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Sunday, April 29 2012

Delilah: Why The Fatal Attraction?

"Samson and Delilah" has become one of the most familiar "Bible stories" to many people - who regard it to simply be about an immoral woman, and an immoral and foolish (although the two characteristics are usually found together) man who became involved with her. But there is actually much more to the "story." Samson would not have even been born if not for the purpose for which the LORD had created him (see also John's Congregation and What Was Strange About John The Baptist?; also Lethal Lust) - to confront the Philistines, who had been permitted to trouble Israel because of their foolish, unfaithfulness to the LORD. In order to understand "Samson and Delilah," one must understand what occurred before, and led to, the fatal attraction of Samson and Delilah.

The "story" begins at the time of Joshua's passing (see also Why Did Joshua Lead Israel Across The Jordan?). Although they were then established in their promised land, each tribe with their own territory, thereafter "the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers," so the LORD "sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies." The "children" squandered the nation that had been founded by their forefathers and foremothers (see also Satan's Fall: From Conservative To Liberal).

Tribal Map

"2:8 And Joshua, the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD [i.e. of Jesus Christ; see Appearances Of The LORD God and The Church In The Wilderness], died, being an hundred and ten years old. 2:9 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.

2:10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. 2:11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: 2:12 And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. 2:13 And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. 2:14 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. 2:15 Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed." (Judges 2:8-15 KJV)

Much of the book of Judges is about various tribal leaders (e.g. Othniel, Ehud, Gideon, Deborah, and others) who were given to deliver Israel from those that the LORD had enabled to trouble them, for a prescribed time, because the Israelites became unfaithful to the LORD. Over and over it happened. One of the deliverers was chosen even before he was born, to parents who had been unable to have children. Samson would not have been born if not for the LORD i.e. "Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son." Why the special birth? "For the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb."

"13:1 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.

13:2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites [see also Dan's Galilee Panhandle], whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. 13:3 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. 13:4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: 13:5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines." (Judges 13:1-5 KJV)

So Samson was born, filled with the Holy Spirit - and on a collision course with the Philistines (see also Who Has A Spirit Of Confrontation?).

"13:24 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. 13:25 And the spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol." (Judges 13:24-25 KJV)

When he had grown, Samson married a Philistine woman. His parents disapproved, "But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel."

"14:1 And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. 14:2 And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife.

14:3 Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines?

And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well. 14:4 But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel. 14:5 Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him. 14:6 And the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done. 14:7 And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well." (Judges 14:1-7 KJV)

The marriage did not last. It produced only great animosity between Samson and the Philistines.

A Philistine Soldier

"15:1 But it came to pass within a while after, in the time of wheat harvest, that Samson visited his wife with a kid; and he said, I will go in to my wife into the chamber. But her father would not suffer him to go in.

15:2 And her father said, I verily thought that thou hadst utterly hated her; therefore I gave her to thy companion: is not her younger sister fairer than she? take her, I pray thee, instead of her.

15:3 And Samson said concerning them, Now shall I be more blameless than the Philistines, though I do them a displeasure. 15:4 And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails. 15:5 And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives.

15:6 Then the Philistines said, Who hath done this? And they answered, Samson, the son in law of the Timnite, because he had taken his wife, and given her to his companion.

And the Philistines came up, and burnt her and her father with fire. 15:7 And Samson said unto them, Though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease." (Judges 15:1-8 KJV)

Samson repeatedly involved himself with other Philistine women, mostly harlots - a pattern of behavior that would soon lead Samson to Delilah.

"16:1 Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her. 16:2 And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him.

16:3 And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron." (Judges 16:1-3 KJV)

"And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah"

The Philistines were mighty warriors (the famous Goliath was a Philistine), but they were unable to kill Samson. From their bloody experiences with him, they came to realize that there was something special about him. When Samson involved himself with another of their women (a habit that, in itself, must have been particularly vexatious and provocative to the Philistine warriors), this time Delilah, they offered to make her a rich woman if she could uncover Samson's secret: "we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver."

Gaza

"16:4 And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 16:5 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.

16:6 And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.

16:7 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.

16:8 Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them. 16:9 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.

16:10 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.

16:11 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.

16:12 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.

