Key Verse: “The hair of his head began to grow again.” (Judges 16:22 NKJV)
1-2 Samson went to Gaza and saw a prostitute. He went to her. The news got around: “Samson’s here.” They gathered around in hiding, waiting all night for him at the city gate, quiet as mice, thinking, “At sunrise we’ll kill him.”
3 Samson was in bed with the woman until midnight. Then he got up, seized the doors of the city gate and the two gateposts, bolts and all, hefted them on his shoulder, and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.
4-5 Some time later he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek (Grapes). Her name was Delilah. The Philistine tyrants approached her and said, “Seduce him. Discover what’s behind his great strength and how we can tie him up and humble him. Each man’s company will give you a hundred shekels of silver.”
Reflection: (Judges 16:5)
The Philistines were ruled by five rulers, not just one.
Each ruler ruled from a different city – Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, Gath, or Gaza.
Each of these cities was an important center for trade and commerce.
Given Delilah’s character, it is little wonder that she betrayed Samson when these rich and powerful men paid her a personal visit.
6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me, dear, the secret of your great strength, and how you can be tied up and humbled.”
7 Samson told her, “If they were to tie me up with seven bowstrings—the kind made from fresh animal tendons, not dried out—then I would become weak, just like anyone else.”
8-9 The Philistine tyrants brought her seven bowstrings, not dried out, and she tied him up with them. The men were waiting in ambush in her room. Then she said, “The Philistines are on you, Samson!” He snapped the cords as though they were mere threads. The secret of his strength was still a secret.
10 Delilah said, “Come now, Samson—you’re playing with me, making up stories. Be serious; tell me how you can be tied up.”
11 He told her, “If you were to tie me up tight with new ropes, ropes never used for work, then I would be helpless, just like anybody else.”
12 So Delilah got some new ropes and tied him up. She said, “The Philistines are on you, Samson!” The men were hidden in the next room. He snapped the ropes from his arms like threads.
13-14 Delilah said to Samson, “You’re still playing games with me, teasing me with lies. Tell me how you can be tied up.”
He said to her, “If you wove the seven braids of my hair into the fabric on the loom and drew it tight, then I would be as helpless as any other mortal.”
When she had him fast asleep, Delilah took the seven braids of his hair and wove them into the fabric on the loom and drew it tight. Then she said, “The Philistines are on you, Samson!” He woke from his sleep and ripped loose from both the loom and fabric!
15 She said, “How can you say ‘I love you’ when you won’t even trust me? Three times now you’ve toyed with me, like a cat with a mouse, refusing to tell me the secret of your great strength.”
Reflection: (Judges 16:15)
Samson was deceived because he wanted to believe Delilah’s lies.
Although he could strangle a lion, he could not smother his burning lust and see Delilah for who she really was.
How can you keep your desire for love and sexual pleasure from deceiving you?
- You must decide what kind of a person you will love before passion takes over.
Determine whether a person’s character and faith in God are as desirable as physical appearance.
- Because most of the time you spend with your spouse will not involve sex, your companion’s personality, temperament, and commitment to solve problems must be as gratifying as the kisses.
- Be patient.
Time and observation often reveal what is beneath the pleasant appearance and attentive touch.
16-17 She kept at it day after day, nagging and tormenting him. Finally, he was fed up—he couldn’t take another minute of it. He spilled it.
He told her, “A razor has never touched my head. I’ve been God’s Nazirite from conception. If I were shaved, my strength would leave me; I would be as helpless as any other mortal.”
Reflection: (Judges 16:16-17)
Delilah kept asking Samson for the secret of his strength until he finally grew tired of hearing her nagging and gave in.
This was the second time that Samson allowed himself to be worn down by constant nagging (Judges 4:17).
What a pitiful excuse for disobedience.
Don’t allow anyone – no matter how attractive, persuasive, or persistent – to talk you into doing wrong.
18 When Delilah realized that he had told her his secret, she sent for the Philistine tyrants, telling them, “Come quickly—this time he’s told me the truth.” They came, bringing the bribe money.
19 When she got him to sleep, his head on her lap, she motioned to a man to cut off the seven braids of his hair. Immediately he began to grow weak. His strength drained from him.
Reflection: (Judges 16:19)
Delilah was a deceitful woman with honey on her lips and poison in her heart.
Cold and calculating, she toyed with Samson, pretending to love him while looking for personal gain.
How could Samson be so foolish?
Four times Delilah took advantage of him.
If he didn’t realize what was happening after the first or second experience, surely he should have understood the situation by the fourth time!
We think Samson is foolish, but how many times do we allow ourselves to be deceived by flattery and give in to temptation and wrong beliefs?
Avoid falling prey to deceit by asking God to help you distinguish between deception and truth.
20 Then she said, “The Philistines are on you, Samson!” He woke up, thinking, “I’ll go out, like always, and shake free.” He didn’t realize that God had abandoned him.
21-22 The Philistines grabbed him, gouged out his eyes, and took him down to Gaza. They shackled him in irons and put him to the work of grinding in the prison. But his hair, though cut off, began to grow again.
Reflection: (Judges 16:21)
Samson, the mighty warrior, became a slave.
Rather than kill him, the Philistines preferred to humiliate him by gouging out his eyes and making him grind grain.
Samson now had plenty of time to wonder if Delilah’s charms were worth spending the rest of his life in humiliation.
Although God did not completely abandon Samson (Judges 16:28 – 30). he allowed Samson’s decision to stand, and the consequences of his decision followed naturally.
We may choose to be close to God or to go our own way, but there are consequences resulting from our choice.
Samson didn’t choose to be captured, but he chose to be with Delilah, and he could not escape the consequences of his decision.
Reflection: (Judges 16:21)
Blinded and without strength, Samson was taken to Gaza where he would spend the rest of his short life.
Gaza was one of the five capital cities of the Philistines.
Known for its many wells, Gaza was a vital stop along a great caravan route that connected Egypt to the south with Aram to the north.
The Philistines probably showed off their prize captive, Samson, to many dignitaries passing through.
Ironically, it was in Gaza that Samson had earlier demonstrated his great strength by uprooting the city gates (Judges 16:1-3).
Now he was an example of weakness.