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Samson's False Friends

Samson and Delilah

You've probably heard of Samson in Israel in the days before they first had a king, right? He was the miracle son born to a barren, elderly couple, all in a dither about how to raise him. Their son was born with amazing physical strength. But Samson had some flaws.

He made friends very easily with lovely young women. But he also had a weakness for their tears and pleading. A number of times, like a stupid, blind animal, he walked into a trap set by these women. Samson would get mad and exert his physical strength to kill a number of Philistine people just to get even.

The first time he insisted on marrying a girl in Timnah. At the seven-day wedding feast he asked a riddle that the girl's male friends could not answer so they got the young bride to cry and nag it out of Samson. He gave in on the seventh day, she told the friends, and they gave him the answer. The prize for the answer was thirty outfits of clothes, so Samson went to another town nearby, killed thirty men, and brought back their clothes. Then he left in a huff.

The bride's father gave her away to his best man. When Samson cooled off he went back to his wife. When he discovered the switch he lost his temper again, and tied foxes tails together, lit them with firebrands, and set them down into the Philistine's fields to ruin their crops.

His own countrymen came to him in his cave and pleaded to tie him up and offer him to the Philistines, Samson agreed, but once he was in the enemy camp, he picked up the jawbone of an ass, and slaughtered 1000 Philistine men!

I marvel at two things; that any other woman would desire Samson's friendship, and how God could use his temper tantrums to avenge His people against their oppressive enemies.

His next woman friend was Delilah, a prostitute in Gaza. She likely wanted the money promised from her political leaders in Gaza more than Samson's love. She asked quite directly, "What would it take to tie you up, Samson, and make you weak as any other man?"

How he was so dense that he did not hear the threat in that question, I don't know. He led her along for a bit and teased her with the wrong answers, but each time the men of Gath came and tried the very answer he had given her.

Finally Delilah wore him down, and he gave her the right answer. His strength lay in keeping his Nazarite vow, and not having his hair cut. The clever woman recognized it immediately as the truth and assured her Gath friends - they would get him, when she had cut off his hair.

Samson captured because he trusted Delilah

We still see people today who blindly trust their false friends, and end up with messed up lives and marriages. Maybe you and I can think of times we have trusted someone because we wanted so much to be liked by them. We did not see we were being taken advantage of by those friends.

Does one bad experience teach us to be more discrete and cautious in the next friendship? Not always. Very often we end up sacrificing the very thing that gives us strength from God. Even our faith and obedience to His commandments.

We might want to blame it on our parents or original family. In Samson's case, his elderly parents may have spoiled him, and allowed him his temper tantrums, and kept him from making friends early on, but the Bible doesn't lay any blame on them. God still holds us accountable for our own actions and decisions when we are adults.

All we can do when we have blown it, is to come humbly to God, confess our sins, and receive forgiveness and new strength to go on. Samson did.

In the end he pulled down the pillars that held up a large public arena where the Philistines were celebrating his capture. In his death he killed thousands of the Philistines who had oppressed Israel for so long.

There is always a second chance for those who repent and admit they have gone wrong. But my advice is - don't fall for friends that use you and then try to solve problems by getting revenge. Learn to pick caring, trustworthy friends and work and helping each other to do better.

My Theme of Friendships

My novel, Ruthe's Secret Roses, and this related site have a Friendship theme. By getting to know and follow around the heroine, Ruthe, you can learn a lot about friendships, and that there is one that is the golden key to enriching all your other friendships and making them more satisfying. The site is more like a perfumed poupouri of articles and pages on that theme, and I've started a series on the friendships we observe in the Bible and what practical insights we can gain for our own friendships by thinking about them

Visit the RoseBouquet for my weekly short articles about what is happening in my life, week-by-week.

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Are your friendships important to you? You'll want to read the first eight chapters of the book or order it in either softcover or e-book formats, Ruthe's Secret Roses.

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Ruth Marlene Friesen

Ruth Marlene Friesen
The Responsible One

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Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada