Monday, August 20, 2007

The Cost of a Haircut

We have all heard of politicians who have spent upwards of $400.00 on a simple haircut. But that is nothing compared to what a haircut cost Samson in Judges 16. For the past 20 years Samson has ruled faithfully as judge over Israel resulting in his being mentioned in Hebrews 11 but for some reason he goes to Gaza where he falls victim once again to the weakness that had plagued him earlier in his life, and engages in intimacy with a prostitute. Because Gaza is the Philistine city which is the furthest from Jewish territory, it would appear that he went there with intentions already made to participate in immorality without being caught. Samson goes into the home of a Philistine prostitute.

The men of the city hear that their enemy has returned and camp outside the gate to capture Samson. At midnight, Samson leaves the house of the prostitute and goes to the gate of the city where the ambush is waiting him. He rips the huge city gate along with the posts it was set on and the bar which locked it and ran with it carrying it all the way to Mt Hebron which is a 38 mile trip to the top going up 3300 feet above sea level.

Samson’s series of encounters with seductive women now reaches its climax as he falls in love (obviously not Biblical love) with Delilah. Little is known about Delilah except that she lived in the valley of Sorek which was inhabited by both Jews and Philistines. Many believe that she too was a harlot. Realizing her encounter with Samson, five Philistine leaders bribe her to discover the secret of his strength by each offering her 1100 pieces of silver. That would be 5500 pieces of silver in total. Remember that Judas betrayed our Lord for just 30 pieces.

On three different occasions Delilah seduces Samson (probably through intimacy) and asks the secret of his power. All three times Samson lies about what would secure him and each time the Philistines brought her the item needed and she would seduce Samson to sleep and tie him up. All three times, after he is secured, Delilah awakes him with a cry that the Philistines are attacking him and each time his strength releases him. Delilah now resorts to what we have already seen as something that Samson has a very low tolerance for. She nags Samson and cries before him until finally Samson reveals his secret. He tells her that the secret to his power was in his hair. Remember, the hair was simply a symbol. It was the only remaining sign of his Nazarite vow that he had not broken. The loss of power was not due to the loss of his hair but due to the fact that the Spirit had left him because he completely broke his commitment to the Lord.

Delilah collects payment, and begins her betrayal. She causes Samson to sleep and has his hair shaven. She then afflicts him somehow to see if his strength is gone and hollers that the Philistine’s are attacking. Samson responds thinking he can rely on his strength but not knowing that the Spirit (and his strength) had left him. How often do we go about our daily activities and ministries thinking that the Spirit of God is empowering us when in fact we are going through the motions in our own strength. And like Samson, so often we don’t even realize the difference.

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