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Icons of the Bible: Samson & Delilah - Watchfulness for a Spiritually Healthy Life

Updated: Sep 3, 2023

Icons of the Bible: Samson & Delilah - Watchfulness for a Spiritually Healthy Life
Icons of the Bible: Samson & Delilah - Watchfulness for a Spiritually Healthy Life

Image from Icons of the Bible James C. Lewis

The Icons of The Bible Series will go through all the people of the Bible in chronological order. I will attempt to provide you focused article and videos that will help you become more familiar with those whom God chose to tell us about in His Holy Scripture. - Andy

Icons of the Bible

woman in yellow garment
Delilah - Temptress of Samson

Matthew 26:41 41 "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

The Story of Samson and Delilah in the Bible

As told in Judges 13-16 and the Talmud

The mighty Samson (Shimshon, in Hebrew) was a judge who led and rescued the people of Israel from Philistine oppression. A nazarite from birth, Samson was endowed by G‑d with herculean strength, which he used to fight the Philistines who were occupying the Land of Israel. Samson led the people for 20 years until he was betrayed by his wife, Delilah, and captured by the Philistines. Blinded and mocked by his captors, Samson’s life ended when he knocked down the pillars supporting the building he had been taken to, killing himself and the thousands of Philistines inside.

Historical Background

After Moses’ successor, Joshua, passed away, he was followed by a series of Jewish leaders known as the shoftim, “judges.” The period of the judges lasted for approximately 350 years, from 2516-2871 (1245-890 BCE). Samson was the seventh judge, and ruled his people for 20 years, from 2811-2831 (951-931 BCE).

The story of Samson is recorded in the book of Judges, chapters 13-16. And although little is recorded regarding his role leading the Jews, the verses recount many stories of his great strength and his various skirmishes with the Philistines. Note that the Philistines have no connection to the current day Palestinians.." from the article: The Story of Samson and Delilah in the Bible

What Should We Learn from the Account of Samson and Delilah?

The story of Samson and Delilah, recorded in the sixteenth chapter of Judges, has been the delight of scores of writers, artists, and composers for hundreds of years. When Samson dallied with Delilah in the Sorek Valley of ancient Philistia, he never imagined that their sordid relationship would be projected on huge movie screens some 30 centuries later.

A quick overview of the story of Samson and Delilah begins with the announcement of Samson’s birth by the angel of the Lord (Judges 13:1–24). In fact, Samson is one of the few in Scripture whose birth was divinely preannounced to his parents (Judges 13:3). He shares this honor with Isaac, John the Baptist, and Jesus. Samson, whose name means “sunshine,” was born sometime between 1045 BC and 1000 BC, during a dark period of Israel’s history. Seven times this nation had turned from God and now found themselves under the oppressive rule of the Philistines.

Samson was born a Nazirite, meaning he was “separated” or “set aside” for God. This meant that he was not to drink wine or fruit of the vine. He couldn’t go near or touch a dead body, human or animal, nor could he cut his hair. Though he was set apart for special service to God (Judges 13:5), Samson ignored his Nazirite vow of godly devotion and relied upon his own strength and abilities rather than upon God’s. Although God empowered him with supernatural strength to begin the deliverance of the people of Israel from the Philistines (Judges 13:5), it was his weakness for the Philistine women that did him in (Judges 14:1–3, 16:1–22). His passion for women was more important to him than God’s expressed will (Deuteronomy 7:3).

During his wedding to a Philistine woman, Samson was deceived and humiliated by his wife and wedding guests (Judges 14:1–15). Angered, Samson got his revenge by personally killing 1,000 men (Judges 15:1–20). But, in the end it was his passionate obsession for Delilah that led him to reveal to her the secret of his strength. His hair was shorn by Delilah, and, as a result, he was captured, blinded, and forced to grind grain for his enemies. Eventually, while in prison, Samson’s strength did return, and he died while destroying the temple of the Philistine god Dagon, killing thousands of Philistines (Judges 16:1–31).." from the article: What should we learn from the account of Samson and Delilah?

Our Most Neglected Spiritual Discipline

"One summer I worked for an old Texas rancher, killing mesquite trees on vast acres of uncultivated grassland. With a tank of Roundup on my back and a sprayer in my hand, I walked countless miles through the tall grass of these pastures. It was a boring job except for one thing: rattlesnakes.

I was in the Texas Big Country, an area famous for its annual Rattlesnake Roundup. My one measure of protection was a pair of plastic chaps, hard enough to deflect the fangs of a rattler, worn over my jeans. But the chaps weren’t enough to take me off my guard. Like my childhood hero Indiana Jones, I hated snakes (still do!), and I never knew when a rattler would cross my path. One time I came within about two feet of stepping on one. That experience made me vigilant: I watched where I stepped, listening for any faint hint of a rattle, ready to jump at any sudden movement. Danger felt imminent, and I was watchful.

Spiritual Vigilance

Vigilance is an essential component to the spiritual discipline of watchfulness. To be vigilant is to be on guard. The sentinel of a city is vigilant. He watches for the approach of the enemy. Warriors are vigilant. They’re watchful and wary of their antagonist’s every move. People become vigilant when they realize they’re in jeopardy. As soldiers of the cross, we are surrounded by enemies.

In the words of an old hymn:

Christian, seek not yet repose, Cast thy dreams of ease away; Thou art in the midst of foes: Watch and pray.

Watchfulness, therefore, is as necessary to a healthy spiritual life as meditation and prayer. Jesus tells his disciples to “watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation” (Matt. 26:41). The letters of Paul, Peter, and John sound the same note, urging us to exercise moral vigilance and watchful prayer (1 Cor. 16:13; Gal. 6:1; Col. 4:2; 1 Tim. 4:16; 1 Pet. 4:7; 2 John 8). And Hebrews commands mutual watchfulness and exhortation while also reminding us to obey those leaders who keep watch over our souls (Heb. 3:12; 13:17).." from the article: Our Most Neglected Spiritual Discipline

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