Samson sleeps with a prostitute but in the middle of the night, rises to tear loose the city gate and carry it off to the top of the hill facing Hebron. In this way, he escapes the people of Gaza who plan to murder him. Here Samson appears smart enough to recognize danger and avoid it.
Later, he falls in love with Delilah who lives in the Valley of Sorek. The Philistine rulers ask her to find out “the secret of his great strength and how [they] can overpower him.” They each promise Delilah “eleven hundred shekels of silver.” (Judges 18:5, NIV)
In her greed, Delilah simply asks Samson to tell her the secret of his strength and how to subdue it. Now Samson appears to be very suspicious of his wife. He lies to her, and “so the secret of his strength is not discovered.” (Judges 18:9) Delilah then complains that Samson has made her look the fool. So, Samson lies to her again. Once more, “with men hidden in the room” Delilah is made to look the fool. She repeats her question, and Samson lies to his wife again.
Delilah says to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me?” (Judges 18:15)
From that moment on, Delilah daily prods Samson “until he is tired to death.” Despite his better judgment — after all, his wife has attempted to trap her husband three times so that the Philistine rulers may capture him — Samson tells her the truth.
Delilah lulls him to sleep in her lap, calls a man to shave off the seven braids of hair so that “the Lord leaves him.” (Judges 18:20) The Philistines give Delilah the promised silver, and Samson has his eyes gouged out while being bound with bronze shackles. They put him to work in the prison. “But the hair on his head begins to grow again after it is shaved.” (Judges 18:22)
While celebrating their god Dagon, the Philistines get “in high spirits.” (Judges 18:25) In a moment of poor judgment — as poor as Samson’s — they ask for Samson to be brought from prison to entertain them. He is allowed to stand between the supporting pillars of the temple — the temple is filled with men and women along with all the Philistine rulers. Above, on the roof, are “about three thousand men and women watching.” (Judges 18:27) Samson prays for strength from the Lord one more time so that he may “die with the Philistines!” (Judges 18:30) He then pushes against the pillars and the temple falls “on the rulers and all the people in it.” (Judges 18:30)
Hatred, lust, greed, revenge, lack of judgment, outright foolishness and nagging: these lead to the deaths of many.
Father God, forgive us for ignoring the obvious at times; for setting aside our good judgment to accept no-win situations or even no-win relationships. Forgive us for being foolish men and women. Give us Your wisdom, so that we may recognize deception and stand in Your strength against it. In Jesus’ Name, amen.