Her name rolls off the tongue on a languid sigh. Delilah. You’ll find her mentioned in poems and stage plays, television shows and movie scripts. Even Neil Sedaka wrote a song that ends with the warning, “There’s a little of Delilah in each and every gal.”
Humph. We may not see the resemblance. But we do understand her dilemma.
Which to chose, the man or the money? When it comes to Samson, it wasn’t as simple as it sounds.
Chapter 5: The First Cut Is the Deepest
Samson started life as one of the Good Guys of the Bible: “He grew and the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him” (Judges 13:24-25). His physical prowess came from his strong faith in God. Centuries later, he was praised as one “who shut the mouths of lions” and “whose weakness was turned to strength” (Hebrews 11:32-34).
But somewhere in the middle of all that goodness, Samson “fell in love with Delilah” (Judges 16:4), a woman whose badness was bone deep.
Was she beautiful? Perhaps, though she’s not described in Scripture.
Was she cunning? Yes, though she didn’t bother to hide her plans to ensnare him.
Was she selfish? Decidedly so. The Bible tells us Samson loved Delilah; it never tells us Delilah loved Samson. Instead, she was willing to mislead him for her own gain.
Is there something good to be learned from her Bad Girl example? Read on.
The rulers of the Philistines urged Delilah to “lure” (Judges 16:5) Samson into revealing the source of his strength. These men didn’t mince words. “Entice him” (ASV), they said. “Seduce him” (MSG), “trick him” (NCV), “deceive him” (DRA).
How much did the men offer her for this deception? Eleven hundred shekels of silver each. Since the Philistines were led by five men of equal authority, that adds up to a boatload of cash. In modern money, about fifteen million dollars.
What would you be willing to do for such a sum? Hand over someone you dearly loved? Not likely. Hand over a man known for dealing in death and destruction, and who slept with a prostitute in Gaza just before he showed up at your door?
For Delilah, it was no contest. The money trumped the man.
She asked Samson straight up, “How can I tie you up so you can’t get away? Come on, you can tell me” (Judges 16:6 CEV). At least she was honest about what she wanted. But she was utterly dishonest about who was behind it.
Have you ever told a half-truth because it suited your needs? Right. Even Good Girls do it. Ask any clerk at a shoe store, and they’ll tell you how it works: very nice women bring back shoes they insist didn’t match their dresses, or no longer fit after they got home, when it’s obvious from the well-scuffed soles that the shoes had been worn, and not just once.
A mild example, compared to Delilah’s shenanigans, but you get the idea. Anytime we stretch the truth, hide the truth, reshape the truth, ignore the truth, we are following Delilah down a dark road.
Samson’s response was to play games with her. When she tied him with seven fresh leather straps, and he snapped them like strings held close to a flame, she huffed, “You have made a fool of me; you lied to me” (Judges 16:10).
Interesting, how quickly we see another’s faults when they look so much like our own.
Then Samson tried a second ploy, telling her to use new ropes that had never been used, which he then snapped off as if they were threads. Delilah whined, “You have been making a fool of me and lying to me” (Judges 16:13).
Yup. Second verse, same as the first.
Finally he told her to weave his seven braids into a loom. Of course, when he awoke, he pulled up the whole loom, with his braids still woven through it. (I’ll have whatever hair strengthener he’s using, please.)
At this point, Delilah ran out of patience. We’ll park on the next verse for a moment and see what we might glean from the scene.
Then 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.” Judges 16:15
Really, the woman had some nerve. She was the one who wasn’t confiding in her man. She was the one trying to make a fool of him. She was the one keeping secrets about who was strong-arming her.
Playing these parlor games with Samson must have been like looking in the mirror, and Delilah did not like what she saw.
Then she said to him,… Judges 16:15
This translation really nails it: “Then Delilah pouted” (NLT). You know she did. We can see her bottom lip poking out like a shelf.
“How can you say, ‘I love you,’…” Judges 16:15
Samson no doubt declared his love often, or she wouldn’t have mentioned it. “I love you” is music to our ears when the feeling is mutual. But when we don’t love someone, those words grate like fingernails on a chalkboard.
Clearly Delilah was tired of hearing it, and so pretended not to believe it. “You claim to love me” (CEV), she taunted him, double-daring him to prove it.
“…when you won’t confide in me?” Judges 16:15
She accused him of the very thing of which she was guilty. “Thy mind is not with me” (DRA), she told him. “Your actions prove your heart is somewhere else” (VOICE). Though he said he loved her, she insisted, “You don’t mean it!” (CEV).
