It seems from the record that after the events of chapter 15, i.e., the slaughter of the Philistines at Lehi, Samson was made judge of Israel. There is no specific mention of his choice or acceptance by them, but we are told (Judges 15: 20), “And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.” At the end of that twenty years he was stripped of his power from God and delivered, helpless, into the hands of his enemies by the treachery of a woman he loved. One might think he would have learned caution by this time; that having been once deceived by a woman to his hurt he would not again place himself in the power of one by yielding his heart to her.  But Samson loved Delilah. Nothing is said of her having loved him and it is obvious that she did not. His love blinded him to every other consideration. Even when she repeatedly turned him over  to the Philistines (vs. 8-14), when he was bound to have realized her purpose, he gave in to her entreaties, being sore vexed, as who would not be, and “told her all his heart.”

The first time should have been sufficient to warn him, inasmuch as it revealed her evil intent, to have no more to do with such a woman. But in thinking of this and marveling that he would break his “separation unto God,” in order to please a woman, I am reminded of Adam who did the same thing, willingly stepping across the line of sin away from God to be with Eve who sinned first (Gen. 3:6)  Also, in connection, of what we are told in Judges 14:4, that God sought an occasion against the Philistines.  God surely just held His Spirit in abeyance and let the Adam in Samson take over to give Samson occasion against the enemy. But the occasion did not come till later.


     It is interesting to note that both Delilah and the woman of Timnah charged Samson with insincere love (Judges 14:16; 16:15). Because he would not do to please them, therefore, according to them, he loved them not. How easy it is to measure a person’s love by their willingness or ability to please us! But true love is strong and endeavors to please God first and others in their right relationship to Him. Sometimes the very opposite of .pleasing shows a more faithful love than anything else.

These women, so wise in their own conceits, with their little schemes to entice the servant of the Lord, put forward as they were by the men of their people, so far from accomplishing their purpose only furthered the purpose of God against their nation. Yet Samson himself was delivered up for chastening. His eyes were put out and he was bound and made to grind in the prison. God’s chastening surely went to his heart and did its work there. God surely did not give his power again simply because his hair grew (16: 22) His heart must have grown with it.


     Chastened and contrite he reached the peak of his power and usefulness to God at the end of his days. We are not told how long he was in prison but at last his opportunity came (Jud. 16:23-30).  At the great feast of the Philistines, made in sacrifice to Dagon their god, they brought Samson forth to make sport of him. Evidently he was familiar with his surroundings, either from past knowledge or from careful and accurate investigation during his imprisonment. However he came by it, he knew enough to ask the lad that held him  by the hand, “Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house resteth, that I may lean upon them.” And the lad did. How could he know what would come of it? With the heartbroken cry that can be uttered most fervently by those who have known the pangs of having been set aside in the service of the Lord, he lifted up his heart to God and said, “O Lord Jehovah, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee only this once, O God, that I may he at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” And God heard his cry. ” And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house rested, and leaned upon them, the one with his right hand and the other with his left. 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 that he slew at his death were more than they that he slew in his life.”

God’s loving kindness is obvious in His individual dealings with Samson. Patient with his sins and failures, chastening even to the destruction of both his eyes, still He held onto Samson, forgiving him, keeping him to the work appointed to him. It is characteristic of God’s faithfulness that He counted Samson faithful.

Reprinted from Word and Work Magazine December, 1968