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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Judges 16

Verses 1-31

  1. Intro:
    1. Title: Boy Meets Girl, Girl Cuts Boy's Hair, Boy Destroys Temple
    2. Map1: Philistine Pentapolis. Gaza will be the key city here.Ekron, Gath, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gaza
    1. Map2: Hebron. And Sorek Valley/which separates children of Israel & Philistines.
    2. Every chapter begins w/our hero’s eye on a woman. (14,15,16) [he-man w/a she-weakness]
      1. ​​​​​​​It reminds us of Casaer’s famous, Veni, Vidi, Veci (came, saw, conquered). Samson went to Gaza, saw harlot, and he went in to her.
  2. A MADAM (1-3)
    1. ​​​​​​​(1) Harlot - prostitute (one who engages in sexual activity for payment). Or how about a different word...Victim...How did she get into this? What happened in her childhood? Who degraded her? Who didn’t share with her, her worth? But don’t prostitutes choose this lifestyle? No woman, would ever choose this life of use & abuse, disease & drugs, thugs & evil men, degraded dehumanized. I don’t think so.
    2. (3) A 40 mile hike, ending in a rugged 3000’ climb.
      1. The most secure a Philistine city...now lay open to anyone. Showing his scorn for Gaza’s defenses.
    3. Read 1 Cor.6:12-20 msg
      12 Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.
      13 You know the old saying, “First you eat to live, and then you live to eat”? Well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body!
      14–15 God honored the Master’s body by raising it from the grave. He’ll treat yours withthe same resurrection power. Until that time, remember that your bodies are created with the same dignity as the Master’s body. You wouldn’t take the Master’s body off to a whorehouse, would you? I should hope not.16–20 There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever - the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.
    4. What you can learn and apply to your own life from Samson’s mistakes in this area?
  3. A MISTRESS (4-19)
    1. ​​​​​​​(4,5) Realizing that they would never defeat him in a test of strength, his enemies decided to destroy him in a test of weakness.
    2. (5) 5,500 pieces of silver, 1100 from each of the 5 lords.
      1. That’s 5 x’s the annual wage. And 3 x’s as much as what Gideon received for defeating the Midianite Kings.
      2. Hmm…Betrayed for silver. Sound familiar? [and Hosea bought back Gomer/15]
      3. For love of money, or country, or both, Delilah agrees to betray her lover
      4. Just like the beautiful women who were used by both sides during WWI & WWII to extract secrets from their enemies. Here we have the same thing.
    3. (6) She tells him, in her seductive Philistine accent, "Sammy-poo, you're so strong. I love that about you. How did you get that way? If I - hypothetically - wanted to, I dunno, afflict you, or like, y'know, imprison you or something - hypothetically - how would I do that?"
      1. ​​​​​​​Anything we can add here about why having an unbelieving girlfriend could be hazardous to your health?
    4. (7) Well, our guy Sammy wasn't born yesterday. He makes up several fake sources of his strength. Samson toying with Delilah, is similar to how you & I may toy with sin.
      1. ​​​​​​​Isn’t this deliberately playing with sin? And isn’t that exactly the opposite of how Jesus told us to pray, lead us not into temptation.
        1. Which means, let’s not say, Lord test me! I’m ready! [This is a pray of humility]
    5. (7,11,13) Temptations: from Dr. David Jeremiah study bible
      1. ​​​​​​​The experience of temptation is common.
        1. Every person experiences it.
        2. Being tempted is not a sin (Jesus was tempted).
        3. Sin comes when we yield to temptation.
      2. The extent of temptation is controlled.
        1. God allows testing to come into our lives.
        2. He always limits the kind of test and its intensity.
        3. He knows our limitations, and he never allows us to be tempted beyond what we can bear.
      3. The escape route from temptation is provided.
        1. Whenever we are attempted, God has the end of that temptation already insight.
        2. As soon as the test begins, the escape hatch is already available.
        3. Like Samson here, he always had the opportunity to walk away...he refused it.
    6. He was asleep when he should have been awake
      1. Remember the warning Christ gave to Peter in Matt. 26:40,41 Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
      2. Note also, that each lie Samson told actually took him closer to the truth. How dangerous it is to play with sin.
    7. (17) Samson’s hair itself had no mystical strength, Samson was a Nazirite to God.
