The story of Samson and Delilah can be found in chapter 16 of the Book of Judges. The story begins with the announcement of Samson’s birth by the angel of the Lord (Judges 13:1–24). In fact, Samson’s birth was divinely preannounced to his parents (Judges 13:3). This announcement is similar to the impending births of Isaac, John the Baptist, and Jesus were also declared by the visitation of an angel. Samson, whose name means “sunshine,” was born sometime between 1045 BC and 1000 BC, during a dark period of Israel’s history. Historically, the nation had turned from God seven times and now they found themselves under the oppressive rule of the Philistines.
Set Aside for God
Samson was born a Nazirite, meaning he was “set aside” for God. This meant he had to obey certain lifestyle rules. For example, Samson was not supposed to drink wine. He couldn’t go near or touch a dead body (human or animal) and he could not cut his hair. Samson ignored many of these rules and relied upon his own strength and abilities rather than upon God’s. He conveniently forgot that it was God who had provided him with the supernatural strength needed to deliver the people of Israel from the Philistines (Judges 13:5). Samson’s weakness for Philistine women would lead to his demise(Judges 14:1–3, 16:1–22). His insatiable appetite for female companionship became far more important to him than God’s will (Deuteronomy 7:3).
Betrayed By Lust
During his wedding to his first Philistine wife, Samson was humiliated by his new bride and his wedding guests (Judges 14:1–15). Samson sought revenge and personally killed 1,000 men (Judges 15:1–20). Upon the death of his bride, he found a new obsession with Delilah. In the midst of their passionate love affair, Samson revealed the secret of his strength. Delilah did not hesitate to use this information against him. As he slept, Delilah ordered a servant to cut Samson’s hair. As a result, he was captured, blinded, and forced to grind grain for his enemies. Eventually, while in prison, Samson’s strength did return, and he died while destroying the temple of the Philistine god Dagon, killing thousands of Philistines (Judges 16:1–31).
Lessons from Samson & Delilah
There are many valuable lessons we can learn from the story of Samson and Delilah. Samson had immense potential, however, his life was overshadowed by his sins. The lesson for us is that the deeper we allow ourselves to be influenced by the allurement of sin, the more blind we become. Judges 16:21 reminds us that like Samson, people can be spiritually blind long before any physical vision loss may occur.
Sin has consequences. It prevents us from becoming the version of ourselves that God wants us to be. Sin can both “bind” and “blind” us from a purposeful life. We pay deeply for our sins and we must remember that God can use the wicked as well as the righteous to accomplish His will. In knowing this, we must also accept that nothing we do, whether righteous or wicked, will prevent God from exerting His will.
Despite Samson’s weaknesses, he did turn back to God before he died (Judges 16:28–30). God in His sovereignty used Samson to fulfill His purpose. God saw Samson as a man of faith. Samson let himself be used by God, but we must remember that God could have used him regardless of his immense physical strength. God is always willing to meet each of us where we are. He will take us where we need to be. Sometimes, we just have to let go and let God place us where he wants us.