Posts Tagged ‘Judges’

After this it came about that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. (Judges 16:4)

For the lips of an adulteress drip honey and smoother than oil is her speech; But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. (Proverbs 5:3)

Delilah has been the subject of many works including poetry (Samson Agonistes (1671) by Milton), opera (Samson et Dalila, Saint-Saens, first performed in 1877), CASTELLO_Valerio_Samson_and_Delilah_Springfield_Quadrangle_source_sandstead_d2h_0025and oratorio (Samson, Handel, first performed at Covent Garden, London during the Lenten season in 1742). These works follow the Biblical account of Delilah pretty accurately as a scheming, money-grubbing woman with low or no morals. Some modern movies portray Delilah as a femme fatale or other romantic figure. This has more to do with selling the movie rather than telling the truth. Delilah was a selfish, cruel woman. (Also note how inaccurate most movies and pictures are. I had a hard time finding a picture of a Philistine cutting Samson’s hair. Most pictures you will find show Delilah cutting his hair.)

Most of the stories on this blog are about women that we can emulate as godly women. But we can learn lessons from the actions of women who were ungodly as well. The story of Delilah is tragic not only because of her own immorality but also because of how she used and abused one of God’s judges – Samson. This unusual story reveals God’s providence in unlikely lives.

Delilah was not the first woman to get Samson to do her bidding using her sexual charms. Before Samson became involved with Delilah he had already been married to a woman who had used her feminine wiles to entice him into revealing a secret. This angered Samson and resulted in the deaths of thirty men. Then this woman was given away to another man for a wife. You can read this tragic story in Judges, chapter 14. Samson warred with the Philistines during this time. They burnt up his first wife and her father. Samson took revenge on the Philistines, killing one thousand of them at one time with the jawbone of a donkey (Judges 15:15).

Samson had been judging Israel for twenty years when he went to visit a harlot in Gaza. The people there tried to surround and capture him. Samson showed his mighty strength when he pulled up two posts of the huge city gates and carried them up to a mountaintop. This man was so strong that he was seemingly invincible.

At least physically anyway. Morally, Samson was not such a giant. He married his first wife because she pleased him physically. He visited harlots. Into his life came Delilah.

Immediately the lords of the Philistines went to her and talked her into coaxing the secret of Samson’s great strength out of him. Delilah went along with them for 1100 pieces of silver from each of them. That was quite a fortune!

Delilah knew what power she had over Samson. One would think that after the debacle with his first wife Samaon would understand feminine wiles. But Samson was so blinded by Delilah’s charms that he could not see what she was up to. Today we would say that Samson was sexually addicted.

At first, Delilah just wheedled Samson a little. “Please tell me where your great strength is an how you may be bound to afflict you.” Samson was willing to play the game. We have to wonder if Samson remembered how his first wife played this “if you really love me, you’ll tell me” game. Perhaps he thought he could win the contest this time. In any event, Samson gave Delilah a false answer. “If they bind me with seven fresh cords that have not been dried, then I will become weak and be like any other man.” (Judges 16:6, 7) The Philistines brought her the cords and she bound Samson. She knew the Philistines were lying in wait in the next room. As soon as Samson was bound she called the conspirators in but Samson just broke the cords as if they were only threads. The Philistines left and Delilah pouted.

Two more times Delilah chided Samson to give her his secret. Two more times Samson played the game. Two more times Delilah pouted.

Then Delilah pulled out the “You don’t really love me” card that so many women use on men to get what they want. Of course, Delilah did not love Samson. She was only interested in the fortune she could get from the relationship. Samson was so blind by his need for her physical attention that he did not see that Delilah was only using him. This man who was physically strong was weak morally.

Day after day Delilah pressed him with her words until finally “his soul was annoyed to death” (Judges 16:16). It didn’t matter that he had been in this situation once before. Samson forgot everything except how to please Delilah who was obviously very attractive sexually.

Samson at last told Delilah the secret of his strength. He was speaking from his heart when he explained. “A razor has never come on my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me and I will become weak and be like any other man” (Judges 16:17).

Delilah realized that this time Samson was not toying with her but telling her the truth. She made Samson sleep on her knees. Then a man came in and shaved Samson’s head. When he awoke Samson found that he was weak. He still thought he could go out and do amazing things, but the sad truth was that God had left him.

The rest of the story is very familiar to us. The Philistines gouged out Samson’s eyes and put him into prison where he did forced labor. Where was Delilah at this time? Did she witness the mutilation of Samson’s eyes? The Bible does not say. Delilah probably couldn’t wait to run off and start spending the thousands of pieces of silver she was given by the Philistine lords.

At the end of his life Samson repented and asked God to help him defeat the Philistines once more. Samson’s hair had begun to grow back. Apparently the Philistines did not notice or forgot what that meant.

The Philistines gave a huge feast to celebrate their victory over Samson. While they were making merry they brought him out to amuse them. When Samson had asamson and pillars chance he stood by the two main supporting pillars of the feast hall. He prayed to God for help and asked that he might die with the Philistines. Samson pulled the pillars with all his might and they came down bringing all of the building with them killing 3000 men and women. We do not know if Delilah was among the revelers, but it is very likely that she died along with the others.

God must have forgiven Samson. Later the author of the book of Hebrews lists him with other great men of faith. “And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets,” who all did might deeds for God (Heb. 11:32).

What can we learn from Delilah’s story? We should be wary of men or women who try to woo us with slick speech. We should stay true to what God wants and refuse all offers that would lead us out of God’s will no matter how enticing they are. And lest we just blame others for being selfish, we should be careful that our own motives are pure when we deal with others. Let us live lives of honesty and integrity.


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