Judges Chapters 13 to 16
People often use heavy weights to build up their strength. Wouldn’t it be great if we could be one of the strongest people on earth without ever having to work out with weights? Well, our Bible story today is about a man who had great strength, but that strength was not because of anything he did, it was a gift from God! You may have heard of that man. His name was Samson.
Long ago, in the land of Israel, there was a man named Manoah. He and his wife had no children. One day, an angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah’s wife and said, “Even though you have been unable to have children, you will soon give birth to a son and his hair must never be cut for he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from the moment of his birth until the day of his death.” When her son was born, she named him Samson and the Lord blessed him as he grew up. He became one of the strongest men in the world.
He was once attacked by a lion. You might think this was the end of Samson, but he was filled with the power of God and killed the lion with his bare hands.
After his father-in-law gave his wife away to another man he was very angry. Samson caught three hundred foxes, this would not be easy to do as foxes are solitary animals and would not be easy to catch. Once he had caught them he tied their tails together and placed a flaming torch between them. He then released the foxes into the Philistine’s grain fields and destroyed their crops.
The Philistines wanted revenge against Samson for destroying their crops. They attacked the town of Lehi looking for Samson. An army of Israelite men went in search of Samson and when they found him they tied him up and took him to the Philistines. When they saw him coming, the Philistines ran toward Samson swinging their swords in the air.
Suddenly, the power of God came upon Samson and he broke the rope as if they were thread. There was a jawbone of a donkey lying in the dirt. Samson took the jawbone and killed a thousand Philistines!
Do you remember what the angel of the Lord told Samson’s mother? Right! “Your son’s hair must never be cut!” That was the secret of Samson’s strength.
Even though Samson was blessed with great strength, he also had one weakness. He had a weakness for women. — and it was not always the kind of women that would be pleasing to God. Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah. The five rulers of the Philistine nation got together and created a plan to go to Delilah and persuade her to find out the secret of Samson’s strength and tell them what it was. Each of them promised her a thousand pieces of silver if she would do it.
So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me what makes you so strong?” Samson told Delilah the secret of his strength, but not the REAL secret. Each night, Delilah tried to get Samson to tell her the reason for his strength, but each time Samson tricked her.
Delilah begged and asked Samson, “How can you tell me you love me when you won’t share your secrets with me? You’ve made fun of me three times now, and you still haven’t told me what makes you so strong!”
Finally, Samson gave in and told Delilah the true secret to his strength. Delilah told the secret to the Philistine rulers and they came and cut Samson’s hair while he was sleeping. They were then able to capture Samson because his power had left him.
The Philistine Kings grabbed him and did a terrible thing. They poked out his eyes, tied him with chains, and dragged him away. They put him to work turning a great stone wheel. Day after day, Samson turned the heavy wheel.
But then his hair began to grow back!
One day, the Philistine leaders were having a great victory celebration when they decided to bring Samson in so that they could have some fun laughing at him. They made Samson stand by the huge columns of the temple where they were celebrating. No one noticed that Samson’s hair had grown back. As they were laughing and making fun of Samson and his God, Samson was quietly praying, “Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”
Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. God gave him the strength to kill more enemies when he died than while he lived.
Thank you to Claire Hannington for this week’s Sunday School Lesson.