We knew from the riddle that Samson thought he was smarter than he actually was. It’s not until this moment, however, that we realize the depth of Samson’s stupidity. Not once, not twice, but count ‘em, three times does Delilah ask for Samson’s secret. She’s not even subtle about it, with a casual “Please tell me what makes your strength so great, and how you could be bound, so that one could subdue you” (Judg. 16:6).
She’s not using any subtlety whatsoever, and we can only guess as to why. Personally, I envision it as Samson is too stupid to understand it in other terms, so she has to be direct. The thing is, he lies to her the first three times. And each time she asks him the question, he miraculously wakes up in those conditions. It’s a complete coincidence! /sarcasm.
And she persists until Finally, after she had nagged him with her words day after day, and pestered him,” he gives in. Why? Because he’s an idiot. It would be one thing to have her ask it once and him lie about it, but after the first incident where he ends up bound by bowstrings, you’d think he’d do the mental arithmetic to figure out Delilah was working for the bad guys.
Anyone possessing even a modicum of intelligence would have stopped and said, “she might be up to something. Maybe I should leave.”
Instead we have Samson falling for the same trick time and again. And, chances are, that the circumstances under which she’s asking the question are the same each time. See, the pattern goes like this: She asks the secret, he tells a lie, she follows-up and binds him, she yells that the Philistines are upon him (which they were since they hid), and Samson kills them.
Now, the first two times it doesn’t say he was asleep, but it would be pretty weird for him to simply allow her to tie him up while he’s awake. The third time gives us the instance that is most likely. He was asleep when it happened.
But how did he get sleepy? Well, chances are that because he loved her, they engaged in some intimate activity that left him sleepy afterwards. He was probably so drowsy that it was pretty easy to get him to talk, too. And while Delilah is not a prostitute, she has no qualms about using Samson’s love for her against him, and she probably used sex as a weapon as well. Samson loved her, but she never returns that love in word or deed. But there’s really no reason for her to do so. The story clearly states that Samson fell in love with her, and given Samson’s penchant for breaking covenants and taking what he wants, she could very well have just been another object that he desired.
The only other thing we know about Delilah is that she disappeared. After turning over Samson, she is out of the story, persona non-grata, Lady Not-appearing-in-this-story. It’s not surprising, but it is noteworthy, especially since a movie version of the story had Delilah fall in love with him and stick around when Samson brought the house down, but that’s next week.
Oh, and Samson has now broken his Covenant with God, which is a drop in the bucket compared to everything else he’s done.