Verses 18–21

We have here the fatal consequences of Samson’s folly in betraying his own strength; he soon paid dearly for it. A whore is a deep ditch; he that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein. In that pit Samson sinks. Observe, 1. What care Delilah took to make sure of the money for herself. She now perceived, by the manner of his speaking, that he had told her all his heart, and the lords of the Philistines that hired her to do this base thing are sent for; but they must be sure to bring the money in their hands, Jdg. 16:18. The wages of unrighteousness are accordingly produced, unknown to Samson. It would have grieved one’s heart to have seen one of the bravest men then in the world sold and bought, as a sheep for the slaughter; how does this instance sully all the glory of man, and forbid the strong man ever to boast of his strength! 2. What course she took to deliver him up to them according to the bargain. Many in the world would, for the hundredth part of what was here given Delilah, sell those that they pretend the greatest respect for. Trust not in a friend then, put no confidence in a guide. See what a treacherous method she took (Jdg. 16:19): She made him sleep upon her knees. Josephus says, She gave him some intoxicating liquor, which laid him to sleep. What opiates she might steal into his cup we know not, but we cannot suppose that he knowingly drank wine or strong drink, for that would have been a forfeiture of his Nazariteship as much as the cutting off of his hair. She pretended the greatest kindness even when she designed the greatest mischief, which yet she could not have compassed if she had not made him sleep. See the fatal consequences of security. Satan ruins men by rocking them asleep, flattering them into a good opinion of their own safety, and so bringing them to mind nothing and fear nothing, and then he robs them of their strength and honour and leads them captive at his will. When we sleep our spiritual enemies do not. When he was asleep she had a person ready to cut off his hair, which he did so silently and so quickly that it did not awake him, but plainly afflicted him; even in his sleep, his spirit manifestly sunk upon it. I think we may suppose that if this ill turn had been done to him in his sleep by some spiteful body, without his being himself accessory to it, as he was here, it would not have had this strange effect upon him; but it was his own wickedness that corrected him. It was his iniquity, else it would not have been so much his infelicity. 3. What little concern he himself was in at it, Jdg. 16:20. He could not but miss his hair as soon as he awoke, and yet said, “I will shake myself as at other times after sleep,” or, “as at other times when the Philistines were upon me, to make my part good against them.” Perhaps he thought to shake himself the more easily, and that his head would feel the lighter, now that his hair was cut, little thinking how much heavier the burden of guilt was than that of hair. He soon found in himself some change, we have reason to think so, and yet wist not that the Lord had departed from him: he did not consider that this was the reason of the change. Note, Many have lost the favourable presence of God and are not aware of it; they have provoked God to withdraw from them, but are not sensible of their loss, nor ever complain of it. Their souls languish and grow weak, their gifts wither, every thing goes cross with them; and yet they impute not this to the right cause: they are not aware that God has departed from them, nor are they in any care to reconcile themselves to him or to recover his favour. When God has departed we cannot do as at other times. 4. What improvement the Philistines soon made of their advantages against him, Jdg. 16:21. The Philistines took him when God had departed from him. Those that have thrown themselves out of God’s protection become an easy prey to their enemies. If we sleep in the lap of our lusts, we shall certainly wake in the hands of the Philistines. It is probable they had promised Delilah not to kill him, but they took an effectual course to disable him. The first thing they did, when they had him in their hands and found they could manage him, was to put out his eyes, by applying fire to them, says the Arabic version. They considered that his eyes would never come again, as perhaps his hair might, and that the strongest arms could do little without eyes to guide the, and therefore, if now they blind him, they for ever blind him. His eyes were the inlets of his sin: he saw the harlot at Gaza, and went in unto her (Jdg. 16:1), and now his punishment began there. Now that the Philistines had blinded him he had time to remember how his own lust had blinded him. The best preservative of the eyes is to turn them away from beholding vanity. They brought him down to Gaza, that there he might appear in weakness where he had lately given such proofs of his strength (Jdg. 16:3), and be a jest to those to whom he had been a terror. They bound him with fetters of brass who had before been held in the cords of his own iniquity, and he did grind in the prison, work in their bridewell, either for their profit or his punishment, or for both. The devil does thus by sinners, blinds the minds of those who believe not, and so enslaves them, and secures them in his interests. Poor Samson, how hast thou fallen! How is thy honour laid in the dust! How has the glory and defence of Israel become the drudge and triumph of the Philistines! The crown has fallen from his head; woe unto him, for he hath sinned. Let all take warning by his fall carefully to preserve their purity, and to watch against all fleshly lusts; for all our glory has gone, and our defence departed form us, when the covenant of our separation to God, as spiritual Nazarites, is profaned.