The Story of Samson and Delilah

Around the time that Samson was born the people of God who were called the children of Israel lived in the land that God had promised to Abraham hundreds of years earlier. Israel was also known as Jacob who was the grandson of Abraham and Sarah. The twelve sons of Jacob or Israel and their descendants were called the children of Israel. The land that God had promised to Abraham and to his descendants was known as the land of Canaan, or the promised land.

The people who lived in Canaan were known as the Philistines, and the children of Israel and the Philistines were engaged in great wars between them for hundreds of years. It was not until the time of David which was hundreds of years after Samson lived that the Philistines were completely cleared from the land of Canaan, now known as Israel.

Samson's mother and father were married for many years, but they had never had any children. They prayed for a long time to have a child. One day an angel of the Lord appeared to them and told them that they soon would have a son. "This son is to be reared to be totally dedicated to God. He is also to be reared under a Nazarite vow. He will do great deeds for your country in service to God."

To be reared under a Nazarite vow meant that he never was to cut his hair, never to eat raisins or grapes, not to drink wine and never to touch a dead body. He was to live his whole life totally dedicated to service and to the will of God.

Samson grew to manhood with the strength of several men. He won great battles single-handedly against the people known as the Philistines. At the time that Samson lived the children of Israel had not been obedient to God and so God allowed them to be overcome by their enemies. This happened several times throughout the history of the children of Israel. When the people became sorry for their sins they prayed and repented. Then God would allow them to overcome their enemies once again. It seemed that it was difficult for the children of Israel to understand that it was extremely important to serve the LORD God and to serve only Him as the one true God. The people in the nations around them worshipped false gods and made statues to them and worshipped the statues also. The main god of the Philistines was called Dagon and they had built a huge temple for Dagon where they went to make sacrifices to him and to worship him.

Samson was very strong and fought many battles against the Philistines. He was proud of his great power in battle against the Philistines. The Philistines hated Samson because of the damage he caused to their cities and fields. At one time he removed the gigantic gates of the city and carried them away on his shoulders after ripping it off its hinges all by himself. Samson set their fields afire and ruined their crops. In one battle he slew 1000 of the Philistines all by himself using for a weapon the jawbone of a donkey that he found on the ground nearby. After this great victory he became very thirsty and prayed to God, "I have won a great victory for you and now I am about to die of thirst. There is no water near here."

The LORD God answered Samson's prayer by splitting open the ground next to him at the place called Lehi. A spring of cool, clear water started flowing from that split in the ground. This spring was a source of water for hundreds of years afterwards for thirsty travelers.

After this great battle God gave peace to the children of Israel. Samson became the judge who ruled the country for twenty years afterward.

The Bible records that Samson broke all of his Nazarite vows. He drank wine, he ate grapes, he touched a dead body and he did not dedicate himself totally to the Lord God. When he touched a dead body he found honey in the dead body of a lion. He scooped out the honey and ate some of it then took the rest of the honey to his parents without telling them where he had gotten it.

Samson's great weakness was beautiful women. Samson fell in love with a beautiful Philistine woman named Delilah. Night after night he visited her residence to spend hours with her. He thought that he was hopelessly in love with her because of her great beauty and charm.

Delilah had been promised a great sum of money from the Philistines if she could discover the secret of his increduible strength. Every day Delilah teased and begged Samson to tell her the secret of his tremendous strength. To get her to stop begging him on several different occasions he told her false things that would destroy his strength He told her, "If you tie me with seven bowstrings I will lose my power."

While Samson was sleeping she tied him with seven bowstrings and shouted, "Samson! Wake up! The Philistines are upon you!"

Samson awoke, shook himself free of the bowstrings and fought the Philistines. He overcame them with his great strength.

Delilah cried and begged again, "Samson, you do not love me. If you loved me you would tell me the secret of your strength."

Again Samson told her another lie, "If you bind me with seven brand new ropes I shall lose my strength."

Delilah bound him with seven new ropes and shouted, "Samson, wake up! The Philistines are upon you."

