Judges 16

Strength And Weakness

For reasons unknown, Samson travels to the Philistine city of Gaza. It 's hard to imagine a scenario in which it was necessary for Samson to go into a city filled with his enemies but that is precisely what he does. Samson's unbridled lust has spiraled out of control, and he visits a prostitute in the city. The men of Gaza learn that their nemesis is in town and they surround the place. The plan is simple. The men of Gaza planned to ambush Samson at the city gate and murder him the morning after his illicit encounter. Samson did not wait for the morning light, and he slipped out under cover of night. When he reached the city gate, it was locked so Samson ripped the gates, the posts, and the bar and carried them almost forty miles placing them on top of a hill that is in Hebron. It seems that Samson could not resist Philistine women and he got involved with a woman named Delilah. The Philistine lords knew that Samson would not be taken by force, so they offered Delilah an enormous sum of money to learn the secret of his strength. The Philistines intended to overpower Samson and torment him. Revenge is not obligated to follow the rules, and they asked Delilah to use her feminine wiles and seduce him in order to ascertain the information. It would seem that Samson did not trust this woman because three times he refused Delilah providing false information. Samson may not have trusted Delilah, but ultimately he could not resist her charms. Samson told Delilah that binding him with seven fresh cords would make him like other men. He told her that if he were bound with new ropes, it would make him weak. Samson assured her that weaving the seven locks of his hair into a loom would work. Each time Samson disclosed a new strategy, Delilah awakened Samson with a shout that the Philistines were upon him and he would quickly break free of his restraints. Delilah increased the pressure, and Samson could not get any relief from her nagging. Samson finally gave way and the man with great physical strength showed very little strength of character revealing his Nazirite vow and his hair which was the outward symbol. Delilah perceived that Samson had finally given her the secret and she summoned the Philistine lords to collect her bounty. Delilah coaxed Samson to sleep on her lap and instructed one of her servants shave his head. Delilah awakened Samson as before with the announcement that the Philistines were upon him. Samson roused from his slumber and believed that he would do as he had before and free himself from the Philistines, but he did not realize that the Lord had left him. Samson could not withstand this assault, and it must have come as a shock when he was seized. The Philistines gouged out Samson's eyes, brought him to Gaza, and made him grind at the mill in the prison.

Strength In Weakness

Samson is humiliated and suffers daily at the hands of his enemies. Humble and contrite, Samson's hair begins to grow back. There is nothing magical about Samson's hair, but it was a symbol of his commitment to God who gave him his strength. It seems that godly sorrow was leading to repentance. The Philistines call a feast to worship Dagon and celebrate the capture of Samson. The Philistines praised Dagon, and the entire assembly was merry. They called for Samson to come and amuse them. Samson is humiliated before the crowd, and they stood him between two pillars. From the roof, three thousand Philistines praised a false god while ridiculing Samson. Samson sensed that he was near the main pillars of the structure and he asked the young man help him locate the pillars. From a place of contrition and desperation, Samson called to the Lord and prayed for strength one last time to avenge the loss of his eyes. The Nazirite repents and asks to die with the Philistines. Samson grasped the pillars, and in his final act, he slew more Philistines than he had during the rest of his lifetime. Samson's last feat also destroyed the leadership of the Philistines. Samson's family collected his body and buried him with his father. 

Things To Consider:

  • How does Samson misuse his gift for selfish purposes?
  • How can one battle temptation?
  • Do you think the Philistines understood Samson's weakness? Why or why not?
  • How can God use a man as flawed as Samson?
  • Does character matter? Why?
  • Why is sexual temptation so strong?
  • Why did God allow Samson to suffer?
  • What is repentance?
  • Do you think Samson repented or just wanted vengeance? Why?