Friday, July 4, 2014

Delilah: Philistine or not?


The title of this post may seem like a dumb question, but I realized that all this time I’ve been thinking of Delilah as a Philistine woman, when actually the text never says she is.  It only says she lived in the valley of Sorek.

And it came to pass afterward, that he [Samson] loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. (Judges 16:4)

Where was Sorek?  It was a valley that ran east-to-west between Judah and Philistine territory, and it had different cities around it.  We don’t know if she lived closer to Israelite or Philistine territory, but she was on the border.

How does it change our understanding of where Samson’s error was if Delilah’s nation of origin is unknown?  We can’t necessarily say, “He loved a Philistine woman and that was bad.”  We don’t know if she was.

However, the fact that she helped the Philistine lords subdue Samson makes her Philistine by association.   

Did Samson know she was affiliating with Philistines?  Maybe not at first, but he should have figured out that she was after her first attempt to render him powerless.  His error lay in not breaking ties with her immediately.

His mistake is instructive for us today.  We may be friends with or in relationships with people who may be like Delilah--allied with enemies of the church by association, even if they claim to be faithful.  The only indication we may get that they are enemies is that they act in ways to try to pressure us to break commandments or break covenants or disobey leaders, which will drain away our spiritual strength. 

They won’t admit their associations make them enemies, and they may not have 1100 silver pieces to gain for bringing us down, but they are just as dangerous to us as Delilah was to Samson.

Take a hint from Samson and leave these people alone.