      1. It was a symbol of dedication to the Lord. This dedication is what enabled Samson to do his mighty deeds.
    8. (19) His strength left him - Even Tom knew better. Cue the music...My my my Delilah. Why why why Delilah. I could see, that girl was no good for me. But I was lost like a slave that no man could free. Tom Jones 1968
  4. MISERY (20-22)
    1. ​​​​​​​(20) Some of the saddest words in the Bible.
      1. Actually, from vs.20 on he just continues to lose: His hair. His strength. His eyesight. His liberty (they bind him). His usefulness to God (ends up grinding corn, instead of fighting God’s battles).
    2. (21) Cue the song, J. Geil’s Band circa 1980, Love Stinks.
    3. Put out/bored his eyes - Sadly, the man who lived according to what was right in his eyes (14:2,3), lost his eyesight. Sin is: Blinding. Binding. Grinding.
    4. (22) Some of the most encouraging words in Bible.
      1. No matter how far God’s people fall away, His purposes are not jeopardized, and the story is not yet finished.
      2. Even if we have shaven ourselves bald in life situations, yet He grows the hair once again.
  5. MERMAN (23,24)
    1. ​​​​​​​This is where we feel the worse. When we realize it is not only our name that has been tarnished...but our Lord’s.
      1. Think tribal gods...and theirs is now winning.
      2. The name “Dagon” may stem from the words for “fish” (גד, dg) and “grain” (ןגד, dgn). However, there is no solid evidence that Dagon was a fish deity or a grain god in the ancient Near East.
        1. ​​​​​​​Some see him as a merman. see pic (little fish ½ man/head,hands; ½ fish/body)
  6. MARTYRDOM (25-31) [Martyr: a person killed for their religious beliefs]
    1. (25) Perform - used twice here. It means to laugh.
      1. Samson was the nights entertainment. His performance was not wit nor strength, but most likely in regards to his blindness. Placing obstacles in his way, tripping him, striking him, & other cruel possibilities to a blind man.
    2. (28) Yeah, he finally prays...in a pagan temple. Ironic.
    3. (30) Such Mercy to the penitent.
    4. Archaeological excavations at Tel Qasile, the site of a Philistine city near modern Tel Aviv, uncovered a small temple dedicated to a Philistine deity.
      1. This is the only Philistine religious center found today.
      2. The roof of the main hall is supported by 2 stone pillars about 6 feet apart, and walls were lined with benches.
      3. It is thought that the Temple of Dagon in Gaza was of this type.
    5. (31) Although unfaithfulness on the part of God’s people does not prevent gods purposes, it proves tragic for the unfaithful ones. Dr. David Jeremiah
    6. Slide19 What a contrast: the sad end of Samson’s life, with its bright dawn in the sincere desire of his parents to raise him right (13:8,12).
    7. Samson was given every opportunity to succeed in his struggles against the Philistines and be a holy man of God. Yes, so do we.
    8. It’s difficult to understand how God could use a man that had as many character flaws as Samson.
      1. Perhaps God’s purposes for Israel, given time and circumstances, good best be fulfilled not by an all-out war against the Philistines, but by the hit-and-run tactics of an individual.
      2. Samson could infiltrate the Philistine cities, hit them from behind, and withdraw, disrupting the Philistine advance against Israel.
    9. With Samson’s death, the Philistines were given free reign to encroach into the Israelite hill country, setting political and military stage for the book of first Samuel.
      1. Ultimately all we can say is that God is sovereign & uses whomever He will, & some - like Samson - in spite of themselves. (Shepherd’s Notes, pg.87)
    10. Samson illustrates people who have power to conquer others, but who cannot conquer themselves.
      1. He set the Philistine fields on fire, but could not control the fires of his own lust.
      2. He killed a lion, but would not put to death the passions of the flesh.
      3. He could easily break the bonds that men put on him, but the shackles of sin gradually grew stronger on his soul.
        1. God used Samson, just like he uses us, but it is also our responsibility, as it was Samson’s, to become vessels worthy of His honor.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Judges 16". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/judges-16.html. 2017.