When the Lord was with him, His gift to Samson was great strength. Obviously, it wasn’t accompanied by much wisdom. His blindness to coming betrayal, first by his wife and now by Delilah (verses 6, 10, 13, 15) seems to be a foretaste of the Philistines’ treatment of his eyes (verse 21). Pair this naivety with his continued lack of regard for the Lord’s commandments, and his confidence in his own might, and you see the path his downfall.
Samson is, as usual, out of control from the start of the chapter. He visits a common prostitute in Gaza in verse one. The Gazites, discover he is there and lay an ambush for him, but he just pulls the city gates out of the ground and carries them away. The gates would be about two stories high with posts set deep in the ground that he pulled up with his brute strength.
When he allowed his hair to be cut, it broke the last of his Nazirite vows, and the Lord was no longer with him. But in verse 20, he did not expect that to ever happen. He had always done as he pleased before., so his capture surprised him. His prayer in verse 28 and God’s will to stir the Israelites are what returned his strength long enough to bring the house down on himself and 3,000 of the Philistines.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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