PresentsJudges chapter 16
Caution to students of God's Word - Please remember two things when using our studies: #1. Our commentary is not God's Word. It is only our interpretation or understanding of "His Word" and even though we try our best to be accurate we may or may not be correct. #2. The King James translation, or any other translation, of the original Hebrew text has some words which were given different translations at different places probably because of the interpreters preconceived ideas of what they think God meant to say. For example: According to the notes in the "Dake's Annotated Reference Bible" the Hebrew word hayah in the KJV is Trans. (became) 67 times, (becamest or came to pass) 505 times, (become) 66 times, and (come to pass) 131 times, but for some reason in Genesis 1:2 it is translated (was)! That sure changes the way a person perceives the original creation of the earth, doesn't it? Gen. 1:2 And the earth was (became) without form, ... Having said that, let us continue with our "Key Knowledge" lessons. These are pamphlets containing knowledge, we believe, you must have to fully and accurately unlock and understand the Word of God.
This Bible Study was originally written by Roger
or here, as now edited by people at
The American Wisdom Series
Without the leading by the Holy Spirit, there is no understanding of the truths, for all the truth of the Scriptures are revealed to us by God's Spirit.
Now here is our revised study of:
Judges Chapter 16
"Samson and Delilah's Snares, her Failure and Success."
After the three thousand men of Judah had turned Samson over to the Philistines, Samson had broken his bands and killed over a thousand of them, and stacked their dead bodies in piles. Samson took charge over his people and judged Israel for twenty years. God was in tune with Samson, and Samson followed the laws of God. During the time that Samson ruled over the Israelites he followed the Word that God had given to Moses, and the Philistines learned to leave Samson alone. However, Samson was still a thorn in their side, and the Philistines wanted to rid themselves of him.
Though this story of Samson that happened prior to 1100 B.C, it is a type of what we can see even today. God can take one person, and start a chain reaction that will spread throughout the land. When one person makes a stand and does it God's way, then he and God become the majority over those that are the enemies of God. When you take a stand, and commit yourself to God's ways, then those that oppose God's ways simply will not stand against you. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit that gives us the strength to make that stand against the enemies of God, and the victory. This is what you might call tough love, for many times Christians have to become tough before the enemy will see that they mean business. It takes wisdom from God's Word and common sense to give you direction.
Remember that God is showing us through each of these judges how he will use people that are committed to Him. The main thing that you must remember is that God is in control, and every gift that you posses, and use for Him, belongs to Him and thus God always receives all the glory that comes from those gifts. Just as God can give a gift, when that gift is violated God can also withdraw that gift and leave you defenseless. We will see this in this chapter, when Samson plays games with this harlot, and she turns against him for her reward.
However, in the end, God will accomplish what He set out to do through Samson. For Samson will become the one man army that finally brings down the government of the Philistines. Samson didn't control an army, he was the army, and as the judge of Israel, he was the government also. The power of Samson was placed within him by the Spirit of God. It was for this reason that the Philistines kept their anger directed at Samson himself, and not the the children of Israel.
Judges 16:1 "Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her."
Poor Samson, he could kill a thousand Philistines, but he had this one problem with women. His first woman and her family were burned to death because of her unfaithfulness to Samson, and now hes getting tied up with another woman, a Philistine harlot. Samson loves foreign women, and that is just the way that it is. We know that in the last case with his bride from Timnath, God brought about the affair, and the down fall of that relationship. However, you can draw your own conclusions on this affair.
Judges 16:2 "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."
When Samson approached the city of Gaza, the place became as a bee hive, buzzing with activity and plans how that they would kill Samson. They were going to lay wait for Samson at the city gate, and gang up on him when he left the city, in the morning. These men underestimated Samson, and they were quite sleepy.
Judges 16:3 "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."
Those old boys were sound asleep right there at the city gate, and Samson just pulled up the gate, the posts that held them and all the bars, and headed out of town. Mount Hebron is about a forty five minute walk from the gates of Gaza. Remember God is giving Samson this power and we can see God's sense of humor in Samson's act here. All the boys from town are sleeping by this gate, and Samson goes over to the gate, pulls it out of the ground and headed down the road with gate, posts and all.
Judges 16:4 "And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah."
So here again Samson had this one weakness for Philistine women, and along comes this woman from Sorek. The word "Sorek" has two meanings, "red" and "vine". Do you remember what Samson was to stay away from, under his Nazarite vow? Samson had to stay away from anything that had to do with the vine. So Samson is going to this place in the red river valley [Sorek], to take a woman of the vine named Delilah. The Name "Delilah" in the Hebrew mean "delicate", and she must have been quite beautiful to Samson.
