Hospital de Tavera, Toledo, Spain/Bridgeman Art Library

Double agent Delilah shaves the sleeping Samson’s head, thereby sapping him of his strength, in this 17th-century painting by a follower of Caravaggio. The Philistines who hired Delilah then quietly shackle Samson before blinding him and dragging him away to Gaza.

The Bible is full of spy stories. Then as now, the Holy Land was a place of warring peoples, powerful states and rebellious factions, and these political conflicts made intelligence-gathering a necessity. In the accompanying article, military historian Col. Rose Mary Sheldon shows that, although the technology has changed over the past three millennia, the type of intelligence needed by military leaders was the same in biblical times as today.