And Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me wherein your great strength lies, and you might be bound, that one could subdue you.” – Judges 16:6

*   *   *

Contrary to the common relating of the story, there’s nothing deceitful in Delilah’s dealings with Samson. She tells him outright she intends to have him shackled and vanquished, and even after the first attempt fails, he comes back for more.

Like many powerful men, Samson assumes he’s immune from failure. He’s already achieved by defying the odds. He’s been warned, by Delilah’s words and actions, but he ignores them.

You can see his fall coming not so much through the cutting of his hair as through the violations of his nazirite discipline – he was supposed to remain celebate, for starters.

And when, at last, he awakens from sleep and finds he cannot break the bonds, Delilah vanishes from the text, as if she were a dream.

*   *   *

Therefore let them that read me, mark what I say, for the Lord of Hosts hath determined, That the Haughtiness of Man shall be humbled, and the Loftiness of Man shall be laid low, that himself alone may be exalted in this Day: And Men’s Idols he will utterly abolish; yea, he will famish the Gods of the Earth, that People may worship him in his own Holy Place. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

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