English Standard Version, David Cochran Audio Bible
1 Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her. 2 The Gazites were told, "Samson has come here." And they surrounded the place and set an ambush for him all night at the gate of the city. They kept quiet all night, saying, "Let us wait till the light of the morning; then we will kill him." 3 But Samson lay till midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts, and pulled them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron.
4 After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, "Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver." 6 So Delilah said to Samson, "Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you."
7 Samson said to her, "If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and be like any other man." 8 Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she bound him with them. 9 Now she had men lying in ambush in an inner chamber. And she said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" But he snapped the bowstrings, as a thread of flax snaps when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known.
10 Then Delilah said to Samson, "Behold, you have mocked me and told me lies. Please tell me how you might be bound." 11 And he said to her, "If they bind me with new ropes that have not been used, then I shall become weak and be like any other man." 12 So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" And the men lying in ambush were in an inner chamber. But he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread.
13 Then Delilah said to Samson, "Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you might be bound." And he said to her, "If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and fasten it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man." 14 So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his head and wove them into the web. And she made them tight with the pin and said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" But he awoke from his sleep and pulled away the pin, the loom, and the web.
15 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." 16 And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death. 17 And he told her all his heart, and said to her, "A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man."
18 When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, "Come up again, for he has told me all his heart." Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. 19 She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. 20 And she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" And he awoke from his sleep and said, "I will go out as at other times and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had left him. 21 And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison. 22 But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.
Judges is a difficult time. One that our generation would understand, with all the media and society concern on individual rights. Judges was supposed to be a time when God was Israel's Governor. The Covenant and the Exodus was supposed to bring the Children of Israel to an understanding of self-government. In the middle of this free love governmental environment - God was looking for the best of free love. God was truly waiting and hoping for each person to communicate with Him and be upright, righteous, conscientious, noble and pure.
Why was God with Samson through experiments in bondage (I am very much supposing Samson never saw the men hiding in wait for him) and not after truly revealing his inner self to a prostitute? Samson expected God to be with him in prostitution just as he expected God to be with him after attacking the men at his self-interested marriage to a foreigner.
God was honoring Samson's expectations. We could say Samson crossed the line by betraying his Nazorite appearance, yet everything we learn about God says He isn't interested in appearance but the inner person we are. During this time, God hoped to personally communicate with the Children of Israel. This must have been an inner conversation where God felt Samson had betrayed the whole Spirit of the trust God had placed in Samson. In the New Testament and Old Testament we read God takes sexual sin quite seriously, yet here there is an inner conversation we are not completely privileged to understand - the betrayal God alone could judge.
For example, I had a dear friend during my early salad days who had a chief goal, next to being a Christian, of being a completely perfect home owner and cleanliness buff. She vacuumed her furniture each day as well as the house. Each day. Her yard was perfect. You could have eaten from her bathroom tiles. And then she became a SPCA volunteer. And then she had her first first host dog -a hydrocephalus damaged Chihuahua. How my friend loved this dog. Tiny. Unbalanced with a huge head. And completely untrainable to be house broken. My friend and I went for a walk and she cried. She was torn to be able to take care of this little dog and her carpets. And grout in the tile. She told me she thought God was giving her a test - to love His messy creation or just a house. I was 23 years old and I said, she needed to put the dog in the kitchen during her work. She gave reasons she couldn't. I suggested the yard and found heat would kill the tiny dog. I mistakenly told her, God was not a lover of chaos and the dog was creating chaos. No way was the LORD giving her a lesson in grace. My friend found a Chihuahua rescue home for the dog, the rescuer would be at home all day and lots of dogs. Problem solved.
The tiny little dog died the first full day it was with Chihuahua rescue. An accident in the house. My friend was relieved. I suddenly wondered if I had been non-help. I still wonder. My friend became more interested in her home and later she and her husband divorced over home maintenance perfection. He became more perfect and she became less interested.
God communicates with us in ways that are personal. Samson knew when he had crossed the line. God gave him grace and Samson took it and created personal disaster. How can we understand God allowing sin until a Nazirite haircut. Samson knew. His God communicated with Samson.
The Good News in this story is God - God is not a Spirit of abandonment for wrong doing. God is the Spirit of forgiveness.
It is far and away an unusual story. Life offers us unusual circumstance. It is up to us to take the High Road, which can only be done in His grace.
Father God, today help me to take the High Road and dwell in Your Grace. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.