Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sunday School Lesson on Samson

Use this Sunday School lesson on Samson to teach children how to be strong in the Lord.

Lesson: (Note: Always allow students enough time to think about and answer the questions before clarifying the teaching.)

Last week, we talked about how God let the Philistines conquer the people of Israel as a punishment for the Israelites’ sin. The Israelites were worshipping fake gods and not listening to the real God. But then God did a miracle and let a man named Manoah and his wife, who couldn’t have kids, have a baby. God told them that their baby would be the one who would grow up and defeat the Philistines. The only thing was that Manoah and his wife had to raise this baby in a special way. They could never let him drink alcohol or eat bad foods or cut his hair because God wanted the baby to be a Nazirite, a special follower of God.

 (Summarize Judges 14-15, asking questions as you read.)

That baby’s name was Samson. When he grew up, Samson went to a Philistine town and saw a Philistine woman that he wanted to marry.

Do you think Samson should marry a Philistine woman? Why or why not?

Samson’s parents said, “Samson, you shouldn’t marry a Philistine. They don’t believe in God. You should marry an Israelite woman who does believe in God.”

But Samson said, “No, I want to marry the Philistine woman.”

One day, when Samson was going back to the Philistine town to visit the woman, a lion jumped out and tried to attack him. But Samson was so strong that he tore the lion apart and killed it. When he went back to the Philistine town to marry the woman, he saw the lion’s dead body lying by the road and saw that some bees had made a beehive in the lion’s body. Since Samson knew that bees make honey, he went up to the beehive in the lion’s body and scooped out some honey to eat as he walked to the Philistine town.

When Samson got to the Philistine town, he threw a big party to celebrate that he was getting married and thirty of the Philistine men came to the party. Then Samson said, “I have a riddle for you. If you can figure the riddle out in one week, I’ll give you each a new set of clothes. But if you can’t figure out the riddle in one week, then you each have to give me a new set of clothes.” The thirty Philistine men agreed to the challenge so Samson told them the riddle he had made up. “Out of the eater, something to eat. Out of the strong, something sweet.”

(Write the riddle on the board for students to study it.) What do you think the riddle means?

Day after day, none of the Philistine men could figure out the riddle. They were getting angry and frustrated because they didn’t want to all have to buy Samson a new set of clothes. So after a few days, the Philistine men said to the woman Samson wanted to marry, “You better tell us the answer to Samson’s riddle or we’ll kill you and your whole family.”

The woman was afraid that the men really would kill her so she went to Samson, crying, and said, “You don’t really love me, Samson! You won’t even tell me the answer to your riddle.”

“I haven’t told anyone the answer,” Samson said. But the woman kept bugging him for the whole rest of the week so Samson finally gave in and told her the answer on the last day.

Then the woman went and told the thirty men the answer to the riddle. They came and said, “Samson, we know the answer to your riddle. You said, ‘Out of the eater, something to eat. Out of the strong, something sweet.’ The eater is the lion and you got something to eat out of him. The lion is strong, but you got some sweet honey from him. That is the answer to your riddle.” (Make sure students understand the riddle now.)

Samson was angry that they had gotten the riddle and said, “You wouldn’t have known the right answer if my girlfriend hadn’t told you.” Then he went to another Philistine town, killed thirty Philistine men, and brought their clothes back to the thirty men who had answered his riddle. Then, Samson was so angry with the woman for telling the men the answer to his riddle, that he went back home to his parents’ house.

A few months later, Samson wasn’t angry anymore so he went back to the Philistine town to see his girlfriend. But when he got there, the woman’s father said, “She’s not your girlfriend anymore. You were so mad at her for giving away the answer to your riddle that I told her to marry someone else.”

Samson was so angry then that he went out and caught three hundred foxes. He took the foxes and tied their tails together in pairs. Then he tied a torch to every pair of fox tails, lit the torches on fire, and let the foxes loose, watching them run around on all the Philistine farms. Wherever the foxes ran, the torches on their tails started fires so that all the food the Philistine farmers were growing burnt up.

Do you think Samson should have burned up all the Philistines’ food? It wasn’t very nice for Samson to do that, but remember, the Philistines were the Israelites’ enemy and God had said that Samson would be the one to defeat the Philistines.

When the Philistines heard that Samson had burned their food down because he was mad at the Philistine woman he wanted to marry, they went and burned down the Philistine woman’s house and killed her and her whole family in the fire.

Samson was so angry that the Philistines had killed his girlfriend, that he attacked them and killed a bunch of them. Then he went to hide in a cave.

Meanwhile, the Philistines took their army and went to Samson’s hometown. “Give us Samson,” they said, “or we’ll kill everyone in town.”

Then three thousand Israelite men went to Samson’s cave, since they knew where he was hiding. “Samson,” they said, “we have to tie you up and give you to the Philistines or else they’re going to attack the town.”

Samson answered, “I’ll let you tie me up. Just promise that you won’t kill me yourselves.”

“We’ll just tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines,” they said.

The Israelites brought Samson to the Philistines, but then God made Samson so strong that he broke out of the ropes he was tied with. He hurried up and picked up the jawbone from a dead donkey that he saw and killed a thousand Philistines with it.

Samson was the ruler of Israel for twenty years after that, until he fell in love with another Philistine woman and got himself into even more trouble. But we’ll learn about that next week.

For now, I just want you to remember that Samson was so strong and he was able to defeat the Philistines like that because he was a special follower of God. He did what God told him to do and never drank alcohol or ate bad foods or cut his hair. And because Samson listened to God, God gave him the power to do all those amazing things.

God doesn’t care if we cut our hair or not, but if we listen to God’s rules and try to be one of His special followers, then God will give us the power to do some pretty amazing things too. Just listen to God and see what He can do!

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