Those who have read the story of Samson and Delilah know that we can’t exactly look to this couple for great dating or marriage advice. Delilah, an outsider to the Israelite community, strikes a deal with Samson’s enemies, the Philistines. After a great deal of trial and error, she manages to find Samson’s weakness, uses it against him, and the Philistines capture Samson because of her (Judges 16).
That’s not exactly the kind of loyal and benevolent actions you expect in a long-term relationship.
What can we learn from this couple both in our dating and marital relationships? Can we avoid making the same mistakes Samson does, and what are some of the warning bells we can discern when a Delilah stumbles into our lives?
Who Was Delilah?
(And why does the Lord not approve of her and Samson together)?
We’ve often heard that Christians shouldn’t date or marry a non-believer (2 Corinthians 6:14). After all, if we end up unequally yoked with someone who does not believe in God, they could cause us to fall astray, like Solomon had with his many foreign wives (1 Kings 11).
Back in the Old Testament, the Israelites had similarly strict guidelines. God didn’t want them to take wives (or husbands) outside of the Israelite community (Deuteronomy 7:3).
This may seem harsh. After all, the Israelites adopted and allowed many foreigners to enter their community and become one of them, such as Ruth and Rahab. So why couldn’t they go into other communities and marry those who chose not to join the nation of Israel?
God had chosen the Israelites specifically. He set them apart for a holy purpose. Sanctified them. If they intermarried with someone outside of that sanctification, they ran the risk of allowing other religions and gods to enter their household and their belief systems. For this purpose, God forbade them from taking spouses from other nations.
Now, although Delilah wasn’t a Philistine as many have claimed her to be, she was not an Israelite. Samson made the first mistake in getting with her because she already had the potential to lead him astray (or lead him right into the hands of his enemies).
Second, we know that Delilah was not his wife. We may have heard in church or even in a Sunday school lesson that Delilah and Samson got married, but Scripture seems to indicate more of a lover relationship. Meaning, the two of them enjoyed sexual relations without the commitment of marriage. Two became one. Which would lead to a great deal of hurt when Delilah revealed her betrayal.
Strike two for Samson.
Finally, Delilah seems to either have connections in the Philistine community or a love of money, because the Philistines manage to convince her to betray her lover if she unveils the secret of his strength. In other words, she does not have his best interest at heart, a clear understatement.
What Can We Learn?
First, we learn the importance of finding a man or woman who is after God’s own heart. Although we may fall in love with someone who practices good morals and yet does not follow the Lord, we cannot pursue a marital (or a lover) relationship with them. If someone does not place Jesus at the center of their lives, they may wind up betraying us unintentionally or intentionally.
Think of a marriage as a braided cord (Ecclesiastes 4:12). If you only have two chords, a husband and a wife, wound together, although strong, the third chord that holds everything together (God) makes it much harder to break apart.
Second, and a little more obscure, we need to be wary of finances and relationships. Couples who argue about finances on a weekly basis are 30% more likely to get divorced.
In the story of Samson and Delilah, Delilah betrays her lover when given money. Although finances can cause strains in relationships, remember who the giver of all things is. If you pursue a godly relationship and end up in a marriage, trust that God will provide for your needs.
Finally, we can learn from Samson and Delilah the dangers of sexual attachments outside of marriage.
Because two become one, it becomes extremely painful to tear apart that relationship. Delilah knew this and used this to her advantage, understanding that no matter how many times she betrayed her lover to the Philistines, he’d keep coming back. He did so a handful of times and wound up captured by his enemies in the process.
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Hope Bolinger is an acquisitions editor at End Game Press, and the author of almost 30 books. More than 1500 of her works have been featured in various publications. Check out her books at hopebolinger.com for clean books in most genres, great for adults and kids.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
These verses serve as a source of renewal for the mind and restoration for the heart by reinforcing the notion that, while human weakness is inevitable, God's strength is always available to uplift, guide, and empower us.
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