Judges 16:16 (ESV) … “And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death.”
We all know the story of Samson and Delilah. When reading Judges chapter 16, we are not told whether Samson was aware of the danger he was in, but when a man’s hormones rule his life his brain becomes disengaged. Leon Wood comments that ‘one cannot help but wonder at the unbelievable credulity and stupidity of Samson in not recognizing the true intent of the woman.’ Delilah did not give up, nagging him ‘until he was tired to death’ (v. 16). The Hebrew word used here also means ‘to shorten’, suggesting that she wore his defences down until he had no fight left in him. Eventually he gave her the information she wanted: ‘No razor has ever been used on my head … because I have been a Nazirite set apart to God since birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man’ (v. 17). He fell asleep on Delilah’s lap and she called a man to shave off seven braids of his hair; when she called out, ‘The Philistines are upon you!’ he assumed that he would be able to break free as before, ‘but he did not know that the Lord had left him’. His infatuation had led to betrayal. Samson’s enemies seized him, gouged out his eyes, clamped him in shackles and took him to Gaza where they imprisoned him (v. 21).
This is another instance in which we see a contrast between Samson and Christ. Jesus was tempted by Satan after fasting in the wilderness for forty days, but he was not careless. He challenged everything Satan said with God’s Word, and if we follow his example we will not fall as Samson did.
There is a danger that, like Samson, we can toy with temptation, pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable as far as we can. Samson’s experience shows us that the result will be disastrous. Rather than play games with Delilah, Samson should have read the warning signs and got out of the situation as quickly as possible. Many of us have memorized the famous verse that says: ‘No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it’ (1 Cor. 10:13). If we were to look at the context of this verse we would see that it tells us to be aware of spiritual danger that temptation places us in, and to escape the source of temptation as quickly as possible!
Had Samson thought about the consequences of yielding to sexual temptation he would have been spared the shame he had to endure. And the name of the Lord would not have been slandered by the Philistines who declared that their god, Dagon, had delivered Samson into their hands (vv. 23–24). If you are considering engaging in some form of sexual immorality, stop and consider where it will end. Speaking at a conference for church leaders, American pastor Rick Holland said: ‘The consequences of immorality are inevitable and unavoidable.… When it comes to sexual sin, it is payday someday! People talk, husbands find out, reporters snoop, pregnancies happen, diseases spread, guilt intensifies.’ This is something Samson discovered to his cost, and must be avoided by us at all costs!