Who was Delilah?


Judges 16:4 - 6

ESV - 4 After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, "Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.

Clarify Share Report Asked November 27 2019 Mini bill parker

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
As indicated in the verse cited in the question, Delilah (whose name (according to various sources) means "languishing", "lovelorn", "delicate" or "seductive") was a woman who lived in the valley of Sorek, which was on the border between the Israelite tribe of Dan and the territory of the Philistines.

She was a woman whom Samson (one of the judges of Israel, whose life is recounted in Judges 13-16) loved. The Bible does not definitely indicate her personal ethnicity, although (as indicated by the fact that she was approached by the Philistines about betraying Samson to them, as well as by her willingness to be bribed by the Philistines to do so), she may have been a Philistine, rather than an Israelite.

As recounted in Judges 16:4-31, after the Philistines gave her 1,100 pieces of silver, Delilah asked Samson multiple times to reveal to her the secret of his great strength. (Samson's strength derived from the fact that he was a Nazirite (Numbers 6:1-21), which -- among other things -- included a requirement that his hair not be cut.)

Samson gave her untrue responses mutliple times. On each of those occasions, Delilah caused Samson to fall asleep, and then carried out the response that he had given her, in an attempt to make him weak. However, none of those actions took away Samson's strength.

Finally, in response to her persistent nagging, as a result of which Samson's "soul was vexed to death" (Judges 16:16), he revealed to her that, if his hair were cut, he would lose his strength. She again caused him to fall asleep with his head on her lap, and then summoned a man who cut Samson's hair. This caused Samson to lose his strength, and enabled the Philistines to capture him and put out his eyes, making him blind.

(However, after Samson's hair grew back while in captivity, he regained his strength, and was able to avenge himself upon the Philistines (although at the cost of his own life) by causing their pagan temple to collapse upon them, killing 3,000 of them.) 

As a result of the Biblical account of her actions, the name "Delilah" has come to be used as a designation for a woman who is a seductress, particularly with treacherous motives.

November 27 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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