Full bible text
Judges 16 verses 4 to 22
4 ‘After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” 6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you.” 7 Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 8 Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she bound him with them. 9 Now she had men lying in ambush in an inner chamber. And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he snapped the bowstrings, as a thread of flax snaps when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known. 10 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Behold, you have mocked me and told me lies. Please tell me how you might be bound.” 11 And he said to her, “If they bind me with new ropes that have not been used, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 12 So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And the men lying in ambush were in an inner chamber. But he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread. 13 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you might be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and fasten it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 14 So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his head and wove them into the web.[a] And she made them tight with the pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled away the pin, the loom, and the web. 15 And 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 you have not told me where your great strength lies.” 16 And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death. 17 And he told her all his heart, and said to her, “A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 18 When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up again, for he has told me all his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. 19 She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. 20 And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him. 21 And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison. 22 But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.’
About this painting
Samson comes from the tribe of Dan. Dan is a son of Jacob and his maid Bilhah. Ambivalence is characteristic of Dan. He will judge Israel, but shows also characteristics of the serpent, see Genesis 49 verse 17. This 'halfness' also characterizes Samson; he is indeed a judge of Israel, but he also often follows the promptings of his sinful heart. In doing so, he ultimately forfeits God's gift; his great strength.
Before his birth, the Angel of the LORD says that Samson will be a Nazirite; one dedicated to God. No razor may come to his head, he must not use strong drink or unclean food, as a sign of his Naziriteship.
In Samson’s days the Philistines threaten to overrun Israel.
But he will ‘begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines" Judges 13:5.
When the Spirit of the LORD comes upon him, he has great physical strength. Samson by his great strength kills many Philistines. At the same time he is weak. He cannot resist the temptation of the Philistine women.
When the Philistine Delilah persists in telling her where the secret of his great strength lies, Samson proves to be so weak that he finally reveals it. Delilah has his long hair - the sign of his Naziriteship - shaved off, and that will be his downfall. The Holy Spirit leaves him, Samson loses his strength, his freedom and his sight.
At the same time Samson is mentioned elsewhere in the Bible as someone who (also) acted by faith:
Hebrews 11:32 to 35:
‘And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight’.
As the people of Israel become more and more immoral during the era of the Book of Judges, this is also reflected in the Judges themselves. Each successive judge has more flaws than the judge before him. Moreover, the deliverances they bring are but brief periods of peace and tranquility for the land of Israel. These shortcomings make the reader long for an ultimate Savior who will usher in true rest for God's people; the promised Messiah (Genesis 3:15), who redeems His people forever. Samson is the twelfth and last judge described in Judges.