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10 Surprising Lessons We Can Learn from Samson and Delilah in the Bible


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Samson was one of the most powerful men of his time, but when he fell for Delilah and her tricks became too much to handle, it all came crashing down. His strength gone from him like water through a sieve – not only did she steal away what little he had left, but even more importantly: The Holy Spirit left him, too!

The story of Samson and Delilah mirrors the spiritual downfall in Israel at this time. Although he was physically strong, Samson’s moral fiber remained weak; but through his failures, we see God’s sovereign power demonstrated.

vector of Samson and Delilah in the Bible with the text 10 Surprising Lessons: Samson and Delilah
Who was Delilah in the Bible?
The Samson story is one of intrigue and romance. He falls for Delilah, who then uses the opportunity to learn about his strength so that she can turn him over to the Philistines. Unfortunately, the Bible leaves more questions than answers when telling this captivating tale of a man named Samson who had great power from God but fell in love with an enemy woman. 

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The narratives of biblical women are often told through their connections to men. (husband, father, or brother). 

All we know is that her name is a Hebrew one, and the place where she lives – between Israelite territory on one side to Philistines’ land across its other borders. The couple is said to be lovers but not married.

What is the status of this woman in society? Is she a wealthy widow, like Judith? Or could it be that she’s sexually autonomous like the woman in the Song Of Solomon? On the other hand, could she be a harlot as many supposed?

Delilah is not named a harlot. However, Samson was profligate, and it may be because he met Delilah after scripture tells us that he visited a harlot that many connect the two and assume she was also a harlot.

Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her.The Gazites were told, “Samson has come here.” And they surrounded the place and set an ambush for him all night at the gate of the city. They kept quiet all night, saying, “Let us wait till the light of the morning; then we will kill him.”

But Samson lay till midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts, and pulled them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron. After this, he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.

JUDGES 16:1-4 (ESV)

Delilah is never called a Philistine, though it seems that she must be because 1) Samson was attracted to their women 2), She had dealings with the Philistine rulers, and they would probably not come seeking out an Israelite girl for help, 3). She betrayed the Israelite hero to his enemies. 

All are valid reasons to believe she was a Philistine, but none are conclusive.  Only one of the three women that Samson was involved with was identified as a Philistine. That was his wife.

Delilah, which means “weak” and “poor” in Hebrew, seems to fit her perfectly. From the story of Samson and Delilah in the Bible, we see how weak she was compared to her relationship with Samson.

image of text with meanings of the name Delilah in the Bible

We’ll get deeper into her weaknesses, how they apply to us in our modern lives as Christians, and the lessons we can learn from her.

Charming, seductive, and a woman who led the man of God to his downfall. These are probably the best words used to describe Delilah. Delilah appeared in the Bible for only a short period, but her story gives us many important lessons to learn and apply.

Samson and Delilah in the Bible Story Summary

To learn more about Deliah and the lessons we can learn from her, let’s do a quick recap of this well-known Bible story.

When we first meet Delilah in the Bible, we learn that she is from the land of Sorek.  Even though Samson falls for Delilah, she’s swayable because of the Philistines. The enemies of the Israelites were trying to find out where his strength came from so they could defeat him.

Samson was a miracle child, born to a woman who had previously been barren for many years. An angel told Samson’s parents that their son would be a Nazirite all his life. The Nazirites were holy men who took vows of purity to avoid wine and grapes, not cutting their hair or beard. They also avoided contact with dead bodies. The Bible says that, as he grew up the Lord blessed Samson, and “the Spirit of God began to stir in him.”

And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

JUDGES 13:25 (ESV)

As he grew into manhood, Samson’s lusts overwhelmed him. Then, when he was young and foolish, Samson made a series of bad decisions that led him on a sinful trajectory. When he met Delilah, this marked the beginning of his downfall and demise.   

When Samson’s strength was wreaking havoc on the Philistines, they wanted to humiliate and destroy him utterly. She’s offered about 100 days’ worth of wages to discover the secret to his strength.

Samson is a playful jokester, but he can’t resist his sweetheart’s demands for information.

And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death.

JUDGES 16:16 (ESV)

He shares with Delilah the source of his strength, his hair. While Samson sleeps in her lap, a co-conspirator cuts his hair rendering him weak, and hands it over to the Philistines. The Philistines then capture Samson.

The Philistines gouged out Samson’s eyes and made him work hard labor in a Gaza prison.

 As he worked daily at grinding grain, his hair started to grow back, but the careless and clueless Philistines paid no attention to him.  Despite his years of failures and great sins, Samson turned his heart to the Lord.  He was greatly humbled. Samson prayed to God, and God answered.

