And she said to him, How can you say, I love you, when your heart is not with me? you have mocked me these three times…
Samson's weakness is twofold. Through lack of moral strength he reveals the secret of his physical strength, and is thus betrayed into the loss of this also.
I. SAMSON'S MORAL WEAKNESS. This is the man's great failing, apparent throughout his history, but reaching a climax in the present incident. Physical endowments are no guarantees for spiritual graces. Must not some of our young athletic barbarians of the aristocracy, adored by the multitude for chest and muscle, be condemned by true standards of judgment for contemptible weakness of character? Such weakness is far more deplorable than the bodily weakness of palsy and paralysis. St. Paul was considered miserably deficient an physical power and presence (2 Corinthians 10:10), yet his strength of soul exalts the apostle immeasurably above Samson. The moral weakness of Samson is illustrated by the circumstances of his great defeat.
1. Sin. Samson was neglecting his duty and degrading himself with those evil communications which corrupt good manners. There is nothing so enervating as the conscious pursuit of a guilty course.
2. Pleasure. Instead of toiling, fighting, and sacrificing himself for his country, Samson was wasting his hours in pleasure. Apart from the wrongness of this conduct, the lax, self-indulgent spirit it engendered was weakening. In seasons of pleasure we are off our guard.
3. The allurements of false affection. Samson can resist a host of Philistine warriors, but he cannot resist one Philistine woman. Strong against rude violence, he is weak before soft persuasion. Pure love is the loftiest inspiration for self-sacrificing devotion; but love degraded and corrupted is the deadliest poison to purity of character and vigour and independence of action. How many saints and heroes have found their humiliation in the same snares which caught the strong Samson and the famous St. Antony!
4. The self-confidence of strength. Samson plays with the curiosity of Delilah, sure of the power which will come to his aid in the moment of danger, till by degrees he is persuaded to betray the secret of that very power. Had he been less strong, he would have been less rash. Presumption is more dangerous than conscious weakness (1 Corinthians 10:12).
II. SAMSON'S PHYSICAL WEAKNESS. This resulted from his moral weakness. In the end the faults of the inner life will bear fruit in trouble to the outer life.
1. Samson's strength was a Divine gift. He had not attained it by self-discipline nor merited it by service. It was a talent intrusted to his care to be used for God. What God gives God can withhold.
2. Samson's strength was derived from spiritual sources. Samson was not a mere prodigy of brute force. He was one of God's heroes, and the glory of his strength lay in this fact, that it was the outcome of an inspiration. The most exalted powers we have for earthly work are derived from spiritual sources. If these sources are cut off, the energies which issue from them will be exhausted. Samson grows weak through the departure of the Spirit of the Lord.
3. Samson's strength depended on his observance of the Nazarite's vow. When the vow was broken the strength fled. God has a covenant with his people. He is always true to his side, but if we fail on ours the covenant is void and the blessings dependent on it cease.
(1) The vow of the Nazarite implied consecration to God. God bestows graces on us so long as we live to him, but our departure from him necessitates the just withholding of those graces.
(2) The vow required obedience to certain regulations. These were trivial in themselves; but the obligation of obedience is determined not by the importance of the commands given, but by the authority of the person giving them. Disobedience is shown not to the law, but to the authority. A small test may be sufficient to reveal this. Disobedience to God is the fundamental element of all sin, and, as in Samson''s case, it will be the sure cause of our ruin. - A.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.