Conversations like this one are unfolding in countless living rooms and bedrooms right this very minute. “If you really loved me…” “If you really cared…” Then and now, if we recorded every spoken word, we might realize we’re blaming the other person for the shortcomings we cannot bear to admit we find in ourselves.
Lord, help us see more clearly. Get the log cabin out of our own eyes before we notice the speck of sawdust in the eyes of someone else.
“This is the third time you have made a fool of me…” Judges 16:15
Women love to count. Yes, we do. “Three times you’ve made fun of me” (CJB), Delilah told him. “You have lied to me” (NLV) and “deceived me these three times” (NASB).
Samson did seem to be enjoying himself, tricking her like that, while neatly avoiding any confession of the source of his strength. Did he suspect her? Mistrust her? Or was he simply having a laugh at her expense?
All Delilah cared about was getting what she wanted. Her heart was the last thing on her mind. Her bank account, the first.
“…and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” Judges 16:15
She was still playing the relationship card, tugging on his emotions. “You won’t even share your secret with me” (NIRV), she told him, her pout growing more pronounced. “You still haven’t told me what makes you so strong!” (NLT).
Delilah never stopped. She nagged, she prodded, day after day.
We know how this works. We tell ourselves we’re simply reminding, prompting, suggesting. But the Bible tells it like it is. Delilah was “pestering” (CEV), “bothering” (EXB), even “tormenting” (MSG) her man. Truth is, “every day she made his life miserable” (GW), until poor Samson “was tired to death” (Judges 16:16).
Did she finally get what she wanted? She did, if what she wished for was cold, hard silver. But in the process, she lost her relationship with Samson, and any shred of human kindness with it.
When the Philistine rulers returned “with the silver in their hands” (Judges 16:18), Delilah put Samson to sleep on her lap, then “called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair” (Judges 16:1). As Matthew Henry put it, “She pretended the greatest kindness even when she designed the greatest mischief.”
The Philistines gouged out Samson’s eyes, reducing his strength even further, then bound him with bronze shackles, and threw him in a Gaza prison to grind grain, the most menial form of labor.
Did Delilah openly gloat? privately mourn? Or did she try to console herself with all that silver? Money buys many things, but peace of mind is not one of them.
The day came when God strengthened Samson once more, so he could destroy his enemies. Samson prayed, then pulled down two pillars supporting a roof with three thousand Philistine men and women standing on it. Buried later in his father’s tomb, Samson was given a hero’s death and a place of honor among the faithful in Hebrews 11.
What of Delilah? Lost to history. Perhaps even lost in the rubble that day. 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).
Here’s a Discussion Question
Thought we may not be blinded by greed like Delilah or physically blinded like Samson, we may still find ourselves looking in the wrong direction. 1 Corinthians 3:18 cautions us to be aware of self-deception: “Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become ‘fools’ so that you may become wise.” Where are the blind spots in your own life where you tend to see only what you want to see?
Honestly, who writes these questions?! My blind spots are so numerous as to render me dangerous behind the wheel. Thank the Lord he is the one driving, or I would truly be doomed.
I’m learning to be more careful about the nagging bit, especially with my dear husband and grown children. But I still put up blinders when I discover things about myself I don’t like. Character issues, mostly. The two-headed monster of perfectionism and procrastination. The pride that insists I can do everything myself, when in fact I can’t possibly manage a tenth of it. The need to please others coupled with the dread of disappointing them.
For all of us who see our weaknesses for what they are—sin—we can take comfort in knowing that “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
Now it’s your turn
My question for you is the same: Where are the blind spots in your own life where you tend to see only what you want to see? If God has recently shown you some weakness, how has he helped you overcome it by his strength?
Kindly add your response under Post a Comment below.
Why not take a look at Delilah’s silvery Pinterest board? It’s one of my favorites.
Next week, green-eyed Sapphira shows us what not to do, as we study Chapter Six of Bad Girls of the Bible. Even though I’ve taught these stories for years, I have loved coming to them fresh each week and seeing what new truth the Lord has for us. Hope you are enjoying the series too!
Your sister, Liz
Well sister, when you wrote the comment of, “The two-headed monster of perfectionism and procrastination” it shot like an arrow through my heart. This describes me to a heartbreaking tee. I am so thankful that when I woke up this morning that there was a new puddle of His mercy for me to stick my feet into…… and that God can and will redeem and restore.
Blessings to you.
Where would we be without that puddle, Pam?! Thanks for reaching out.
