My lesson from Samson
Right from the very start of Samson’s manhood, he had an eye for the Philistine women. In fact that is Samson’s first act and first word in the scriptures. Judges 14:1 “I have seen a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife.”
So, from the get go, Samson had wrong desires and despite the fall out and betrayal from the woman in Timnah, he doesn’t question his desires. He seems to answer fear with rage but he has no idea how his first encounter with love and betrayal is a foreshadowing of the future.
Lesson: Examine your desires very carefully! Learn from betrayal and heartache instead of descending into anger.
However, Samson was not just a brute as I imagined. He had the qualities of a leader. If you notice, he is a man of his word, what he says he will do, he does. Plus he judged Israel for twenty years.
Lesson: The Bible doesn’t do stereotypes. Samson was so imperfect it is amazing God used him. He was distinctly different from any judge before or after him. The fact that he didn’t give two flying monkeys about what anyone thought makes him one of my favourite characters. He is not a “typical” leader.
The last verse of Judges 15 says “And he judged Israel twenty years in the days of the Philistines”, the first verse of chapter 16 says “Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her”.
What a strange juxtaposition of verses. It heralds the beginning of the end for Samson. Straight after he sleeps with a prostitute, he falls in love with Delilah. I find it interesting that the Bible doesn’t say “lusted after” or “sought after”, no “he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah”. He genuinely loved her. He fell in love with a woman who was eager to trade his love for money - a substantial amount to be fair.
Lesson: Continuous indulgence in wrongful desires will eventually blind you and cloud your judgement.
I read somewhere that a man’s IQ drops when speaking to an attractive woman but it seems Samson lost every single dime of common sense. Every time I read this passage I feel like screaming, “Samson, you idiot, can you not see she is betraying you?!” Three times! Three traps! Three ambushes!
Lesson: This is a prime example of how love makes man blind. No man is immune to it.
Judges 16:19 Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees
Lesson: Look at how affection and tenderness can lead to doom. Beware!
The rest of the story and the way it ends is quite depressing. A promising destiny destroyed, a might warrior cut short, the fact that he kills more Philistines in his death than he did when he was alive is a hollow victory.