Saturday, January 7, 2017

Delilah


Women of Israel's Heroic Age
Delilah

Delilah: "Entice him and see where his strength lies"

Key Scripture: Judges 16:4-20 - Hebrews 11:32

Her Name Means: “Delicate” or "Dainty One."

Her Character: She was beautiful, cunning, brave and selfish.

Her Strengths:  She was tenacious.

Her Sorrow: Delilah was the female Judas of the Old Testament.

Her Joy: She outwitted and overpowered one of history's most powerful men.

Pre-Story: Sampson was born with supernatural strength from God to do His work in the nation of Israel. Israel was under the rule and oppression of the Philistines. During his wedding sermon to a Philistine women, Samson was so humiliated by her and the wedding guests that he sought revenge by killing 1,000 Philistine men. Fast forward to our story, Samson was a judge of Israel; a hero who was in the process of setting Israel free form the oppression of the Philistines.

Her Story: Delilah was a woman, a harlot, whose nationality is unknown. She was beautiful, almost certainly a Philistine and so a traditional enemy of any Hebrew. Delilah is introduced into the Bible account toward the final part of Samson’s 20-year judgeship as the object of his love. He had been dedicated to God at birth and had never cut his hair. It was a symbol of his obedience and in return, God gave him strength greater than any normal man. Unfortunately, Samson was controlled by his sensuality. He had a weakness for women. He was physically strong but morally weak.

One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a Delilah, a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. When the rulers of the Philistines heard about this they went to Delilah and urged “lured” Samson into revealing the source of his strength. (Judges 16:5). They offered her eleven hundred shekels of silver each. (In modern money, about fifteen million dollars).

For Delilah, it was no contest. The money trumped the man. She asked Samson, "Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you." Samson answered her, “If anyone ties me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she tied him with them. With men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the bowstrings as easily as a piece of string snaps when it comes close to a flame.

Then Delilah said to Samson, “You have made a fool of me; you lied to me. Come now, tell me how you can be tied.” He said, “If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I’ll become as weak as any other man.”  So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them. Then, with men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the ropes off his arms as if they were threads.

Delilah then said to Samson, “All this time you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied.” He replied, “If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin, I’ll become as weak as any other man.”  So while he was sleeping, Delilah took the seven braids of his head, wove them into the fabric and tightened it with the pin. Again she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and pulled up the pin and the loom, with the fabric.

Finally, she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? "This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it. So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.” When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, "Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands.

As Samson slept with his head in Delilah's lap, she had a man shave his hair. The Philistines waited in another room as Delilah woke Samson. This time he struggled against the ropes but his strength had left him. He was taken captive. That is the last we hear of Delilah. She had earned her money.
Samson’s love couldn’t save her, nor could her silver. As Jesus said, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36).

Her Place in God's Divine Plan: We learn that God can use the wicked as well as the righteous to accomplish His will. We also discover that our own righteousness or wickedness will not deter God from doing His will.

Her Challenges Along the Way: That Sampson lied to her, making her look foolish on three different occasions.

Her Victories: She used her beauty to betray her lover and enrich herself.

Lesson We Can Learn from Her Legacy: We may never be faced with a choice such as was given to Delilah, money for a man's life, but there will be choices that speak to our integrity. There may be many times when we choose between honoring a trust placed in us, or acting for our own gain.

Reading the account of Samson's life and then his downfall with Delilah, you might tend to think Samson wasted his life. He was a failure. Yet even still, he accomplished his God-assigned mission. Proving that God can use people of faith, no matter how imperfectly they live their lives. At the end of his life, blind and humbled, Samson finally realized his utter dependence upon God.

Genealogy: (Nationality is unknown)
Born: Somewhere between 1045 and 1000 B.C.
Lived: Somewhere in the valley of Sorek.
Occupation: She was a courtesan in a Philistine city and the lover of Samson.

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