JUDGES LESSON 18
We will begin this lesson in Judges 16:1 "Then went Samson to
Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her."
Gaza is a well known city. It was one of the 5 chief cities of
the Philistines. It was the last southwest town on the road from
Jerusalem to Egypt. This woman is, most probably, a Philistine. She is
a harlot, as well.
Judges 16:2 "[And it was told] the Gazites, saying, Samson is
come hither. And they compassed [him] in, and laid wait for him all
night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying,
In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him."
The Philistines were not only God's enemy, but Samson's, as well.
They wanted him killed. When the men of Gaza heard that Samson was
with a harlot, they surrounded the building to try to take him. They
wanted him so badly, they stayed there all night. They thought when he
came out the next morning, they would catch him.
Judges 16:3 "And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight,
and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and
went away with them, bar and all, and put [them] upon his shoulders,
and carried them up to the top of an hill that [is] before Hebron."
Samson did not fear them. He left the city at midnight with the
doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts holding them, on his
shoulders. He not only left, but made it easy for others to come in,
by removing their gates.
Judges 16:4 "And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a
woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name [was] Delilah."
It is not apparent where this city is. All we know is that,
Delilah lived there, and Samson loved her. We do know this woman is
Judges 16:5 "And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her,
and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength
[lieth], and by what [means] we may prevail against him, that we may
bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven
hundred [pieces] of silver."
These pieces of silver were shekels. This would have been a great
sum of money to pay for one man. They knew that Samson's power was
supernatural, they just did not realize it was from God. The
Philistines did not know about the Nazarite vow.
Judges 16:6 "And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee,
wherein thy great strength [lieth], and wherewith thou mightest be
bound to afflict thee."
Why in the world would he tell her how he could be defeated? That
is exactly what she is asking of him, because she wants the silver
shekels they have offered her as a bribe.
Judges 16:7 "And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven
green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as
This is saying, he would be no stronger than any other normal
man. Samson was not the giant of a man that many have shown him to be.
He was not physically strong. He was strong in the Spirit of God. If
he had big muscles and was a big man, they would not have been looking
for another reason for his strength. They would have attributed it to
his muscles. He has given Delilah a false reason.
Judges 16:8 "Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her
seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with
The "withs" were catgut strings. Many surgeons used to use that
to sew people up with, because of its strength. She tied him with the
strings for the Philistines.
Judges 16:9 "Now [there were] men lying in wait, abiding with her
in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines [be] upon thee,
Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it
toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known."
These men were lying in wait, to jump out and capture Samson the
minute they realize he is helpless. They were afraid to try, if he
were not tied. He had killed thousands of Philistines already. They
did not want to be the next. Of course, when she cried out to Samson,
the ties fell off of him.
Judges 16:10 "And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast
mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou
mightest be bound."
She pretends to be embarrassed at what Samson has done to get him
to tell her the real reason for his great strength. Why he is
listening to her is hard to rationalize. This too, has to be the will
Judges 16:11 "And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new
ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as
These were large twisted ropes. If anything will hold him, they
should. This, again, is just another delay from him, to see if she
will tell the Philistines.
Judges 16:12 "Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him
therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines [be] upon thee, Samson.
And [there were] liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And he brake
them from off his arms like a thread."
"Delilah" means pining with desire, or coquette. She was greedy
for gain. She pretended to love Samson, but she really was trying to
trick him, so the Philistines could capture him. The Philistine men
were lying in wait to jump out, and attack him the minute they find
where his strength comes from.
Judges 16:13 "And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast
mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound.
And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with
It seems that, Samson just will not realize that she does not
care for him at all. She just wants to find where his strength lies,
so she can help the Philistines capture him. She is interested in her
reward for helping capture him. Again, Samson tells her something that
is not true.
Judges 16:14 "And she fastened [it] with the pin, and said unto
him, The Philistines [be] upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his
sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web."
She tries everything Samson tells her that will weaken him, and
make him as other men. He is so strong that, the web is destroyed by
his hair when he gets up.
Judges 16:15 "And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love
thee, when thine heart [is] not with me? thou hast mocked me these
three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength [lieth]."
Now, she accuses Samson of not loving her. What about her love
for Samson? She accuses him of mocking her three times. She is saying,
if he really loved her, he would tell her where his strength lies.
Judges 16:16 "And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily
with her words, and urged him, [so] that his soul was vexed unto
Her constant nagging to know his secret finally pressed so hard
on him that, it seemed it vexed his soul unto death.
Judges 16:17 "That he told her all his heart, and said unto her,
There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I [have been] a
Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my
strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any
This time, he has been provoked into telling her the truth about
his strength. She was not familiar with a Nazarite vow, so he tells
her in detail about what the Nazarite vow is all about. All that he
tells her, this time, is true.
Judges 16:18 "And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his
heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying,
Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords
of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand."
Delilah is assured this time that Samson is telling her the truth
about his strength. It is strange that Samson could not see that she
would destroy him, when she finds this out. Her plan, from the
beginning, was to turn him over to the Philistines, and collect the
large sum of silver they had offered her. The lords of the Philistines
believed her, and, this time, brought money to pay her for her
Judges 16:19 "And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she
called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of
his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from
It was not actually the hair that gave him the strength, but what
the hair stood for. It was the keeping of the Nazarite vow that made
him strong. As long as he kept the hair, the vow was active. God was
within him, strengthening him. The cutting of the hair symbolized the
breaking of his vow to God. "Seven" means spiritually complete.
Perhaps, this number showed his standing with God. His strength is,
now, gone. He is like any other man.
