Samson and Delilah

Samson judged Israel 20 years. For 20 years he was the representative of God. He was faithful to Him and by God's power did many and signs wonders. At first the people of Judah was ready to deliver him to the Philistines as a trouble maker but God makes a point in saying twice that he judged Israel 20 years. God does not elaborate on the faithfulness of Israel at the time or if the Philistines were driven out of their countryside so we do not know. But, Samson judged Israel 20 years.

Samson was human, with human desires, frailties and strengths. Because of his humbleness to God and his Nazarite vow God was able to do many mighty things for him. As Samson's manner was, he would seek occasion against the Philistines. Here he is at it again:

Judges 16
:1 Then went Samson to Gaza,
    and saw there an harlot,
    and went in unto her.
:2 And it was told the Gazites, saying,
        Samson is come hither.
    And they compassed him in,
    and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city,
    and were quiet all the night, saying,
        In the morning,
            when it is day,
        we shall kill him.
:3 And Samson lay till midnight,
    and arose at midnight,
    and took the doors of the gate of the city,
    and the two posts,
    and went away with them,
        bar and all,
    and put them upon his shoulders,
    and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.

We must take a minute to look at this. Without due consideration the magnitude will be lost. I am sure that it is acts like this that kept the Philistines at bay. First of all Gaza is one of the five principal cities of the Philistines, a large city on the trade route from the north to Egypt. At that time cities were constructed with a wall around them to protect the inhabitants. The larger the city and more wealthy the inhabitants the thicker and stronger the walls are. The gates will be substantial as well; they would have to be, they could be the weakest section. Gaza is the southern most Philistine city and subject to attack frequently.

The gates would be made of wood, thick, and as tall as the walls. It is customary for them to have metal sheathing covering them so that they would not be easily burned. The posts that they would hang on would also be heavy duty. The bar used to secure the doors would need to be very strong so as not to be easily broken. The weight of the doors, posts and bar could have easily been two tons. Imagine that; two tons, and Samson carried them away on his shoulders. That is not all, God tells us that he carried them to the hill before Hebron. Look at the map "Israel in Canaan." Gaza is on the coast and Hebron is about thirty miles away in the hills. I have a relief map in my bible called the Divided Monarchy and it shows me the terrain and the two cities. It is twenty miles from Gaza to the beginning of the hills west of Hebron. Samson carried this huge 4,000 pound load approximately 20 miles. Do you think that would make an impression on the Philistines? Who is going to go retrieve their gate? How are they going to get it back?

Samson's downfall, many believe, was a woman, Delilah, or that his strength was in his hair. Delilah was merely an instrument, his hair a symbol. Samson loved Delilah, a Philistine, and the lords of the Philistines contacted her and offered her a bribe to find out Samson's strength (Judges 16). Three times Samson told Delilah something to appease her pleas and each time she tried to trap him so the Philistines could capture him. Her persistent daily pleadings where hard to contend with.

Judges 16
:15 And she said unto him,
        How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me?
        thou hast mocked me these three times,
        and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth.
:16 And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words,
        and urged him,
    so that his soul was vexed unto death;

Imagine this, vexed unto death. The Hebrew word for vexed is qatsar and is used to indicate a shortening or harvest; basically, to reduce in size literally or figuratively. It is also translated as: cut down, much discouraged, grieve, harvestman, lothe, mourn, reap(-er), (be, wax) short(-en, -er), straiten, trouble and vex. So you get the idea; Delilah hounded him daily, always bringing it up, complaining that he didn't love her.

This mental abuse wears away at a person. * God says that he was vexed unto death. He was worn away to the point that he no longer wished to keep his vow. This is a dangerous situation to be in. If you find yourself in a situation where something is wearing on you to the point that in compromises your faith in God something has to change.

Samson's soul--his innermost being--was so troubled and beat down, worn away that:

:17 That he told her all his heart, and said unto her,
        There hath not come a razor upon mine head;
            for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb:
    if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me,
    and I shall become weak,
    and be like any other man.
:18 And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart,
    she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying,
        Come up this once,
            for he hath shewed me all his heart.
    Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her,
    and brought money in their hand.
:19 And she made him sleep upon her knees;
    and she called for a man,
    and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head;
    and she began to afflict him,
    and his strength went from him.
:20 And she said,
        The Philistines be upon thee, Samson.
    And he awoke out of his sleep, and said,
        I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself.
        And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.

Why did Samson lose his strength? He allowed his Nazarite vow to be broken. Delilah had so worn Samson down with her continual pleadings that he gave in. The vow required that he do not shave his head. As long as he kept his vow God gave him the great strength he needed to combat the Philistines. When he walked away from adhering to the Word of God he walked away from God.

The consequences of his behavior ultimately cost him his life. When he could not escape the Philistines bored out his eyes and put him to work like an ox in a mill. Then in one of their pagan rituals they brought Samson out to ridicule him and praise their god Dagon. After they had been drinking heavily they 'made sport' with him (a sexual term indicating homo and heterosexual behavior). However, Samson's hair had begun to grow back and he had renewed his vow and commitment to God.

:26 And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand,
        Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth,
        that I may lean upon them.
:27 Now the house was full of men and women;
    and all the lords of the Philistines were there;
    and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women,
        that beheld while Samson made sport.
:28 And Samson called unto the LORD, and said,
        O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee,
        and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once,
        O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.
:29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood,
        and on which it was borne up,
            of the one with his right hand,
            and of the other with his left.
:30 And Samson said,
        Let me die with the Philistines.
        And he bowed himself with all his might;
            and the house fell upon the lords,
            and upon all the people that were therein.
    So the dead which he slew at his death 
        were more than they which he slew in his life.
        [these were the rulers of the Philistines also-prominent people]
:31 Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down,
        and took him,
        and brought him up,
        and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol
            in the buryingplace of Manoah his father.
    And he judged Israel twenty years.

The cruelty that the devil orchestrates to afflict people is loathsome. Humans, by nature, will not torture and kill each other. There are spiritual influences at work (Eph. 6:12) that cause such extreme behavior. Satan is the author of death (Heb. 2:14), he wants to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). God does not afflict people to make them more humble. He is light and Him is no darkness at all (I John 1:5). We must stand against the wiles of the devil. God has given us the tools to do so.

Ephesians 6
:10 Finally, my brethren,
    be strong in the Lord,
    and in the power of his might.
:11 Put on the whole armour of God,
        that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
:12   For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,
        but against principalities,
        against powers,
        against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
        against spiritual wickedness in high places.
:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God,
    that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day,
    and having done all, to stand.
:14 Stand therefore,
        having your loins girt about with truth,
        and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
:15   And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
:16 Above all,
        taking the shield of faith,
            wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
:17   And take the helmet of salvation,
        and the sword of the Spirit,
            which is the word of God:
:18   Praying always
            with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,
        and watching thereunto
            with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Proverbs 19:13 A foolish son is the calamity of his father: 
    and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.
Proverbs 27:15 A continual dropping in a very rainy day 
    and a contentious woman are alike.
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