Title: Judges 16. Samson part 12 - The decline and fall of Samson.
Samson and Delilah
JDG 16:4 After this it came about that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.
JDG 16:5 And the lords of the Philistines came up to her, and said to her, "Entice him, and see where his great strength lies and how we may overpower him that we may bind him to afflict him. Then we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver."
The believer's strength of soul and heart lies with God alone and not in any human talent or trait that might be advantageous.
Samson was to rely upon God alone. If he did, his life and his end wouldn't have been so tragic.
What other people see us as is to be left in the hands of God. In order to glorify Himself, God may desire for us to look weak and frail or He might desire for us to appear strong. If we love His glory above all else, then we will be willing to be as He chooses, and that takes tremendous faith.
Without God the unbelieving world is constantly in competition with itself over human traits of intellect, strength, influence, power, pleasure, and wealth. On and on, generation after generation they fight for prowess and recognition and on and on they grow old and die in weakness, alone, and with nothing. Each generation is fooled and they purposely ignore the warning signs that have been posted by the generations who have gone before them, as they did in Israel, and by those who have been set free in their own generation.
Nothing and no one but Christ is responsible for our strength, contentment, and happiness. He provides it abundantly.
Christ's riches are said to be unfathomable.
He came to give us life. His life demands power. There is never a reason that we should look for it anywhere else or in anyone else.
apart from Me you can do nothing.
Of course, Delilah could have killed Samson in his sleep, but the kings of the Philistines are smarter than this. If they can make him weak and capture him alive then they can humiliate him and claim that they are superior to the Jews and their gods are superior to Israel's God.
They don't want to make him a martyr. They want to humiliate him so they can portray their own superiority and that of their god Dagon.
We should note that the Philistines are not monotheistic. They believe in many gods of which Dagon is the greatest.
How soon people forget the truth and reality of their false position. It had already been clearly shown to the Philistines that their god Dagon was in fact not a god at all. A little less than 20 years prior to the death of Samson, the ark of the covenant had been placed in the temple of Dagon in Ashod and it destroyed the image of Dagon. 20 years was all it took to forget that reality and to now boast of the power of Dagon over Jehovah as Samson was humiliated before them at Dagon's great festival.
1SA 5:1 Now the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod.
1SA 5:2 Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it to the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.
1SA 5:3 When the Ashdodites arose early the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set him in his place again.
Dagon face down before the ark is a picture of Dagon worshipping Jehovah.
1SA 5:4 But when they arose early the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. And the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off on the threshold; only the trunk of Dagon was left to him.
1SA 5:5 Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor all who enter Dagon's house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.
The Philistines, not believing in one true God, only thinks of the ark as a religious relic that will give them the favor of Jehovah. By putting the ark in Dagon's temple they were sure that Jehovah would submit to Dagon.
Why doesn't God destroy the image of Dagon at once. In the first instance the image is found face down on the ground before the ark in a position of worship of the ark. This is a warning and a sign.
The city of Ashod not only lost their image to Dagon but all the people of Ashod were ravaged with disease. The ark was moved to Gath and the same diseases struck them as well. They sent it to Ekron who refused to let it enter and they sent it back to Israel with offerings unto Jehovah.
God is going to use Samson to destroy the image of Dagon at Gaza. Samuel will defeat them at Ebenezer. Soon after David will defeat the Philistine Goliath and all their army.
During these years God is teaching Israel and their enemies. It would seem that hardly anyone was listening.
Back to Delilah.
They will each give Delilah 1,100 pieces of silver. There are probably five kings and so she will get 5,500 pieces of silver to betray Samson. Judas betrayed the Son of God for only thirty.
JDG 16:6 So Delilah said to Samson, "Please tell me where your great strength is and how you may be bound to afflict you."
JDG 16:7 And Samson said to her, "If they bind me with seven fresh cords that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and be like any other man."
"fresh cords" - animal tendons that have not been dried. This is also a violation of the Nazirite vow and shows that Samson is uncaring about God's law.
Fresh animal tendons are considered something dead.
JDG 16:8 Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh cords that had not been dried, and she bound him with them.
JDG 16:9 Now she had men lying in wait in an inner room. And she said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" But he snapped the cords as a string of tow snaps when it touches fire. So his strength was not discovered.
Samson's already been betrayed by a Philistine woman. He certainly must have had suspicions about her. He is amusing himself at her expense.
Seven is God's number of perfection. His lie is an actual hint. His pride and lust combine to embolden him.
Being so bold and prideful will make a person think he can walk close to the edge of destruction without falling off. This is the foolishness of pride. Don't think you stand, lest you fall. Stay away from that edge.
The Philistine leaders supply the cords and so we see that Delilah is in direct contact with them.
