As we continue in Judges 16:4ff, Samson’s lust is seen again in his relationship with Delilah. She was bribed with a large amount of silver in order to deceive Samson and discover the source of his strength. She began by simply asking him to tell her his secret. He first told her that he would lose his strength if he was bound with fresh bow strings. She tested him after he had fallen asleep and he broke the bow strings like a strand of yarn that had touched fire. Samson had lied to Delilah, and she cried about being deceived and mocked. He then lied to her again by telling her that new ropes would be able to restrain him. She tested him in the same manner and learned that he had lied to her a second time. Delilah was deceived yet a third time by weaving his hair into the web of a loom. Samson came dangerously close to telling his secret on that third occasion.
“And it came to pass, when she pestered him daily with her words and pressed him, so that his soul was vexed to death, that he told her all his heart, and said to her, ‘No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.'” (Jud. 16:16,17). Samson finally gave in to her nagging and told her the truth. It should be obvious that Samson cared for Delilah. If he didn’t, why would he have even bothered to answer her pestering? Of course, it should have been obvious to him that she tested everything he told her! Was he really so foolish to think that she wouldn’t try shaving him too? Or, had he deceived himself into thinking that he was a strong man–with or without his hair?
Whatever he was or wasn’t thinking, Delilah lulled him to sleep and had his head shaved in Judges 16:18-20. One of the special conditions that set Samson apart had been broken and the Lord and his miraculous strength had departed.
Samson was consequently easily captured without his miraculous strength. His eyes were put out and he was used as slave labor. He was also mocked for the Philistines’ entertainment. However, the outward sign of his strength began to come back. The Philistines were careless in not keeping him shaved bald.
On one occasion, the Philistine leaders were gathered together to offer a sacrifice to their god, Dagon, and they had Samson brought in for entertainment purposes. No doubt they wanted to celebrate their victory over him and hurl insults and abuse at him again. However, they made a terrible mistake in putting him near the support pillars of their temple. “Then Samson called to the LORD, saying, ‘O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!’ And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left. Then Samson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines!’ And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life” (Jud. 16:28-30).
Samson had come to learn that his strength was in Jehovah. This was not a suicide but a plunging into battle for Jehovah, knowing that death would come. The Lord approved of it by granting Samson the strength to perform the task. He killed approximately 3000 men and women on that occasion, and he also destroyed the house of Dagon. As our record of Samson’s life closes, we see him being given a proper burial by his family.