November 2, 2007

From the Editor Emeritus / John F. Fink

Biblical women: Delilah betrays Samson

John F. Fink(Fourteenth in a series of columns)

If you think about a man being unlucky in love, could you find a better example than Samson? When reading about him, though, one has to think that he must have been a stupid brute of a man.

Last week, I wrote about the way Samson’s wife betrayed him. She had a horrible end when the Philistines, in retribution for Samson destroying Philistine vineyards and olive orchards, burned her and her family. This further enraged Samson, who became a one-man army. At one point, Scripture says he killed a thousand men using the jawbone of an ass.

Later, Samson fell in love with Delilah. By this time, the Philistines were determined to capture Samson so they told Delilah to learn the secret of his great strength.

First, Samson told Delilah that he would be as weak as any other man if he were bound with seven fresh bowstrings. So Delilah bound him with seven fresh bowstrings while she had men lying in wait. But when she called, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson,” he snapped the strings as though they were thread.

She tried again. This time, Samson said that he would be weak if he were tied with ropes with which no work had been done. So Delilah bound him with new ropes. And once again, when she called, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson,” he broke the new ropes as though they were thread.

Delilah tried a third time. This time, Samson said that he would be weak if his seven locks of hair were woven into a web and fastened with a pin. So, while Samson slept, Delilah wove his hair. And once again, Samson was able to pull out both the weaver’s pin and the web.

Wouldn’t you think that Samson might think by now that perhaps Delilah didn’t really have his best interests at heart? But Delilah cooed, “How can you say that you love me when you do not confide in me?” She kept at him until he finally told her the truth: No razor had ever touched his hair because he had been consecrated to God. If his hair was shaved, he’d be weak.

So Delilah had Samson sleep on her lap. While he was asleep she called for a man to come in and shave his head. This time, when she called, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” he couldn’t get away as he had previously. The Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes. He was taken to Gaza, where he was put in prison.

The Scriptures don’t tell us what happened to Delilah after that. But, of course, we know what happened to Samson.

Sometime later, after his hair began to grow back, he was taken to the Philistine temple, where about 3,000 men made fun of him. He grasped the two middle columns on which the temple rested, pushed hard, and the temple fell on him and all the Philistines who were in the temple. †

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