Samson and Delilah - Story Summary:
When Samson fell for Delilah, a woman from the Valley of Sorek, it marked the beginning of his downfall and eventual demise. It didn't take long for the rich and powerful Philistine rulers to learn of the affair and immediately pay a visit to Delilah. You see, Samson was judge over Israel at the time and had been taking out great vengeance on the Philistines—but that's another story. Hoping to capture him, the Philistine leaders each offered Delilah a sum of money to collaborate with them in a scheme to uncover the secret of Samson's great strength.
Using her powers of seduction and deception, Delilah persistently wore down Samson with her repeated requests, until he finally divulged the crucial information. Having taken the Nazirite vow at birth, Samson had been set apart to God. As part of that vow, his hair was never to be cut. When Samson told Delilah that his strength would leave him if a razor were to be used on his head, she cunningly crafted her plan with the Philistine rulers.
While Samson slept on her lap, Delilah called in a co-conspirator to shave off the seven braids of his hair. Subdued and weak, Samson was captured.
Rather than killing him, the Philistines preferred to humiliate him by gouging out his eyes and subjecting him to hard labor in a Gaza prison. As he slaved at grinding grain, his hair began to grow, but the careless Philistines paid no attention. And in spite of his horrible failures and sins of great consequence, Samson's heart now turned to the Lord. He was humbled. He prayed to God—a first—and God answered.
During a pagan sacrificial ritual, the Philistines had gathered in Gaza to celebrate. As was their custom, they paraded their prized enemy prisoner into the temple to entertain the jeering crowds. Samson braced himself between the two central support pillars of the temple and pushed with all his might. Down came the temple, killing Samson and all of the people in it. Through his death, Samson destroyed more of his enemies in this one sacrificial act, than he had previously killed in all the battles of his life.
Points of Interest from the Story:
- Samson's calling from birth was to begin the deliverance of Israel from Philistine oppression (see Judges 13:5). Reading the account of Samson's life and then his downfall with Delilah, you might tend to think Samson wasted his life. He was a failure. Yet even still, he accomplished his God assigned mission.
- In fact, the New Testament doesn't list Samson's failures, nor his incredible acts of strength. Hebrews chapter 11 names him in the "Hall of Faith" among those who "through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised ... whose weakness was turned to strength." This proves that God can use people of faith, no matter how imperfectly they live their lives.
We might look at Samson and his infatuation with Delilah, and consider him gullible—stupid even. His lust for Delilah blinded him to her lies and her true nature. He wanted so badly to believe she loved him, that he repeatedly fell for her deceptive ways. After the third attempt at luring out his secret, why didn't Samson catch on? By the fourth enticement, he crumbled. He gave in. Why didn't he learn? Why did he give into temptation and give up his treasured gift?
Because Samson is just like you and me when we give ourselves over to sin. In this state, we can easily be deceived because the truth becomes impossible to see.
Question for Reflection:
Spiritually, Samson lost sight of his calling from God and gave up his greatest gift, his amazing physical strength, to please the woman who had captured his affections. In the end it cost him his physical sight, his freedom, his dignity, and eventually his life. No doubt, as he sat in prison, eyeless and zapped of strength, Samson felt like a failure.
Do you feel like a complete failure? Do you think it's too late to turn to God?
At the end of his life, blind and humbled, Samson finally realized his utter dependence upon God. Amazing grace! He once was blind, but now could see. No matter how far you've fallen away from God, no matter how big you've failed, it's never too late to humble yourself and turn over your dependence upon God. Ultimately, through his sacrificial death, Samson turned his miserable mistakes into victory. Let Samson's example persuade you—it's never too late.