MARCH 16 Who was to be Israel's deliverer from the Philistines? Even before his birth, God had appointed Samson, a Nazarite, to accomplish this task. God endowed him with superhuman strength. Chapter 14 covers Samson's early exploits, and in this chapter he takes the first step to compromise his Nazarite vow. He went down to a Philistine city, where he fell into temptation. However, the Lord overruled Samson's mistake to show His power. The Spirit of God came upon him and he tore a lion to death with his bare hands. But while Samson did exploits and seemingly conquered Satan, he was falling prey to the wiles of Satan in becoming infatuated with the Timnite woman. Three Philistine women plagued Samson, stripped him of his spiritual power, and finally accomplished his ruin--the Timnite woman, the harlot of Gaza, and Delilah, who was the instrument of Samson's downfall. Delilah was cunning and subtle in her ways and finally, with deliberate flattery, persuaded Samson to tell her the secret of his strength. The secret, of course, was Samson's Nazarite separation to God. When his hair, the badge of his Nazarite separation, was shaved off, his strength departed. As a result, he was taken captive by the Philistines, lost his eyesight, was enslaved by Philistinism, became a scandal and a means of glorifying a pagan god instead of the Lord, and became the object of Philistine ridicule and a religious clown.