Judges 16:15 (ESV) …. 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.”
Delilah nagged Samson to the point of no return. She pretended to long for intimacy, for the sharing of his deepest secret self, which she defined as disclosure of the secret of Samson’s great strength. If he did not open himself to her, she said, she would assume he did not love her (the first mention of love by Delilah). It may be that she withheld her favors from him during this time as well. Samson’s reason for sharing was not to achieve intimacy (his attitude toward marital intimacy was established twenty years before in 14:16) but because he was tired to death of her nagging. She prodded him day after day (see 14:16–17). Never a “strong” man (of character), Samson finally relented to her cajoling (see Prov. 21:9, 19; 27:15) and told her everything. The enemy agent finally achieved her goal!
Samson told her that no razor had ever been used on his head. In order to enfeeble Samson, surely that should have been sufficient information. Nothing more need be said. But Samson bared his soul and traveled far beyond a “need to know” basis; he explained the rationale for his barberless condition—he was an agent of God since birth. He did not use the covenant name for the Lord but rather the generic name for a supreme being, an indication of his lack of intimacy with God. Being familiar with his lifestyle, Delilah may have wondered in what sense (other than volume of hair) Samson was set apart to his God, as he claimed! Regardless, she knew the ring of truth when she heard it. She now knew that if his head was shaved, his strength would leave him.
So certain was Delilah that she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. Meanwhile, she procured the services of someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair after she had soothed him to sleep on her lap. Although the spiritual condition of Samson is deplorable, the character of Delilah is pointedly vicious.
The sad denouement to this portion of the story played out inevitably; Delilah called, Samson, the Philistines are upon you, and on awakening he assumed that he was, as always, in control, independent, and autonomous. This ultimate in “rude awakenings” climaxed with one of the saddest statements in the Samson Saga: He did not know that the Lord had left him, the trough of Samson’s life. It’s one thing to be bereft of God’s presence; it’s quite another to be so spiritually insensitive that you assume that such a thing has not, and could not, happen to you. It’s one thing to lack fellowship with God; it’s quite another to be so at variance with God that you don’t know that you don’t know that you lack that eternal relationship.
By confiding his Nazirite vow, he had moved from ignoring God to abandoning God. Now for the first time in his life he would know what it was like to be abandoned by God. When people stubbornly and persistently suppress truth, God may give them over to their own self-generated lies (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28).