Friday, September 16, 2011

The Book of Judges - Samson and Delilah

Today we will continue in our study of Samson.  Sadly, he is about to repeat a terrible mistake.
Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her.  Judges 16:1 NKJV
Samson is up to his old tricks.  There is so much wrong with this that I almost do not know where to begin.  First of all, Gaza is a city of the Phillistines.  In other words, he is on a pleasure trip to the city of his enemies, a city of the people who he has a habbit of slaughtering.   Not only is the city of Gaza physically dangerous for him, but it is also spiritually dangerous.  Gaza was not known to be an upstanding moral city.  Rather, it was the complete opposite.  It was full of every vice a man could want and Samson wanted a vice.  Tragically, he found his vice in the form of a harlot.  Samson, a judge in Israel, we visiting a harlot. 
[When] the Gazites [were told], "Samson has come here!" they surrounded [the place] and lay in wait for him all night at the gate of the city. They were quiet all night, saying, "In the morning, when it is daylight, we will kill him." And Samson lay [low] till midnight; then he arose at midnight, took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two gateposts, pulled them up, bar and all, put [them] on his shoulders, and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron. Judges 16:2-3 NKJV
The Gazites heard Samson was in town, sealed the gates of the city, and were ready to ambush him in the morning when he tried to leave.  Samson hid out with his prostitute until midnight and in the middle of the night, he left the city.  He left, of course, by lifting and carrying the entire gate of the city.  He carried it about 25 miles.  Yes, he was strong! 
Afterward it happened that he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name [was] Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, "Entice him, and find out where his great strength [lies], and by what [means] we may overpower him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and every one of us will give you eleven hundred [pieces] of silver."  Judges 16:4-5 NKJV
Samson certainly had a thing for Phillistine women.  Unfortunately, the only they that had for him was manipulation.  Samson fell for Delilah, yet another Philistine woman. Her countrymen bribed her to find out the secret of his strength.  She was very willing to accept their bribe.
So Delilah said to Samson, "Please tell me where your great strength [lies], and with what you may be bound to afflict you." And Samson said to her, "If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings, not yet dried, then I shall become weak, and be like any [other] man." So the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings, not yet dried, and she bound him with them. Now [men were] lying in wait, staying with her in the room. And she said to him, "The Philistines [are] upon you, Samson!" But he broke the bowstrings as a strand of yarn breaks when it touches fire. So the secret of his strength was not known.  Judges 16:6-9 NKJV
Samson has been around this block before and he sees right through her ploy.  Samson decides he is going to have some fun this time and let on as though he gave away the secret to his strength.  She binds him with seven fresh bow strings as he said that those would be able to hold him.  The Philistines come in to ambush him.  I bet they were very surprised when Samson broke those strings as though they were nothing.
Then Delilah said to Samson, "Look, you have mocked me and told me lies. Now, please tell me what you may be bound with." So he said to her, "If they bind me securely with new ropes that have never been used, then I shall become weak, and be like any [other] man." Therefore Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them, and said to him, "The Philistines [are] upon you, Samson!" And [men were] lying in wait, staying in the room. But he broke them off his arms like a thread.   Judges 16:10-12 NKJV
I really do not know why Samson was still so hung up on Delilah.  I do not know if it was pride or if he really just loved her that much.  Either way, she tries to manipulate him again.  Once again, he tells her a lie.  She ties him up with new ropes, the Philistines ambush him, and he breaks the ropes lke they were nothing. 
Delilah said to Samson, "Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me what you may be bound with." And he said to her, "If you weave the seven locks of my head into the web of the loom"-- So she wove [it] tightly with the batten of the loom, and said to him, "The Philistines [are] upon you, Samson!" But he awoke from his sleep, and pulled out the batten and the web from the loom.   Judges 16:13-14 NKJV
Fool me once, shame on me.  Fool me twice, shame on you.  I do not know what the rule is for being fooled a third time.
Then she said to him, "How can you say, 'I love you,' when your heart [is] not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength [lies]." And it came to pass, when she pestered him daily with her words and pressed him, [so] that his soul was vexed to death, that he told her all his heart, and said to her, "No razor has ever come upon my head, for I [have been] a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any [other] man." When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, "Come up once more, for he has told me all his heart." So the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hand. Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. And she said, "The Philistines [are] upon you, Samson!" So he awoke from his sleep, and said, "I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!" But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.  Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison.   Judges 16:15-21 NKJV
Delilah badgered and badgered Samson until he was ready to finally give in and tell her his secret. He tells her that he is a Nazirite and that no razor has ever come upon his head.  He tells her that shaving his head will take his strength away.  I truly think he began to think that his strength was actually his strength.  I think that he forgot that to came form the Lord.  She lulls him to sleep and has people come in and shave his head while he sleeps.  He awakes to the sound of his wife telling him that the Philistines were upon him.  He thinks it will be business as usual.  This time, it was not.  This time he truly was in his own strength.  They caught him, put out his eyes, and made him a slave in prison.  
