What comes to mind when we think of Samson? A Mighty Man who was brought down by woman – some woman named Delilah. We define Samson by his unusual physical strength, but mostly by his relationship with women, especially with that “imaginary woman” – the hybrid of all the women in his life, and we named that “woman” Delilah.
The first time I read the story of Samson as written by the Scriptures, I noticed there were so many missing links in the popular narratives we know about the life of Samson. It’s been many years after that, but sadly, the narratives have not changed.
SAMSON – SON OF MANOAH
This is the Story of Samson, and the women in his life.
Samson was a big guy with extraordinary strength.
Samson is from Gad – Southernmost part of Israel. From the city known as Zorah. It is a fortress city in Israel, very strategic location, and it borders on the Philistine nation southernly.
At age 20, he married a girl of his dreams. An unnamed Philistine girl from Timnah, also a border city. While this decision was not popular, it was strategic. That would afford him an opportunity interact and deal with the Philistine.
Judges 14:1-4 NLT
1. One day when Samson was in Timnah, one of the Philistine women caught his eye.
2. When he returned home, he told his father and mother, “A young Philistine woman in Timnah caught my eye. I want to marry her. Get her for me.”
3. His father and mother objected. “Isn’t there even one woman in our tribe or among all the Israelites you could marry?” they asked. “Why must you go to the pagan Philistines to find a wife?” But Samson told his father, “Get her for me! She looks good to me.”
4. His father and mother didn’t realize the Lord was at work in this, creating an opportunity to work against the Philistines, who ruled over Israel at that time.
The wedding party ended in tragedy. A loner that he was, he was alone for the wedding. Nobody was there for him. In fact, he got emergency Best Man and Grooms men from the party guests as none of his people was there for him.
Unfortunately, the wedding party turned bloody, due to his stupidity of course, and he angrily returned home to Zorah. His bride (and father-in law) were threatened by the powers-that-be, and then his bride was withdrawn and given to his best man! His marriage was thus annulled, and unfortunately the poor bride was burnt to death alongside his father-in-law…
His marriage was short lived and ended in tragedy.
However, his subsequent choice of sleeping with the prostitute from Gaza was purely a sexual sin.
DELILAH COMES UPSTAGE
He later met another woman from the Valley of Solek, named Delilah.
Contrary to popular opinion, Delilah was NOT the prostitute. The woman from Gaza was.
Delilah was a woman who had her own home and lived in the Valley of Solek.
Like Timnah where his original wife lived, Solek was also very close to Zorah – home of Samson. In fact, Solek was closer to Israel than Timnah.
His relationship with Delilah was not a marriage – he was a loner and a widower having a relationship with a lady who probably did not know the Lord and did not share his faith.
Samson’s intention for Delilah was not known – we don’t know if he had plans to marry her, but he seemed content with the relationship, and from the Scriptures we read he was in love:
“Some time later Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in the valley of Sorek”. (Judges 16:4 NLT).
Delilah’s allegiance appeared to be to the Philistines. But we cannot say for sure if she was from Philistine or Israelite. Its assumed she is Philistine, but she could very well be an Israelite. She lived at the Border.
Blindly in love, Samson trusted Delilah. Thrice he deceived Delilah about the secret of his power, and thrice the Philistines attacked him. But apparently, he never linked the two events together. If anything, he was glad he had a girlfriend who had his back and always alerted him when there was danger,
However, Delilah betrayed Samson – for Money! Each Ruler of the Philistine promised her 1,100 pieces of Silver (Judges 16:5). It’s very easy to betray a man for that amount of money, especially if she’s a treacherous woman.
Remember, Jesus was betrayed for 30 pieces of Silver…
The five lords of the Philistines gave Delilah 1,100 shekels of silver each, so, she received a total of 5,500 shekels of silver.
A shekel contains 16 grams of silver. And 31g = 1 troy ounce of silver
Multiply 5,500 shekels by 16 grams per shekel = 88,000 grams = 2,830 ounces of silver.
If 1 ounce of silver is $16+, Delilah would have collected well over $46,000 today for betraying Samson.
Before his birth, the prophecy given about him was that he would BEGIN the deliverance of Israel from the Philistine.
Before he was conceived, his parents battled with infertility. And one day an Angel appeared to his Mum (and later to both his parents), and gave them a prophecy
Check Judges 13:5: “You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and his hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. He will begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines.”
Judges 13:5 (NLT)
In most parts of the Bible, Israel was a weak nation governed with rods of iron by mean and powerful nations
By the time Samson was born, Israel had been oppressed for 40 years by the Philistine….
And a 20 year old man named Samson terrorized and threatened the powerful nation of the Philistine.
Of course, God didn’t say Samson was going to conquer the Philistine, but promised Samson was going to weaken them a bit to give Israel some relief.
Which Samson did.
END OF AN ERA
Despite his physical strength…
And despite his weakness in that he loved foreign women…
Samson was a Judge.
He Judged Israel for 20 years.
After he was captured and weakened, it didn’t take long for His hair to grow and for His strength to return.
In Judges 16:22 (NLT), we read:
“But before long, his hair began to grow back.”
And obviously in his captivity, he found God again.
He didn’t want to be rescued, he didn’t want to be the blind judge.
His Calling and Destiny was with the Philistine, and if he didn’t take the opportunity to kill the wicked Lords and the powerful nation oppressing his country, he probably wouldn’t have the chance ever again…
Hence his prayer to give his life, but even at death, he must fight for His country.
That was his calling.
He was a loner, a one-man army, but somewhat, right to the point when he took his final bow, he fought hard for his destiny, and he managed to fulfill his calling.
He got a dignifying funeral – his absent “brothers and relatives” finally showed up. He was laid right at the border he spent his entire life defending, and right next to his Pa.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Immediately after the story of Samson and Delilah, we read the story of a young man named Michal. (Michal 17&18)
Michal stole his Mother’s money. An unnamed woman. And he stole exactly 1100 pieces of Silver. That’s a lot of money to be lying around. He later confessed to his mother that he stole the money. And after blessing him, the Woman carved an idol for him, and Michal became a ‘”religious leader” for the tribes of Ephraim and Dan (Samson’s tribe).
It has been argued, that this woman could be Delilah, and Michal could have been Samson’s son. But then, it’s all speculation, but definitely some food for thoughts.