16:13 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. 16:14 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. 16:15 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." (Judges 16:4-15 KJV)

Samson did not give up the secret easily - but with the incentive of being paid a great amount of money, Delilah didn't give up easily either. Eventually, he revealed that "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." There was nothing "magic" about his hair; it was the breaking of the vow that caused the power from the Holy Spirit to leave.

Samson and Delilah

"16:16 And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?] was vexed unto death;

16:17 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.

16:18 And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath showed me all his heart.

Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand.

16:19 And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.

16:20 And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson.

And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.

16:21 But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.

16:22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven." (Judges 16:16-22 KJV)

Samson was captured and barbarically tortured - including blinding. When the opportunity came ("the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport"), Samson prayed "O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines." The LORD answered his prayer, in order to complete the very life's purpose of Samson, as stated earlier, "he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel." Although his death was horrendous, Samson's life now awaits him (see the Fact Finder question below).

Samson

"16:23 Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.

16:24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us.

16:25 And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport.

And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.

16:26 And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them.

16:27 Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.

16:28 And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.

16:29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. 16:30 And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines.

And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.

16:31 Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father.

And he judged Israel twenty years." (Judges 16:23-31 KJV)

Fact Finder: (a) Is Samson recorded among the faithful who will be in the Kingdom of God? (b) Why?
(a) Hebrews 11:32,39 (read all of Hebrews chapter 11)
(b) See Lessons Of Perseverance And Faith; also The Church In The Wilderness


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This Day In History, April 29

711: During the Islamic conquest of Hispania, Moorish troops under Tariq ibn-Ziyad invaded Gibraltar (the "Crusades" were a centuries-long struggle between the followers of the Church of Rome and the followers of Muhammad; see A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).

1289: Qala'un, the Sultan of Egypt, captured Tripoli.

1429: The fabled "Joan of Arc" entered Orleans, seven months into the siege of the city in the Hundred Years War.

1587: English warships under English explorer and naval commander Francis Drake sank at least 23 ships of the Spanish fleet in the Bay of Cádiz.

1607: The first Anglican church in the New England colonies was established at Cape Henry, Virginia.

1628: Sweden and Denmark concluded a treaty for the defense of Stralsund, which brought Sweden into the Thirty Years War.

1661: The Chinese Ming dynasty occupied Taiwan.

1672: During the Franco-Dutch War, Louis XIV of France invaded the Netherlands.

1770: English explorer and naval commander James Cook arrived at and named Botany Bay, Australia.

1813: Rubber was patented.

1852: The first edition of Peter Roget's Thesaurus was published.

1858: Austrian troops invaded Piedmont.

1881: State-incited pogroms against Jews in Russia began, resulting in major flight of Jews from Russia westwards. Some consider this date in Jewish history to be the most important since the Jewish expulsion from Spain in 1492. Of those emigrants, over 2,000,000 went to the U.S. alone, creating a powerful presence of Jews in the U.S. (New York City is today the largest Jewish-population city on earth).

1913: The "zipper" was patented by Swedish engineer Gideon Sundback as a "separable fastener."

1916: After a siege of 143 days, the British surrendered Kut-el-Amara to the Turks.

1945: Closing events of the Second World War in Europe - the German army surrendered; Venice and Mestre were captured by the Allies; in Berlin, Adolf Hitler married his mistress Eva Braun just hours before they committed suicide (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).

1946: 28 former Japanese leaders were indicted by U.S. occupation forces in Tokyo for war crimes (that included the "water boarding" torture of prisoners) during the Second World War. Some were later executed.

1965: The Australian government announced that it would send troops to Vietnam.

1965: Malta became the 18th member of the Council of Europe.

1967: After refusing induction into the United States Army the day before (citing Muslim religious reasons), Muhammad Ali was stripped of his championship boxing title.

1972: In Burundi, the deposed King Ntare V was killed in an abortive coup.

1973: In a futile attempt to stop the Watergate criminal investigation from reaching him, President Richard Nixon requested resignations of two of his top political associates, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman.

1981: In England, Peter Sutcliffe admitted that he was the "Yorkshire Ripper."

2005: Syrian troops left Lebanon after 29 years of occupation.

2011: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Kate Middleton were married.





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