Scripture Reference: Judges 16:1-22
Suggested Emphasis: Good friends encourage us to be good but bad friends pressure us to do bad things.
Memory Verse: “Do not be misled, bad company corrupts good character.”
1 Corinthians 15:33
Although the Lord chose Samson, Samson did not always choose God! He fell in love with a Philistine woman, named Delilah, who did not believe in God. The Philistine rulers paid Delilah to find out the secret of Samson’s strength. Delilah begged Samson to tell her his secret and finally revealed that his strength was in his long hair. Delilah told the Philistine leaders and they cut Samson’s hair, made him blind, and put him in prison to do hard work.
Information about the time of the judges. It seems Samson did not learn from his mistakes! The story that follows seems almost incredible unless you have seen the way Satan uses the tool of lust to bring down those of even the strongest character.
Samson fell in love with another woman. Her name was Delilah. The Philistines were still trying to find a way to destroy Samson so they used Delilah. They offered her money to find out the secret of Samson’s strength. We don’t know if Delilah agreed because of fear (remember how Samson’s wife was killed? 15:6) or simply greed. Whatever the reason, Delilah tried her best to find out the secret of Samson’s strength.
First Samson told Delilah that his strength would be gone if his hands were tied with fresh thongs of leather. During the night Delilah tied Samson’s hands. The Philistines hid in the room so that they could be there to capture Samson. When Delilah woke him, he jumped up and snapped the thongs of leather.
Trying to make Samson feel guilty, she enticed him once again to tell him his secret. Once again, Samuel told her a false reason. Delilah did exactly as Samson had told her. She tied him with new ropes. Once again the Philistines hid in the room. Delilah woke Samson and he snapped the ropes.
Once again Delilah tried to entice Samson. He told her that his strength would be gone if his hair was woven into a loom. Delilah did this and when she woke him, he jumped up and pulled the loom apart.
Now Delilah used her best tricks. She used the “L” word. If Samson loved her then he would tell her. She continued to nag him. You would think Samson would remember what happened when his wife had nagged him into telling him the answer to his riddle (Judges 14:16-17).
Delilah was hard to resist. Finally Samson told her everything. He revealed that his long hair was a symbol of his dedication to God. If he would forget his dedication and allow his hair to be cut, God would no longer provide him with tremendous strength.
Delilah called all of the Philistine leaders back to her house. After Samson was asleep, Delilah told one of the men to shave off Samson’s 7 braids. Then she called out, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” His vow was broken; God no longer gave him special strength. Philistines captured Samson.
After all of taunts Samson had sent their way, the Philistines wanted to make sure that he was taken care of. They wanted him to be a symbol of Israelite humiliation. They gouged out his eyes and shackled him. He was put to work doing the menial task of grinding in a mill.
- What happened before this story?
- What happens after this story?
- List of all Bible stories and themes on this website.
Way to Introduce the Story:
Ask everyone in the room to name their best friend(s). Talk about what things we do with friends. Discuss how friends can help us be good or bad. Perhaps share an experience from your childhood when someone tried to get you to do something wrong or when you were the one leading friends astray. “Did you know that Samson did not learn how to make good friends? Samson kept choosing friends that got him into trouble. He even chose bad girlfriends. Let’s find out what happens to Samson in today’s story.”
After time had passed, Samson fell in love with another woman. Her name was Delilah.
The Philistines still hated Samson. They did not understand how he could be so strong. They wanted to know the secret of his strength so they could capture him. When the Philistines heard about Samson and Delilah, they decided to use Delilah to find out Samson’s secret. They went to Delilah and offered her lots of money. They told her that they would give her the money if she could trick Samson into telling the secret of his strength.
That night Delilah begged Samson to tell her about his strength, “Samson, please tell me how you can be captured.” Samson decided to trick Delilah. He told her that if someone tied him with leather strings, his strength would be gone and he could be captured.
During the night, while Samson was sleeping, the Philistines came and hid in the room. Delilah tied him with the leather strings just like he had said.
Delilah called out, “Wake up Samson, the Philistines are upon you!”
Samson immediately jumped up and snapped all of the leather strings off. Samson had tricked Delilah! Delilah did not like that. She knew that the Philistines would not like that either.
The next time Delilah asked Samson to tell her the secret of his strength, he told her that the secret was new ropes. If he was tied with new ropes that had never been used, then his strength would be gone. Anyone could capture him.
Once again Delilah waited until he was asleep and then tied him with new ropes. The Philistine men hid in the room. Delilah called out, “Wake up Samson, the Philistines are upon you!”
