And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver. And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.( Judges 16:4-6)
Samson, like so many other of God’s servants , served as a prophetic type of Christ. His birth, ministry, marriage, and extraordinary exploits in the power of the Holy Spirit were a prophetic “Pre-telling” of the Coming of the true Messiah, Jesus Christ, and the Salvation He would accomplish.
But Samson was not Jesus, He was an imperfect man. Towards the end of his ministry He “loved a woman”, named Delilah.
In a kind of inversion of the original marriage story in chapter 14, The woman was bribed, in order to get her to find out the secret of Samson’s strength.
However it is likely (in my view) that there was a difference between this woman .Delilah and Samson’s wife. Delilah was not a Philistine, as many assume, but an Israelite. Several factors point to this inclusion,
- She lived in Judahite territory
- Samson felt extremely comfortable to the point of being unguarded with her.
- The Philistines had to pay a large bribe to get her to betray Him. ( to overcome natural loyalties or sympathies)
- The textual similarities between what she did and what Judah did in chapter 15, (Binding him with rope)
In his overconfidence, Samson took Delilah’s entreaties as a kind of game.
And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them. Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known. ( Judges 16:4-8)
Delilah may indeed have been an Israelite, someone Samson trusted as an “insider” and with whom he could troll the Philistines with his silly games, but in her heart , Delilah had more affinity with the Pagans, taking the side of God’s enemies.
And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And he brake them from off his arms like a thread. And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web. And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web.( Judges 16:9-14)
As far as Sampson was concerned, the game just went on, trolling Delilah and the Philistines. Making fun of the Pagan belief in magic, and offering ridiculous “solutions” to the mystery of Samson’s magical power,yet Samson was insensitive to the danger he was flirting with. Each time, He came closer to revealing the secret, up unto his joke about weaving his hair.
Delilah’s impatience manifested itself in tears. She cried and accused Samson of not loving her, day after day until he wearied of it, and broke down, believing still that he was confiding in an insider.
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. And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; 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. ( Judges 16:15-17)
Delilah knew upon hearing it that Samson wasn’t playing with her anymore, He had just revealed to her the secrets of his heart and strength. Immediately she sent for the Philistines, and received her 5,500 pieces of Silver for betraying the Messiah.
Samson should have remembered the nagging of his earlier wife, and how that led her to betray him. But blinded by his own lust he ignored the danger signals. Delilah, summoning the powers of her feminine charm, put him to sleep on her knees, and called for a barber who sheared Samson’s hair.
We Are told then that Delilah herself was able to “afflict ” Samson. This is the same word as the description of what Egypt had done to Israel, and what the Philistines wanted to do to Samson themselves.
This ‘affliction” of Delilah serves as a startling prophetic picture of Israel’s series of captivities and bondages throughout her history. Like Samson, Israel should have been strong, through grace to overcome their enemies, but because she had been seduced, time and again, into playing the harlot, Israel had been weakened and even made subservient as a penalty for forsaking God.
The strong man is reduced to lying on the lap of a bitter enemy, and being tormented and afflicted by a harlot!
When Samson awoke, he assumed that all would be as before, but he had been shorn of his hair. (Remember it was never merely the hair, but what the unshorn hair pointed to, ie total devotion to God himself. There was nothing “magic “about Samson’s hair, rather it was the Nazarite vow of his life, which made Him so strong. Now that Vow had been broken…).
The Philistines blinded Samson, hoping this would keep him from ever fighting them again, should his strength somehow return. But in blinding Samson, they were demonstrating to all the true spiritual condition of Israel. Like Samson, she had played the harlot with foreign culture and gods, and as a result was weakened and blinded and in captivity to her enemies.
Finally Samson is attached to a circular grain grinding mill, like an ox. He would grind grain as a slave. But the Philistine god, Dagon was the god of grain. In their view, Dagon had prevailed over Jahweh, and the servant of Jahweh was now the slave of Dagon. Israel , in a larger sense, was in the same position and for the same reasons.
As the newly blinded and shorn Samson, toiled in humiliation, walking in circles, chained to a millstone lever, and mocked by his enemies in the very city ,Gaza, in which he had carried off the city gates, one small detail remained un-noticed…. his hair began to regrow.