Bible Lesson Title: Samson
Scripture: Judges 13-16
Target Age Group: 3rd-5th grade
Main Point: God uses people for His glory and our good.
Optional: Print this coloring page version of the illustration above
Lesson Opening: Two Truths and a Lie
- Have each kid tell three things about them, two of them true and one false. Let the rest of the class try to guess which sentence is the lie.
- Say: In our story we’ll hear how Delilah tried to get Samson to tell her the truth about where his strength came from, but he kept telling her lies. We’ll hear more about it during our assembly time.
Tell the Story
Say: Before we jump into our story today I have a few riddles for you…
- What gets wetter as it dries? (A Towel)
- What must be broken before you can use it? (An egg)
- What has a face and two arms but no legs? (A clock)
Say: Riddles are lots of fun right? In our story today we’ll hear about a man who told a riddle that caused a big problem. That man’s name was Samson and he was one of the judges of Israel. His story comes from the book of Judges. As you listen to the story of Samson, think about how God used him for God’s glory and the good of the Israelites.
Say: In the years before Samson was born Israel had had many judges, or leaders. Israel would forget about God and start worshiping the idols of the surrounding nations. God would punish them by allowing their enemies to conquer Israel. Eventually God’s people would cry out to Him and He would send a judge (or leader) to help the people defeat their enemies. Finally, Israel would enjoy a time of peace until they began to forget God again and the cycle would start all over.
Say: Gideon led Israel before Samson was born, but after he died, Israel again forgot about God and began to worship idols. This time God allowed the Philistines to take over Israel for 40 years! But God had a plan to rescue His people from their enemies.
Ask: How does God accomplish His plans? (God uses people for His glory and our good.)
Say: One day the angel of the Lord appeared to a man named Manoah and his wife. The angel promised that they would have a son named Samson and he would rescue the Israelites from the Philistines. Samson was to be set apart for God so the angel told Manoah and his wife that they were never to cut his hair. God blessed Samson and made him really strong! God was going to use Samson to save His people!
Say: When Samson grew up he fell in love with a Philistine woman and told his parents he wanted to marry her. His parents traveled with him to meet her and on the way a lion jumped out and was about to attack them. But Samson used his great strength and killed the lion with his bare hands! Woah! Later, when they were returning on that same road for Samson’s wedding he saw the dead lion and noticed that some bees had made honey in it’s body. Samson took some of the honey and ate it.
Say: Samson and the Philistine woman were married and at their wedding feast he told a riddle to some of the Philistine men. Here is what he said, “Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet.”
Ask: Can anyone guess what the answer to Samson’s riddle was? (A lion)
Say: The Philistine men couldn’t figure out Samson’s riddle so they asked his wife to find out the answer. Samson told her and she told the men. When the men guessed the answer to the riddle and Samson found out he had been tricked by his own wife he became very angry. So angry in fact that he left his wife! A while later Samson returned for his wife but she had married someone else. This made Samson so furious that he burned the Philistines fields of crops!
Ask: How do you think the Philistines felt about Samson? (They were angry with him and wanted to kill him.)
Say: Samson escaped to another town and there he fell in love with a woman named Delilah. The Philistines went to Delilah in secret and offered her money if she would find out where Samson’s power came from and how he could be defeated. Delilah accepted the bribe and asked Samson what made him so strong. Three times she asked Samson and three times he gave her false answers. He first told her that if he was bound with 7 fresh cords his strength would leave him. Second he told her that if he was tied up with new ropes that had never been used he would become weak. Third he told her that if the braids of his head were woven together he would become weak. None of those answers were true!
Ask: Does anyone know what made Samson strong?
Say: Remember, God had set Samson apart and before he was born the angel had told his parents that his hair must never be cut. If Samson cut his hair he would lose his special strength!
