This week’s Bible story is about Samson. Once again, the Israelites had turned away from worshiping God, so God gave them over to the Philistines. The beginning of Judges 13 states that not all Israelites worshiped false gods, though. Manoah and his wife worshiped the LORD.
The Angel of the LORD came to Manoah and his wife to tell them that the barren couple would have a son. The baby boy would be a Nazirite from birth. He could not eat raisins, grapes, or drink wine; he could not cut his hair. (See Num. 6:1-6.) God gave Samson incredible strength to deliver His people from the Philistines.
Special calling, check. Special strength, check. Samson appeared to have all the makings of an impressive leader. Samson had terrible taste in women, though, and he took his special calling for granted. Though Samson disobeyed God, God used Samson to accomplish His purpose of delivering the Israelites from the Philistines. Jesus came as the last Deliverer, saving through His life and His death those who
The Israelites disobeyed God, so God handed them over to their enemies, the Philistines, for 40 years. But not all of the Israelites disobeyed God. Some of them still worshiped Him. Two of those people were Manoah and his wife. One day the Angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah’s wife and told her she would have a son. Her son would belong to God. God had special instructions for the baby’s life: he should never cut his hair. God said, “Your son will be a Nazirite. He is going to save the Israelites from the Philistines.”
Manoah’s wife had a baby, and she named him Samson. As Samson grew, God blessed him. God gave Samson great strength.
When Samson grew up, he saw a Philistine woman he wanted to marry. He went to her town to talk to her. As he traveled with his father and mother, a young lion jumped out at him. Samson killed the lion with his bare hands. Samson did not tell his parents what he had done. After some time, Samson traveled again to marry the woman. Samson found the lion’s carcass. A swarm of bees had made honey in the carcass. Samson scooped some honey into his hands and gave some to his parents.
The Philistines sent 30 men to help Samson prepare the wedding feast. He told the men a riddle:
Out of the eater came something to eat,
and out of the strong came something sweet.
Samson was talking about the lion and the honey, but none of the men could solve the riddle. They asked Samson’s new wife to help them. Samson’s wife cried until Samson told her the answer to the riddle. Then Samson’s wife told the men the answer. Samson had been tricked! He was angry, and he left his wife.
Later on, Samson went back to get his wife. But her father had given her to another man. “I thought you hated her,” he said. Samson was so mad that he went out and caught 300 foxes. He tied their tails together with a torch and sent them out into the Philistines’ fields. The foxes burned up the fields. The Philistines went to find Samson to punish him. The men of Judah had tied him up with ropes, but Samson was so strong that he broke through the ropes. He took the jawbone of a donkey and killed 1,000 men with it.
Samson escaped to the capital city of Gaza. The Philistines found him there and planned to kill him. Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah. The Philistines talked to Delilah. “Get Samson to tell you why he is so strong,” they said. “We will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.”
Delilah asked Samson why he was so strong. She tested him with seven fresh bowstrings and with new ropes. She tried weaving the braids on his head, but nothing took away Samson’s strength.
Delilah begged Samson to tell her the truth, so Samson did. “If you cut my hair, I will not have my strength.” Delilah sent for the Philistine leaders. They waited until Samson was sleeping, then a man cut his hair. Delilah woke him up. “Samson! Wake up! The Philistines are here to kill you!” But Samson’s strength had left him. The Philistines seized him and made him blind. They took him away in shackles and made fun of him.
Samson’s hair began to grow back. One day, the Philistines made Samson stand between two pillars in the temple of Dagon, the Philistines’ god. Samson cried out to God, “Lord God, please remember me. Strengthen me once more.” So God strengthened Samson. Samson pushed on the pillars and collapsed the temple. Samson and all of the Philistines in it died.
Christ Connection: God raised up Samson as the last judge to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines. Samson killed more Philistines in his death than he did in his life. Jesus came as the last Deliverer, saving through His life and His death those who would trust in Him.