Samson awoke and shook himself. The ropes fell off and he fought off the Philistines. He beat them all.

This time Delilah cried for days, saying, "You don't love me. You won't tell me your secret."

Samson then told her that if she wove the seven locks of his hair with a loom he would lose his strength. This time, in mentioning his hair, Samson was getting too close to telling the secret that God did not want him to tell.

Delilah wove his seven locks of hair with a loom. She shook him and shouted again, "Samson awake! The Philistines are upon you!"

As we can guess, Samson shook off the loom and fought against the Philistines, beating them again.

After all of these times that Delilah had committed wrongs against him we should think that Samson would guess that Delilah was not his true friend. Nevertheless Samson kept coming to her home. Delilah was exasperated with Samson. He had lied and lied to her. She wanted that money that the Philistines had promised her. She cried and cried, begged and pleaded for him to tell her his secret. Finally Samson caved in just to have peace. "If you cut off all of my hair I shall be as weak as any other man."

When Samson slept with his head in Delilah's lap she beckoned the men to shave off his hair. Once again she shook him and shouted, Samson! Wake up! The Philistines are upon you.!"

Samson shook himself to fight the Philistines, but his hair was gone. His strength was gone. The Philistine soldiers jumped upon Samson and beat him badly. Samson was overcome. Delilah, in the name of love, had betrayed him completely.

The Philistines took him prisoner, burned out his eyes with a hot poker and chained him to the huge stone wheel pulled along a trough to grind grain into flour, around and around, all day long, every day. Samson was destined to spend the rest of his days doing the job that an ox would do, grinding at the mill. He frequently was put on display for the Philistine people to mock him and to heap scorn upon him as their former mighty enemy whom the Philistines had reduced to a life worse than death.

One day Samson felt the breeze blowing through his hair which had begun to grow again, and he realized that his incredible strength was returning. He heard that there was to be a great festival in the Temple of Dagon, the Philistines’ false god. Three thousand people, including the Philistines’ most powerful political, military and religious leaders would be present in the temple, worshipping their false god.

Samson prayed earnestly, “Oh, God please forgive me for my sins and please use me for your glory one more time.”

At the festival in the temple of Dagon the people began to call for Samson to appear so that they could mock him and shout taunts at him. Samson had seen the temple of Dagon years earlier and knew how it had been constructed, its enormous weight bearing upon two tall round pillars in the center. As Samson stood between the pillars the people laughed at him and spat on him. He prayed to the LORD God, "Oh, God, please be with me one more time. Allow me to avenge my people who are held in bondage by these people who worship a false and worthless god. Let your name be avenged."

Samson stretched his mighty arms around the two pillars and pulled with all of his great strength which had returned. The temple crashed around him with dust and huge stones falling onto the heads of Samson and the people who were worshipping the false god Dagon. All of the powerful political, military and spiritual leaders were present in the temple and they also were killed.

Samson died in the destruction along with 3,000 Philistines. It was sad that so many people were killed that day, but the Philistines regularly were killing hundreds and thousands of the children of Israel. It was a long and nasty war with people killed on all sides. God had favor upon Samson and forgave him when he repented. The good for the Children of Israel that Samson brought about in his death was greater than the good he had done in all of his life previously. Because the Philistines lost their greatest leaders they became weakened and eventually the Israelites were able to overcome the Philistines. Eventually they removed the Philistines from the land that God had given them. 

Key Concepts:

1. God answers prayer when He sees that we are earnest in our prayers and that we will use the victory we receive in prayer for the good of us, our families and for God's kingdom.

2. When we have sinned and have fallen away from the will of God He will forgive us for those sins if we are sincere and confess those sins. If we have meant the prayer God will not only forgive us, but He will find a way to use us again for the good of the people and of God'skingdom.

3. If we believe strongly in God and ask for good things to happen, even when it seems that very bad things happen they can be turned around and be used for good. This can happen if we confess to God and ask God to let good come from a bad situation.

4. Even when it seems that we have been waiting much too long for an answer to our prayers we need to be patient and wait for the answer to come.