The name conjures up images of a vixon, a sultry temptress, an irresistible woman. Napoleon had his Waterloo. Samson had Delilah.
The account of Samson and Delilah may well be the most well-known episode in the Book of Judges, and one of the most popular in all the Bible. So, I need not recount it in any great detail here. Rather, let me just draw out some lessons for us:
- Many a man’s weakness is exposed by beautiful women. Samson was a lover of women, and not in any godly sense. He was promiscuous. Women were his gods far too often. As we saw last blog post, he was the proverbial ox led to slaughter. Sexual attraction between a man and woman was a good gift from God. Sin has trampled it under foot. If godly men do not “flee youthful lusts” (2 Tim 2:22) they will bring ruin into their lives. Just like Samson. Flee. Don’t fight. Flee. That’s God’s strategy for lust in our hearts.
- The longer Samson remains in a relationship with Delilah, the more stupidly arrogant he grows. When he finally did reveal the secret to his great physical strength, he awoke from his almost drunken sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free” (Judges 16:20). The next line is haunting. “But he did not know that the Lord had left him.” Sin had so blinded him that he did not even realize God was no longer in his life, giving strength to his spirit and body. The Philistines gouged out his eyes and made him a slave. But it all started with a spiritual blindness and hardness of heart. Putting a woman before God. Presuming that because God has graciously given him some victories in spite of his sin, that God would most assuredly continue to do so. Not heeding any wise counsel. The ox lowed blissfully all the way to the slaughter house!
- Delilah fades away once Samson is at the moment of his greatest need. This kind of woman always does. She hurt Samson intentionally. Played him like a fiddle. Enjoyed the sex along the way. Then moved onto the next victim once Samson’s eyeballs were plucked from their sockets. Evil is resident even in the hearts of women! Our extreme brand of feminism in America today needs to be reminded of this truth – sin is no respecter of gender. Was Samson at fault? Yes! But so was Delilah. And as far as we know, unlike Samson, she never repented or sought God’s mercy.
- God mercifully blessed Samson with His presence at the very end of his life. While working as a slave, Samson’s hair grew back. But of course the hair is merely symbolic of God’s gracious power and presence in the man’s life. Without God, Samson was nothing. Without God, nobody is anything. Samson’s simple prayer in the party hall of God’s enemies is, “O Lord remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes” (Judges 16:28). God heard that pitiful plea for mercy. And God granted the request of Samson to “Let me die with the Philistines.” Our Lord is merciful beyond compare. Our Lord will judge His enemies.
- Samson is no Jesus. This should not even need stated! But as a Judge, a Deliverer, Samson serves as an anti-type. He foreshadows Christ, but only by way of contrast. We are told “the dead whom he [Samson] killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life” (Judges 16:30). I guess from a human perspective Samson goes down as a war hero. But there’s never been a War Hero like Jesus! By His death, He kills death! By His death, Jesus brings eternal life to His people. Yes, even God’s enemies. Even a Philistine like me. As Jesus dies, He prays for His enemies, “Father, forgive them.”
Jesus is the Judge of all judges. Jesus is the Deliverer of all deliverers. The strongest of men die. But through faith in Christ, we all, from the least to the greatest, can live forever.