Judges 16:5 "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."
The amount of "eleven hundred pieces of silver" isn't as important as the number "eleven" in biblical numerics. Eleven means "judgment" or "defective administration". Remember that Samson is the Judge of all Israel, and his administration and good judgment is becoming greatly defective on this matter.
Judges 16:6 "And Delilah said to Samson, "Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee."
Judges 16:7 "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."
Samson is now playing games with this little sweet play thing, and sending her on a wild goose chase. Remember when Samson used the green jawbone, it wasn't brittle, and thus could be used as a weapon. Here Samson is saying, If you tie me up with seven green strips of a little willow, that hasn't had time to dry, then I can be overtaken. "Seven" in biblical numerics is spiritual completeness. Samson is having fun with this harlot, and spinning the yarn with her.
Judges 16:8 "Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them."
I'm sure Samson knew what was going on all the time, and he suspected that she was working with the Philistines, by the time he awoke and felt the seven willow branches strapped around him. Samson probably was drugged by this woman, and this is why it is important to know exactly where Samson's strength came from. Samson's strength was not from anything he ate, or had done, but it came from Samson's obedience to God, by the Holy Spirit of God.
This is a type of what you and I could run into, and it is important to understand what it takes to retain the strength that God gives you. This is the same type of power that God gives us when we call upon God in our prayer life. That same power of the Spirit of God is just as strong today as it was then. Your intercessory prayer can change an entire situation no matter what the condition of a city, nation, or in the life of a loved one. The Spirit of God has awesome power, but you can lose it when you turn away from God's instructions.
Judges 16:9 "Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, "The Philistines be upon thee, Samson."
Delilah's chamber became a busy place, and you would think that Samson would use a little common sense and know what is going on here by what Delilah's is saying and doing.
Judges 16:10 "And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known."
Poor Samson is sound asleep when all this is happening, and when the willows were well in place, Delilah shook Samson and shouted out. "the Philistines are upon us". When Samson sprung from that bed, those willows fell from his arms like a rope that has been turned to ashes. This showed that Samson strength was still not known. It is hard to understand why Samson did not wise up to the actions of this harlot, and if he would have held off for just another minute, the Philistines would have been upon him, and Samson would have known that Delilah was betraying him.
Judges 16:11 "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."
Here goes this silly game again, and Samson just doesn't understand what is going on. He is blinded by her beauty to the point of allowing common sense to flee from him.
Judges 16:12 "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."
Here Samson goes again with another game, and this time he tells her that if you bind me with new ropes that have never been used, then I can be overtaken. So Delilah followed Samson's instructions in the second round of the games they are playing, and Samson broke those new ropes like they were small threads. There in the chamber again are these Philistines waiting in the chamber to overtake him.
Many times when you have a truth that is very difficult to keep, it is better that you learn how to keep your mouth shut, and not toy with that truth in games to where you could reveal it. There are certain things that it are better that the enemy doesn't know, and that is just as true in your personal life as it is on the national scale. If Samson would have just stayed away from these foolish games, he never would have revealed his secret and fell prey to these Philistines, through this harlot.
When you are praying for something that you need real bad, and you bring it before the Lord, it is better that you do not form the words in your mouth, for once you form the words in your mouth the devil and his demonics know your weakness, and they will use it against you. Satan can not read your mind, however God knows your thoughts as you think them in your mind. A prayer does not have to be spoken, for God will accept your prayer as you think it. A spoken prayer is giving Satan the grounds to use against you. While you are in the enemies camp, learn how to zip your lips.
Judges 16:13 "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."
Judges 16:14 "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."
It is said by many scholars that the translators drop a line or two from this verse. However, Samson had told Delilah that if you take my hair when you are weaving the fabric into the web of the loom, and you weave it into the web also, this will take away my strength.
Notice that each time Samson is playing the game with the secret of his strength, he is getting a little closer to telling her where his real strength lies. Samson's strength come from God through his commitment of the Nazarite, and his hair is a vital part of the vow that he has been under from before his birth. After she tried to test this story for its truth, Samson simply pulled his hair from the loom and away he went.
Judges 16:15 "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."
You can just see the sweet honey dripping from her sweet lips, as she is trying to entice Samson into telling her this secret. Yet Samson is allowing himself to be put into a position to where he is at his weakest when he is playing around with this Philistine woman. It is time to focus in just where Samson's strength was? Was his strength in his hair? We are about to learn.
Judges 16:16 "And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death;"
This is saying that Samson is getting tired and impatient with Delilah, and the same words over and over is getting on his nerves.
