Who was Delilah?


Delilah has always been portrayed as an evil woman who was the down fall of Samson, the hero of the Israelite people. Delilah was believed to be a Philistine woman who uncovered the secret of the strength of Samson and went to the Philistine lords to reveal the secret. The story of Samson and Delilah is more about deception, greed, lust and then destruction. Judges 16:1-21

Delilah is introduced as a woman from the valley of Sorek who Samuel loved. Sorek is about twenty kilometers southwest Jerusalem and south of Joppa. We assume Delilah was a Philistine although it does not state so in the Bible. This was a time when the Israelites were under the rule of the Philistines because the children of Israel had done evil in the eyes of the LORD.
The children of Israel one more time turned to idolatry and turned away from the LORD God. They paid the price of their disobedience and were under the rule of the Philistines for forty years. Samson was raised up and set aside to be for holy use by the LORD God to deliver the children of Israel out of their hands. Forty years in the Bible is always a testing for Israel giving the children of Israel a chance to turn from their ways and once again seek Him.

Delilah has been portrayed as an evil calculating woman who sold out Samson. A closer look at Samson past escapades with women makes it apparent that it isn’t a matter of Delilah was evil and poor Samson. Samson was born a Nazarite but from a young age he was also a womanizer. He had fallen in love before Delilah with a Philistine woman from Timnath and married her. She was paid by the Philistines to find out the riddle Samson had put forth. (Judges 14- Judges 15:1-20). Samson had already made a name for himself against the Philistines. He had killed hundreds of Philistines singlehanded with only his brute strength which was a gift from the LORD God.

The story of Delilah contains four different incidents found in Judges 16:
The first can be found in Judges 16:4-5. The lords of the Philistines came to Delilah and told her to find out where Samson’s great strength comes from, how they could prevail against him, they wanted to bind him to afflict him. All the lords of the Philistines agreed to give Delilah eleven hundred pieces of silver each. Judges 3:3 tells us there were five lords of the Philistines that would give Delilah five thousand five hundred pieces of silver.

Second Delilah questions Samson to find out his secrets of his strength Judges 16:6-14. Delilah was honest in her attempt to find out about the great strength of Samson. She even gave the reason she was asking him “wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.” (Judges 16:6). Samson told Delilah to tie him with seven green strings that had not been dried and he would be as weak as any other man. There were Philistines brought Delilah the seven green withs which had not been dried and it was Delilah who bound Samson. There were men waiting in her chamber and when Delilah said unto Samson that the Philistines were upon him Samson broke the withs very easily.
Delilah told Samson that he had mocked her and lied to her. Samson then told her to bind him with new ropes that never were occupied and he shall be as weak and any other man.
Delilah did put Samson to the test tied him up with the new ropes and then told Samson the Philistines was upon him. Samson broke off the ropes like they were threads.
Delilah accused Samson of mocking her and lying to her. Samson told her if she would weave seven locks of his head with the web of an unfinished stuff on a loom. Delilah did as Samson had said and fastened it with the pin then said to Samson the Philistines are upon him. Samson woke up out of his sleep and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web. Delilah questioned if Samson really loved her and again accused him of mocking her three times and has not told her where his great strength lied.

Third Delilah learned the truth about the strength of Samson Judges 16:16-17.  Delilah pressed Samson daily with her words, and urged him so that his soul was vexed unto death. Samson told Delilah he had not had a razor to his head ever in his life because from his birth he had been a Nararite unto the LORD God. If he had his head shaved all his strength would leave him, and he would become weak and be like any other man.
The fourth incident was found in Judges 16:18-21 is Delilah sent for the Philistines and told them to come that she discovered the secret to Samson’s strength. The Philistines brought the money in their hand and came to Delilah. She made Samson sleep upon her knees, and called for her servant to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. When Delilah said the Philistines was upon him Samson woke up and discovered the LORD had departed from him. The Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass, and Samson grind in the prison house.

There is more to the story of Samson but once Delilah had Samson’s hair shaved and she received her money we do not hear any more of her. It is important to note however; the hair of Samson head began to grow after he was shaven.

There was no other mention of Delilah after her betrayal of Samson. She was a very rich woman and it is implied that her motivations were neither toward the Philistines nor to Samson. There is nothing worse than being betrayed by someone you believe you should be able to trust.

Characteristic of Delilah would be persistence and endurance. She needed to know the weakness of Samson. This teaches us that our weakness should always be kept to one’s self and not trusted to share with anyone. Delilah valued money more than the love of a strong man. The Philistines did not threaten Delilah they made her an offer and she took that offer. We must always keep our integrity and never allow our greed to overtake us.

The whole story of Samson and Delilah has more to teach us than just the characteristic of Delilah. It is not a story about love and romance it is a warning about getting involved with the enemy and thinking it is okay to embrace their life style. The story of Samson and Delilah is more about deception, greed, lust and then destruction. We need to remember that sin is a deception and it can be deadly without the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

 Cite Article Source

MLA Style Citation:

Holstein, Joanne “Who was Delilah?.” Becker Bible Studies Library Oct 2014.< https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=1685,>.

APA Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2014, October) “Who was Delilah?.” Becker Bible Studies Library. Retrieved from https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=1685,.

Chicago Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2014) “Who was Delilah?.” Becker Bible Studies Library (October), https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=1685, (accessed).

Joanne Holstein is a Becker Bible Studies Teacher and Author of Guided Bible Studies for Hungry Christians. She is a graduate of Psychology/Christian and Bible Counseling with Liberty University. She is well-known as a counselor to Christian faithful who are struggling with tremendous burden in these difficult times. She is a leading authority on historical development of Christian churches and the practices and beliefs of world religions and cults.

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