Delilah: Sleeping in Her Lap

Samson’s exploits are legendary, but his story is no fable. He is not a superman or a Hercules. There is no evidence Samson is physically bigger than any other man. His mighty strength manifests only when the Holy Spirit comes upon him (Judges. 13:25). His birth is supernatural for his mother was barren (13:3). He is sanctified to the Lord and has every opportunity to serve God faithfully (v. 5). His hair is never to be cut as an external sign of his internal relationship with God.

Although he is a judge in Israel for twenty years, there is no record he ever seeks God’s advice. Samson’s actions against the Philistines seem to be based on revenge rather than divine guidance. The Biblical record shows Samson’s vices include vengeance, narcissism, disobedience, adultery, dishonesty, and adultery. Moral weakness damages his character. He marries a Philistine girl from Timnath (Jud. 14:1), visits a harlot in Gaza (16:1) and encounters a girl named Delilah (v. 4). When the Spirit of God empowers Samson, nothing is impossible (14:5-6). But as he follows his own lusts, his enemies overpower him.

He does not share the secret of his power with Delilah all at once. He teases her by providing bits of information, each remark allowing her to get closer to the truth. His downfall is not instantaneous, but his strength is broken as he breaks his vows to God. His head is shaved while he rests in her lap. Samson sleeps there to awaken in the hands of his enemies (16:19). His involvement with her dulls his spiritual senses and he “does not know that the Lord has departed from him” (16:20). The Philistines only gain the victory over Samson after he betrays his God. By fraternizing with Delilah, he deliberately places himself in a position that ultimately leads to his capture, blindness, and humiliation. Lampooned by his enemies, he ends his life grinding grain like an animal (v. 21). His last words are laced with a personal vendetta as he brings down the temple of Dagon upon the Philistines (v. 28).

His life teaches the dangers of toying with temptation and graphically depicts the results of spiritual compromise. Although Samson is strong physically he is weak morally. We expect Delilah to act like Delilah but we have a right to expect more from a man of God. When a Christian man begins to prostitute his spiritual strength, sooner or later he finds himself sleeping with the enemy.

True spiritual power is measured by resistance to temptation rather than indulgence. The heaps of dead Philistines Samson leaves in his path do not justify his moral decay. His tragic life should cause us to ponder what he might have accomplished for God had he remained faithful.                               

Maxim of the Moment

He who speaks ill of his wife dishonors himself.