Judges 16:17 "That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, "There hath not come a rasor 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."
Samson is telling this heathen Philistine harlot woman all the hidden secrets that God had kept from the the Philistines. He is telling her that the secret of his strength was in the vow of the Nazarite, that he had been part of him since he was born. As long as he kept that vow, God would give him the strength that was needed to defend himself. Notice that Samson has revealed to her that the part of the vow that was in view to the public and that vow or oath was of an unshaven head of hair, uncut by a rasor.
Judges 16:18 "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."
This time Delilah knew that Samson was sincere and told her what the real secret was, and now she is about to show herself for the whore that she was. She has her mind set on the money, and there is no delay in her calling for the lords of the Philistines. She reminded them, don't forget the money when you come. Notice the front that she has put on all the time was to care for Samson, when all the time her thought are not for him but the money that she will make off him. The other notices to these Philistines were all spread over days or weeks, but this time the call is urgent.
The Philistine lords are on their way, and Delilah is ready for the payoff.
Judges 16:19 "And she made him sleep un 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."
There can be no doubt that she drugged Samson in some way, and there is a likelihood that she did it with wine or strong drink. Remember that the vow of the Nazarite required that he stay away from wine and strong drink, unclean food, and not use the rasor to his hair.
Numbers 6:2 "Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, 'When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of the Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord:"
Numbers 6:3 "He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried."
Numbers 6:4 "All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husks."
Numbers 6:5 "All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no rasor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow."
The instruction of the vow goes on, but from what we see here is enough to destroy the vow that Samson is under. What ever strong drink that Delilah put Samson under, that amount was sufficient to break the "vow of the Nazarite". Samson was put to sleep by something that Delilah had give him, and while under this state of drunkenness Samson's vow was taken from him.
Samson must have known that this floozy would test the vow to see if it be true, for she had tried each of the times before. When Samson was fast asleep, she called for the local Philistine barber to come in and cut of Samson hair locks, and then she started to mentally afflict or belittle Samson for what she had done. She did not want to kill Samson, as much as they now wanted to make Samson a laughing stock of the nation.
Samson had killed thousands of Philistines, burned their crops, and messed up their economy badly. Samson had been the terror of all the Philistines, and now he has been made to be nothing more than a common man, with all the weaknesses of the flesh.
Now it is time to answer that Question, "Where did Samson receive all his strength?" Most will say Samson's hair, but that is not true. There is no time that hair would ever give anyone strength. The strength of Samson came directly from God. Samson's strength left him because he was disobedient to God. The sin came when Samson put himself in a position whereby he could be shaven and made weak from drink, to where others could take that vow from him. It was the disobedience that caused God to leave him. When the hair was gone so was the vow, but the strength must come from the same place that your and my strength must come from; from obedience to Almighty God.
We are not talking about our little shortcoming here, but something that God stated specifically before this child ever entered the womb of his mother. Remember what the Angel of the Lord said back in Judges 13:7.
Judges 13:7 "But He [the Angel of the Lord] said unto me, 'Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no drink, no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.' "
God intended for Samson to remain true to Him until the day that Samson died, and Samson betrayed that trust. He thought no more of the value of that vow, then to those vain words given to a harlot in one night in her chambers. How important do you place the Word of instruction that God has given to you through His instruction? Do you keep the vows that you make to Him, or are thy little more than a game played in the chambers of a harlot? The breaking of this vow will cost Samson great shame and even his life, when he could have gone on leading the people of Israel.
Samson had a weakness, in that he loved to chase foreign women, yet God did not remove Samson's strength because of this weakness. We will sin many times in our lives even after we are saved, and when we do we come back to Him in repentance in Jesus name, and these sins are forgiven. So the point that is to be made here is that when God gives you a spiritual conviction, He also gives you the gifts that go along with that spiritual moving. When you know, as one of God's elect that it is truly from God, then it is not to be played around with. If it is important to God then it had better be the priority in your life.
Judges 16:20 "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."
When God gives a gift and you defile that gift, God will strip it from you. If you have a gift, you are to use it. Samson is as bald as a marine corps recruit here, shaved right down to the skin, and here comes the Philistines to take him away. They have their trophy, "and he wist not [knew not] that the Lord was departed from him." When Samson awoke from his sleep, he wasn't aware that his strength was gone from him until the men with the brass fetters showed up on the door step.
That is where his strength went, for when the Lord departed, so went his strength. Disobedience to his main gift brought destruction down upon his head.
Judges 16:21 "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."
