Reflection on the story of Samson and Delilah

Samson could have had a righteous and successful life as a leader of God’s people. Before he was born, God had chosen him for a special mission. However, Samson preferred to let his impulses and emotions rule. He removed God from the throne of his heart and chose to serve his passions which had devastating consequences in his life and the lives of others.

A bit of the story of Samson and Delilah

Samson’s parents – Manoah and his wife – had been unable to have children because the woman was barren. One day, the angel of the Lord appeared to her to give her some very important news and instructions…

You are barren and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a child. Be careful not to drink wine or any other strong drink, or eat anything unclean, because you will conceive and give birth to a son. The razor will not pass over his head, because the child is going to be a Nazirite, consecrated to God from before birth. He will begin to deliver Israel from the power of the Philistines.
(Judges 13:3b-5)

What a thrill! Not only were they going to have a son, but he would fulfill a special mission. The people of Israel were under the Philistines at that time and little Samson would have the task of starting the liberation of the people. His parents were God-fearing and did everything just as the angel of the Lord told them. Finally, the child was born.

However, over the years Samson seemed to forget his duties as a Nazirite and that the Spirit of the Lord should be his guide in everything. He was carried away by his passions and made decisions that clashed with God’s purpose for his life.

It is actually surprising to see that God, in his great sovereignty, worked even through Samson’s mistakes to fulfill his purpose of confronting and punishing the Philistines. Let’s look at some of Samson’s poor choices over the years along with their consequences.

Samson’s bad choices

1. Choose a pagan wife

Here we see a sample of impulsive character of Samson. He did not wait for his parents to look for a good woman for him among the people of Israel, as was the custom. He saw a Philistine woman whom he liked and demanded that her parents take her for him. The consequences were not long in coming…

On the way to the girl’s town for the marriage proposal, a young lion approached Samson roaring. We read in Judges 14:6 that “the Spirit of the Lord came with power on Samson, and with his bare hands he tore the lion to pieces as one to pieces a kid. But he didn’t tell his parents what he had done.”

That is the first, but not the last time that Samson hid something from his parents. After a time, on the way to the marriage celebration, Samson separated from his parents. He wanted to see what had happened to the carcass of the lion (as a Nazirite he was not to have contact with dead bodies). He saw that there was a swarm of bees and honey inside the corpse and he ate the honey. Not only that, he also brought honey to his parents though No He told them where he had gotten it.

At the wedding party, which used to last 7 days, Samson challenged 30 young Philistines who accompanied him with a riddle. The loser was to give thirty linen dresses and thirty changes of clothes to the winner. This idea caused great problems and further complicated Samson’s relationship with the Philistines.

The wife wept for days in front of Samson, pressing him for the answer. Finally, on the seventh day of the festival, Samson gave in to his pressure and gave him the answer. She then passed it on to the youngsters. They declared the answer, Samson knew that his wife had told them and he was angry.

As the loser, he was to give them the promised clothes. Samson was very angry because they had cheated. The Bible says that…

“The Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson with power, and he went down to Ascalon and defeated thirty of his men, took their belongings and gave their clothes to those who had solved the riddle”
(Judges 14:19).

Then, instead of returning to his wife, Samson went to his father’s house. As he did not return and time passed, they gave his wife as a wife to one of Samson’s friends.

2. Vent your anger

Time passed and Samson decided to go visit his wife. When he got there, the woman’s father informed him that she was now the wife of another man. Samson got angry and said:

This time I am not responsible for the damage caused to the Philistines!
(Judges 15:3)

in his anger Samson went and captured three hundred foxes (or jackals), “tie them tail to tail in pairs, and to each pair he tied a torch; then he set fire to the torches and let the foxes loose for the fields of the Philistines” (Judges 15:4-5a).

The Philistines for their part, seeing their crops destroyed, they decided to take revenge. They found out that the destruction was Samson’s doing so they went and burned Samson’s wife and her father.

But Samson said to them, “Since you acted that way, I won’t stop until I’ve gotten my revenge on you!”
(Judges 15:7)

Samson went and caused a tremendous massacre among the Philistines. Then he went to live in a cave, but the Philistines were not finished: they also wanted revenge. They went to Judah to look for Samson. The Israelites were scared because they did not want a war with the Philistines. Three thousand Israelites went to the cave where Samson was to arrest him. They tied him up and handed him over to the Philistines.

