God in his infinite wisdom thought is necessary and profitable to us that he include within his Word stories of women who were not among the heroines of the faith. Such is Delilah, a woman from the valley of Sorek. This area of vineyards was located near Jerusalem and during the time of these events, was ruled by the Philistines. Her name is a sweet sounding indeed, and we are told in one source that it meant delicate or dainty one. We may assume that since Samson was smitten with her that she possessed external beauty. Her parentage is not given and there have been divided opinions about her heritage, however, in view of the fact that Samson felt it necessary to explain the Nazarite vow to her, that she was a Philistine, and not an Israelite.
The Bible does not state nor do we learn from history that she was married. In fact, most commentaries on this woman define her as a Philistine Courtesan. In today’s world, she would be the equivalent of an escort to the rich and famous. Delilah used her beauty and personal charm for monetary gain. Because of her ability to lure a man to his spiritual and physical destruction, she earned the reputation as one of the lowest, meanest women in the Bible, a female Judas of the Old Testament, as one writer so aptly described her.
It is a fact that one cannot relate the story of Delilah without mentioning Samson. Being out of God’s will and succumbing to his incessant lust of the flesh, he once again fell in love with a woman out God’s blessing, for sure. Once the Philistines became aware of the bonding of Samson with Delilah, they seized the opportunity to discover the secret behind his supernatural strength. The Lords of the Philistines approached Delilah with an irresistible offer of monetary reward if she would help them in uncovering the secret of this man whom they hated and feared. The amount of money offered must assuredly have been enough to support Delilah well into her old age, and since she apparently had no family, this would have been a way to establish a formidable nest egg.
Sometimes it is difficult to decide who was dumber, Samson or Delilah. It is hard for me to imagine a man being so smitten that he failed to notice that he was being duped, especially since the Philistines were lying in wait within the house to seize him at Delilah’s command. Then again, after the first failed attempt, wouldn’t Delilah have sensed that perhaps Samson was messing with her mind? Nevertheless, her love of money sent her back again, and again. If I read the scripture correctly, Samson was awake during each of these failed incidents of trying to unfold the mystery of his strength. Day after day she nagged him, crying pitiful tears from a heart full of treachery. Her supreme wickedness finally deluded Samson into believing that she really loved him ergo he became a traitor to himself. In his backslidden weakened sinful condition he shared the secret to his strength. Delilah knew that this time Samson was being genuine. She lulled him to sleep, possibly knowing that he would never allow her to cut his hair, while he was awake.
There is no record of Delilah having any remorse for the torture which ensued because of her evil trickery of Samson. She had one purpose and one purpose only and that was to secure money. It was apparent that there were no qualms about Samson’s blindness and bondage. We do not know how long that Samson was a prisoner, working in the grinding mill of his enemy. Samson’s besetting sin of lust finally brought him to the place of repentance. In Judges 16: 28, we read of Samson’s prayer of repentance. His hair began to grow, and God restored unto him his strength. In the midst of a heathen celebration and sacrifice to Dagon for delivering Samson into their hand, the Philistines brought him out to make sport. His God would grant him victory over his enemies even though it would cost him his like, a life that Samson was willing to give. It is fitting that among the 3,000 Philistines that were killed by Samson that Delilah was among them. She had reaped what she had sown.
There are lessons for both God’s men and women to learn in the lives of Samson and Delilah. The gift of feminine charm and appeal must never be misused to satisfy sensual desires. More importantly, the command to be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers is for our protection and guidance in choosing a mate. Men should discipline themselves to look beyond the feminine mystique and focus on the inner beauty of which only God can manifest within a woman who is truly sold out to him.