LESSON 52 – Samson Part 1 – Judges 13-14

Discussion

  • Judges 13- Samson, though listed in the “heroes of the faith” in Hebrews (11:21), does not always choose God’s way of doing things.  He is picture of Israel at this time:  knowing God’s Law, but not always obeying it fully.
    • Who was oppressing the Israelites this time and for how long? (13:1 – Philistines – 40 years)
    • Why did the angel of the Lord appear to Manoah and his wife, Jephthah? (13:2-8. The angel came to tell them that the wife would have a son [she had been childless] and he would be a Nazirite.)
    • What is a Nazirite? (from Smith’s Bible Dictionary– a person who was set apart for service to God. There were three things he was not to do according to Numbers 6:1-21: touch anything dead, drink any intoxicating drink, and never cut his hair. Another Nazirite in the Bible is John the Baptist) Samson is born as the angel of the Lord predicted. In Judges 13:25 it says the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him
  • Judges 14
    • What does Samson ask his parents to do and why? (14:1-4. He asks them to arrange a wedding with a Philistine woman. The passage seems to indicate that this was a way for him to punish the Philistines [vs. 4 says his parents didn’t know that the Lord was with him and this would be a way to confront the Philistines.] However, his parents rightly complained that she was not an Israelite. The Law indicated that Israelites were to only marry within their own nation.) His parents reluctantly agree and marriage is arranged.
    • What happens on the way? (vs. 5-9 A lion attacks Samson and because of the Spirit of the Lord on him he is able to kill it with his bare hands. Some time later he comes back that way and sees the lion’s carcass and in it some bees had made a beehive. Samson takes the honey, eats and gives it to his parents as well.)
    • What doesn’t he tell his parents about the lion and the honey? (Samson is a Nazirite and as such is to refrain from touching death animals. He has broken one of his vows to God in doing so.) The wedding feast begins and Samson is given 30 companions for his wedding party (usually in our weddings 6 attendants is a big deal!)
    • What riddle does Samson ask the attendants? [Note: In the Orient giving riddles for people to solve would be like us taking out a board game to play. It was an enjoyable form of entertainment back then. ] (vs. 14. “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet” Samson made a bet with the 30 attendants that they couldn’t solve the riddle in 7 days. If they could, he would give them each 2 new outfit of clothes – 60 in all – or they would give him 60 outfits.  This was a costly bet as clothing was very expensive and hard to come by.)
    • How did the men manage to solve the puzzle? (vs. 15-17. They asked his wife to find out from him. The passage said she cried at him for the entire 7 days! She begged and nagged until he told her. Then she went and told the men.)
    • What was Samson’s response when he heard that they knew the answer to the riddle? (vs. 18-20. He knew that they had found out from his wife, and that he had been betrayed. Actually, because they cheated, the wager was forfeit. However, Samson used this to wreck vengeance on them. He killed 30 Philistines, stripped them of their belongings and clothing and gave them to the 30 men. He then left his wife and she was given to his best man as wife.)

Application

  • What can we learn about Samson’s character from how he responds to his parents and his new wife? (possible answers: he doesn’t listen to his parents when they give him good counsel and he does listen to his wife, when he knows he knows she is asking something wrong.)
  • How does God use him in spite of this? (He kills 30 Philistines – the people who were oppressing the Jews.)
  • Where does Samson get his power from? (The passage says that the Spirit of the Lord came upon him every time Samson evidences his extreme strength.)
  • What evidence is there that Samson thinks that his strength comes from himself? (He doesn’t listen to his parents, marrying an unbeliever, he violates his Nazirite vow by touching the dead lion, also, and it is likely he also broke his vow of not touching wine at the bridal feast since that was the purpose for them at that time.) Samson is trying to do God’s work his way rather than waiting on God.  God blesses his activities at this point by giving him the strength he needs, but this will not always be true.
  • Are there areas in your life that your parents are warning you about and you are not listening?
  • Have you gone back on promises or commitments you have made to the Lord? If his parents had said, “We told you so” after the disastrous marriage with the Philistine woman, do you think that Samson would have been repentant or defensive?
  • How do you take warnings and reproofs? It is a mark of a humble and mature person to graciously take admonition.  Read Proverbs 12:1, 15 and 10:1.  Talk over with your children about how you see their attitudes when they are admonished.  In this time of non-conflict, be sure to encourage them to do what is right rather than rail on them for past sins in this area.  Warn them of the consequences if they continue ignoring wise advice, but speak the truth in love. Pray together for humble and contrite spirits within your family relationships.

Digging Deeper

    1. The Lord did a wondrous thing while Manoah and his wife looked on (13:19-20). That’s the way the Lord is. However, we too often miss the wondrous things He does because we are not watching. In the last month, how have you seen God’s wonders? What answers to prayer have you witnessed? What unexpected things have happened to show you His hand in your life? Answer these questions by writing a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God that addresses these blessings.
    2. Do a study in the book of Proverbs finding all the verses you can about heeding advice and counsel. Write out at least 15 of these with the references. Then make a t-chart like the one below analyzing what you have learned:

 

Those who listen to godly counsel Those who reject godly counsel
Pr. 12:1 – loves knowledge Proverbs 12:1 – they are stupid