Mine, is pride. I want to do my best, for God even. Yet, my best isn’t enough – there is too much to do and I fail and fall. In frustration, my voice of praise grows silent leading me to a cycle: Try, fall, fail on my own. God I confess to you before my sisters – I trust you. I trust you will finish the work you have started…I will get out of your way, at least I will try.
Oh Liz, you got me with this one! I am to quick to see the splinters in eyes, too quick to want things MY way rather than search for God’s way. Thankfully I keep most of these thoughts to myself, yet they are there, festering and wanting to escape my lips. God give me the wisdom to not only NOT say, but to NOT think! I am so blessed, and that’s where my focus should be! Blessings, Sister in Christ for this reminder!!
Have to admit that procrastination and perfectionism go hand in hand for me too. Wanting to do it all perfectly and knowing it doesn’t work leads to procrastination.
I struggle with pride. Even when we are humble, we are often proud that we are humble. I have guarded my self esteem closely all my adult life because it was so fragile. So as I grew stronger and wiser and did some good things for God like singing on the worship team and teaching a women’s Bible study, doing a prison ministry via snail mail, people would tell me how wonderful I was. I puff up a bit inside. it is difficult to put that in perspective and stay balanced. What helped is that I realized that as an adopted daughter in God’s family, I am a blue blooded princess, royalty, whose job is to serve everyone I come in contact with daily. Elevated to serve humbly.
When I read your wonderful words, “elevated to serve humble,” I think of Mary in The Women of Christmas. She certainly was that! Oh, Lord, may we serve so willingly.
Yesterday, ” having it all together” and/or trying to do it on my own reared its ugly head. Everyone wants to have the “perfect family.” I know it doesn’t exist…but that thought of, “I can make it look like that,” creeps up constantly. So while I sat there crying listening to my 4 year old have the tantrum of the century, my 3 year old asked, “Mama, why are you crying?” And out of my mouth came, “I can’t do this baby. It’s hard.” And then it hit me again, like it does so many times, “I can’t do this, but God can.” I thank God for his grace and love as a parent. This has been my first week as a stay at home mom and I’m finding that I HAVE to let God be in control, otherwise, I will be out of control.
Have a great day ladies!
Dear Kate, you have just taken on the full-time job of your life! Nothing reduces us to tears like motherhood. Here’s a tissue and a hug, with a heartfelt prayer for many brighter moments to outweigh the cloudier ones. It definitely isn’t easy. Yet it’s so, so worth it.
I’ve unknowingly played the Delilah role over the past 6 years and my eyes were opened 18 months ago. Although my own ‘Samson’ was not destroyed I fear his heart was greatly damaged. I learned much from him and he from me. I now admire him for all he did for me and all he added to my life. My husband surprisingly still loves me deeply and I him. I have come to realize what a great treasure I have in my husband and how much God must love me to have placed him in my life. Delilah did not simply fade into the background……she is ME and I am here to testify to Gods love, forgiveness and great goodness!
LOVE that testimony, Delilah…uh, Carolyn! Praise God for patient husbands and second chances and the incredible gift of GRACE.
I am just loving this! We studied through your book one summer in our Ladies’ Sunday School Class, but I am so enjoying the freshness your posts are putting on these women – and what NOT to do in our own Christian walks. Thanks so much for sharing with us. 🙂
PS: Loved the 20 verses series too!
I have had to battle pride all my life. I was a little, skinny kid with rampant red hair and freckles and no friends. School was a hateful nightmare. And then, overnight I learned to manage my hair, to wear mascara so I no longer looked like a rabbit, and how to dress. Suddenly men were coming out of the woodwork. In my pride, I’ve been married and divorced three times. I’m not looking for husband number four! I could play the piano from the time I was three. I played in churches all over Denver and in the small mountain towns in which I lived for many years. Playing was easy for me, and I was pretty good. But God had to get my attention. He allowed me to have four strokes in 2003. I am a walking miracle, in that I recovered at all! I am able to live alone with my cats, I hike and ride horseback every week. I am not paralyzed in any way and my speech and eyesight are good. My speech is a little halting, which has been very humbling for me. But I had used men for my own gain for years. I figured they owed me, since I had suffered so much as a teenager. God showed me the error of my ways. He didn’t let me die in my sin, but raised me up from the strokes. I play piano a bit at my church, but I’m not one of the most sought-after musicians. I rarely talk since my speech is somewhat halting. I still have to battle pride. Pride of what? You might ask. Pride in how I look, how I dress, the fact that I can play at all. I confess to God daily about my pride issues. He is dealing with me. He is infinitely patient. I think we all have issues we need to let God deal with in our lives and our hearts.
