Let's talk about two women who had a common connection though they would never meet. I am referring to Samson, his wife and Delilah. We have already discussed his unique birth announcement to his parents and their desire to do what is right but sadly it seems that Samson grew up spoiled in many ways. His parents had not taught him respect for authority as is evident in how he addresses his parents in Judges 14:1-2.
And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife.
Samson decided he wanted to get married to this particular girl. Usually it was the parents who had the biggest say in their child’s spouse but for Samson he took complete control. He seemingly demanded his parents do this for him, this is the language of a spoiled child. They are giving orders to parents instead of seeking their counsel and discussing the matter with them in a respectful manner. Samson is aware of what he is asking, he looks outside of not just his own tribe but his country something that was not allowed. His parents raise the same concerns in verse 3
Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.
A matter of respect
They are shocked that he has chosen a bride on his own, from outside their people, and know that it will not go down well with the neighbors. Again Samson displays his spoiled, disrespectful attitude when he said, Get for me; for she pleaseth me well. That is very strong language, something that should not come out during a parent/child conversation. This is a challenge to us on how we speak to our own parents. They are our God given authority during our childhood but when we become adults it doesn’t mean we can speak to them however we like. They will always be our parents and should be given respect even if we disagree with them. God places great emphasis on this. Not only is it one of the ten commandments given to Israel, it is the only one with a promise which we can read in Exodus 20:12:
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
And Paul reminds us again in Ephesians 6:2-3
Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
God promises a longer life to those who honor their parents, who give them the respect their position is due. This, of course, does not mean you have to do things that go against God’s principles when you parents ask but you can disagree respectfully. You should, however, be willing to hear your parents out, to hear their side of the matter, and to be ready to admit when you are wrong. Samson refused to heed their words and disregarded their concerns. Could it be that this was one of the reasons his life was cut short? Perhaps.
When we have no respect for the authority or position of our parents we will struggle to have respect in other areas including God and in the workplace. Samson’s actions reveal that he did not care for what God had to say about this matter either. He openly sinned against the Lord but as if often the case, God still uses bad things to accomplish good. We read in verse 4
But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the Lord, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.
God would allow Samson to have a victory over the Philistines but it should be mentioned that Samson did suffer for his rebellion and eventually reap the full bounty of his disobedience. Remember, we are free to make our own choices, God does not force anyone to obey Him but He does decide the consequences of our actions. This is a good thought to keep in the forefront of our mind when tempted to think that we can do as we please since others have gotten away with it, but so often we don’t see the rest of the story or even forget that God will judge us one day for all our actions both good and bad. No sin goes unpunished as the life of Samson will reveal.
A crying bride
No matter the wrong, his parents make the arrangements as their son demanded and the engagement party commences. Samson decides to have some fun and puts forth a riddle for the men to answer giving them a week to do it. After spending time thinking about it and coming up short, they, out of desperation to win, threaten Samson's bride.
And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson's wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father's house with fire: have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so? Judges 14:15
Women often were placed in such a position, they had little to no rights and men felt they could manipulate them to get what they wanted. The tactic seemed to work in this case. Of course the fact that these men really did mean what they said was no doubt enough to scare her severely. It is interesting that they encouraged her to entice her husband, as much as the men felt they had authority over a woman, they subtly were admitting that a she could bring a man down, especially one like Samson who had a weakness for women, with her words. In verses 16 and 17
And Samson's wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee? And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people. Judges 14:16-17
It is almost uncanny how she used the same tactics Delilah would on Samson later. The young bride cries and makes accusations to her husband that he must hate her because if he really loved her he would have told her the answer to the riddle. Samson gets defensive and tells her that he hasn’t even told his own parents the answer so why should he tell her. The tension can almost be felt in these verses. A word of caution when it comes to using the words, "always" and "never". It is easy to throw these words around in the heat of the moment but how true are they really? A once said pastor that these words should be rarely spoken, if ever, in a conversation. How often have we found ourselves saying, "You never listen or you always ignore me", in our hearts we know that is not true and we need to guard against it. Another point is the fact that Samson is completely unaware of the pressure his wife is under since her and her family's lives have been threatened. This is the root of the problem and the cause of her desperation to know the answer to the riddle. What would have happened if she had simply opened up to him, after all, he was the strongest man in the world and able to protect her from anything. Sadly, so much is lost by lack of communication between couples, friends, and families. When we take the time to talk about things, especially things that are bothering us, solutions can be given and conflict avoided. For Samson's wife, she chooses, instead, to manipulate him by crying. This is a little humorous, here is a spoiled man who demanded his parents get him this woman for his wife only to marry her and have her make demands of him. In fact, she cried for seven days to get her way and it worked, she wore him down until he finally gave her the answer.
Ruled by emotions
Unfortunately the story continues down the road of decline, there is no happily ever after in store for either of them. It's obvious to Samson how the men got the answer to his riddle which made him very mad. After fulfilling the wager he storms off, leaving his wife behind and goes to his father’s house….just like a spoiled child would do.
His actions made the father-in-law rethink the marriage, assuming that Samson no longer wanted his daughter. He makes the decision to give his wife to Samson's companion which was a big mistake. At this point in the story your heart goes out to this woman in some ways, she was simply tossed about from here to there. Threatened by a mob of angry men, her husband angry with her and now her father decides she should be married to another man. What transpires next is even harder to read. Samson, after cooling down, goes to visit his wife.