However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaven. Now the lords of the Philistines gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice. And they said: "Our god has delivered into our hands Samson our enemy!" When the people saw him, they praised their god; for they said: "Our god has delivered into our hands our enemy, The destroyer of our land, And the one who multiplied our dead." So it happened, when their hearts were merry, that they said, "Call for Samson, that he may perform for us." So they called for Samson from the prison, and he performed for them. And they stationed him between the pillars.  Judges 16:22-25 NKJV
The Philistines were not so bright either.  First of all, as far as they knew it was the hair on his head that was his strength.  Why in the world would they allow it to grow back?  You would think that they would shave every bit of hair that ever drew on his head.  The next and worst mistake that they made was to glory in their gods.  They gloated and praised their false gods over their capture of Samson.  His capture was of the Lord and had absolutely nothing to do with false gods.  
Then Samson said to the lad who held him by the hand, "Let me feel the pillars which support the temple, so that I can lean on them." Now the temple was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines [were] there--about three thousand men and women on the roof watching while Samson performed. Then Samson called to the LORD, saying, "O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one [blow] take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!" And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left. Then Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" And he pushed with [all his] might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who [were] in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life. And his brothers and all his father's household came down and took him, and brought [him] up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. He had judged Israel twenty years.  Judges 16:26-31 NKJV
Samson finally gets it.  Samson finally humbles himself before the Lord and asks for this one last time to have vengeance for what was done to him.  God grants him his wish at the cost of his own life.  Samson regains his strength and in one last moment, he knocks down the support pillars bringing down the building killing all who were in it, including himself.  In one foul swoop, the entire leadership of the Philistines was wiped out.  
Samson struggled with something that so many of us struggle with.  Many of us have had some significant other in our lives that we like to blame for many of our problems.  I think that just about all of those cases have more to do with our choices than they do with the other person.  While it is true that it was Samson's wife who was trying to manipulate Samson, it was Samson who fell for someone he should never have had any interest in to begin with.  Samson should never have been in Gaza and certainly should not have been looking for a wife outside his faith and among his enemies.  God may have used his strength, but it had a great cost to him.  He lost his eyes, he lost his freedom, and ultimately he lost his life.  We must make wise choices when thinking of who we want to spend our lives with. I know so many men and women alike who fall for projects that they think they can change.  I know of many others who know a man can be abusive, or a woman can be manipulative, or that their faith is questionable if present at all and yet they decide to pursue that person.  They often wonder why they get hurt.  The fact is that women should be looking for a spiritual leader.  Men should be seeking a devout woman of God.  If you marry a spiritual child, lazy bum, worldly Christian, abuser, or philanderer, why do you think you have any right to complain?  You made your choice and now you must live with it.    That "excitement" that once attracted you wears off pretty quickly, doesn't it?  That is why we must make the right choice.  We must find that God desires for us and not the person our flesh lusts after.  Samson is a stark lesson in how choosing the wrong partner can have dire consequences.  In the end, he had two wives who both manipulated him. While it is true that they both acted wrongly, they never would have had the chance if Samson was not seeking after the wrong thing.  He sewed to the flesh, and his end was destruction.  Perhaps not of his soul, but definitely of his body.  If you are single, please choose wisely.  If you married the wrong person, all I can do is urge you to pray.  You can never change that person, but God surely can. 
Say to wisdom, "You [are] my sister," And call understanding [your] nearest kin, That they may keep you from the immoral woman, From the seductress [who] flatters with her words. For at the window of my house I looked through my lattice, And saw among the simple, I perceived among the youths, A young man devoid of understanding, Passing along the street near her corner; And he took the path to her house In the twilight, in the evening, In the black and dark night. And there a woman met him, [With] the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart. She [was] loud and rebellious, Her feet would not stay at home. At times [she was] outside, at times in the open square, Lurking at every corner. So she caught him and kissed him; With an impudent face she said to him: "[I have] peace offerings with me; Today I have paid my vows. So I came out to meet you, Diligently to seek your face, And I have found you. I have spread my bed with tapestry, Colored coverings of Egyptian linen. I have perfumed my bed With myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until morning; Let us delight ourselves with love. For my husband [is] not at home; He has gone on a long journey; He has taken a bag of money with him, [And] will come home on the appointed day." With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, With her flattering lips she seduced him. Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, Till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, He did not know it [would cost] his life. Proverbs 7:4-23 NKJV

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