Friday, June 1, 2018

relationDips: Samson and Delilah

It's a familiar story, even if you are not a Bible reader or believer.
When people want to commend men on their strength they'll often call them Samson. The name of this Biblical judge who led Israel for 20 years is synonymous with strength, but just as significant as his superhuman strength was his weakness for women. One cannot think of Samson without also thinking of Delilah. She was the instrument of his ultimate downfall, but Samson had been playing with fire ever since his hormones kicked in.

Much to the disappointment of his parents, Samson chose a Philistine, a foreigner, as his first wife. The wedding night ended in disaster. Samson did not get to marry the woman he desired, and as a result of her betraying him, he blew his stack and went on a murderous rampage. The woman was then given to another man. We are also told in the book of Judges that Samson visited a prostitute on one occasion. No doubt that wasn't the only time, and some time afterwards he met Delilah, and he fell hard.

Samson seems to have enjoyed games. The riddle he posed to the Philistines who attended his wedding had a wager attached to it, and his toying with Delilah resulted in her getting angry with him and accusing him of not loving her. What Samson didn't know was that she had been paid a hefty sum of money to find out the secret of Samson's strength. Three times he gave her false information and three times she betrayed him. A guy with his head screwed on, one who wasn't thinking with his penis, would have decided after the first betrayal that perhaps Delilah was not someone he could trust. Given his position as Judge of Israel and the fact that he was a Nazarite (dedicated to God from birth: no strong drink or haircuts), some may wonder why he played such dangerous games.

Image result for samson' storyWhen Delilah played the 'you don't love me card' she easily manipulated Samson into revealing his secret. She cut his hair while he slept then called in her Philistine paymasters who burned out Samson's eyes and dragged him away into slavery. Imagine how he felt, blind and chained to a grinding mill walking in circles day after day.

He had a lot of time to reflect on what had happened and I suspect at some point he realized what a fool he had been, and surely accepted his fate as the consequence of putting his relationships with women above his calling from God. He might have wondered how his life would have turned out differently if he had taken his parents' advice and married an Israelite. If he had been content. If he had been obedient. If he had used his brain to make decisions. If he had not sought exotic food and sensual stimulation.

The thing is most men will face this struggle with their sex drive at some stage. Men who become addicted to sex. Men who allow resentment to fuel sexual misconduct. Men who allow boredom to drive them to dangerous pursuits. Men who grow weary of sandwiches and want to eat seafood platters. Men who aren't satisfied with one serving. 

Leaving aside Samson's superhuman strength, his story is something to which many people can relate. An inability to control appetite, and the suffering brought about by poor choices.

Samson repented and asked God for a grand finale to his life: one last display of his faith and God's power. He died in a glorious manifestation of the superhuman strength which was his gift from God: a gift which he had wasted and abused.

Despite Samson's bizarre life, of which we only read a little in the book of Judges- chapters13-16, he is considered to be a hero of the Christian faith. Hebrews 11:32-34 mentions Samson alongside David, arguably Israel's greatest king. (David also had a big problem with women, but that's another story.) Hebrews 11 states that these men and all the others listed, conquered kingdoms, administered justice and had their weakness turned into strength.

Makes you think, doesn't it?


  1. Interesting that you should post about this Biblical story. I've had it on my mind the last few weeks...not for any particular reason. Just keeps popping up.

  2. I reckon when things keep 'popping up', there's a message in there somewhere. I appreciate the comment Tonja. Thanks.