Who Was Delilah in the Bible?

We first meet Delilah in Judges 16:4 where we learn she hails from the land of Sorek. Even though Samson falls in love with Delilah, she’s swayed by the Philistines, the enemies of the Israelites, to find the source of Samson’s strength.

Hope Bolinger
Who Was Delilah in the Bible?

We may know her name from a certain Plain White T’s song, or the fact that she cut off the hair of a judge named Samson to rob him of his strength (Judges 16).

But what all do we know about this bad influence from the Bible? Where did she come from and why was it unwise for Samson to fall in love with her? 

In this article, we’ll discuss who Delilah was, what Scripture says about her, and what we can learn from her.

What Does Scripture Say about Her?

We first meet Delilah in Judges 16:4 where we learn she hails from the land of Sorek. Although not exactly a Philistine town, it was likely near a place called Zorah, renowned for its vines.  

In either case, she wasn’t a Jew, yet Samson still slept with her. She was likely not his wife, but a harlot, as we see Samson engaging with women outside of marriage in an intimate manner (Judges 16:1).

Even though Samson falls in love with Delilah, she’s swayed by the Philistines, the enemies of the Israelites, to find the source of Samson’s strength. Samson’s strength had wreaked havoc previously on the Philistines, and they wanted to utterly humiliate and destroy him. They offer her about 100 days’ worth of wages to find out his secret.

Samson playfully lies to her about the secret of his strength until she essentially nags him senseless (Judges 16:16). 

He divulges the source of his strength, which she hands over to the Philistines. She cuts his hair (the “source” of his strength), rendering him weak. The Philistines capture Samson.

What Other Information Do We Know?

Apart from the information presented above, we don’t know a whole lot else about Delilah. Because we don’t know the exact location of Sorek, which leaves some clues missing from the picture.

We do know that the language doesn’t seem to imply that she and Samson are married. Therefore, they would’ve been intimate, but with no nuptial strings attached.

We also know, from Scripture, that each time Delilah tries to discover Samson’s strength, she announces the Philistines have come upon him. Therefore, Samson should have known, to some extent, her true intentions.

Either that or the Philistines just happen to appear every time she “discovers” the secret to his strength.

We’re also uncertain if she was from Israel, Philistia, or somewhere in between. No matter where she came from, she wasn’t good news, and Samson had to know that somewhere deep down. But he chose to ignore the red flags. 

He stays with Delilah, despite better judgment, and it ends with severe consequences.

Why Does This Matter?

Christians tend to pluck lessons from Delilah such as, “Be careful of the company you keep” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Although true, we can find even more applications to the story of Samson and Delilah.

First, be careful with engaging with temptations, especially sexual temptations. Maybe Samson had wanted to leave their relationship at one point. After all, she was nagging him to death. But they had engaged in sexual acts, which created two-becoming-one bonds with each other (Genesis 2:24). These bonds are incredibly difficult and painful to separate, and so he may have been hesitant to do so.

Second, we cannot let our guard down. 

Satan will try to find our biggest weakness, and will often do so when we have our guard down. In the case of Samson, he let Delilah impair his judgment. In doing so, he eventually gives in and reveals his greatest weakness.

Finally, sins do have consequences.

Samson may have felt as though he could get away with an extra-marital relationship with someone who was most likely not an Israelite. But he reaps the consequences eventually.

The Philistines capture him, after blinding him, and enslave him. Only, through an act of God, does his strength return, and he ends up dying in the process.

Although we may feel as though we can get away with engaging with sin, the consequences catch up with us eventually. Best to avoid Delilahs in our lives and pursue righteousness. 

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Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 600 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog. Her modern-day Daniel, Blaze, (Illuminate YA) Den (releasing July 2020), Dear Hero (releasing September 2020), and Dear Henchman (releasing 2021)  Find out more about her at her website.

Originally published January 06, 2020.