“After this, he fell in love with a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. The lords of the Philistines came to her and said to her. ‘Coax him. Find out what makes his strength so great. How can we overpower him? We want to bind him in order to subdue him. We will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.’ So Delilah said to Samson. ‘Please tell me what makes your strength so great. How could you be bound so that someone could subdue you? Samson said to her. ‘If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings which have not been dried, then I shall become weak. I will be like any other man.’ Then the lords of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings which had not been dried. She bound him with them. While men were lying in wait in an inner chamber, she said to him. ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ But he snapped the bowstrings, as a strand of fiber snaps when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known.”
Samson fell in love with Delilah, who lived in Sorek, about 13 miles southwest of Jerusalem, not far from Gaza or Zorah. Delilah may be a derivative word for a flirt. I cannot help but remember the Tom Jones song, “O Delilah.” The Philistine leaders were willing to give her 1,100 pieces of silver each if they could find out the source of Samson’s strength. It is not clear how many of these lords were there, so that it could be a substantial sum. Anyway, Delilah asked Samson what was the source of his strength. He said that fresh bowstrings would keep him bound. Delilah got some and tied him up. However, Samson easily broke out of them. Thus she did not know the secret of his strength.
“Then Delilah said to Samson. ‘You have mocked me. You told me lies. Please tell me how you could be bound.’ He said to her. ‘If they bind me with new ropes that have not been used, then I shall become weak, and be like anyone else.’ So Delilah took new ropes. She bound him with them. Then she said to him. ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ The men lying in wait were in an inner chamber. But he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread.”
Delilah was upset that Samson had lied to her and mocked her. She tried again to have him tell her what would bind him up. This time, he said that new ropes would sap his strength. Once again, she shouted that Philistines were coming and he broke out of the ropes like they were thread.
“Then Delilah said to Samson. ‘Until now you have mocked me. You have told me lies. Tell me how you might be bound.’ He said to her. ‘If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and make it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak, and be like anyone else.’ So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his head and wove them into the web. She made them tight with the pin. She said to him. ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ But he awoke from his sleep. He pulled away the pin, the loom, and the web.”
Once again Delilah told Samson that he was mocking her. This time Samson said that if you were to take 7 locks of his hair and make it into a tight web with a pin, he would lose his strength. The web and the pins were part of a weaving loom. Once again, when she said that the Philistines are coming, he woke up and pulled all the stuff off his head.
“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 now. You have not told me what makes your strength so great.’ Finally, after she had nagged him with her words day after day, and pestered him, he was tired to death. So he told her his while secret. He said to her. ‘A razor has never come upon my head. I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If my head was shaved, then my strength would leave me. I would become weak, and be like anyone else.’”
Delilah said that Samson did not love her or trust her. She had been mocked 3 times. She had pestered and nagged him about this so that he was tired of it. He finally told her his secret that his hair had never been cut. He had been a Nazirite from birth who never shaved his hair. If he shaved his head he would be like everyone else.
“When Delilah realized that he had told her his whole secret, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines. ‘This time come up, for he has told his whole secret to me.’ Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her. They brought the money in their hands. She made him fall asleep on her lap. She called a man. She had him shave off the seven locks of his head. He began to weaken. His strength left him. Then she said. ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ When he awoke from his sleep, he thought. ‘I will go out as at the other times. I will shake myself free.’ But he did not know that Yahweh had left him. So the Philistines seized him. They gouged out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze shackles. He ground at the mill in the prison. But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.”
Delilah called the lords of the Philistines. So they came with the money. Samson fell asleep on her lap. Then someone shaved his head. His strength left him. Then the Philistines seized him, gorged out his eyes, put him in shackles and then in prison. However, Samson’s hair began to grow again. The secret of his success was in the hair on his head.