April 9.—Morning. [Or July 16.]
“Beware lest ye also be led away with the error of the wicked.”
WE cannot linger over Samson’s famous feat at Gaza, where he carried away the city gates upon his shoulders, but must come to the unhappy scene in which that great man fell a victim to his own follies, and was deprived of his power to judge and protect his countrymen. Delilah, the companion of his sin, was the instrument of his downfall.
6, 7 And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee. And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.
8 Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them.
9 Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known. (After this deliverance Samson had no excuse for further remaining in traitorous company. “Surely in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird,” but this man was so infatuated that he plunged into the snare after he had once narrowly escaped from it. Sin is madness.)
10, 11 And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.
12 Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And he brake them from off his arms like a thread.
A second time betrayed! A second time delivered! Will he not fly now from the deceiver’s house? Alas! No. You might sooner teach a moth to shun the candle than a man besotted by sin to escape from its wiles.
13 And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web.
14 And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web.
This time he came dangerously near his secret. The whirlpool in which he was surging was sucking him down. Poor Samson! Who could save thee when thou wast determined to destroy thyself?
15 16, 17 And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth. And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man. (His consecration was his strength, and when in renounced the unshorn locks, which were the symbol of his dedication, the Lord left him, and he reaped the due reward of his sinful indulgences. He sinned deliberately, and therefore was left to smart for it.)
18 And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand. (Bad men and women are always ready to sell for gain those whom they loudly profess to love. They are never to be trusted.)
19, 20 And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him. (Vainly do we go forth without our God. We may have been valiant and mighty before, but if the Lord shall leave us we shall be captives to our foes. What a warning does this unhappy story present to us. May infinite mercy enable us to profit thereby.)
April 9.—Evening. [Or July 17.]
“Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him.”
BUT the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, (according to the Arabic Version, they applied fire to them), and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; (the strongest they could find, and the most painful to the wearer;) and he did grind in the prison house. (The great champion was degraded to do a woman’s work, work which when performed for others was considered to be the meanest servitude. Milton pictures the fallen hero as describing himself thus—
“Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze;
To grind in brazen fetters under task
With this Heaven-gifted strength. O glorious strength,
Put to the labour of a beast, debased
Lower than bond slave! Promise was that;
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;
Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves.”)
22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven. (God’s grace casts not off his servants: grace though reduced to the lowest ebb returns again, even as Samson’s hair grew, and his strength returned. It is one of the wonders of divine love that it holds on to its object even when he proves unworthy of it.)
23 Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.
24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us. (Thus they blasphemed Jehovah by magnifying Baal. They do, however, teach us one lesson, too often forgotten, namely, to ascribe all our victories to God.)
25 And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.
26 And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them. (The poor blind prisoner made rare mirth for the assembled lords, and they could do no other than let him rest a while, while they refilled their cups, and meditated fresh insults.)
27 Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.
28 And Samson called unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. (How touching is that sweetest of prayers, “Remember me,” whether it be Samson or the dying thief who uses it. The Lord indeed did remember him.)
29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.
30 And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.
Milton shall again expound for us—
“Those two massy pillars
With horrible convulsion to and fro
He tugg’d, he shook, till down they came and drew
The whole roof after them, with burst of thunder,
Upon the heads of all who sat beneath,
Lords, ladies, captains, counsellers, or priests,
Their choice nobility and flower, not only
Of this but each Philistian city round.
* * * * * *
O dearly-bought revenge, yet glorious!
Living or dying thou hast fulfill’d
The work for which thou wast foretold
To Israel, and now ly’st victorious
Among thy slain, self-killed,
Not willingly, but tangled in the fold
Of dire necessity, whose law in death conjoin’d
Thee with thy slaughter’d foes.”
Thus the Lord God of Israel silenced the boastings of his enemies, as he will do in the last great day.
31 Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the burying-place of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.
 Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 205–206). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.