Samson and Delilah
Samson judged Israel 20 years. For 20 years he was the representative of God. He was faithful to Him and by God's power did many and signs wonders. At first the people of Judah was ready to deliver him to the Philistines as a trouble maker but God makes a point in saying twice that he judged Israel 20 years. God does not elaborate on the faithfulness of Israel at the time or if the Philistines were driven out of their countryside so we do not know. But, Samson judged Israel 20 years.
Samson was human, with human desires, frailties and strengths. Because of his humbleness to God and his Nazarite vow God was able to do many mighty things for him. As Samson's manner was, he would seek occasion against the Philistines. Here he is at it again:
We must take a minute to look at this. Without due consideration the magnitude will be lost. I am sure that it is acts like this that kept the Philistines at bay. First of all Gaza is one of the five principal cities of the Philistines, a large city on the trade route from the north to Egypt. At that time cities were constructed with a wall around them to protect the inhabitants. The larger the city and more wealthy the inhabitants the thicker and stronger the walls are. The gates will be substantial as well; they would have to be, they could be the weakest section. Gaza is the southern most Philistine city and subject to attack frequently.
The gates would be made of wood, thick, and as tall as the walls. It is customary for them to have metal sheathing covering them so that they would not be easily burned. The posts that they would hang on would also be heavy duty. The bar used to secure the doors would need to be very strong so as not to be easily broken. The weight of the doors, posts and bar could have easily been two tons. Imagine that; two tons, and Samson carried them away on his shoulders. That is not all, God tells us that he carried them to the hill before Hebron. Look at the map "Israel in Canaan." Gaza is on the coast and Hebron is about thirty miles away in the hills. I have a relief map in my bible called the Divided Monarchy and it shows me the terrain and the two cities. It is twenty miles from Gaza to the beginning of the hills west of Hebron. Samson carried this huge 4,000 pound load approximately 20 miles. Do you think that would make an impression on the Philistines? Who is going to go retrieve their gate? How are they going to get it back?
Samson's downfall, many believe, was a woman, Delilah, or that his strength was in his hair. Delilah was merely an instrument, his hair a symbol. Samson loved Delilah, a Philistine, and the lords of the Philistines contacted her and offered her a bribe to find out Samson's strength (Judges 16). Three times Samson told Delilah something to appease her pleas and each time she tried to trap him so the Philistines could capture him. Her persistent daily pleadings where hard to contend with.
Imagine this, vexed unto death. The Hebrew word for vexed is qatsar and is used to indicate a shortening or harvest; basically, to reduce in size literally or figuratively. It is also translated as: cut down, much discouraged, grieve, harvestman, lothe, mourn, reap(-er), (be, wax) short(-en, -er), straiten, trouble and vex. So you get the idea; Delilah hounded him daily, always bringing it up, complaining that he didn't love her. This mental abuse wears away at a person.* God says that he was vexed unto death. He was worn away to the point that he no longer wished to keep his vow. This is a dangerous situation to be in. If you find yourself in a situation where something is wearing on you to the point that in compromises your faith in God something has to change.
Samson's soul--his innermost being--was so troubled and beat down, worn away that:
Why did Samson lose his strength? He allowed his Nazarite vow to be broken. Delilah had so worn Samson down with her continual pleadings that he gave in. The vow required that he do not shave his head. As long as he kept his vow God gave him the great strength he needed to combat the Philistines. When he walked away from adhering to the Word of God he walked away from God.
The consequences of his behavior ultimately cost him his life. When he could not escape the Philistines bored out his eyes and put him to work like an ox in a mill. Then in one of their pagan rituals they brought Samson out to ridicule him and praise their god Dagon. After they had been drinking heavily they 'made sport' with him (a sexual term indicating homo and heterosexual behavior). However, Samson's hair had begun to grow back and he had renewed his vow and commitment to God.
The cruelty that the devil orchestrates to afflict people is loathsome. Humans, by nature, will not torture and kill each other. There are spiritual influences at work (Eph. 6:12) that cause such extreme behavior. Satan is the author of death (Heb. 2:14), he wants to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). God does not afflict people to make them more humble. He is light and Him is no darkness at all (I John 1:5). We must stand against the wiles of the devil. God has given us the tools to do so.
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For the Glory of God and Accuracy of His Word