For many years there wasn't a leader for the children of Israel and a
lot of them didn't obey God's commandments when nobody reminded them. Now
Philistine was a city in the Promised Land, with strong armies, but they
didn't believe in God. So, when the Hebrews continued to disobey the laws
of God, He made them slaves to the Philistines for forty years.
One day an angel told an old Israelite woman who didn't have any
children, that she would have a son who will be very strong and save
Israel from the Philistines. The child was born, and his name was Samson,
and he grew up, and the spirit of the Lord was with him. One day a lion
tried to attack Samson, and he killed the lion with his bare hands. Some
time later, he saw the dead body of the lion and it had a bee hive full of
honey in it!
Samson married a Philistine girl, and they had a big party for seven
days. Samson was talking to thirty Philistine people at the wedding and
said, I have a riddle for you. If you can figure it out before the party
is over, I will give each of you new clothes, and if you can't, you will
each give me new clothes.
The people said, Tell us your riddle. So, Samson said, Out of the eater
came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. After three
days, they couldn't figure out the riddle and they told Samson's wife that
if she didn't find out the answer to the riddle by the seventh day, that
they would burn her and her family and their house with fire! Samson's
wife pouted and said to him, If you don't tell me the answer to your
riddle, that means you don't love me.
Samson didn't even tell his Mom or his Dad, so he surely wouldn't tell
her. She cried for the rest of the seven days and finally Samson told her
the answer to the riddle. She told the Philistine people the answer, and
they told Samson that they figured out the answer to the riddle. Out of
the eater (the lion) came forth meat (honey), and out of the strong (the
lion) came forth sweetness (honey). What is sweeter than honey? And what
is stronger than a lion? Samson said to them, you would never know the
answer if you didn't scare my wife.
Samson was mad at all of them. He went back to his Mom and Dad and
after a while, he went back to see his wife, but her father thought that
Samson hated her for telling the riddle, so her dad gave her to someone
else to marry. Now Samson was very mad! He caught 300 foxes and tied them
together, tail to tail, then set their tails on fire! Then the foxes ran
through the Philistines cornfields and vineyards and olive trees and
caught them all on fire!
The Israelite people were upset because Samson was Hebrew and they
thought the Philistines would be mean to all the Hebrew slaves, because of
what Samson did. So, the Hebrews tied Samson up and were taking him to be
punished by the Philistines when Spirit of the Lord came to him and gave
him the strength to break the ropes. Then he took a jawbone of a donkey
and killed 1000 men with it! After that, Samson was very thirsty and tired
but there was no water around. He asked God for water and it started
flowing out the jawbone that Samson had just used, and he drank until he
got his strength back. God does some cool stuff, doesn't He?
Samson loved a woman named Delilah. The Philistines were always trying
to destroy Samson, but they were afraid of his strength. One day, the
leaders of the Philistines told Delilah that if she could find out how he
gets his strength, they would give her a lot of money. Samson tricked her
and told her that if he was tied 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. Samson fell for the same trick again. Samson was so tired of her
asking that he finally told her that God gave him his strength in his hair
and that if his hair was cut, he would become as weak as a normal man.
Delilah knew that he was telling the truth from his heart and she told the
Philistines. They brought her money and then she cut Samson's hair while
he was asleep. What a dirty trick! Once his hair was cut, Delilah woke him
saying, The Philistines are here, Samson! They took him in chains, poked
out his eyes, and put him in prison.
But that's not the end of this story. Samson's hair began to grow back!
The Philistines had a big party because they were so happy that they had
taken Samson's strength and they put him in prison. All the important
Philistines were there at the party. There were about 3000 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. He 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.