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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 6: Samson and His Women: The Folly of Passion *
Introduction: Have you or your children made some bad decisions in
marriage? Have you wondered if the way you raised your children
contributed to problems in their marriages? Is "anger management" a
problem in your marriage? This week we look at early life of Samson
and his "marriage" to discover how God can work through our bad
decisions. Let's dive right into our story!
- The Promise
- Read Judges 13:2-5. Imagine the excitement of Manoah's
wife! What does God ask her to do and why? (He tells her
that she must raise her coming son as a Nazirite because
he "will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of
- How proud would you be if an angel said this about
- If the son is to be raised as a Nazirite, why does
this involve Mom not drinking alcohol or eating
anything unclean? She is not the one taking the vow!
(This is a strong argument against abortion. God
considers this son a Nazirite from the moment of
conception. He tells the mother not to drink or eat
anything inconsistent with the Nazirite vow so she
will not be passing it along to her newly conceived
- Read Judges 13:6. Why didn't the wife ask the angel for
his credentials? (I'll bet you understand. She was
overwhelmed by the moment. She is wishing she had asked to
bolster the credibility of her story.)
- Read Judges 13:7-8. What did these parents want to know?
- What instructions had the wife been given about how
to bring up their son? ( Judges 13:5 - don't cut his
hair - as part of the Nazirite vow. For more
information about taking the Nazirite vow read
Numbers 6:1-21. The instructions were a little thin.)
- Read Judges 13:9-14. What grade would you give the angel's
- Is there more here than meets the eye? Can we
conclude from this apparently non-responsive answer
that the righteousness of the mother is incredibly
important in the raising of righteous children?
(Consider in this regard the angel's conversation
with Mary: Luke 1:28-33.)
- How qualified do these parents feel to raise a
- How qualified do you think they are? (They have
the right attitude: they want to do it right!)
- The Son and His Wife
- Read Judges 13:24-14:2. How would you react if you were
Samson's parents? (He is supposed to be "set apart to
God," he is supposed to deliver "Israel from the hands of
the Philistines." He is not supposed to be taking the hand
of a Philistine in marriage!)
- Is this how arranged marriages are supposed to work?
(Marriages were supposed to be negotiated by the
parents. But, I feel confident that it was the
parents who generally made the "executive decision,"
not the child.)
- What kind of picture are we getting of Samson? (A
mixed picture. The Holy Spirit is working in him. At
the same time, he improperly treats his parents and
his mission in life.)
- What do you think about Samson's judgment about
women? (The text says he merely "saw" her - this
seems totally based on her appearance.)
- Read Judges 14:3. Was this marriage acceptable to
Samson's parents? (Read Deuteronomy 7:1-3. One commentary
suggested, based on this text, that it was not "unlawful"
to marry a Philistine. On the other hand, Exodus 34:16
says not to give your son a wife who will lead him to
worship other gods. How could Samson deliver his people
from a group that was about to become part of the
- Read Judges 14:4. How do you explain this "behind the
scenes" comment? Is it really God's will to violate His
rules about marriage? Would God select a spouse just to
create a fight? (This is an example of God working with
our bad decisions to further his cause. Samson should
have been leading the fight to throw off the yoke of the
Philistines ( Judges 13:5). Instead, he is hanging around
them and ogling their women. God uses Samson's poor
choices because to further His cause.)
- Read Judges 14:5-7. What does this confirm about Samson's
basis for picking this woman to be his wife? (He had not
even spoken with her before.)
- Who enabled Samson to defeat the lion? ("The Spirit
of the Lord." This opens my eyes. For some reason, I
generally think that angels give us physical
protection and the Holy Spirit gives us understanding
of God's will. With this division of duties, when I
pray to God for help with legal arguments, who should
I ask for? This shows the Holy Spirit is not limited
to being the "Comforter," and a "revealer." The
third-person of the God-head is a "lion-killer" too!)
- Read Judges 14:8-9. This account tells us more than meets
the eye. Is this as simple as eating a candy bar? (No!
Remember, Samson is supposed to be a Nazirite and they
( Numbers 6:6) "must not go near a dead body." This clearly
shows that Samson is very lax obeying God.)
- Samson, as the groom, fulfills his feast obligations. The
wedding week begins and Samson challenges his 30
Philistine companions. Read Judges 14:12-14. Do you know
- Read Judges 14:15-17. The Philistines are obviously "nice
people." Do you blame Samson's new wife for her actions?
What would you have done if you were Samson's wife?
- The marriage starts out terribly. What is the root
cause of the problem in their marriage? (Marrying
someone outside of God's people.)
- Read Judges 14:18-19. What does Samson mean when he says,
"If you had not plowed with my heifer?" (They used his
wife unfairly to learn the answer to the riddle.)
- Since Samson realizes they have acted unfairly, why
does he pay them? (Perhaps he is still concerned
about the threat to his wife.)
- With whom is Samson angry? (Most likely his wife. If
he were angry with the 30 guys, then he could have
killed them, instead of killing the Philistines from
- Read Judges 14:20. Samson's parents were not wild about
this marriage. What attitude do the girl's parents seem to
have about it? (The father gives her in marriage to one of
the 30 Philistines to be his wife!)
- Surely the father realizes that Samson has been
treated unfairly by his daughter and the 30
Philistines. Why would he make the problem permanent
by marrying his daughter to someone else?
- Read Judges 15:1-2. Why do you think the "father-in-law"
offers another daughter to Samson?
- Read Judges 15:3-5. Think about what has happened. Is it
"fair" for Samson to attack the crops of the Philistines?
Who is really the source of his grievance? (His "father-in-law.")
- Why would he attack the crops in this fashion? (I
think he has a perverted sense of "fun." PETA would
not be happy. Of course, neither were the
Philistines as we will see.)
- Read Judges 15:6. Samson might not have been able to
pinpoint the source of his problem, but the Philistines
could. What does this teach us about the character of the
Philistines and why God had decided to execute judgment on
- Lost Opportunities
- Judges 15 records that Samson retaliated, the Philistines
responded, and Samson ended up killing 1,000 Philistines.
Israel made Samson its leader, but he continued to be
attracted to the wrong kind of women. In the end,
Samson's weakness for women, his failure to follow God's
law, causes him to be captured by the Philistines. Let's
pick up the story in Judges 16:21. How has life ended up
- Why would they blind him? (No doubt to make him less
dangerous. Consider that the "lust of the eyes" has
led him to where he is now. He loses his eyes.)
- Read Judges 16:23-30. Samson ends up being a "suicide
warrior." He is more successful in death than in life.
What a lost opportunity! What would you say was the
central weakness in Samson's life which brought him to
this low point?
- Friend, Samson stands as an object lesson for being
faithful to God's commands when it comes to sexual
desires. Will you determine to follow God and not end up
- Next week: Boaz and Ruth: Firm Foundations.
* Copr. 2007, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.