The Philistines had gathered in Gaza to celebrate a pagan sacrificial ritual. As part of their custom, the Philistines paraded Samson, their prized prisoner, into the temple.  The crowds were entertained and jeered at him.  Samson positioned himself between the two main support pillars of the temple and then pushed with all his might. The temple collapsed, killing everyone in the temple, including Samson.

Samson’s sacrifice destroyed more of his enemies in this one act than he had killed throughout all the battles of his life.

Significant Themes and Life Lessons from Samson and Delilah in the Bible

1. Bad Consequences Follow Sin

We might look at the story of Samson and Delilah in the Bible and his lust or infatuation with her and think of him as gullible.  But his lust for her blinded him to her lies and her true devious nature. He fell for her every trick but wanted her so bad that he couldn’t see through her schemes.

Why didn’t Samson learn from his past failures and mistakes? Why did he give in to temptation and give up his blessed gift? 

Deceived by illusion, we cannot see the truth.

Sin is something that we all struggle with. Sinful acts can leave our lives in ruins. The good news? With God’s help, you’ll be able to get through any sin obstacles put before you because he loves each one of us so much.

In God, whose word I praise,

    in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.

    What can flesh do to me?

PSALM 56:4 (ESV)

Christians tend to pluck lessons from the story of Delilah in the Bible, such as, “Be careful of the company you keep.”

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

1 CORINTHIANS 15:33 (ESV)

Sin is like an addiction; the more you do it, the worse your situation becomes. It is best for us to avoid the “Delilahs” in our lives and to pursue righteous living. 

2. Don’t Let Your Guard Down.

The devil is a tricky creature and will do his best to find your biggest weakness. 

In the story of Samson and Delilah in the Bible, Samson lets his desire for Delilah impair his judgment.  He let his guard down and ended up revealing his greatest weakness. 

3. Recognize That Charm is Deceptive

Judges 16 shares the short story of Delilah. One of Samson’s love “conquests” turned out to be his last.

Samson fell hard for this woman and despite her prodding and poor showing of character, he was in love with her.

Remember that despite outward beauty, it is the inward beauty that matters in relationships and to God.

4. Be Wise With Your Decisions

While this one is really a lesson from Samson, it is an important one. In Judges 16:4-22 we read that while Samson was strong, he wasn’t foolish in his decisions. When the man fell madly in love with a woman who worked to bring his downfall, he was willing to do anything for her.

“And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.’”

JUDGES 16:5 (ESV)

Scripture illustrated how Delilah attempted to use her beauty and charm to seduce Samson into telling her the secret of his strength. Samson did fool her several times but eventually gave in when she continued to ask and pester him about it. 

“And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death.” 

JUDGES 16:16 (ESV)

Don’t ever let your emotions or your affections fool you.

Before you make a decision, give it to the Lord and ask for guidance.  Don’t make a decision based on feelings alone.

5.  Run In the Other Direction at the First Sign of Trouble 

Another lesson from Samson. As already mentioned, Samson was incredibly strong, but not very wise.  After her first failed attempt and getting his secret, he didn’t run away. Instead, he foolishly thought that he would be able to resist her questioning and defeat any enemy in his way. 

He made poor decisions and engaged in ungodly behavior. Set boundaries in your life to protect yourself and your heart. At the first sign that someone isn’t who you think they are, run in the other direction.

Proverbs 7:21-23 is a perfect example of being manipulated by someone’s beauty and charm.  Don’t allow this to happen to you. Whether male or female, there are those that will try to seduce you with slick words and tell you what you want to hear.  Instead, ask God for direction and discernment before making decisions or starting any relationship.

“With much seductive speech she persuades him;

    with her smooth talk she compels him.

All at once he follows her,

    as an ox goes to the slaughter,

or as a stag is caught fast

    till an arrow pierces its liver;

as a bird rushes into a snare;

    he does not know that it will cost him his life.”

PROVERBS 7:21-23 (ESV)

6. Don’t Allow Anyone to Manipulate You

Delilah used guilt and charm as her weapon to manipulate Samson into divulging the source of his strength.  As we know, this led to his demise.  

As mentioned above, before entering into any relationship, ask God for wisdom and discernment.  We must be careful in allowing people into our lives who are manipulative and controlling. Anything we share with someone like that (secrets or other personal information) can be used to control or manipulate us. 

Scripture, again, gives us the perfect warning about this: 

“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”

MATTHEW 7:6 (ESV)

7. Don’t Be Weak In Loyalty

Let’s go back for a moment to Judges 16:5 and look at Delilah’s weakness in loyalty.

And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.”

JUDGES 16:5 (ESV)

In the verses that follow, Delilah questions Samson’s source of strength and tests his answers to see if they’re true.

