Samson and Delilah

Jeff Munroe

READ : Judges 16:1-31

If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me. (v. 17)

The names “Samson and Delilah” live in popular imagination as a romantic ideal. One only needs to read the Bible to learn that’s not true. Samson did love Delilah (love is not used to describe his other sexual pursuits), but it’s hard to say exactly what Delilah felt. She played Samson for a fool—repeatedly—with tragic consequences.

In his commentary on the Book of Judges, Australian scholar Barry Webb suggests the story of Israel is mirrored in Samson. Israel was set apart from other nations by God’s election, Samson was set apart from other people by his Nazirite vow. Israel went after foreign gods, Samson went after foreign women. Samson wound up blind, which is a fitting description of Israel as Judges winds down.

Deuteronomy 7:3-4 prohibited intermarrying because the future of the nation was at stake. Samson knew this, but he couldn’t help himself. Delilah was his undoing, or, more accurately, the shaving of his hair which canceled his Nazirite vow was his undoing. Although he was supposed to deliver Israel from the Philistines, he mixed with them constantly. He never acted like he wanted to be set apart. The result is that unlike the other judges, there is no rest for the land under Samson. He failed to deliver Israel, and all he really accomplished was to kill a bunch of Philistines. After Samson’s death Israel’s downward spiral will continue—and get worse.


Lord, help us resist temptation and stay true to you.