Study Guide

Book of Judges Chapter 16

Chapter 16

Boy Meets Girl, Girl Cuts Boy's Hair, Boy Destroys The Temple Of Dagon

  • Samson goes to Gaza, a Philistine city, and spends some time with a harlot there.
  • The Philistines find out he's there, and hide outside the city gates that night, hoping to attack and kill him when he leaves in the morning.
  • But Samson wakes up at midnight, tears the gates out of the city wall (Hulk smash), and carries them on his shoulders like it ain't no thang to the top of a hill outside the city.
  • Rather than getting squashed like bugs, the Philistines leave him alone. Good thinking, you guys.
  • Afterward, Samson falls in love with a lady names Delilah.
  • Cue the theme music. This will do. Or this. Or this. Not this.
  • "And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him […] and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver" (KJV 16:5). Hmm… Betrayed for silver. Sound familiar?
  • For love of money, or love of country, or both, Delilah agrees to betray her lover.
  • 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?"
  • Well, our guy Sam wasn't born yesterday. He makes up several fake sources of his strength.
  • Delilah uncovers Samson's fibs one-by-one until she finally ratchets up the romantic manipulation and gets some results.
  • "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" (KJV 16:15).
  • Well played, Delilah. Her ploy works and Samson reveals to her the true source of his strength: his flowing locks.
  • Delilah tells the Philistines everything. They give her the silver, and she has Samson fall asleep on her lap.
  • While he sleeps, Delilah has a servant cut his hair.
  • Delilah wakes Samson up and, before he knows what's happening, the Philistines take him away. Love stinks.
  • They "put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house" (KJV 16:21).
  • After a while, "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. 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" (KJV 16:23-24).
  • The Philistines are so excited to have captured Samson that they bring him out of prison to entertain them.
  • He does so, but he's not happy about it. Afterward, he rests between two pillars, with thousands of Philistines seated above him after watching his show. Rookie mistake, you guys.
  • Samson appeals to God for a final burst of strength to avenge himself of the Philistines.
  • "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" (KJV 16:30).
  • Then his brethren came and brought Samson's body back for a hero's burial near his family.

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