Monday, February 25, 2008

Learning Love From Samson and Delilah (Part 1)

The Grateful Dead sang a song called "Samson and Delilah," then the Pointer Sisters had a song called "Fire" where they put Samson and Delilah in the same league as Romeo and Juliet, having a love they could not deny. Yep, the Biblical couple has been enshrined as an example of a "love" story. But what was their love like?

To see this love story you have to go to the book of Judges (hee hee!). I recently did a Valentines banquet and got quite a look when I said, "Let's turn to the book of Judges." Well, its a fun story. Basically, we first learn about Samson's kind of love in chapter 14:1 when he "sees" a Philistine woman and tells his parents to go and get her for him. He makes three critical errors in my opinion. First, he spurns his parents counsel. Second, he chooses a wife that will be incompatible spritually. And third, he makes his decision based purely on physical attraction. He says, "She looks good to me" (v. 3).

Let's see how that worked out. Well, He makes his inlaws mad by gambling with them over a riddle. His wife tries to get the answer from him by manipulation through saying he hates her (16a). He puts his parents above his wife (16b) saying, "I haven't even told my parents why would I tell you?" She then manipulates him with tears, crying for seven days (17), which he gives in to. She betrays him to her people (18a). He calls her a heifer (18b).

Samson then demonstrates that he has an anger problem by killing 30 men and taking their clothes to pay off his bet (19); he ties torches to the tails of 300 foxes that burn up the grain fields and olive orchards (15:4-5). The Philistines retaliate by burning his wife and father-in-law, so he eventually kills 1000 with a donkey's jawbone.

Well let's see if his next relationship is any better. Judges 16:1 says that he saw a prostitute and went in to her. Okay, physical based and immoral.

Finally, we get to Delilah. It actually says that Samson "loved" her (16:4). But what does that mean? Let's see. Chapter 16 tells the tale of Delilah being bribed by the Philistines to find out the secret of Samson's strength so that they might know how to bind him to afflict him. Then there is this humorous cycle where she asks him, he tells her a lie, she tries what he tells her, the Philistines lie in wait to ambush him, whatever she tries fails, and he breaks the bonds. As you read the story you can just imagine the Philistines hiding in their house and seeing him awake breaking his bonds and them scurrying out the door.

So up to now we have relationships based on deceit, poor communication, favoring parents over spouse, immorality, majoring on the physical, name-calling, anger, manipulation, bribery--almost everything I've faced in marriage counseling. But I also see that every one of these areas could easily be a temptation for me. I'll explore that later.


Mike said...

this is awesome brian!

Vevystefana said...

Daddy! YOu can't leave me hangin like that! :D
But thanks , it's a great beginning. :D

California Gold said...

Looks good Brian. Where is the picture taken on your heading?
Brian Milam

pastorprof said...

Brian, the pic is taken from the park at the NE end of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Tom said...

We are certainly but a breath away from defiling ourself. We have a paper thin resolve, which is easily torn unless He that performs for us all our works (Is 26:12) constrains us. I look forward to your personal application as such always points us back to our need for reliance and dependence upon Christ!

J Crew said...

This is a good reminder to me. No one is exempt from this and we must keep our guard up

Jean said...

Wow, I didn't recall the part where Samson called his wife a heifer! I certainly wouldn't want the kind of relationships Samson had.

Seth said...


Glad to see you blogging. I LOVE your blog title. "Pursuing a PhD in Biblical Love" is something we all need to do.