When God's Spirit leaves you, you automatically become spiritually blind. There is absolutely no way without God's Holy Spirit within you that you will understand the truths of God's Word. If you start toying around with the spiritual harlots of the day, you are laying yourself wide open to your own destruction. As far as your gaining the power that come from God's Word, and His Spirit, you have thrown it all away. Because poor Samson liked to play around with these spiritual harlots, and he could not keep his mouth shut on his gifts that pertained to God, he lost it all. Both physically and spiritually Samson became a broken man.
Judges 16:22 "Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven."
Samson's hair is starting to grow back, but the vow is still broken.
Judges 16:23 "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."
Remember that Dagon the fish god is the same heathen god that the people of Nineveh worshipped, when Jonah was thrown up on the shore.
Judges 16:24 "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."
They gave great praise to that fish that they thought brought Samson under their control. Can you see by this that these Philistines have never blamed Israel for those thousands killed, and all the destruction that came upon them over the past twenty years. They blamed Samson alone. God is using this one man, and we should never say that one man can't make a difference. For with one man and God, you have an army greater than any force on earth. You can make a difference just like Samson did. Remember that it was not Dagon the heathen god that delivered Samson into their hands, it was Samson's big mouth and his disobedience.
Judges 16:25 "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."
This is why these Philistines wanted Samson all the time, to make light of him, and belittle their enemy in their own eyes. Though they are eaten up by their great pride, we know what really happened.
Judges 16:26 "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."
To add more scorn on Samson, they had a little child lead Samson around by his hand. This lad had spent much time with Samson, and he felt sorry for him. The boy lead Samson over to the pillars for he could see no harm in it.
Judges 16:27 "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."
There is a lot of weight on the roof of this building, as these thousands of people were up there to gaze down upon Samson, and see him in his weakened state.
Judges 16:28 "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."
If you think that Samson's hair growing back had anything to do with Samson's strength returning, then you have missed the whole point here. Samson is calling not to Dagon the heathen god, but to YHVH, the Almighty God of Israel to give him his strength back just one more time.
God heard Samson, and He will give Samson back his strength, for this is the day that God planned on from before Samson's conception. Remember what the purpose that Angel of God told Manoah's wife that this child was to be born for? Judges 13:5; "For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no rasor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines."
This is the time, and God set up this entire situation to where His plans might be fulfilled. Samson is about to free God's people from those wicked rulers that have ruled over them for the past sixty years.
Judges 16:29 "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."
Those two pillars were what held the entire roof up, and Samson took a hold of each of them in his hands. The entire weight of the three thousand people on the roof was bearing down on those pillars.
Judges 16:30 "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 far more that he slew in his life."
Samson was killed when the roof of this great building came down, and at the same time the enemy was also defeated because the Philistines are now left without any leaders, for they are all lying under the debris from this building.
I hope you can see the type that is given here. The Israelites had been in captivity for forty years, before Samson was born, and now as he is an adult, that captivity has ended with his death. It was Samson's death that freed the people, and this is a type of Christ's death on the cross, whereby it was through His death that we have been set free from the spiritual captivity of death that was placed on each soul. Now when we turn to Him, God takes care of those places where we are not perfect, and sets us free from our sins.
That is the gift that we have in Christianity, that we have the forgiveness from our sins, for God knows that we are not perfect, nor shall we be until we leave this physical body behind. However until them, there is freedom in Christ through our repentance in Jesus name, and we are set free from the guilt of sin.
Samson was not perfect, but when Samson finally cried out to the Lord for his strength, the Lord heard him, and gave him back his strength, and God allowed Samson fulfilled his mission in life.
Judges 16:31 "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."
God's own love for his children has protected His children of Israel for over forty years, and then twenty years after this, when Samson was in deep trouble not one of the tribes of Israel would offer him any help or protection. This entire nation of Israel was in the captivity of the Philistines, and the whole group had become so cowardly that not one of them would give any support in Samson's defense, when he was there blinded in prison. Not one would plead Samson's case or show any mercy in any way. They left Samson at the mill every day, grinding the corn for the Philistines like a beast of burden. Samson had given his all to that point to deliver them, and Israel tuned their backs on him.
Then we see how that our Heavenly Father was in control and brought to pass the completion of Samson's mission right to the very end. Now with Samson dead and buried, the children of Israel will drift back to the point where every man will do what seems to be right in their own eyes. Though much time has past since the Israelites have sought to please God, God is long suffering and it is his will that all come to repentance. Samson gave his life gladly to serve the purpose that God had for him, to destroy the enemies of our people. God gave Samson the gift of his strength, and Samson used it to fulfill the will of God.
To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits; to understand it, the highest of all goals. We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.
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