Seeds of Promise Series by Shenica Graham
The Woman From Gaza & Delilah: Samson’s Weaknesses
Women of The Bible
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|Seeds of Promise||Women of the Bible||The Woman From Gaza & Delilah: Samson’s Weaknesses||Judges 16||Audio|
Devotional Reading: Judges 16:1-3 AMP
1 Then Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her. 2 The Gazites were told, Samson has come here. So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the gate of the city. They were quiet all night, saying, In the morning, when it is light, we will kill him. 3 But Samson lay until midnight, and [then] he arose and took hold of the doors of the city’s gate and the two posts, and pulling them up, bar and all, he put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is before Hebron.
After Samson’s first wife died, he had relations with a harlot in Gaza. An ambush was set against him whilst he laid in the harlot’s abode. However, the Spirit of God was still with Samson. He had the unction then to depart from Gaza before the morning, which is when the Philistines planned to lay hold on him. The Philistines were apparently unable to bind him that time since he went on to abide with another woman – the only one referred to by her name rather than her location. Samson’s desire for foreign women would ultimately lose him his strength for a season. This time, he loved a woman named Delilah in the valley of Sorek.
Devotional Reading: Judges 16:4-6 AMP
4 After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah.5 And the lords of the Philistines came to her and said to her, Entice him and see in what his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him that we may bind him to subdue him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver. 6 And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray you, wherein your great strength lies, and with what you might be bound to subdue you.
Samson unknowingly stepped into a trap because of his desire for foreign women. Delilah made an agreement with the Philistines that she would entice him and seek knowledge of the source of Samson’s strength that the Philistines might be able to bind him because they could not previously overcome him. In response to the nagging question of his strength by Delilah, Samson lied to her three times and each time she called the Philistines to overtake Samson, but the true secret of his strength had not been revealed and he prevailed in the ambush.
Devotional Reading: Judges 16:16-17 AMP
16 And when she pressed him day after day with her words and urged him, he was vexed to death. 17 Then he told her all his mind and said to her, A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my birth. If I am shaved, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.
After much nagging, Samson’s spirit was grieved concerning Delilah, but he trusted her. Samson obviously did not suspect that the woman he loved could conspire with his enemies. The broken faith with God in dishonoring his Nazirite vow would be of great cost to Samson. Delilah wasted no time in relieving Samson of all his locks, which he had grown from his very birth.
Devotional Reading: Judges 16:18-21 AMP
18 And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his mind, she went and called for the Philistine lords, saying, Come up this once, for he has told me all he knows. Then the Philistine lords came up to her and brought the money in their hands. 19 And she made Samson sleep upon her knees, and she called a man and caused him to shave off the seven braids of his head. Then she began to torment [Samson], and his strength went from him. 20 She said, The Philistines are upon you, Samson! And he awoke out of his sleep and said, I will go out as I have time after time and shake myself free. For Samson did not know that the Lord had departed from him. 21 But the Philistines laid hold of him, bored out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with [two] bronze fetters; and he ground at the mill in the prison.
Samson’s bare head was an abomination before God and the Spirit of the LORD departed from him. This was the straw that broke the strong man’s back. With his head shaven, Samson did not have the divine strength that he had shaken himself with aforetimes. Now, Samson could not properly defend himself against the Philistines and they took him prisoner. Tradition holds that the Philistines brought their wives to Samson to mate with them that they might have children as strong as Samson – thus thickening the pot of sin surrounding Samson’s imprisonment. However it did not occur to the Philistines that Samson could regain his strength. Even though they gouged out his eyes, his hair grew back while he was a prisoner. The Philistines did not have the presence of mind to maintain Samson’s haircut. In order to keep him weak, they would have had to keep shaving his head each time his hair began to grow again. So this was the fate of Samson after he revealed the source of his strength and Delilah sold him out for money – 1,100 pieces of silver from each of the lords of the Philistines.
Devotional Reading: Judges 16:22-31 AMP
22 But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved. 23 Then the Philistine lords gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, for they said, Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hands. 24 And when the people saw Samson, they praised their god, for they said, Our god has delivered into our hands our enemy, the ravager of our country, who has slain many of us. 25 And when their hearts were merry, they said, Call for Samson, that he may make sport for us. So they called [blind] Samson out of the prison, and he made sport before them. They made him stand between the pillars. 26 And Samson said to the lad who held him by the hand, Allow me to feel the pillars upon which the house rests, that I may lean against them. 27 Now the house was full of men and women; all the Philistine princes were there, and on the roof were about 3,000 men and women who looked on while Samson made sport. 28 Then Samson called to the Lord and said, O Lord God, [earnestly] remember me, I pray You, and strengthen me, I pray You, only this once, O God, and let me have one vengeance upon the Philistines for both my eyes. 29 And Samson laid hold of the two middle pillars by which the house was borne up, one with his right hand and the other with his left. 30 And Samson cried, Let me die with the Philistines! And he bowed himself mightily, and the house fell upon the princes and upon all the people that were in it. So the dead whom he slew at his death were more than they whom he slew in his life. 31 Then his kinsmen and all the tribal family of his father came down, took his body, and brought it up; and they buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the burial place of Manoah his father. He had judged Israel [that is, had defended the Israelites] twenty years.
 Jewish Women’s Archive. Women in Samson’s Life: Midrash and Aggadah. http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/women-in-samsons-life-midrash-and-aggadah. Accessed April 4, 2015