But it came to pass within a while after, in the time of wheat harvest, that Samson visited his wife with a kid; and he said, I will go in to my wife into the chamber. But her father would not suffer him to go in. Judges 15:1
To be honest, his thought process is stunning. He thinks he can make a big scene, throw a tantrum, stay away for a while, and come back to find everything as he left it. That is quiet the arrogant assumption. The fact that he decides a baby goat is an acceptable gift is also a little funny, not flowers or fabric, a baby goat. Can you picture it, "Hi honey, here’s a goat for you, can I get a kiss?"
Regardless of the presentation, Samson gets the news that his bride was given away to someone else. In retribution, he seeks revenge. Samson let his emotions rule, in fact that is one way to sum up his entire life and serves as a warning to us. When we let our emotions determine our actions we are in for trouble. Anger, fear, hate, these all will cause us to make poor choices and react badly. Often they will lead to regret as well. We must rule our heart, our emotions, not the other way around. What Samson did was wrong and it was cruel since he burned down the Philistines fields using foxes tied together and set on fire. Samson acted on his own, not according to God’s command. Even though Samson is listed as a judge that does not mean he was always good, just like we saw in the life of Jonah who was a disobedient prophet. Samson’s life was mostly guided by his own selfish desires which would cost him and many others a high price.
The Philistines were not happy with his actions and they took it out on the father and Samson’s wife by killing them with fire. It was so tragic and of course, Samson retaliates for that too. As you read these passages you almost feel like it is a feud, each side seeking revenge on the other with no end in sight. Again, this is another problem with letting your emotions take control of your life, there is no telling just how far it will go and how many will suffer because of it. Determine to keep your emotions in check, live your life under the influence of God’s word. We are to be a people who are self-controlled, it is a fruit of the Spirit, an evidence that Christ dwells within you and it applies to every area of our life.
With the passing of his wife, another chapter begins in the life of Samson, one that would lead to his tragic end.
And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. Judges 16:4
That one sentence, one decision would alter his life forever.
The danger of sexual sin
A pastor made an interesting point regarding the dangers of sexual sin and how our response to this sin is different than any other. He said that this is the only sin we are told not to withstand but to flee. We find the perfect example in the life of Joseph. When Potiphar’s wife grabbed him, to try and make him come with her, he left his coat behind and ran. Sexual sin, when it is allowed to rule you, will always lead to death and not just spiritual death but also physical. Proverbs tells us on numerous occasions that the ways of the strange women are the ways of death, her path leads to hell.
Samson had a weakness and it was the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes. He was a man ruled by his emotions, as we have already discussed, and by his lust filled passions. These problems would lead to his destruction, as evidently the Philistines already figured out his weakness for women which is why they sought Delilah’s help. We don’t know much about Delilah’s background, only that she is a harlot and willing to do anything for money. Without any hesitation she immediately sets to work, manipulating Samson into giving her his secret.
Samson sees it more as a game. He gives her false information three times in a row with her trying it each time. To most normal people this would give you cause to stop and realize that this woman has no good intentions but sadly Samson would yield after Delilah used the same tactics as his wife had earlier. She declared that he didn’t love her plus she nagged him daily until his soul was vexed unto death. In the end Samson was betrayed and captured by the Philistines. Someone made the comment once that the members of his body that he struggled to control the most, his eyes, were the one thing they took from him.
Most of us know the fate of this once strong man, the one who had such a miraculous beginning, he would be made a laughing stock to the Philistines but would one more time bring destruction to them when he placed his hands between two pillars, asking God for strength one more time, and collapse the building killing himself in the process, a request he also asked for. Samson’s life truly teaches us what happens when we let our emotions and our passions rule our life instead of following after God.
Persistence and focus
Let’s drift back to Delilah for a moment because there are a couple of interesting traits she possessed that we can learn from. Persistence and focus. Three times Samson lied to her, three times she was made to look a fool in front of the men who hired her yet she continued on. Her desire to receive the promised reward was so great that she kept asking Samson to tell her what it was. This should cause us to stop and consider how focused are we on eternity? God tells us that there is a reward for those who follow Him, who seek Him, who obey His commands yet so often we lack the persistence needed to accomplish the tasks in front of us. How many times have we lost our focus on what really matters? Are we easily distracted or dissuaded from doing what is right? Paul says he presses toward the mark, he lays aside the weights and the sins that so easily beset us so he can run the race before him. If we want to say these words with Paul we have to run our race with persistence and stay focused on what is ahead of us. When we remember where we are going, it will be easier to say no to the bad and yes to the needful thing, our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Be persistent in the race we call life and stay focused on the Lord. We do this best when we spend time in His word every day and learn to be still in His presence.
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I am just an ordinary girl who is loved by an extraordinary God and I seek to love others the same way. I love to bake, read, do puzzles, watch Hallmark movies, and go shopping with my mom! This blog was created as a place where I could share some thoughts that the Lord has shown me and to be an encouragement to others who desire to know Him in a deeper way. My prayer is to learn to sit still and trust God with my future.