Pastoral Commentary for Judges 16
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
Another sinful choice made by Samson was used by God for the good of His chosen people Israel. Samson sought out a prostitute and when the people of Gaza heard he was there, they lay in wait for him. Samson demonstrated his power over them by ripping off the bronze gates of the city, lifting them onto his shoulders and carrying them to the top of a neighboring hill. Then Samson the womanizer was smitten by another Philistine female by the name of Delilah. The Philistine rulers bribed her to lure Samson into revealing the source of his great strength. When she asked him the first time, Samson lied and told her he could be bound by seven fresh thongs. When she tested him, however, Samson broke the thongs easily. Delilah nagged Samson, claiming he had made a liar of her. He then told her that he could be bound with new rope. Another test demonstrated that Samson had made a fool of her again. For a third time Samson deceived her, telling her that he could be subdued by weaving his braids into the fabric of her loom. Nevertheless, Delilah continually nagged him until he was "tired to death." Despite the fact that every lie had been tested, Samson finally revealed the truth, and while he slept on her lap, Delilah had his hair shaved. The saddest moment of the whole episode came when Samson "did not know that the Lord had left him." The Philistines bound him and gouged out his eyes, throwing him in prison to grind with a millstone. But God wasn't done with this fallen hero yet. When the Philistines decided to make sport of Samson and mock his God at sacrificial ceremony for their idol Dagon, Samson cried out to God for vengeance. Samson grasped the middle pillars on which the whole building rested and cried out, "Let me die with the Philistines." Pulling down the pillars, the building collapsed killing 3000 Philistine men and women. In the end, Samson received a peaceful burial in the tomb of his father. In so many ways Samson's story is one of an "anti-hero." God used him in spite of his sinful desires and choices. We should pray that God would use us in a much more positive way.