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Judges 16:1, 2, 7-13

1 One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. 2 The people of Gaza were told, “Samson is here!” So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, “At dawn we’ll kill him.”
. . .
7 Samson answered her, “If anyone ties me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” 8 Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she tied him with them. 9 With men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the bowstrings as easily as a piece of string snaps when it comes close to a flame. So the secret of his strength was not discovered. 10 Then Delilah said to Samson, “You have made a fool of me; you lied to me. Come now, tell me how you can be tied.” 11 He said, “If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” 12 So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them. Then, with men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the ropes off his arms as if they were threads. 13 Delilah then said to Samson, “All this time you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied.” So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.”

Three times she did what he told her and had Philistines hiding in the room and he had to fight them off. Why would he keep answering her and the fourth time he told her the truth when she would obviously for a fourth time do what he said and have men come for him?

Can someone make sense of this?

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    This just illustrates how ill-disciplined and besotted Samson was with this femme-fatale.
    – Dottard
    Commented Apr 27 at 21:19
  • Pardon me if I sound vulgar, but Men in general do stupid things when they think with their penises. 😆 LOL Commented Apr 28 at 5:29

2 Answers 2

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Question: Why would Samson keep telling Delilah things if she would obviously use it against him?

Short Answer: We can't say for sure.

However, is it not written in Jeremiah 17:9:

The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

I think there are several possible reasons or even a mix of reasons:

  1. Overconfidence

20 And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.

Judges 16:20 recounts Samson's attitude. It suggests that Samson's previous successful escapes had made him confident in his ability to overcome any danger. In this case, overly confident.

  1. Love/Infatuation

4 Afterward it happened that he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.

Just read Judges 16:4-20. It describes Samson's interactions with Delilah, including how he repeatedly returned to her despite constant betrayal. Now, the text doesn't explicitly say this was the reason, however, Samson's actions (in my opinion) imply a strong attachment/love/attraction (whatever one wishes to call it) to Delilah.

  1. Psychological manipulation

15 Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies.” 16 And it came to pass, when she pestered him daily with her words and pressed him, so that his soul was vexed to death, 17 that he told her all his heart, and said to her, “No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.”

It's clear that there was a calculated effort to extract information from him.

Conclusion: Hindsight is always 20/20. Could it not simply be that Samson's actions reveal the deceit of the human heart? We all are on the outside looking in. Samson is said to have loved this women. I believe it would be fair to say that he let his feelings cloud his judgement.

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    Thank you so much for your answer! Makes sense and was very detailed.
    – Nat
    Commented Apr 28 at 2:39
  • @Nat My pleasure!
    – Jason_
    Commented Apr 28 at 3:02
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Several commentators see the Book of Judges as being narrated to emphasize an intensifying need for Israel to move away from a culture of tribes led by warlords and toward a unified nation centered on a king, whose power would be checked by priests and prophets. Prof. Amy-Jill Levine, for example, says the later chapters of Judges show:

the increasing instability of the judge as political leader and the descent of Israel's tribal confederation into moral and political chaos.

Thus the narrator repeatedly tells us in the later chapters that "Israel had no king" (Judges Judges 17:6, 18:1, 19:1, 21:25). With regard to Samson, he is one of several late judges where this need for a king becomes ever more obvious. In this sense, Samson spiritual ignorance was a kind of internal darkness, soon to be matched by his physical blindness. The Jewish Encyclopedia characterizes Samson's judgeship as an abject failure, speaking of "his fascination for Philistine women" and his "disgraceful and disastrous end":

Despite his heroic deeds he does not seem to have rid his people of the oppression of the Philistines; his single-handed combats were successful, but they did not extricate Israel from Philistine tyranny.

On the other hand, it may be argued that Samson's apparent weakness for Delilah and other Philistine women was part of God's plan to punish the Philistines. In Judges 14:4, the narrator tells us that Samson's parents' objection to his insistence on marrying a Philistine woman was due to the fact that "His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel." If this applies as well to Delilah, the Lord's plan did not reach its end, for the Philistines continued to rule.

Conclusion: For some readers, Samson's actions were part of God's plan to destroy the Philistine temple and kill thousands of worshipers of Dagon. However, from the standpoint of the overall narrative, Samson's stupidity with regard to Delilah represents a pattern of moral degradation among the judges. This begins the unbridled ambition of Gideon's son Abimelek (Judges 9), continues through the story of Jephthah's murdering his own daughter due to his rash vow (11), moving on to the story of Samson, the corruption of his tribe of Dan (18) and the war between the tribe of Benjamin and the rest of Israel (20). The downward spiral even infected the tabernacle under Eli's sons and then Samuel's sons in 1 Samuel 8:3. Israel needed a king to unite it and Samuel thus anointed Saul and David to that end. Samson is but one example of the spiritual corruption that characterizes that later chapters of the Book of Judges.

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