What is the deal with Samson?

I have asked the question before but I thought I would solicit your comments yet again.  How is this guy anything more than a horny thug with violent tendencies? How is it that he is preserved in the canon as being a great leader of Israel? Can it really be that his sole divinely ordained purpose was to kill lots of Philistines (Judg. 14:4)?

What do you think?

UPDATE: The comments are going well. Please read them and add your own thoughts.

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