So right: we do all have issues, dear sister. As 1 John 1:8 assures us, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Speaking our truth–even if it’s ugly, even if it’s hard–is the first step toward letting go of our sin and trusting God to wash us clean. As you say, he is “infinitely patient!”
As you know I’ve taught these lessons several times! Yet it never gets old! My Grandma said that’s why it’s called a “living” Bible. Everyday you learn something new! I’m more humble than I use to be. I still need to check my pride and my judging others daily. Thank you for reminding and sharing with us how important it is to study the Bible daily.
Thanku Mrs. Liz .u write the best books .u r a God send to me I learn so much about the word .love r books have them all .keep on .writing .Bless u Liz .Bonnie
Thanks Liz for some great insight, as always! I have to keep repeating to myself,”therefore there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ.”. 🙂 We are the last ones to see the ‘flaws’ in ourselves, until His Holy Spirit reveals it to us… Until next time, Blessings to you!
Susan Elizabeth 🙂
I am more like Samson, thinking everything is rosey. I trusted people too much not seeing or feeling the real world, more than one time. I think for me it was thinking they loved me , and then when the nagging starts, if you love me you would give me money for this or that. Until recently a Christian man , just a friend helped me to figure this out, with some kind words of encouragement and also some straight to the heart. The answer I am finding is Mr. Delilah starts out slow getting your confidence and then when realization comes , you just want them gone. I need to trust Jesus more, talk to him about everthing I am doing , which I am now. She was a modern day scam artist !!!!!!
Well put: Delilah WAS a scam artist! Romans 16:19 tells us: “I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” Wise advice for us all. Thanks for sharing, Susan.
I haven’t read any of your books yet, I discovered this website tonight and read the blog and also all of the testimonies I enjoyed them all. I have a big problem with procrastination and I didn’t think I had pride but I think I do. I wind up forgetting sometimes how others in my life feel in a situation because I’m too busy thinking about how it is affecting me. About 6 days ago I got a fever blister and I haven’t had one of those in about 25 years, well I have used every cream, medicated ointment, taken supplements, extra vitamins, etc. I am trying to disquise it, hide it, cover it up, and it will not go away. It actually looks worse than better, my pride says “why me” I’m ashamed of it, I don’t want to see anyone and I work in the public etc. I’m carry on like something terrible about it and it has ruined my mood and my week. Today I thought what if you were disfigured in some way, could I handle it. I’m not a vain person but I am realizing this week I too am a perfectionist and things have not worked out the way I dreamed they would in my life so I set my self up to fail, then I give up and don’t try because the cycle “What the use, it never has been works out for me etc.” I see this now but now I need to figured out how to get help from God and let him be in control and not me, I need to stand tall in his redemption and look outward instead of focusing so much on me and how things effect me. Thanks for the blog.
I know about the Grace of God first hand in my life, but I don’t know how to let Grace work in my life on a daily basics, that’s the pride thing again. I try to do everything and fix everything and then I fail and I feel like I must of done something wrong or I’m not doing something right or things would get better. I’m not seeing progress, I’m stuck and at the same time I feel worthy to receive anything or help. oops that’s pride again. Wow this is very revealing, but what do I do next? Which book should I read first.
Tamara. Please see my post 2 or 3 down from yours. Perhaps it will help you see the way out by His grace. He works for me every time when I do what I indicated. He’s so very faithful to watch over His word to perform it. The issue is, are we willing to do things His way. It can’t be done by will power, beloved daughter. It’s done by submission to Him. The answers are in Him because Jesus is the wisdom of God and the power of God to transform our lives on the inside. I hope you will scroll down to read my other post, and I hope it helps you to see the way to victory over sin in your life. He’s been so very gracious.
Welcome to my Bible Study Blog, Tamara, and thanks for giving us a glimpse of your journey! Grace can be so hard to live out when we either think we can handle things ourselves (been there) or think we are unworthy of God’s mercy (been there too). Of all my books, the one dearest to my heart is Embrace Grace. See if it’s a good fit for you: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1400072182/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1400072182&linkCode=as2&tag=lizcurtishiggs Blessings, my sister.
Thank you Sharon for your words of wisdom and encouragement.
Thank you Liz for letting God use you and for your gift of writing and sharing with us. I can’t wait to go buy my book this week-end.
Very recently I am beginning to see that a deep hurt in my life put me on a path of perfection and procrastination. Fear of failure, not being good enough. I have had some huge blinders on and it is time to take them off! Only this morning I asked the Lord to rid my life of this hurt that taints my view of those around me. I want Him to fill me up with His joy and believe I can do anything with His strength!
