High School Class

Series: Biblical Lives to Live By
Genesis-II Samuel

  • Noah
  • Abraham & Sarah
  • Rebekah
  • Jacob
  • Joseph
  • Moses
  • Joshua
  • Deborah & Jael
  • Gideon
  • Samson
  • Hannah
  • Samuel
  • Naomi & Ruth
  • David
  • Return to Lives Index
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    Series written and published to the Web by Dale Sullivan

    This lesson is based on the following passages:
    (If you are online, you can look them up at Bible Gateway.)


    • Judges 13:1-5; 8-10; and 17-25
    • Judges 14: 1-20
    • Judges 16:1-31

    Discuss the following questions:

    1. What were the conditions in Israel like at the beginning of this story?
    2. How is the story of Samson's birth like the story of Jesus' birth? What parallels do you see?
    3. What were some of the expectations and duties that Samson had because of his being a Nazarite? (See Numbers 6 for more details.)
    4. Why was Samson attracted to Philistine women? Human reasons? Divine reasons?
    5. What kind of personality characteristics did Samson have? Patient? Kind? Impatient? Angry? Wise? etc. Which stories about Samson show these characteristics?
    6. What were Samson's weaknesses?
    7. What were his strengths?
    8. How did God use Samson?
    9. What lessons can we learn from Samson's life?

    Life Summary of Samson: A Life Out of Control?

    Samson is one of those characters in the Bible who seems to be bigger than life: he kills a lion with his bare hands; he carries off the gates of a city; he catches foxes, ties their tails together, and puts torches in them to let them loose in the fields of his enemies; and he ends his life by pulling down the temple of Dagon on himself and on a full house of Philistines.

    Not only does he do things in the power of the Lord, things that we would have to call miracles, his whole life is a miracle. His birth was announced to his mother by an angel, he lived his life as a Nazarite (someone set aside for special service to God); he is described as someone God chose to use to set Israel free from their oppressors. Consider all the possible parallels between Samson and Jesus. Just as Joseph is a type of Christ, so too is Samson.

    However, there is a difference between Joseph and Samson. Joseph is portrayed as a person who is faultless. Even though no one except Jesus ever lived a sinless life, there are no sins recorded in the Bible about Joseph. Not so with Samson! Samson had a personality that was out of control. He wouldn't take advice from people who knew more about life; he had a hot temper that got him into trouble with the Philistines more than once; he was attracted to women because of their physical beauty rather than because of their righteousness; he ended up in unmarried and unholy relationships with Philistine women because of his desire; and finally he was so weak that he couldn't keep a secret from these women even when he knew he should keep his mouth shut.

    How could God ever use a person who was so influenced by the lusts of the flesh and emotional extremes? The Bible doesn't cover up any of these faults in Samson, and yet it tells us that God was behind many of the decisions that Samson made. God wanted Samson to infiltrate the Philistines, and He evidently used Samson's weaknesses for women to accomplish His ends.

    Some times we all make mistakes, and some times they are such big mistakes in our own eyes that we think we have disqualified ourselves for future service for God. Imagine, if you will, that Samson came to your church or to a mission board and asked to become part of the ministry staff. I can hear the objections now--"You married a non-Christian?" "You've been divorced?" "You killed several of your enemies in a fit of anger?" "You have used the services of prostitutes?" "You are presently living with a non-Christian woman without being married?" We all know that Samson would not get very far, and I think we're right to say that someone with his record shouldn't be given a position of leadership and service in the Church.

    But God used him in marvelous ways. In many ways, Samson's life seemed out of control, but God was still in control. In many ways, Samson was weak in the flesh, but God made him strong.