THE BOOK OF JUDGES
Well folks, the children of Israel start their last cycle (in the book of
Judges) of sin to deliverance by doing evil in the Lord's eyes once more.
This time the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for
The story we're studying today is really a cool one, and though many have
seen a movie or heard a song about the story of Samson, most haven't read
it out of their Bible, and have in turn missed a lot of interesting
One thing to notice right from the start is that the Lord has a plan for
us ... Even before we're born.
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My
substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and
curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the Earth. Thine eyes did
see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my
members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as
yet there was none of them.
What does this have to do with the story of Samson?
Well, an Angel of the Lord told Manoah and his wife about the conception
of Samson before it even happened, and that he would deliver Israel from
Manoah (who was of the tribe of Dan by the way) and his wife were
disappointed when Samson fell in love with a Philistine girl and wanted to
marry her. You can imagine the dismay this must have caused in their
hearts, seeing that the Angel of the Lord told them that Samson would
inevitably have great conflict with the very people of whom the girl was
kindred of. But this was all part of God's plan to save the children of
Israel, because unless there was a reason for war, Israel would have just
remained slaves to the Philistines.
One day a lion tried to attack Samson, and the Spirit of the Lord gave him
the strength to kill the lion with his own bare hands! Can you imagine
that? Not just something out of a child's book ... Killing a real live
lion with your bare hands! Some time after that, Samson went to see the
dead body of the lion, and there was a swarm of bees and honey in the
carcass of the lion.
Now, Samson was determined to marry this Philistine girl, so arrangements
were made for a marriage feast. In those days, when there was a wedding,
they had a party that lasted for seven entire days. During the party,
Samson spoke a riddle to thirty of the men that his wife's family had
invited. He made a deal with them, that if they figured out the riddle
before the party was over, he would give them each gifts, but if they
didn't, they would each have to give Samson gifts.
Tell us your riddle, they said to Samson, and he replied, Out of the eater
came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness.
Pretty confusing riddle, huh? Especially if you didn't know anything about
a dead lion with a bee hive inside! Well, after three days, none of them
could figure it out. The thirty men secretly told Samson's wife to find
out the answer to the riddle, and they were angry, thinking that they were
invited only to be tricked.
Samson's wife cried to him, saying, You must hate me. You don't love me,
because you've asked a riddle of the children of my people, and haven't
even told me the answer! Nonsense, said Samson, I haven't even told my
mother or father, but I'm supposed to tell you?
Samson's wife pouted to him every single day of the wedding celebration.
On the seventh day, the thirty men told Samson's wife that if she didn't
find out the answer for them, they'd burn her and and her family with
fire! Finally, Samson told her the answer to the riddle, after she
pestered him until he could stand it no longer, and she told the answer to
the children of her people.
The thirty men recited this answer to the riddle to Samson on the seventh
What is sweeter than honey?
And what is stronger than a lion?
Samson knew in an instant that they had gotten the answer from his wife,
and he said to them, If you hadn't asked my wife, you never would have
solved my riddle. Samson was very angry, and he went back home to his mom
and dad for a while. But while he was gone, his wife was given away to be
a wife to one of his friends.
When he returned to see his wife, her father wouldn't allow him to see
her. He said to Samson, I truly thought that you completely hated her, so
I gave her to your friend to be his wife. Isn't her younger sister
prettier than she? Take her to be your wife instead.
If you think Samson was mad before, that was nothing compared to now! He
was out to destroy them, but because of what happened to him, and how the
Philistines had treated him, he said, Even though I do them harm, they are
more guilty than I.
So Samson went and caught three hundred foxes and tied them all together,
tail to tail, and then he set their tails on fire! The foxes then ran
through the cornfields and vineyards of the Philistine's, burning them all
You would think that the other Hebrews would have been on Samson's side,
but they were sure that this would just cause the Philistines to be mean
to all the Hebrew slaves, because of what Samson did.
So what did the Hebrews do? Would you believe it, three thousand of them
got together and made a plan. They tied Samson up to take him to the
Philistines to be punished. Oh don't you worry, God was watching while all
this was happening, and when the Philistines saw the Hebrews bringing
Samson to them, they began shouting, but the Spirit of God was with Samson
and the ropes that they tied him with, became like burned grass, and
practically fell off of Samson. Then he picked up an old jawbone of a
mule and killed one thousand men with it!
All of this action made Samson very thirsty and tired, but there was no
water to be found, so he asked God for help, and water started to flow out
of that jawbone that he used for a weapon, and he drank until his strength
After this, Samson became a judge in Israel and he judged the people for
twenty years. The Philistines were always trying to destroy Samson, but
they were afraid of his strength.
Certainly you've heard of "Samson and Delilah" before. Well, Samson loved
Delilah. One day, the leaders of the Philistines told Delilah that if she
could find out how he gets his strength, they would pay her a lot of
money. Samson didn't know about this but you'd think that he would have
learned a lesson when he gave in and told his first wife the answer to the
Well, at first, Samson tricked Delilah, and told her that if the
Philistines tied him with seven fresh ropes, then he would lose his
strength. So the Philistines brought Delilah seven fresh ropes and she
tied Samson up with them, but Samson easily broke the ropes.
Delilah tried again and again to find out where Samson got his strength.
Finally she said, If you don't tell me, that means you don't love me. Does
that sound familiar to you? Well lo and behold, Samson fell for the same
trick again! Samson grew so tired of Delilah asking where his strength
came from, that he finally told her that God gave him his strength in his
hair and that if his hair was ever cut, he would become as weak as any
Delilah knew that Samson was telling the truth from his heart and she told
the Philistines where Samson got his incredible strength from. They
brought her money and then she held Samson, while he slept and the
Philistines cut his hair. What a dirty trick!
Most people think that Delilah cut Samson's hair, but in fact, Delilah
held Samson while the Philistines did the cutting. Check it out in your
Once his hair was cut, Delilah woke him saying, The Philistines are here,
Samson! Because his strength was gone, they were able to take him in
chains, poke out his eyes, and put him in prison.
But that's not the end of this story. Oh no, Samson's hair began to grow
back! The Philistines had a great big party because they were so happy
that they had taken Samson's strength and put him in prison. All the
important Philistines were there at the party. There were about three
thousand people in the building. During the party, they brought Samson in
to make fun of him. Samson asked if he could stand by the pillars to lean
on them. Samson prayed, Lord please remember me and give me strength just
one more time so that I can punish the Philistines for taking my eyes, and
let me die with the Philistines. God answered his prayer. Samson pushed on
the two middle pillars that held the building together, with all of his
might, and the roof fell in and killed Samson and all the Philistine
people that were there, and the people that he killed at his death, were
more than he killed during his whole life.
An interesting story, wouldn't you say? It doesn't matter how strong we
are, physically. Without strength of spirit, and will, and the Holy Spirit
of God in us, we are all just as weak as the next person.