Dave Burnette's Commentary

Judges Chapter 16

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Samuel 
Date Penned: (550 BC)
Overview: A Record of Israel's Compromise in the Promised Land (c 1-21)
Theme: The Rescue of Israel by the Judges (c 3-16)
Message: Samson Reveals His Secret to Delilah (v 1-31)

Judges 16 Commentary

(16:3) Samson Forgets the Lord - Samson was set apart for special service to God from birth. But for the most part he ignored his vow of devotion and depended more and more on his own strength rather than on God's. For the first time, here the Spirit of the Lord is not mentioned as directly affecting one of Samson's great feats of strength (14:6, 19; 15:14). If we become successful using our God-given gifts, we must not forget who gave us these gifts, skills, and abilities or the holy purpose that should direct their use. Notice what happened when Samson forgot (16:20-21). We must always remember that all our gifts and abilities come from God.

(16:5) Dililah's Influence -  The Philistines were ruled by five "lords," or rulers, not just one. Each ruler had authority over a different city--Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, Gath, or Gaza. These cities were important trade and commerce centers. Given Delilah's character, it is little wonder that she betrayed Samson when these rich and powerful men paid her a personal visit and offered her a significant sum of money.

(16:15-16) Samson's Path of Destruction -  Samson was deceived because he was naive to Delilah's real motives in asking about the source of his strength. Although he could strangle a lion, he could not see Delilah for who she really was or discern the plan she was working against him. How can you keep your desire for love and companionship from deceiving you? (1) You must decide what kind of a person you will love before passion takes over. Determine whether a person's character and faith in God are as desirable as his or her physical appearance. (2) Because most of the time you spend with your spouse will not involve sex, your companion's personality, temperament, and commitment to solve problems must be as gratifying as his or her kisses. (3) Be patient. Time and observation often reveal what is beneath a pleasant appearance and attentive touch.

(16:16-17) Samson's Deception - Delilah kept asking Samson for the secret of his strength until he finally grew tired of hearing her nagging and gave in. This was the second time that Samson allowed himself to be worn down by constant nagging (14:17). What a pitiful excuse for disobedience. Don't allow anyone- no matter how attractive, persuasive, or persistent--to talk you into doing wrong.

(16:19) Delilah's Seduction - Delilah was a deceitful woman with honey on her lips and poison in her heart. Cold and calculating, she toyed with Samson, pretending to love him while looking for personal gain. How could Samson be so foolish? Four times Delilah took advantage of him. If he didn't realize what was happening after the first or second experience, surely he should have understood the situation by the fourth time! We think Samson's behavior is foolish, but how many times do we find ourselves deceived by flattery and thus give in to temptation and wrong beliefs? Avoid falling prey to deceit by asking God to help you distinguish between deception and truth.

(16:21) Samson's Humiliation - Samson, the mighty warrior, became a slave. Rather than killing him, the Philistines preferred to humiliate him by gouging out his eyes and making him grind grain. Samson now had plenty of time to wonder if Delilah's charms were worth spending the rest of his life in pain and humiliation. Although God did not completely abandon Samson (16:28-30), he allowed Samson's sinful impulses and decisions to stand, and the consequences of his decisions followed naturally. We may choose to be close to God or to go our own way, but our choices have consequences. Samson didn't choose to be captured, but he chose to be with Delilah, and he could not escape the consequences of his decision.

(16:21) Samson is Taken to Gaza - Blinded and without strength, Samson was taken to Gaza, where he would spend the rest of his short life. Gaza was one of the five capital cities of the Philistines. Known for its many wells, Gaza was a vital stop along a great caravan route that connected Egypt to the south with Syria to the north. The Philistines probably showed off their prize captive, Samson, to many dignitaries passing through.

Ironically, it was in Gaza that Samson had earlier demonstrated his great strength by uprooting the city gates (16:1-3). Now he was an example of weakness.

(16:23-24) The Temple of Dagon - Dagon was the chief god of the Philistines, possibly the god of grain and harvest. Many temples were built to Dagon, and the worship there included human sacrifice. The temples were also the local entertainment centers. Just as people today crowd into theaters, Philistine townspeople crowded into the local temple. They sat on the flat temple roof and looked into the courtyard below. What they often saw was the torture and humiliation of prisoners. Since the Philistines had control over the Israelites, they thought their god was stronger. But years later, when the ark of God was placed before Dagon in a similar temple, the idol fell over and broke into pieces (1 Samuel 5:1-7). God's strength goes beyond numbers, physical might, and every other false source of security.

(16:28-30) In spite of Samson's past, God still answered his prayer and destroyed the pagan temple and worshipers. God still loved him. He was willing to hear Samson's prayer of confession and repentance and use him this final time. One of the effects of sin in our lives is to keep us from feeling like praying. But being perfect is not a condition for prayer. Don't let guilty feelings over sin keep you from your only means of restoration. No matter how long you have been away from God, he is ready to hear from you and restore you to a right relationship with him. Every situation can be salvaged if you are willing to turn again to God. If God could still work in Samson's situation, he can certainly make something worthwhile out of yours.



Dave Burnette's Life Application

Learning from our Mistakes


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Judges with Chapter 16 and we read of the story of Samson and Delilah. It would seem that Samson would have learned from error of dealing with the Philistines after loosing his family. Yet his desire to ignore the Word of God and follow his own flesh cost him everything. In making application we see the importance of not only following God's Word but learning from our mistakes and sins. Samson only repented at the end of his life when he ask for the Lord to renew his strength as he moved the pillars killing the Philistines along with himself. It is sad it took coming to end of himself to repent. It reminds me of a man who worked for me that was lost. His wife was friends with us at Church and we witnessed and witnessed to him for years. He came down with a illness that took his life but repented on his death bed to receive Christ. I often wonder what would have happened if he had repented earlier as we witnessed to him daily. I am sure his only regret is that he had repented earlier in life to live for the Lord. How about you? Have you repented and been saved? Let us learn from today's text and repent lest we too end up like Samson.


Judges 16

Judges 16

 1Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.

 2And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him.

 3And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.

 4And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.

 5And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.

 6And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.

 7And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.

 8Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them.

 9Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known.

 10And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound.

 11And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.

 12Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And he brake them from off his arms like a thread.

 13And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web.

 14And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web.

 15And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth.

 16And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death;

 17That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.

 18And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand.

 19And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.

 20And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.

 21But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.

 22Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.

 23Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.

 24And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us.

 25And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.

 26And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them.

 27Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.

 28And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.

 29And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.

 30And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.

 31Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.