Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Bible’s Major Players: Delilah

Slide2The Bible is filled with some major players. Delilah is one from the Old Testament.

The book of Judges tells of a man named Samson, who should be included in the next cast of Expendables. Samson was a Nazirite set apart to God. Nazirites followed strict guidelines. Samson blew most of them in the wind. But one, not cutting his hair, he followed.

It was a tough time. The Israelites were constantly fighting off other -ites. The worse of them were the Philistines. Samson was like Hercules to the Hebrew people. He held great strength. He fought armies single-handedly. He was what legends were made of. Even though he fought and killed Philistine men, Samson had a soft spot for Philistine women.

Delilah being the last of them. Delilah lived in the Valley of Sorek, a place between Israel and Philistine. But this little bit of information does not tell us where Delilah’s allegiances laid. What we do know, is that Delilah owns her own house. Which means, she is either a wealthy widow or a woman whose occupation pays well. And remember, at this time it was rare thing.

And the relationship between Samson and Delilah must have been known in the community. The Philistines came to her, asking her to discover Samson’s secret. And they promised to pay her well.

“Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.” (Judges 16:5)

So, Delilah uses her seducative powers to inquire about Samson’s secret to his strength. She asked more than once, and more than once he tells a lie. The Philistines attack and he is able to escape. As a side note, you’d think he’d know after the first time that something was up. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

samson1cBut, the third times the charm. Delilah uses the oldest trick in the book, “If you love me, if you really, really, love me, you will tell me the secret to your power.” And she is persistent. The text actually says that Samson was tired to death of her nagging. One Bible translates it “annoyed to death.” A children’s Bible translation puts it this way: “He became so tired of it he felt like he was going to die!”

I think the point has been made. Samson had enough. And so he tells her the whole story, from beginning to present:

“No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite set apart to God since birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.” (Judges 16:17)

And there it is! The secret is out. Delilah, as she did before, tells the Philistines, and they shave his head. Samson awakes, and this time truth as been told. No more lies. And he is as weak as “any other man.”

The thing to remember about Delilah is that betraying Samson was not her idea. The Philistine leadership came to her. Samson was the only thing keeping them from conquering Israel. And with Delilah’s help, they found his weak spot.

Samson had told lies just for fun. Delilah told truth for money. Some have compared Delilah to Judas, who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Delilah did betray Samson for a whole lot more than thirty pieces of silver. Samson wasn’t worth all of that silver, but Delilah was. She sold herself to be used as a pawn in someone else’s game. We may never know if Delilah loved Samson as much as he loved her, but the implication is that she did love herself.

In what ways do you risk selling yourself as a pawn in something that is not part of God’s plan?

1 Comment

  1. You can’t lay your head on the pillow of the your enemy- I think the story of Samson represents that more than anything.

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