Thank You, Father, for loving me without limits. I praise You for Your compassion and grace toward me.
Read Judges 16:1–22
Samson and Delilah
16 One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. 2 The people of Gaza were told, “Samson is here!” So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, “At dawn we’ll kill him.”
3 But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.
4 Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. 5 The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels[a] of silver.”
6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.”
7 Samson answered her, “If anyone ties me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I’ll become as weak as any other man.”
8 Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she tied him with them. 9 With men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the bowstrings as easily as a piece of string snaps when it comes close to a flame. So the secret of his strength was not discovered.
10 Then Delilah said to Samson, “You have made a fool of me; you lied to me. Come now, tell me how you can be tied.”
11 He said, “If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I’ll become as weak as any other man.”
12 So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them. Then, with men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the ropes off his arms as if they were threads.
13 Delilah then said to Samson, “All this time you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied.”
He replied, “If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” So while he was sleeping, Delilah took the seven braids of his head, wove them into the fabric 14 and[b] tightened it with the pin.
Again she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and pulled up the pin and the loom, with the fabric.
15 Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” 16 With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it.
17 So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.”
18 When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. 19 After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him.[c] And his strength left him.
20 Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!”
He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.
21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. 22 But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.
- Judges 16:5 That is, about 28 pounds or about 13 kilograms
- Judges 16:14 Some Septuagint manuscripts; Hebrew replied, “I can if you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom.” 14 So she
- Judges 16:19 Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts and he began to weaken
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love’ (Psalm 103:8). Meditate on these words.
Samson has, until now, kept his hair on – literally, if not metaphorically! There was nothing magical about his hair – his extraordinary strength came from God. So it is that when God leaves him, his strength leaves him (20). Samson’s long hair was a sign of his devotion to God as Israel’s deliverer (13:5). His shaved head becomes a sign that idolatry has delivered him into the arms of Israel’s enemy (21). In disclosing the secret of his strength (17), Samson prostitutes himself by worshipping the god of sex. For her part, Delilah bows down to the god of money (5,18), and the Philistine rulers to the god of power (5,21). Even now these three – money, sex and power – remain a prevalent and persuasive focus for contemporary idolatry. We cannot afford to be complacent.
Given her failed attempts to discover the secret of his strength (6–16), it is inconceivable that Samson would not expect Delilah to betray him. His idolatry may therefore have been rooted in complacency. It is tragic but telling that he was apparently unaware that God – his true strength – had left him (20). Granted, God is gracious and patient, but His patience and grace should not be taken for granted.
‘Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows’ (Galatians 6:7). What are you sowing? What action do you need to take in light of this?
My God, may I never take Your grace and forgiveness for granted. Forgive me for taking Your sacrifice lightly.
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