With this vivid woodcut, Morton Garchik illustrates Delilah’s treachery.
The book of Judges describes the period after Joshua’s leadership of the Israelites and before the advent of monarchy. Israel lacked long-term centralized leadership and cycled through periods of sin, foreign oppression, and repentance, followed by redemption delivered by leaders appointed by God. Samson was one of those redemptive leaders. Samson was also a brilliant military strategist and fierce warrior who led the Israelites to numerous victories in the war with the Philistines. Desperate, the Philistines bribed Samson’s lover, Delilah, to learn the source of his strength. She gets Samson to disclose to her that the Nazirite vow he made which gives him his great strength also requires that he never cut his hair. While Samson is sleeping, Delilah cuts his hair; in his weakened state she is able to turn him over to the Philistines. The Philistines blind and imprison Samson and celebrate their victory over him by bringing him to their temple to show him off to their god. Samson asks for permission to rest against one of the support pillars, where he prays to God, miraculously recovers his strength, and uses his strength to bring down the columns, collapsing the temple and killing himself and all of the Philistines who were there.