Would You Rather: Strength vs. Wisdom

Samson was super strong. Solomon was exceedingly wise. Which would you rather be?
Would you rather is a fun game to play, particularly when getting to know someone. A person is asked to choose betwen two things of equal desiring—making it hard to decide and opening dialouge as to why the person chooses the option they choose. Recently I stumbled accross several versions of "Would You Rather?: Bible Edition" and found the questions quite intriguing. I've decided to answer one every Sabbath. Let me know your answer to today's "Would You Rather?" in the comment section.
Would you rather have the strength of Samson or the wisdom of Solomon?

Answer: Wisdom of Solomon



Samson was a miracle baby, given to God before he was even born. His mother took a Nazarite vow for him and God granted him strength like no other. Samson had quite a few rough patches in life and struggled to live up to his calling. He was betrayed by Deliah and ended up losing both his eyes and his strength in the betrayal. Despite this, he ultimately succeeded in killing many of Israel's enemy.[1]


Solomon is the son of King David and Bathsheba who inherits the throne of Israel. Solomon asks God for wisdom and becomes the wisest man in the world. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon were all written by Solomon. Like Samson, he has moments of weakness and struggle, but ultimately fulfills God's plan.[2]


At surface level, the question is would you rather be wise or strong. There are so many situations where wisdom is more helpful than brute strength, and even in the cases where you need strength, wisdom allows you to engineer a solution. From that perspective, wisdom is an easy choice for me.

However, if you look at the lives of these two men, it becomes more nuanced. Both men struggled in life. Solomon tells us all is vanity and Samson ends up with his eyes gouged out. Solomon marries 1000 women (that can't be wise) and Samson's "claim to fame" is that he killed a lot of people.
1The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. Ecclesiastes 1:1-2 KJV
But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house. Judges 16:21 KJV
What I learned from this question and studing the lives of Samson and Solomon is that the trait itself isn't really that important. Samson had great physical strength, but he didn't have self control. He let his desire for women get him into trouble. Solomon had great wisdom, but he didn't always use that wisdom to the glory of God. The key to success is choosing to follow God, whether you are strong, or wise, or a healer, or anything else. These gifts only do you so much good if you don't fully surrender them to God.

Ultimately, I chose the wisdom of Solomon because of the contributions he made and how we remember him. I think I would rather be known as a wise person (who sometimes doesn't listen to my own advice) than someone who killed people (even if it is in the name of God or for the good the people). That's just my personal preference. Which would you choose and why?

References and Footnotes

  1. Judges 13-16
  2. 1 Kings 1-14
  3. I found many versions of "Whould You Rather?: Scripture Edition"; this question was found in both versions made by Rebecca of Out Upon the Waters and Megan of Church Leaders

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