Samson and Delilah Story Study Guide

It's never too late to humble yourself and turn to God

Samson and Delilah

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Samson was a man of unmatched physical strength, but when he fell in love with a woman named Delilah, he met his match. Samson abandoned his God-assigned mission to please the woman who had stolen his affections. This indiscretion led to blindness, imprisonment, and powerlessness. Even worse, the Holy Spirit departed from Samson.

The story of Samson and Delilah parallels the spiritual and political disarray in the nation of Israel at the time. Although Samson was physically strong, he was morally weak. But God used his failures and mistakes to demonstrate his sovereign power.

Scripture References

The story of Samson and Delilah is found in Judges 16. Samson is also mentioned with the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11:32.

Samson and Delilah Story Summary

Samson was a miracle child, born to a woman who had previously been barren. His parents were told by an angel that Samson was to be a Nazirite all his life. Nazirites took a vow of holiness to abstain from wine and grapes, to not cut their hair or beard, and to avoid contact with dead bodies. As he grew up, the Bible says the Lord blessed Samson and "the Spirit of the Lord began to stir in him" (Judges 13:25).

However, as he grew into manhood, Samson's lusts overpowered him. After a series of foolish mistakes and bad decisions, he fell in love with a woman named Delilah. His affair with this woman from the Valley of Sorek marked the beginning of his downfall and eventual demise.

It didn't take long for the rich and powerful Philistine rulers to learn of the affair and immediately pay a visit to Delilah. At the time, Samson was judge over Israel and had been taking out great vengeance on the Philistines.

Hoping to capture him, the Philistine leaders each offered Delilah a sum of money to collaborate with them in a scheme to uncover the secret of Samson's great strength. Smitten with Delilah and infatuated with his own extraordinary talents, Samson walked right into the destructive plot.

Using her powers of seduction and deception, Delilah persistently wore down Samson with her repeated requests, until he finally divulged the crucial information. Having taken the Nazirite vow at birth, Samson had been set apart to God. As part of that vow, his hair was never to be cut.

When Samson told Delilah that his strength would leave him if a razor were to be used on his head, she cunningly crafted her plan with the Philistine rulers. While Samson slept on her lap, Delilah called in a co-conspirator to shave off the seven braids of his hair. Subdued and weak, Samson was captured.

Rather than kill Samson, the Philistines preferred to humiliate him by gouging out his eyes and subjecting him to hard labor in a Gaza prison. As he slaved at grinding grain, his hair began to grow back, but the careless Philistines paid no attention. And in spite of his horrible failures and sins of great consequence, Samson's heart now turned to the Lord. He was humbled. Samson prayed to God — and God answered.

During a pagan sacrificial ritual, the Philistines had gathered in Gaza to celebrate. As was their custom, they paraded Samson, their prized enemy prisoner, into the temple to entertain the jeering crowds. Samson braced himself between the two central support pillars of the temple and pushed with all his might. Down came the temple, killing Samson and everyone else in the temple.

Through his death, Samson destroyed more of his enemies in this one sacrificial act, than he had previously killed in all the battles of his life.

Major Themes and Life Lessons

Samson's calling from birth was to begin the deliverance of Israel from Philistine oppression (Judges 13:5). When reading the account of Samson's life and then his downfall with Delilah, you might tend to think Samson wasted his life and that he was a failure. In many ways he did waste his life, but even still, he accomplished his God-assigned mission.

In fact, the New Testament doesn't list Samson's failures, nor his incredible acts of strength. Hebrews 11 names him in the "Hall of Faith" among those who "through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised ... whose weakness was turned to strength." This proves that God can use people of faith, no matter how imperfectly they live their lives.

We might look at Samson and his infatuation with Delilah, and consider him gullible — stupid even. But it was his lust for Delilah that blinded him to her lies and her true nature. He wanted so badly to believe she loved him that he repeatedly fell for her deceptive ways.

The name Delilah means "worshipper" or "devotee." Nowadays, it has come to mean "a seductive woman." The name is Semitic, but the story suggests that she was a Philistine. Oddly enough, all three of the women Samson gave his heart to were among his gravest enemies, the Philistines.

After Delilah's third attempt at luring out his secret, why didn't Samson catch on? By the fourth enticement, he crumbled. He gave in. Why didn't Samson learn from his past mistakes? Why did he give in to temptation and give up his treasured gift? Because Samson is just like you and me when we give ourselves over to sin. In this state, we can easily be deceived because the truth becomes impossible to see.

Questions for Reflection

Spiritually speaking, Samson lost sight of his calling from God and gave up his greatest gift, his incredible physical strength, to please the woman who had captured his affections. In the end, it cost him his physical sight, his freedom, his dignity, and eventually his life. No doubt, as he sat in prison, blind and zapped of strength, Samson felt like a failure.

Do you feel like a complete failure? Do you think it's too late to turn to God?

At the end of his life, blind and humbled, Samson finally realized his utter dependence upon God. He found amazing grace. He once was blind, but now could see. No matter how far you've fallen away from God, no matter how big you've failed, it's never too late to humble yourself and return to God. Ultimately, through his sacrificial death, Samson turned his miserable mistakes into victory. Let Samson's example persuade you — it's never too late to return to God's open arms.

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Your Citation
Fairchild, Mary. "Samson and Delilah Story Study Guide." Learn Religions, Aug. 26, 2020, Fairchild, Mary. (2020, August 26). Samson and Delilah Story Study Guide. Retrieved from Fairchild, Mary. "Samson and Delilah Story Study Guide." Learn Religions. (accessed April 2, 2023).