The story of Samson begins because the Israelites were once again getting into trouble with God. The Israelites just couldn't seem to stay out of trouble for very long. Even after God saved them from the Egyptians, helped them through the Red Sea, and miraculously sent manna from the sky to feed them, they still complained. Even when Moses went to get the Ten Commandments these people started worshipping another god.
So when they started misbehaving again God decided something had to be done. So to punish the Israelites he put the Philistines in charge of them for forty years.
This is where Samson came in. He would help free the Israelites from the Philistines. Except Samson's mom actually couldn't have any children, but an angel of the Lord came to her and said,
"You can't have any children now, but God is going to give you a son. Make sure you don't drink any wine or eat any animal considered to be unclean. You will have a special son. He should never cut his hair, eat grapes or raisins, drink wine or touch a dead body, and most importantly his purpose will be to save the Israelites from the Philistines."
This special boy was Samson. As he grew up he realized that he had a special gift, he was incredibly strong. As Samson got older he was able to kill a lion with his bare hands and defend himself against 1000 Philistines.
I guess you could say Samson didn't like the Philistines and the Philistines didn't like Samson. The Philistines were constantly trying to figure what the secret was behind Samson's strength. If they could figure that out then they would get rid of him. After all Samson had killed many Philistines.
As Samson became a young man he started to like girls. There was one girl he especially liked, her name was Delilah. The rulers of Philistine noticed that Samson was coming to see Delilah a lot more lately. So they decided to go to Delilah and make a deal with her.
Delilah was just on her way home from a walk, thinking about the next time she would see Samson, when some of the rulers of Philistine approached her.
One of the men asked her, "Uh, Delilah we were wondering if you could find out what makes Samson so strong. We are so curious, if you find out we would like to give you 5,500 pieces of silver." This was about $5000 dollars, which was tons of money in those days. Imagine getting $100 dollars from your parents to go buy candy. The amount of money Delilah got seemed as big as that!
Delilah was just about to say no, when all of a sudden she starting thinking about all the fabulous things she could buy with all that money. She really hadn't taken that much time to think about it when she said, "I'll do it!"
So Delilah went home and started to think about how she could get the secret out of Samson. She thought maybe she could make his favorite dinner for him and just ask him. After all he did love her, maybe this would be easier than she thought.
So Delilah got busy making a nice meal and waited for Samson to arrive. As they sat down to eat, Delilah asked how Samson's day was and after a few minutes she just decided to ask, "Samson, could you please tell me the secret of your great strength? I guess I'm just curious and want to know how your enemies can tie you up and how you can get out so easily."
Samson answered her, "If anyone ties me up with seven brand new bowstrings (from a bow and arrow) that have not been dried, I'll become as weak as any other man."
So later that night after supper Delilah made an excuse to go for a walk and met up with the rulers of Philistine and told them what Samson had said. They immediately went out and found seven bowstrings to give to Delilah and told her, "We want you to tie Samson up when he is asleep. Let us into your house when the coast is clear and when you wake him up we want to be there to capture him."
So Delilah did what the men asked her to do. It was a little tricky because it took Samson a while to fall asleep, but once he was snoring she started to tie him up. When she was done the men came in and hid all around, and when they were ready Delilah shouted, "Samson, the Philistines are here!" But without any difficulty at all Samson snapped the strings like there was never anything around his hands.
Well, Delilah felt quite silly and was a little hurt that Samson wouldn't tell her the secret of his strength. (It's funny she was hurt since Delilah was trying to trap Samson). She started to think that the Philistines wouldn't think that she could find out the secret and then she wouldn't get any money.
So Delilah put on her sad face and looked up at Samson and said, "You made a fool out of me Samson, you lied to me. Seriously now, tell me how you can be tied."
Samson said to her, "If anyone ties me with new ropes that have never been used, I'll become as weak as any other man." So Delilah did what she had done before and tied him up with the new and improved ropes.
She shouted again, "Samson, the Philistines are here!" But without any difficulty at all Samson once again snapped out of the ropes like there was never anything around his hands.
Delilah was getting angry but she didn't want Samson to notice. She had to make Samson think she was sad that he lied to her. Delilah put on her saddest face (and even tried to cry a little) and said to him, "Oh, Samson how could you lie to me again (sniff, sniff)? Please tell me now how you can be tied."
Even though Delilah seemed sad Samson told her another lie and Delilah was once again made a fool of. Delilah finally said to Samson, "How can you tell me you love me, when you don't trust me with your thoughts and secrets?"
But Samson just decided to ignore her the best he could. The only problem was that Delilah wouldn't stop asking. She asked in the morning during breakfast, when they were out for a walk, at lunch, at supper, before bed, she asked all day long and Samson just couldn't take it anymore.
Finally Samson said, "Enough already! I will tell you everything, just leave me alone! My hair has never been cut. I had to take certain vows when I was born and have been given this gift by God. If my head was shaved I would become as weak as any other man."
Delilah could tell this was the truth, so she asked the Philistines to give her one more chance. They came as they had all the other times, but this time they brought Delilah's money along with them.
Samson fell asleep on Delilah's lap so she got someone else to shave off his hair. As they were shaving it off Samson's body began to get weaker. When it was completed Delilah called out, "Samson, the Philistines are coming!"
As he woke he wasn't aware that his gift from God had left him and the Philistines grabbed him. This time Samson could do nothing to fight them off.
The Philistines had captured Samson but his hair began to grow again. God still had plans for him. In the end Samson regained his strength before they could kill him. They tied him up to two large pillars that held a large temple up and he was able to break free, but when he did the temple fell on him and a large number of Philistines.
This was how God freed the Israelites from the Philistines.
Samson ended up breaking all of his vows. He didn't seem to take God's rules for him seriously. God still used Samson to defeat the Philistines but he could've done so much more if he had obeyed.
God made each of us for a reason too. He made each of you exactly how he wanted, and remember God doesn't make mistakes. You have the family you do because that's who God wanted you to be with. You live where you do because that's where God put you. Your life might not be perfect but he wants you to learn and grow with what you have.
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