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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!

  1. The Promise

    1. 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 the Philistines.")

      1. How proud would you be if an angel said this about your son?

      2. 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 child.)

    2. 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.)

    3. Read Judges 13:7-8. What did these parents want to know?

      1. 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.)

    4. Read Judges 13:9-14. What grade would you give the angel's answer?

      1. 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.)

      2. How qualified do these parents feel to raise a special child?

        1. How qualified do you think they are? (They have the right attitude: they want to do it right!)

  2. The Son and His Wife

    1. 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!)

      1. 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.)

      2. 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.)

      3. What do you think about Samson's judgment about women? (The text says he merely "saw" her - this seems totally based on her appearance.)

    2. 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 "family?")

    3. 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.)

    4. 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.)

      1. 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!)

    5. 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.)

    6. 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 the answer?

    7. 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?

      1. The marriage starts out terribly. What is the root cause of the problem in their marriage? (Marrying someone outside of God's people.)

    8. 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.)

      1. Since Samson realizes they have acted unfairly, why does he pay them? (Perhaps he is still concerned about the threat to his wife.)

      2. 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 Ashkelon.)

    9. 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!)

      1. 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?

    10. Read Judges 15:1-2. Why do you think the "father-in-law" offers another daughter to Samson?

    11. 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.")

      1. 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.)

    12. 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 them?

  3. Lost Opportunities

    1. 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 for Samson?

      1. 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.)

    1. 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?

    2. 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 like Samson?

  1. 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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