Lord is with them always.
Samson’s covenant is a micro-scale version of this with only one requirement, don’t get a haircut, and you’ll be strong. If you get head lice, you have to live with it. No hair = no strength. This is a highly specific covenant, but what is interesting is that Samson, in holding to this covenant, does not hold to the Abrahamic Covenant at all. He’s breaking commandments left and right with murder and theft, he’s had a Philistine wife, been with a prostitute, and Delilah.
Could it be that the adherence to the lesser covenant gave him power to get what he wanted, so he saw no reason to follow the larger covenant? Samson doesn’t appear to have any regard for anyone but himself. He even caused suffering to his fellow Israelites, but it didn’t appear to bother him that they were angry with him.
So after all the people who have been hurt by him, has he done any good? Has he been a hero? If so, to whom? Yes, he will kill thousands of Philistines in the end (sorry, spoilers), but does that change anything for his people? Was he a good example for them to emulate?
(Answers: No, no, no one, no change, not a good role model)