About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

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Chapter 16

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ch. 16:1-22    ch. 16:23-31

Samson And Delilah (ch. 16:1 - 22)


Anyone who has been to Sunday school knows the story of this chapter. I think we've romanticized the story of Samson, and especially this part of the story, so much that we loose what the life of Samson was all about.  We  get a poor picture of who he really was.  Yes, the Lord used Samson to accomplish His will, but that does not make Samson a righteous hero to look up to.  God will, can, and does, use anyone to carry out His will.  He uses the devil, and if that is so, He can use anyone.


I don't know what you have thought, but over the years  while growing up in a church attending home, I always thought that Delilah was Samson's wife.  I think I thought this because I don't believe it was ever clearly stated that Samson was not married to her, probably to avoid introducing talk about sex outside of marriage to a younger audience.  This presents a problem as I've stated many times before.  Unless we grow out of our simple understanding of the Bible we learned in Sunday school, we will never understand the Bible as we should.    


I believe Samson was very power hungry and was a sex crazed man.


The important thing about this chapter is not that Samson's hair was the source of his strength.  It was the Lord who was the source of his strength. 


In verse 1 we see " Gaza " mentioned, a well known name in today's world".  Gaza was the area where most of the Philistine population lived.  It is on the west coast of present day Israel, where it is today.  So when you see the name "Gaza" today, you can know that this is a very old name.  It was in existence as far back as the book of Judges, which covers roughly 1400 to 1050 B.C., depending on your dating of the Israeli exit from Egypt.


Also in verse 1 we note that Samson went to visit a prostitute, and I'm sure it was not to explain the Law of Moses to her.  As we've seen with Samson, he was not a righteous man.  In my estimation he was sex crazed and a very angry man.


Samson at this point in his life was a wanted man.  The Philistines had tried to capture and kill him before without success. This time they laid in wait for him after his night with the prostitute.


We see the craftiness of Samson in verse 3. He did not spend the whole night with the prostitute.  He only spent half the night and left in the dark, probably knowing that there were men waiting to attack him once daylight came.  His strength is seen when he tore down the city gate. 


We see one very famous woman in the Bible in verse 4.  Her name is Delilah.  She was a Philistine woman who lived in the Valley of Sorek , which runs west of Jerusalem to the Mediterranean Coast.  The name "Delilah" means, "with long hair hanging down".  This might well be why Samson was attracted to her, being a man of long hair himself.  Again, we see Samson interested in a pagan woman, something the Law of Moses clearly states was not permitted by God.


Note in verse 3 the "hill that faces Hebron".  We don't know if this hill was near Hebron or just faced Hebron.  It if was near Hebron , as in, just outside Hebron ; Hebron was 40 miles away.  That's a long way to carry the gates of the city. 


From verse 5 to the end of this section in verse 22 we see the bantering back and forth of Samson and Delilah.  She was being paid by the Philistine leaders to find the secret to his strength.  She kept asking him, he'd tell her something that wasn't true; she'd test it out; find it wasn't true as well; and nag some more, until Samson finally gave in.   She had someone cut his hair while he was asleep and he lost his strength.


I would suggest that Samson had a lot to drink during these nights when Delilah attempted to get the truth from him.  All that she did in response to what Samson told her would have wakened anyone from sleep, but not Samson.  This tells me that he was probably drunk.


There are a couple things to note in this passage of Scripture.  In verse 17 Samson tells Delilah the truth.  He was a Nazirite, set apart for God from birth.  That might well have been the case but he was not living the life of a Nazirite.  He may have had some external appearance of being a Nazirite, that is, his long hair, but he certainly wasn't one in the way he lived.  The same is true with many so-called Christians today.  They have the outward appearance of being Christian, but with no inner reality that makes a difference in the way they live.  They are not true Christians.


Verse 20 states a sad fact about Samson.  It says that the Lord left him and he didn't even know it.  This is sad because it is too often true today as it has been throughout history.   There are countless Christians and countless churches, that the Lord has left and they don't even know it.  They think they are in the will of God and doing what He'd have them do, but they are so far removed from God that what they think is God's will isn't.   


Once Samson's hair was cut, the Lord left Samson.  Once the last vestige of being a Nazirite was gone, there was no more Lord in his life.  The question could be asked at this point.  Was Samson's strength really in his hair?  I think verse 20 answers the question. No, the strength was not really in his hair but the Lord.  Once the Lord left, he had no superhuman strength.


Another thing we note here is the power women have over men.  Samson was struck by lust and the lust did him in.  He loved the women.  He loved them all, and he had as many as he could get.  Sooner or later these kinds of things will do us in, and that is what happened to Samson.  His adulterous ways finally got him.


Note in verse 8 the word "thongs" in the NIV.  Here in 2012 the word "thong" means something different than what it might have meant in the 1980's when my version of the NIV was written.  A thong in the 1960's meant a sandal.  Now it means a form of underwear.   In Samson's day, the Hebrew word translated as "thong" means "bow string", as in, a string for a bow and arrow.  


The Death Of Samson (ch. 16:23 - 31)


Note that in verse 23 the Philistine god was named Dagon.  Dagon was pictured as half man and half fish.  That being said, he is the god of grain and harvest.  The Philistines figured since they finally got Samson that their god delivered him into their hands, but that's not really what happened.  It was Yahweh who actually delivered Samson to the Philistines.  He did this by simply leaving Samson to his own foolishness.  I'd suggest the same can happen to us today  If we continue both as individuals and as nations to stray from the Lord, as our western nations are doing, the Lord will step back.  We will be delivered into the hands of our enemies simply because the Lord has withheld the hedge of protection from us so our enemies can walk right in and take us over.  I also suggest that the same thing can happen to that which is called church.


In this portion of Scripture we see the strange circumstances that surrounded Samson's death.  The Philistines gouged Samson's eyes out so he could not see.  They paraded him out among thousands of people to be made a fool of.  About 3,000 men and women were at the temple where Samson was being made a fool of.  Samson asked his God to help him one last time .  God, for some reason, why, it's hard to say, probably to show the Philistines that He is God and not Dagan, He gave Samson strength one last time.  Samson pulled down the pillars of the temple, causing the temple to collapse and all 3,000 people were killed, along with Samson. It was a strange way to die, but this was the fate of Samson. 


It seems to me that the only reason why Samson was used by God was to cause problems between the Israelis and the Philistines.  That happened, and it was another form of judgment on Israel.  Samson, being the unrighteous man he was had no other use, at least in my thinking.


One of the sad facts about Samson is that when he should have been more in touch with the people of God, he was more in touch with the people of the world.  He was too comfortable with the world, as many of us are today, and such a thing will eventually do us in. 


Note how Samson's life ended.  He was willing to die as along as his enemies died as well.  This had often been the sentiment of the Jews, and is to today.   If they were to be attack by Iran with nuclear weapons, they would return with an attack on Iran with nuclear weapons.   Israelis, not all but many, are willing to die as Samson did with their enemies. 


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