Samson is giving a hint in indicating that seven cords be used. Seven is the number of God's perfection and completion. Growing up in a faithful home he would have known that. He could be hinting that Jehovah is the source of his strength, meaning that he really does want to tell her or at least play games that are close to telling, which he would do one too many times. It could be that his decline to fully revealing everything to her has begun.
When the men lying in wait saw the cords snap, they probably high tailed it out of there.
JDG 16:10 Then Delilah said to Samson, "Behold, you have deceived me and told me lies; now please tell me, how you may be bound."
Liars are always offended when they are lied to.
JDG 16:11 And he said to her, "If they bind me tightly with new ropes which have not been used, then I shall become weak and be like any other man."
JDG 16:12 So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" For the men were lying in wait in the inner room. But he snapped the ropes from his arms like a thread.
Samson comes closer to the truth. Unused ropes have not touched anything unclean - a hint at the Nazirite vow. The first hint was the number 7 - a hint towards Jehovah.
The third hint will bring Delilah right to the doorstep of the truth. It would seem that since she first asked him, he has been wanting to tell her. He must understand that his strength may leave him, which would spell disaster for Israel. The Philistines will retaliate against Israel more harshly if they capture Samson. Samson doesn't seem to care about his country, his parents, and most importantly, he doesn't care much for God or His law.
Why didn't Samson rally the people? Why didn't he try to convince the leaders of Judah that with him at the head of an army under the power of God the Holy Spirit they could not be defeated? He never raised an army and he never called Israel to repentance. He only sought for the things that satisfied himself. There is no fruit in such a life. There is loneliness and weakness and frustration. When God tells us to live for others, to consider others as more important than ourselves, He is giving us the way of that which is life indeed.
JDG 16:13 Then Delilah said to Samson, "Up to now you have deceived me and told me lies; tell me how you may be bound." And he said to her, "If you weave the seven locks of my hair with the web [and fasten it with a pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man."
JDG 16:14 So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his hair and wove them into the web]. And she fastened it with the pin, and said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" But he awoke from his sleep and pulled out the pin of the loom and the web.
What you see in brackets was added at a later time to help clarify the sentence, but it is not found in any Hebrew manuscript.
Third hint - hair. Seven is mentioned again indicating Jehovah. He has given three hints: Jehovah, Nazirite, and hair.
Getting closer and closer to revealing makes it easier to finally reveal everything. It's like toying with a certain category of sin. The more we consider it, the more we put ourselves in the path of temptation, the more we flirt with it, the easier it is to take the last step and head into it resulting in great hurt.
Delilah persists and takes things a step further. Up to now she has accused Samson of lying to her, but now she questions his love. She obviously does not love him and so any care for his love is only selfish and self-serving. Though it is purely human love, it would seem that Samson actually loves her and she saves this as her trump card. She questions his love as if she would question his manhood or integrity.
I have seen liars do this quite often. When they don't get what they want they start to attack the character of their prey when they have only a very low character themselves.
JDG 16:15 Then she said to him, "How can you say, 'I love you,' when your heart is not with me? You have deceived me these three times and have not told me where your great strength is."
JDG 16:16 And it came about when she pressed him daily with her words and urged him, that his soul was annoyed to death.
Solomon who had a thousand women in his tents knew this well.
It is better to live in a corner of a roof,
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
It is better to live in a desert land,
Than with a contentious and vexing woman.
A constant dripping on a day of steady rain
And a contentious woman are alike;
Samson's wife nagged him to death and he gave her the solution to his ridiculous riddle. Someone commented to me that Samson keeps finding women who nag. After I thought about that I started to think that Samson was very "naggable." He certainly did not surround himself with good women, but because he was more interested in personal gratification than he was in virtue, nagging worked well upon him, and non virtuous women pick up on that pretty quickly. If the nagging didn't work so well, they probably would have stopped.
JDG 16:17 So he told her all that was in his heart and said to her, "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 shall become weak and be like any other man."
Human love is blind because it can so quickly cause fear and anxiety. Samson fears losing her response to his love more than he fears God.
A similar circumstance occurred in the Garden of Eden.
Because human love contains this weakness along with many others, people, Christians included, end up in very bad relationships.
Humanity is constantly changing, and changing again, the standards of human love and human relationships. This is the root of progressivism. Romantic love, marriage, the love of parents to children and children to parents, and the love of friendship are always being modified, but never into something new. Humanity only puts different words on the same things they valued in the past and shine it up and call it the next new thing. Marriages fall apart. Friendships are not real. Children and parents are miserable and families have no cohesion. Society continues in a degraded state. God sets the standard and only He is love and truth. When His standard is followed, all of these relationships blossom with beauty and goodness. They never reach perfection, but because of the grace of God, they are truly good without perfection.
God's love sees clearly and because it is in no way selfish, it never produces fear of either loss or punishment.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.