Samson and Delilah: The War of the MindSpirituality Saturday, October 6th, 2012
Everyone is familiar with the story of Samson, the strongest man who ever lived. The Bible states he single-handedly killed a thousand men with a jawbone. There’s no doubt about it—he was invincible as the spirit of the Lord was upon him! But I want you to understand that this man’s life doesn’t belong to a literal character in Jewish history. It belongs to you. You are to be Samson.
In order to understand what I mean, we’re going to have an esoteric look at this story. In fact, we’ll compare a literal version to an esoteric version and then you can decide the real meaning of the narrative. I believe this story will truly come alive if you internalize it to mean something real within yourself. And that should be the real power of the Biblical stories.
We must admit that certain aspects of this story seem a little far-fetched. Absurd even. Just like something that might come from a Marvel comic book, Samson’s superhuman strength came from his unshaven hair. Delilah, the infamous harlot, finally wrestles this information from Samson so she can betray him to the Philistines. I quote from the Book of Judges below:
“Which such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it. So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.” (Judges 16:17-18).
Who would have thought God would store someone’s physical strength in their hair? Interesting.
Of equal interest is how stupid the seemingly literal Samson was. Delilah had already betrayed him three times. Fortunately, Samson had lied about the source of his strength, so Delilah wasn’t able to deliver him into the hands of the Philistines. But the fourth time, Samson gives in and tells Delilah that cutting his hair will render him as weak as any other man. So of course she does it and the Philistines enslave him. What was Samson thinking? Or not thinking?
But that’s not all. The story becomes even more absurd when we understand that Samson, the chosen man of God for the mission of Judging Israel, is chasing after and sleeping with harlots. Delilah wasn’t the only harlot Samson had been with. Before Delilah, there was the prostitute of Gaza (Judges 16:1-2). Again, are we to really take this story literally? Are the harlots of this story literal harlots or do they represent something a little deeper? If you are still undecided, it’ll be obvious in a moment.
So how does the story of Samson esoterically explain you?
From the esoteric viewpoint, Samson really wasn’t thinking when he gave in to Delilah. The same thing happens to us when we give in to the Delilah’s of our life.
In ancient Greece, long hair was a status symbol for wealth, prosperity, and power. Can we find any correlation in the story of Samson? Sort of. But Samson’s power was never meant to be physical. It was spiritual power. The long hair worn by Samson represents a spiritual power that grows from the mind of a person operating from an elevated consciousness. In other words, Samson’s hair is the spiritual force (spirit of the Lord) growing from the higher mind.
Delilah represents our emotions. The act of cutting Samson’s hair is symbolic of our emotions cutting off the higher mind (spirit) ruling our lives. We all know that emotions play a strong role in our decision making process. But we were never meant to be ruled by emotions. We’re to be ruled by the spirit, or higher mind.
This is why Samson was not thinking in the literal story. He let his emotions take over. Think about how many times you have reacted to a situation in your life instead of making a conscious choice. I bet you did it recently.
I also want you to realize that the Philistines in this story represent thoughts that become our enemies. You’ve all heard the expression, “The battle is between the ears.” When we react from our emotions, our thoughts truly become the greatest enemy we could have. Thoughts and emotions seemingly have this synergetic relationship that can spiral out of control and send us into the whirlwinds of a stressful life.
What happened to Samson when Delilah and the Philistines (thoughts and emotions) got a hold of him? I quote the Book of Judges again below:
“Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they sent him to grinding grain in prison” (Judges 16:21).
Our thoughts and emotions can truly blind us in prison. Instead of reality being the creation of conscious choice, it becomes a prison. When we are ruled by either one of these aspects of the ego, we are in trouble. Only by tapping into to our higher mind and intuition can we truly be guided out of our enslaved positions, just as Samson was. Samson was shackled to a giant grinding stone. Blinded, all he could do was push the grinding stone around and around, everyday. This is what happens to us as we are ruled by our lower nature. Life becomes an ever-repeating pattern of failure. It’s as if we’re going around and around the same mountain until we learn to climb to the top to get a different perspective. And that different perspective is a spiritual one.
But just as there was hope for Sampson, there’s hope for us. While Samson was in the midst of his trial, his hair grew back. As the story goes, Samson asked the Lord for his strength back just one more time. Because his hair had grown long again, we are to understand that Samson was again operating from the higher mind. At the end of the story we have the greatest illustration of self-sacrifice (the complete killing off of the ego) than any other illustration in the entire story.
The Philistines are having a banquet and they bring Samson before them in chains to mock him. But Samson asks his guide to position him between the two pillars.
“When they stood him among the pillars, Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple…” (Judges 16:26).
The temple here represents our mind, and these two pillars represent the two aspects of us, the higher nature and the lower nature of the mind, the conscious and the subconscious. Samson pushed both of them down and kills himself, and the other Philistines. At last Samson found the balance between his two natures (the Christ within) that caused the salvation of Israel as all the evil Philistines (thoughts) were killed off! Consider the scripture below:
“Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and with one blow let me get revenge on the Philistines for gouging out my two eyes…Samson cried, “Let me die with the Philistines” (his ego).Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and the people. Thus he killed many more when he died than when he lived!” (Judges 16:28-30).
This last scripture is crucial. Did you know that when we crucify our egos we kill all our negative thoughts and emotions?
Did you also know that this story tells the same story as Jesus on the cross? Jesus saved many more people (everyone) at death than while he lived! And as I have said before, where was Jesus crucified? At Golgotha, which means, “the place of the skull?” Folks, that’s your mind, where the ego dwells!
How can this knowledge help you?
In today’s modern culture, we have it backwards. We can illustrate this point with a true comic book hero, the incredible hulk. His great source of strength came from his emotions. When he was provoked to anger, he changed into a green monster with incredible strength. And while he exhibited great strength, he seemed to lose his mind. He was completely dominated by his emotions which caused him to commit some pretty destructive acts. The story of Samson teaches us that when our thoughts and emotions are ruling us, we, too, become destructive. We are then ruled by external events instead of being in charge over them. This is the true meaning of the story of Samson.
We must learn to live by the Christ within us. This is the higher mind. The results will be a great shift in your life and perspective. Then you can become the creator of a life worthy of living.
Joshua Tilghman runs the blog, The Spirit of the Scripture , a site dedicated to helping your grow consciously by revealing the hidden meanings of the Bible. His site serves as a personal spiritual development tool that explores how the Bible is really a book about the holy temple of your body and mind.