Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.CHAPTER 16 Delilah, and Samson
1. In Gaza (Judges 16:1-3)
2. Delilah and her victory over him (Judges 16:4-20)
3. The captive of the Philistines (Judges 16:21)
4. The feast of Dagon and Samson’s death (Judges 16:22-31)
Down he goes again, and this time to Gaza, the Philistine stronghold. There he unites himself with a harlot. We are here reminded of the history of the Church. The harlot typifies that system which in Revelation is called by the same name, she who seduces to commit fornication, Babylon the great, Rome. Rome is the capital of Philistinism, ritualistic Christendom, as Gaza was the capital of the Philistines. But the attempt of the Philistines to kill him fails. He carries the gates, posts and bars of the city and took them to the top of the hill before Hebron. We may see in it a little picture of the recovery from the power of the harlot in the Reformation movement. But it was not Samson’s last visit and farewell to Gaza. We shall see him there again, stripped of his power, his eyes put out, a ridiculed captive. We find him first at Sorek. He is entangled with Delilah, which means “exhausted.” He loves her and she becomes the fearful instrument of his downfall. She is the type of the world, the fair, pleasure-loving, religious world, which aims, like Delilah, to rob the true Nazarite of his separation, the real power of the Christian life. It would take pages to describe the subtleties, the cunning ways, the wiles of the fair Delilah of the last days. And even then we would have to say “not the half has been told.” And how she presses upon the Nazarite! Again and again he deceives her and keeps his secret. He knows well she is after his destruction. Like a moth attracted to the light though burning awaits it, he goes back to the dangerous sport, till at last, vexed unto death, he tells her his secret. Again he sleeps upon her knees. The locks of hair fall under the razor. Then she, the fair Delilah, afflicts him. Her caresses become blows and his strength went from him. “And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.” Alas! the sad story, how it has been repeated in the individual experiences of many believers. Flirting with the unholy principles of this present evil age is a dangerous thing. Loving the world will end, if unchecked, in disaster for the child of God. And the remedy is the close walk in heart dependence and heart devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. And thus it has happened and still more happens in our days with the Church. Stripped of her strength, her confessed weakness, lowliness, separation and utter dependence on the Lord, the Philistines have come upon her, lulled to sleep by Delilah’s wiles. There is a shaking too, like Samson’s shaking. Efforts are made by a powerless Church and they do not know that the power is no longer there, for the Spirit is grieved and quenched. That is the sad state of the professing Church as seen in those of Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-17).
Oh, the sad picture of the Nazarite shorn of his locks, naked in this sense; eyes put out, blind, bound in fetters, grinding in the mill! What sport the Philistines had with him! And is a Church robbed of power, naked and blind, not a sadder spectacle? The end of Samson was a great victory. He had learned his lessons. Thoroughly humbled and chastised he must have repented of all his sin and folly. His hair grew again. He cries to Jehovah between the pillars, where he made sport. Then follows his prayer. “O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me; I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” Then he bowed himself, and an awful catastrophe follows when the house collapsed and he and the vast multitude of Philistines were slain and buried in the ruins.