DELILAH (Heb. דְּלִילָה), a woman from the Valley of Sorek who was samson 's mistress and who betrayed him to his enemies (Judg. 16:4ff.). The Philistine city kings offered her a handsome bribe to entice Samson to reveal the secret of his great strength. After three unsuccessful attempts, she finally induced her lover to disclose that it was his adherence to the Nazirite abstention from cutting the hair (cf. Judg. 13:5) of his head that made him so exceptional. She thereupon induced Samson to sleep, had him shorn of his long hair, and handed him over to the Philistines, who blinded and incarcerated him. The biblical narrative does not make it clear whether Delilah was herself a Philistine. It does not suggest that she was married to Samson, or that she was treacherously motivated from the first. The meaning of the name Delilah is uncertain. Two of the more plausible explanations are (1) "temptress," deriving, as does the parallel Safaitic name Dllt, from the Arabic root dll, meaning "to entice"; (2) a shortened theophoric name, akin to the Akkadian name Dalîl (or Dilîl) Ishtar, meaning "praises (or "majesty") of Ishtar." (Nahum M. Sarna) -In the Aggadah The name Delilah is connected by the rabbis with dalal דלל ("to enfeeble") because "she enfeebled Samson's strength, she enfeebled his actions, and she enfeebled his determination" (Num. R. 9:24). To wrest his secret from him she disengaged herself from him at the moment of sexual consummation (Sot. 9b). She realized that Samson was finally telling the truth when he said: "I have been a Nazarene unto God" (Judg. 16:17), because she knew that he would not take the Lord's name in vain (Num. R. ibid.). For Delilah in the arts, see samson .

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Delilah — f Biblical: name (of uncertain origin) of Samson s mistress, who wheedled him into revealing the secret of his strength and then betrayed him to the Philistines (Judges 16: 4–20). Although the biblical Delilah was deceitful and treacherous, the… …   First names dictionary

  • Delilah — temptress, treacherous lover, 1590s, from the name of the woman who seduced and betrayed Samson in Judges, from Heb. Delilah, lit. delicate, languishing, amorous, from Semitic root d l l to hang down, to languish …   Etymology dictionary

  • Delilah — [di lī′lə] n. [Heb delīlāh, lit., delicate] 1. Bible the lover of Samson, who betrayed him to the Philistines: Judg. 16 2. a seductive, treacherous woman; temptress …   English World dictionary

  • Delilah — De*li lah, n. The mistress of Samson, who betrayed him ( Judges xvi.); hence, a harlot; a temptress. [1913 Webster] Other Delilahs on a smaller scale Burns met with during his Dumfries sojourn. J. C. Shairp. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Delilah — This article is about the Biblical figure. For other, see Delilah (disambiguation). Samson and Delilah by Guercino (Musée des Beaux Arts de Strasbourg) Delilah (דלילה – Dlila, Standard Hebrew meaning [One who] weakened or uprooted or impoverished …   Wikipedia

  • Delilah — noun a) The mistress of Samson who betrays him to the Philistines. And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee. b) A beautiful, cunning and treacherous… …   Wiktionary

  • Delilah — noun Etymology: Hebrew Dĕlīlāh Date: 1573 the mistress and betrayer of Samson in the book of Judges …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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