Judges 16:20 "And she said, The Philistines [be] upon thee,
Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at
other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD
was departed from him."
What a sad awakening. The strength of the LORD is no longer in
him. He has broken his vow to God. He felt no different physically,
than he had before. He felt as if things would be the same as before,
but they weren't. Samson's weakness for beautiful women had gotten him
into this predicament.
Judges 16:21 "But the Philistines took him, and put out his
eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of
brass; and he did grind in the prison house."
Now, that he did not have the strength of the LORD, they bound
him and took him away. The first thing they did to him was poke out
his eyes. This seems to have been a cruel punishment of that day.
This would be a fate worse than death. This grinding was one of the
most degrading forms of slave labor.
Judges 16:22 "Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again
after he was shaven."
When a person breaks a Nazarite vow, he can start all over again
keeping it and be restored in his vow. That is what is symbolized by
the hair growing, again. He has gone back into covenant with God. The
hair symbolizes the presence of the Nazarite vow. His strength would
come back, because he is filled with the power of God again.
Judges 16:23 Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them
together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to
rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into
The gathering together is like a festival, or a great party. They
are celebrating the capture of Samson. They have given credit for his
capture to their false god, Dagon.
Judges 16:24 "And when the people saw him, they praised their
god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy,
and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us."
Their god can do nothing. He is a false god. Samson had done this
to himself. He had been a mighty warrior for God. He had given that up
for love of a woman, who did not love him back. God wanted him to
destroy the Philistines, so Israel would be free of them. He was
destroying many of them single-handedly, until he broke his Nazarite
vow to God, by telling Delilah where his strength came from.
Judges 16:25 "And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry,
that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they
called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and
they set him between the pillars."
They wanted to entertain their guests by showing off the
hopelessness of Samson, the great Philistine killer. "Making sport"
means they were making fun of him. It appears, whatever they were
doing with Samson became boring to them in their drunken state, and
they brought him back, and put him between the pillars.
Judges 16:26 "And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the
hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house
standeth, that I may lean upon them."
Since Samson was blind, they had to lead him everywhere. He tells
the young man who was leading him, to take him to the pillars which
held up the house, that he might lean upon them.
Judges 16:27 "Now the house was full of men and women; and all
the lords of the Philistines [were] there; and [there were] upon the
roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made
This was a very large gathering of Philistines having a party
here. The weight of three thousand people is great. The pillars that
held all of this up had to be very strong. The sudden removing of
these two supporting pillars would bring the entire building, roof and
all, tumbling down.
Judges 16:28 "And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord
GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only
this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for
my two eyes."
Before, God had strengthened Samson without him asking. This is
like a prayer of restoration to good relationship with God for Samson.
Samson wants his supernatural strength back this one time, so he can
take vengeance on these Philistines who are God's enemies, as well as
his. They have poked his eyes out, and he wants to take vengeance.
Judges 16:29 "And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon
which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with
his right hand, and of the other with his left."
It seems, this young man, who led Samson, had indeed put him
between the two main posts of the building. Samson wraps his arms
around these two supporting posts of the building.
Judges 16:30 "And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines.
And he bowed himself with [all his] might; and the house fell upon the
lords, and upon all the people that [were] therein. So the dead which
he slew at his death were more than [they] which he slew in his life."
God, indeed, strengthened him, and the building came tumbling
down. The three thousand guests died in the fall of the building.
Samson had struck one more blow to free the Israelites from these
wicked Philistines. He had killed many of the Philistines before. We
do not know the exact number. It is interesting that one man, filled
with the power of God, killed literally thousands of the Philistines.
God and one are a majority, regardless of how large the enemy is.
Judges 16:31 "Then his brethren and all the house of his father
came down, and took him, and brought [him] up, and buried him between
Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he
judged Israel twenty years."
We are not sure whether his mother had other children after
Samson, or not. At the time of his birth, she had no other children.
We are not sure then, whether brethren here, means natural brothers,
or men of his tribe, the Danites. They all were indebted to Samson.
They found his body in the rubble, and buried him in his father's
Judges 18 Questions
1. Who did Samson go to Gaza to see?
2. What distinction did Gaza have?
3. When the Gazites heard he was coming, what did they do?
4. Whose enemy were the Philistines?
5. When did Samson arise, and leave the city?
6. What did he take with him, when he left the city?
7. Who had Samson fallen in love with?
8. Delilah is a ____________.
9. What did the lords of the Philistines ask her to do?
10. How much silver did they offer her for the job?
11. What did Delilah ask Samson, when she saw him the next time?
12. What did he tell her?
13. How was Samson strong?
14. What were "withs"?
15. Where were the men hiding to capture Samson?
16. When she cried out to Samson, what happened to the withs?
17. What did Delilah say Samson had done to her?
18. What was the second thing Samson told Delilah would render him
19. Did it?
20. What does "Delilah" mean?
21. Why did she pretend to love Samson?
22. What was the third thing he told her would take his strength?
23. She accuses Samson of not _________ her.
24. Why did he finally tell her the truth?
25. Exactly what did he tell her?
26. Who did she immediately tell?
27. What did they bring to Delilah?
28. When did she have the man to cut Samson's hair?
29. How many locks did he have?
30. What happened, when his hair was cut?
31. Was the strength in the hair? Explain.
32. What did Samson's captives do to him?
33. While Samson was imprisoned, what began to happen?
34. What did this cause to happen?
35. How many people were at the party of the Philistines?
36. Who was the Philistine's false god?
37. What part did Samson have in the party?
38. When the partygoers were through with Samson, what did he ask his
guide to do?
39. What did he ask God for strength to do?
40. Where did they take his body to bury it?