Suicide By Lover

Three times Samson told Delilah a fib about how to take away his strength, and three times she has tried it. Samson knows what she’s doing, and who for. Delilah knows he knows. Basically, she’s trying to get him killed. And finally, Samson goes along with it.

And she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies.”  And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death.  And he told her all his heart, and said to her, “A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.” (Judges 16:15 — 17 ESV)

She wore Samson down. After three times failing her benefactors, three times failing to get the silver, she plays the “you don’t love me” card. And she kept at until “his soul was shortened to death”. Samson would rather die than hear her say that again. As far as he knew he did love her. Clearly, that love was not returned.
What does a woman do when a man who loves her reveals whole heart? She betrays him, of course. If the question had been, “what does a woman do when the man she loves reveals his whole heart”, that would have received a different answer. But that’s not what happened. 

Delilah didn’t love Samson. Although, there is the story-element that the Philistines don’t kill Samson. We’re not told that this part of the deal Delilah makes, but what if it were? The thing is, Samson is safer being strong, so it’s doubtful Delilah was interested in his safety. It’s more likely the Philistines wanted him alive to torture, than dead as some sort of inspiring hero of Israel.

Either way, having now seen his whole heart, she promptly betrays him.

When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up again, for he has told me all his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands.  She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him.  And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.  And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison.  But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved. (Judges 16:18 — 22 ESV)

This time the princes of the Philistines brought payment. This was sure to succeed. The ambush set, Delilah has Samson sleep in her lap. How tender and sweet, she does love him…and then calls for a man to shave the seven braids of his hair. Okay, maybe she doesn’t. In fact, she “torments” him after his hair is shaved. That statement doesn’t fit here. Literally, she “profanes him to humiliate him”, but that word, “profane” can also mean “begin”, hence the common translation. Since what she does causes him to lose the Nazarite status, I think “profane” actually makes more sense.  Samson sleeps, how does she “torment” a sleeping man? She probably put his hand in warm water.

Whatever it is she does, Samson’s strength leaves him. It’s not blatant, but the writer has personified Samson’s strength. Once Samson wakes, the writer notes, “But he did not know Yahweh had left Him.” In a rather literal sense, Yahweh was Samson’s strength. Samson was now separated from his true Master. Instead he is bound to new masters, they put out his eyes, and force him to grind grain in the mill, like an ox. Samson may not have enjoyed being the weapon of Yahweh, but it had to be better than this.

Have you ever wondered if serving God was worth it? Your friends seem to be having so much fun…without you. They do what you can’t, go where you shouldn’t, and talk about things unholy, with smiles and laughter. Does your Master seem a heavy burden? Let’s be honest, in many tangible ways, He is. Our enemy makes sin stuff easy, popular, and sensible. The lie is that “it’s all about us”, and we like that. 

Don’t deny it, you know it’s true. We’re not referring to bars, singles scenes or “clubbing”. We’re referring to other things to do on Sunday, no time to read Scripture, pray, no time for our Master. I did it in my late teens, in the Army. It became “inconvenient” to go to chapel. So, I didn’t do church at all. Eventually, I didn’t recognize the place I was in my life, not at all. It happens, once we choose “easy”, which is to not to follow our Master. And that choice is death, it’s suicide-by-<enter your personal desire here>. You know its true. So, lets chose life instead.

That’s my view through this knothole this morning. What do you see through yours?

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