Angela Hunt. Delilah: Treacherous Beauty. Bloomington, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 2016. See here to buy the book.
Delilah was the woman who betrayed the Israelite strongman Samson in Judges 16. Delilah: Treacherous Beauty is a novelization about this figure.
Delilah in this book is not exactly a villain. She is a human being, with her own needs, struggles, and problems. Yet, as in the Book of Judges, she does end up betraying Samson to the Philistines. Why did she do that in this book? You will have to read the book and find out! I expected the book to go in one direction on this, but it went another direction, and lessons were learned in the process.
The book has its strengths. It is well-written, and I could sympathize with the characters. Delilah was an outsider and had been victimized. She was settling down in a happy relationship with Samson, knowing in her heart that it would not last. Samson was trying to endure his destiny as a chosen vessel for God’s purposes. He was lonely and sought companionship.
The book took some interesting directions. Chronologically, it placed Samson around the time of the prophet Samuel. Delilah befriends Gibeonites, who were from the Canaanite people-group that Joshua preserved in Joshua 9. There are discussions about the exact requirements of Samson’s Nazirite status, and whether Samson is allowed to use his strength for someone’s private vengeance. Physically, Samson does not look like the giant muscle-man who is depicted in Bible movies and cartoons, and that leads people to wonder if there is some magical or supernatural source to his great strength.
In terms of critiques, the book could have followed the Bible better in one area: in Judges 16, the Philistine lords approach Delilah and offer her money to betray Samson; in Angela Hunt’s book, Delilah approaches the Philistine lords. In the book, Delilah at the end becomes a part of Israel. The book should have said, at least briefly, how Delilah mended her bridges with the Israelites after betraying Samson.
Samson has a spirit-guide, of sorts, in the book. That may sound New-Agey to some. Perhaps the guide was an angel, though, or the Holy Spirit, or Samson’s conscience. For much of the book, Samson does not see him as a spirit guide but actually thinks he’s a person.
This was an enjoyable read. I am open to reading other Angela Hunt books.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.