Samson immediately jumped up and snapped the ropes. Ropes were not the secret of his strength!
Delilah begged Samson to tell her the real way that he could be captured. Samson told her that if someone wove his hair into a loom then all of his strength would leave him. Delilah tried that too. She wove his hair into a cloth loom while he was sleeping. When she called out to him: “Samson, the Philistines are upon you” Samson jumped up and broke the loom into pieces.
Delilah was getting angry. Why wouldn’t Samson tell her his secret? “Samson, if you really loved me, you would tell me how you can be captured. Please tell me. Please, please, please!”
Finally Samson got tired of Delilah asking him. He really wanted Delilah to love him. If he didn’t tell her, maybe she would not love him any longer. Maybe she wouldn’t want to be around him. He decided to tell her about the Nazarite Vow. He told her that if he ever cut his hair then all of his strength would leave him. Anyone could capture him then.
Now Delilah knew that she had the real secret. She told the Philistine men to hide in the room one more time. After Samson was asleep, Delilah got one of the men to sneak over and shave off Samson’s hair. His hair was in seven braids and the Philistine shaved off all of them.
This time, when Delilah said: “Wake up Samson, the Philistines is upon you!” Samson jumped up but had no strength. He had broken his promise to God and all of his special strength left him.
The Philistines captured Samson and made him a slave in a mill where grain was ground up into flour. They also made him blind. Now all of the Philistines could come and watch Samson and make fun of him.
Every day Samson probably wished that he had not listened to Delilah. He knew that he should have done what the Lord said.
Ways to Tell the Story:
This story can be told using a variety of methods. Always remain true to the facts found in the Bible but help children connect to its meaning by using drama, visual aids, voice inflection, student interaction and/or emotion.
Click here for visual aids and story-telling methods.
- Who was Samson’s girlfriend? Delilah
- Why did Delilah try to trick Samson? The Philistines gave her money
- What were some of the things that Samson told Delilah that were not the way to capture him? Tie him with leather thongs and new ropes, weave his hair in a loom.
- Why did Samson finally tell Delilah that his strength was in his hair? Because she kept begging him.
- When the Philistines cut Samson’s hair, what did they do with him? Blinded him and put him in prison as a slave.
Learning Activities and Crafts:
- Make masks from paper plates and act out the story.
- Write situations on cards and let the children draw a card and act out the situation. These should be situations where peer pressure plays a part e.g. “all of my friends want to go see a movie that my parents don’t want me to see”, “my best friend asks me to help him/her steal some lollies from the shop” etc.
- Blow up a balloon but do not tie it. Explain that this balloon is like us. We might be able to say no the first time someone pressures us but when they pressure us over and over, we can’t take the pressure and give in. Example: One of your friends says a swear word (blow up the balloon a little more), Then another friend swears when they lose at sport (blow it up some more), then your friends begin to swear at the park (blow it more). When the balloon finally bursts explain that we can take the pressure for a while but if we keep hanging around friends that swear then we finally can’t stand the pressure and we swear.
- Make a shoebox diorama. Samson Box (ideas for all Samson lessons)- Hair, scissors, toy fox, old wine or beer bottle with a big red X on it, Barbie doll, sunglasses (blindness), white cane, paper “temple” crumpled up . . .
- Sing: If You Love Jesus
- Look up songs in the church song book that mention temptation.
- Check the Teaching Ideas page on this website for ideas that are adaptable to any lesson.
- Find other ideas on the Pinterest Board “Time of the Judges“
Other Online Resources:
- Colouring page and puzzle worksheets at http://calvarycurriculum.org/
- Colouring picture of Samson killing lion at http://www.bible-printables.com/
- Online slideshow or printable flip chart of Samson’s life at http://bibleforchildren.org/
- Craft: Delilah scissor and Samson hair snack at http://www.churchhousecollection.com/delilah-scissors-and-samson-hair.php
- Craft: (edible) Funny Face pudding dessert at http://www.kraftrecipes.com/
- Craft: (edible) English muffin funny face at //www.kraftrecipes.com/
- Worksheets: There are a number of Old Testament worksheets on the following link. Just scroll down to “Judges Worksheets-Samson”. The link is http://www.squidoo.com/
- Wordsearch puzzles at http://www.dltk-bible.com/
- Activity sheets at http://www.dltk-bible.com/
- Wordsearch at http://www.dltk-bible.com/
- A good selection of both online and printable puzzles, activities and story words covering the Judges: Gideon and Samson at http://gardenofpraise.com/