Hooray for taking off the blinders, Linda!
I think your question had to do with how was/is the sin being overcome in my life. For me it’s 1st of all to confess my sin, agree with Him that it is sin indeed. 2nd I ask Jesus to come into that place in my heart and mind to rule and reign by the power of His resurrected life within me and change me. Change my thinking, beloved Jesus so that I no longer think that way, but your way. That my mind line up with the mind of Christ. It takes time this business of putting sin to death, but He’s there for me to do it every time I choose to submit to Him and ask Him to change me.
You’ve offered wise counsel here, Sharon. Many thanks!
Perfectionism, procrastination, pride–I shamefully claim them all. Looking for the Lord’s transformation.
Definitely looking in the right direction, dear Julie.
While I agree with the fact that Delilah was evil, and I know that God used Samson for His purpose; I see Samson as an example of a spoiled brat and an immature jokester. See Judges: 14. However, it is clear that God can and will use us no matter what personality defects we present.
You are absolutely right, La Vonda. Samson is all those things and more. If this book were titled, “Bad Boys of the Bible,” Samson and his exploits would be a featured chapter! From start to finish, his life was a shambles. Yet, as you say, God used him anyway. It’s a word of hope for all of us who know our faults and foibles all too well, and wonder how we can be of any use to God. Clearly, the Lord can work with very unpromising material. Thanks for offering your thoughts!
I am a Ping-Pong ball being bounced back and forth between indecisiveness and perfectionism. Should I do it? What if I mess up?? What will people think? It has to be perfect or it isn’t worth the effort. Should I even send this post? Did I misspell words or use poor grammar? It can be miserable!!
Thanks for the lesson Liz! Log Cabin .
Liz, I’ve enjoyed your books and Bible studies for a long time, but I’m new to this blog study and can already tell that God is using you to speak to me. These studies, along with the great pictures, have to take a lot of time, so please know that they are deeply appreciated.
I’m sure I have several blind spots in my life, but one that quickly comes to mind is that I struggle to see people as God surely sees them – worthy, full of potential, redeemable in His hands. I’m too quick to think “I can do that task faster and better” . . . “They’ll burn out soon” . . . “She would never be open to Christianity” . . . “Trying to reach out to that area of our community would be a total waste of time” . . .”Why in the world would God use him?” I’m just thankful that God sees us, not as we are, but as we can be in Him.
I read Embrace Grace today and loved it! Due to sinful choices that I’ve made as a Christian I have a hard time accepting God’s forgiveness and grace. How can I know if he’s forgiven me or is there more I need to besides confess and repent?
Linda C. I’ll get the hang of this posting business yet. Please see my post to you of October 10 at 1:23 am. I promise you, He is faithful.
Linda C. Two things come to mind in regards to your post of October 9 at 8:27PM. Is 1 John 1.9 the truth for you beloved daughter or just certain folks? Not trying to be cute with you. Look at it. Read it out loud (faith comes by hearing). I have to read the word out loud to myself some times for the very reason I gave. If God is, indeed, telling us the truth, then stand on it. Satan, the accuser of the brethren will bring something up in our minds and we think it is us. We do the same thing Jesus did when He was tempted by the Devil. No! God says, then, out loud, declare the words of 1 John 1.9. Do it every time it becomes necessary. Declare God’s truth, not the enemies lie. 2nd. Ask Jesus to teach you how grace works in your life from Him. I promise you, He will do it if you ask and keep on asking Him to do so. He’s there every time for those who seek Him with all their heart. By doing this you will find out the truth for yourself of Hebrews 11.6. He won’t fail you, dear one. He absolutely won’t, dear one. He is faithful.
Linda C. One more thing that may help. In Mark chapter 9, there was a man (see 9.24) who asked Jesus to help his unbelief. How gracious of our dear Savior to not jump all over the father for saying such a thing. And how many times did Jesus say something to the disciples for their unbelief, but never gave up on them. Never quit working with them. Spoke to them of their hardness of hearts, but never quit working with them. Isn’t He amazing. I say all this to say to you that if you have trouble believing the truth of His word, ask Him to help your unbelief. Jesus showed us that He was willing to work with folks until they did. He’s so gracious and full of mercy and patience toward us. What a beloved Savior.
I’m playing catch up again! This is so good. I am such a nut about everything being perfect and thinking I can do everything myself. I just try to work at my faults everyday, being part of this Bible study helps me understand myself and I’m so encouraged when I read all the comments and see I’m not alone.
This is one of the worst betrayals ever written in the Bible