Beware of Satan who ruins men by rocking them to sleep,
flattering them into a good opinion of their own safety,
then robbing them of their strength and honor,
leading them captive at his will.
(God often leaves men to do foolish things to punish them for indulging in the lusts of uncleanness.)
1 Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.
2 And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him.
3 And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.
4 ¶ And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.
5 And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.
6 ¶ And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.
7 And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.
8 Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them.
9 Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known.
10 And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound.
11 And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.
12 Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And he brake them from off his arms like a thread.
13 And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web.
14 And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web.
15 ¶ And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth.
16 And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death;
17 That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.
18 And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand.
19 And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.
20 And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.
21 ¶ But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.
22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.
23 Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.
24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us.
25 And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.
26 And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them.
27 Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.
28 And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.
29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.
30 And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.
31 Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.
Judges 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Judges 16:1-14 – Playing with the Enemy
Three women, one after another, brought Samson down. If only a noble woman could have influenced him, as Deborah did Barak, how different his record would have been. Let those who are eminent in spiritual capacity guard against the swing of their nature to the opposite, sensual side.
It is clear that Samson’s strength was not wholly accounted for by huge stature nor massive muscles, else Delilah would not have needed to ask his secret; and he lost his strength, not merely because the razor deprived him of his hitherto unshorn locks, which lay in glossy ringlets at the feet of his temptress, but because he had yielded to her seductive wiles. We should have supposed that one or two experiences of her shameful treachery would have sufficed to put him on his guard and lead hip to flee from the spot, as did Joseph, Genesis 39:12. But Samson lingered, as the moth which seems unable to resist the fascination of the flame, although already it has singed its wings, Proverbs 1:10-19. There is always a way of escape, but we must take it with instant eagerness, Genesis 19:17-22. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Judges 16:15-31 – Dying with the Philistines
It may be that the razor has already severed your union with Christ. If we abide not in living union with Him, we are cast out as branches from the vine, and wither. This is bad enough, but it is still worse when we are not aware of it. See Hosea 7:9. Some of our greatest spiritual experiences may be like sunrise or sunset. “There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard” (Psalm 19:3), but the effect, for good or ill, soon shows itself.
We may be blind and captive, yet for us also the hair that was cut may begin to grow again. The old faith and love, the old consecration and surrender, the old power with God and man may come again. Do not turn away from Him, penitent soul, for God is willing to take you back again into the secret of His power. “He hateth putting away,” Malachi 2:16; Isaiah 50:1. Out of your sorrowful heart, send up Samson’s prayer! But do not ask to be strengthened only this once. God will do it not for once, but for many times, if only you will trust Him absolutely, II Kings 13:19. And do not ask to die; believe that life shall again become bright, strong and victorious. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Judges 16:20—He wist not that the LORD was departed from him.
Beware of unconscious deterioration! Grey hairs may be here and there upon us without our knowing it. The Lord may be gone out on feet so noiseless, that we are not aware that his Spirit has glided along the corridor, and through the doorway, whispering, Let us depart.
Deterioration is unconscious because it is so gradual. The rot that sets in on autumn fruit is very gradual. The damp that silences the violin or piano does its work almost imperceptibly. Satan is too knowing to plunge us into some outrageous sin at a bound. He has sappers and miners engaged long before the explosion, in hollowing subterranean passages through the soul, and filling them with explosives.
Spiritual declension blunts our sensibility. The first act of the burglar is to gag the voice that might alarm, and poison the watch-dog. So, sin blinds our eyes, and dulls our keen alertness to the presence of evil. Thus, the stages of our relapse are obvious to all eyes but our own. We are drugged as we are being carried off captives.
The progress of evil within us is a matter of unconsciousness, largely because we are quick to discover reasons to justify our decadence. We gloze over the real state of affairs. We call sins by other names. We insist on considerations which in our eyes appear to justify our conduct. We still attend to our religious duties, and try to persuade ourselves that it is with us as in times past. To avoid deterioration we must ever watch and pray, and realize that we are the temple of the Holy Ghost. Then shall the peace of God as a sentry guard our hearts and our thoughts in Christ Jesus. —Our Daily Homily