Say: Delilah finally wore Samson down so he told her the truth. That night Delilah sent word to the Philistines, and while Samson was sleeping, she cut his hair! When the Philistines rushed in to capture Samson, he tried to fight them off but his strength was gone. The Philistines blinded Samson and threw him in prison. It sounds like everything is going all wrong with God’s rescue plan!
Ask: Do you think any of this surprised God? (No way!) God was always in control of Samson’s story, even when it seemed like Samson wasn’t. God would still use Samson for His glory and the good of Israel.
Say: While Samson was in prison his hair began to grow back. One day while the Philistines were worshipping their false god in the temple they brought Samson out and stood him between two pillars. Samson prayed to God saying, “O Sovereign Lord, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more.” Let’s read from God’s Word to hear what happens next.
Read Judges 16:29-30 “Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might and down came the temple of the rulers and all the people in it.”
Ask: How does God accomplish His plan? (God uses people for His glory and our good.)
Ask: Who did God use in this story? How did God use Samson to accomplish His plan?
Say: God used Samson to defeat the Philistines, the Israelite’s enemies. Samson might seem like an unlikely person for God to use. He was prideful, had a bad temper, and disobeyed God. But God still used him and ultimately Samson brought God glory. Samson gave his life so that he could defeat the Philistines and the Israelites could be freed. In some ways Samson’s story reminds us of Jesus. Jesus also died in order to save others.
Ask: Did Jesus die to save us from enemies like the Philistines? (No) What did Jesus save us from? (Our sin)
Say: Jesus gave his very life so that our sin could be forgiven and we could have eternal life with God. Samson’s story reminds us that only God is able to save us from our biggest enemy, sin. Samson was strong, but God is way stronger!
- Who came to Manoah and his wife to say they would have a baby? (the angel of the Lord)
- What kind of animal did Samson kill on his way to meet his wife? (Lion)
- What did Samson do when he realized his wife had married someone else? (Set the Philistines’ fields on fire.)
- Who wanted to kill Samson? (The Philistines)
- Who did Samson fall in love with? (Delilah)
- What was the secret to Samson’s strength? (His hair)
- Where the in temple was Samson placed after he was in prison? (Between two pillars)
- How did Samson bring down the temple? (His hair had grown back in prison. He pushed on the two pillars supporting the temple and it fell on all the people inside.)
Learning Activity: Bible Character Riddles
- Read the following riddles and have the kids try to figure out the Bible character. If they are stumped, have someone read the passage to find the answer.
- I built an ark to save my family and animals from the flood (Noah—Genesis 6:7-9)
- I wrote many letters that became part of the New Testament (Paul)
- God promised me that my family would be as numerous as the stars (Abraham—Genesis 15:5-6)
- My wife was Mary and we traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem when she was pregnant. (Joseph—Luke 2)
- I was the first woman to judge/lead Israel (Deborah—Judges 4:4)
- I denied Jesus 3 times. (Peter—Luke 22:54-62)
- I helped Moses as he led the people out of Egypt (Aaron—Exodus 4:14)
- I lived in the desert and ate locusts and honey (John the Baptist—Matthew 3)
- I persuaded Samson to tell me the secret of his strength (Delilah—Judges 16)
- I betrayed Jesus. (Judas—Matthew 26:47-50)
- I was the first king over Israel (Saul—1 Samuel 9:17)
- I climbed up a sycamore tree to see Jesus (Zacchaeus—Luke 19:1-10)
- I was chosen to marry a king and was able to save my people. (Esther)
- I was the first person to be killed for following Jesus (Stephen—Acts 6-7)
- I led an army of 300 men against the Midianites and defeated them! (Judges 7:7-8)
- I refused to let the Israelites go until my firstborn son was killed. (Pharaoh—Exodus11:1-5)
- I led the Israelites to march around the city of Jericho. (Joshua—Joshua 6:1-2)
- My brother John and I were 2 of Jesus’ disciples. (James—Matthew 4:21-22)
- I defeated a giant with a slingshot and a stone. (David—1 Samuel 17:48-50)