After this victory over the Philistines, Samson was very thirsty. He prayed to God and he miraculously provided water for him, opening a gully. A good reminder of Samson’s humanity and his dependence on God. By the grace of God he was still alive!

3. Visiting a prostitute

Samson had a soft spot for women, especially pagan ones. As leader and judge of the people of Israel, he needed to be prudent and wise in his decisions, but unfortunately, he was not like that. Time after time we see how he was carried away by the desires of the flesh and the passion of the eyes which is not from God (1 John 2:16). Even so, God gave him strength to defeat the enemies of the people of Israel, the Philistines.

On a visit to the town of Gaza, Samson saw a prostitute he liked and decided to spend the night with her. The news spread through the town so they surrounded the house where he was. They thought to catch him to kill him at dawn. They would finally be able to finish off Samson!

The gates of the city were closed at night, the people trusted that Samson would not be able to escape. But he did not wait until dawn. He got up in the middle of the night, ripped out the gates of the city (which must have been very heavy) along with their posts and latch, and carried it all to the top of a hill. Samson made a show of this siege to emphasize his great strength.

4. Falling in love with Delilah

Again Samson fell in love with a pagan woman: Delilah. The Philistines knew of her weakness for women and the chiefs of the people went to her with a proposal: «Seduce him, so that he reveals to you the secret of his tremendous strength and how we can defeat him (…) Each one of us will give you a thousand a hundred pieces of silver” (Judges 16:5b). The trap was set!

Delilah got to work. For several days she pressed Samson asking him what was the secret of his strength and how they could bind him. He gave her three different answers. All three times she told the Philistines who came into the room and bound Samson according to what he had said. But he managed to untie himself all three times.

It would have been logical for Samson to return home and leave Delilah when he realized that she was in cahoots with the Philistines. But no, he stayed with her. That was how strong was the power of the carnal desire he felt for her.

Samson may have thought he could keep disobeying God and then get out of trouble, but this time it was different.. For the fourth time, Delilah pleaded with him, “How can you say you love me if you don’t trust me? It’s been three times now that you mock me, and you still haven’t told me the secret of your tremendous strength” (Judges 16:15).

Samson was so fed up with Delilah’s insistence that he revealed the truth: They had never cut his hair because he was a Nazirite, consecrated to God since before he was born. If they shaved his head, he would lose his strength (Judges 16:17). She knew that this time he had indeed told her the truth.

Delilah warned the Philistines. She At last she knew the secret of Samson’s strength! She made Samson sleep on his knee and called a man to shave Samson’s head. When she warned him that the Philistines were coming to attack him, Samson thought that he would be able to escape as before…

Then she shouted, “Samson, the Philistines are on you!” Samson woke up from her dream and thought: “I’ll run away like before, and get rid of them.” But he did not know that the Lord had abandoned him.
(Judges 16:20)

What great sadness! Samson had gotten so used to living as he pleased, ignoring the voice of God, that he did not even realize that the Lord had abandoned him.

death of samson

The Philistines captured Samson, gouged out his eyes, and put him in jail to grind. Now he was his slave. They had done it! Samson would not humiliate them again. But Samson’s hair began to grow as soon as it was cut (Judges 16:22).

The princes of the Philistines decided to throw a big party in gratitude to their god for giving them Samson. There were thousands of people and they brought Samson out for fun to make fun of him. Samson asked to be placed in the middle of the columns that supported the building and prayed to god that would allow him to take revenge on the Philistines.

God heard him. Samson leaned against the two central columns and shouted:

“Let me die along with the Philistines!” He then he pushed with all his strength, and the temple collapsed on the chiefs and on all the people who were there. There were many more that Samson killed when he died than he had killed while he was alive.
(Judges 16:30)

In his last minutes of life, Samson once again received supernatural strength from God. At last, he was able to fulfill the purpose for which God had chosen him just as the angel of the Lord announced to his mother before he was born: to begin to free Israel from the power of the Philistines. It is a pity that during his life he did not focus more on living according to God’s commands.

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