Why was Delilah in the Bible so determined to learn of Samson’s source of strength?

Because she lacked loyalty to Samson who loved her dearly.  Instead, she was greedy and wanted the 1100 pieces of silver. 

As a Christian, are we similar to Delilah and act disloyally to Christ? Do we betray him in sin in small and big ways?  Do we betray God for our own version of silver (status, worldly pleasures, or even money)?

8. Have a Quiet and Gentle Spirit

Delilah was anything but meek and did not have a quiet and gentle spirit

We’ve discussed Judges 16:6 before but let’s discuss it in another way. She pestered him, nagged him, tested him.

There is an old adage that we can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.  Delilah in the Bible certainly didn’t live by this saying.  She was money hungry and disloyal. Eventually, it led to his demise.  

Before you pester or nag, pray.  Then act and speak in love.  Don’t be the cause of someone else’s demise.

9. Don’t Be Prideful

Delilah had more pride than sense, but when it came to money she would not let go of the 1100 silver piece offer. She refused because her reasons were wrong-headed and misplaced. She was full of stubborn pride.  

How does her situation apply to us?

Scripture tells us what God considers to be true beauty.

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—  but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

1 PETER 3:3-4 (ESV)

The biblical Definition of beauty is not something that can be found in Delilah.

Why?  Because of pride. Her pride prevented her from having a quiet and gentle spirit toward Samson.

Pride can be a dangerous thing, and as Christians, we’re in the same danger of falling into pride. We must continually remember that God has our best interest at heart; he wants us to be humble and not stubbornly resist Him or other authority figures such as pastors, teachers, and parents.

Pride is one of the most dangerous enemies we could ever face. We must be humble or we may cultivate the same stubborn pride that Delilah had which led to Samson’s downfall.

10.  Don’t Lack in Genuine Love Toward One Who Loves You

Jesus said to His disciples:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

JOHN 14:15 (ESV)

The one who loves you will never betray your trust. Delilah betrayed the man who loved her.  We, too, are in danger of this if we turn our back on God who loves us with unending and undying love.

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Questions for Reflection Based on Samson and Delilah in the Bible

  1. Samson was incredibly strong and slew many enemies, but he didn’t kill his lust. Delilah was a scoundrel (although scripture doesn’t tell us if she followed God). Samson’s strength became one of his weaknesses. His strength was so powerful that he may have forgotten Who provided that strength.  

What would you say are some of your greatest strengths? How could they become your weaknesses? Has it happened before? 

2. Samson found Delilah to be more of a liability than an asset. Although Scripture doesn’t reveal her roots, let’s assume for a moment that she is a Philistine. 

Are there any “Philistines” in your life that Satan can use as a distraction from God’s calling on your life? Even good things can keep us from following what God wants for us. 

Has this ever happened to you? Is it happening now?

3. Samson was chained to his lust. Delilah seemed to be chained to her love for money. Are you “chained” to anything besides the Lord? Hobbies? People? Success? Power? 

Their physical yearnings and desires controlled both of them, creating a flesh-controlled life. Do you feel your flesh or the Spirit controls you? Samson’s consequences were enormous. What can be the consequences of living a flesh-controlled life?

  1. Samson was a man who made the wrong choice. He betrayed his vow to God for lust. The weakness of his heart is more astonishing than the strength of his body! 

God had gifted this man with tremendous strength and power, yet Samson abused his power rather than using it for God’s glory. But was he still considered a hero of faith? Despite his failures and shortcomings, Samson had a heart for God. 

Delilah seemed to only have a heart for herself. And money. The Lord used her to birth humility in Samson and deliver death to many Philistines. 

What gifts has God given you? Are you using them for His glory, neglecting them, or abusing them? How is it possible for us to “abuse” the giftings He’s given us?

5. Delilah is thought to have had a particular “reputation” around town which led the Philistine leaders to approach her with their “deal.” They thought she’d be the perfect person for the job, and they were right. 

How important are our reputations, spiritually speaking? Is it important what others think of us? Why? 

How is your reputation around town? In your family? In your home? In your church? (Maybe you can ask someone??) If it’s not so good, it’s never too late to clean it up. How can you do this?

At the end of his life, blind and humbled, Samson finally realized his utter dependence upon God. He found amazing grace. He once was blind but now could see. No matter how far you’ve fallen away from God or how big you’ve failed, it’s never too late to humble yourself and return to God. Ultimately, Samson turned his tragic mistakes into victory through his sacrificial death. Let Samson’s example persuade you — it’s never too late to return to God’s open arms.

This post was originally published on womanofnoblecharacter.com.

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