Character Studies

Lesson 13

SAMSON

"For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son.  And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines." (Judges 13:5)

Text:  Judges 13-16

Name:  "Distinguished, strong"

Place:  Zorah of Dan, Philistia

Occupation:  Judged Israel for 20 years

References:  Num. 6:1-21; Heb. 11:32-33

SAMSON'S BIRTH
Judges 13
The tribe of Dan (v. 2)
Son of Manoah (v. 2)
Announced by the Angel of the Lord to Manoah's barren wife (v. 3)
He shall "begin to deliver Israel" from the Philistines (v. 5)
Power and presence of the Lord shown to Manoah and his wife (v. 15-23)

SAMSON'S VOW
Judges 13
Appointed to a Nazirite by God (13:5; Num. 6:1-21)
To begin before birth (13:5, 12-14)
To continue all of Samson's life (13:7)
Not properly regarded by Samson (16:6-20)

SAMSON'S STRENGTH
Judges 13
The Spirit of the Lord moved upon him (13:25)
His strength was used to afflict the Philistines (14:19; 15:14)
His strength was associated with his long hair (16:17)
His strength demonstrated the Lord was with him (16:20)

SAMSON'S CONFLICTS WITH THE PHILISTINES
Judges 14-16:3
Samson's wedding riddle (14)
Samson's wife given to another man (15:1-8)
The slaughter at Ramath-Lehi (15:9-19)
The gates of Gaza (16:1-3)
Samson judged Israel through twenty years of conflict (15:20)

SAMSON AND DELILAH
Judges 16
Delilah's agreement to help capture Samson (16:5)
Samson's pretence (16:6-15)
Samson's capture and affliction (16:16-22)
Samson's death (16:23-31)

A MAN OF CONTRASTS
He was separated as a Nazirite (Jgs. 13:5), yet tampered with evil associations (Jgs. 14:1-3)
He was occasionally Spirit-driven (Jgs. 13:25; 14:19; 15:14), yet yielded to carnal appetites (Jgs. 16:1-4)
He appeared childish in some of his plans (Jgs. 15:4), yet was courageous in battle (Jgs. 15:14-17)
He was mighty in physical strength (Jgs. 16:3), yet weak in resisting temptation (Jgs. 16:15-17)
He had a noble beginning but a sad end (Jgs. 16:30)

THE SELF-INDULGENCE OF SAMSON
Self-confidence: "I will go out" (Jgs. 16:20)
Self-ignorance: "He did not know" (Jgs. 16:20)
Self-weakness: "The Philistines took him" (Jgs. 16:21)
Self-darkness: "They put out his eyes" (Jgs. 16:21)
Self-degradation: "They brought him down to Gaza" (Jgs. 16:1-3, 21)
Self-bondage: "They bound him with bronze fetters" (Jgs. 16:21)
Self-drudgery: "He became a grinder in the prison" (Jgs. 16:21)
Self-humiliation: "Call for Samson, that he may perform for us" (Jgs. 16:25, 27)

LESSONS FROM SAMSON
The importance of separating ourselves from evil influences.
Potential without self-control is of no lasting benefit.
We must submit ourselves to the rule of God in our lives.
We can and must depend on the strength of God for victory over sin.
We must respect our God-given blessings and use them wisely.
Sin will always take you farther than you wanted to go.
Sin will always keep you longer than you wanted to stay.
Sin will always cost you more than you intended to pay.

QUESTIONS
1. What was the Nazirite vow? Why do you believe Samson was to observe this vow?

2. What did the Angel of the LORD say Samson would do? (Jgs. 13:5)

3. How did the LORD seek an occasion against the Philistines? (Jgs. 14)

4. What happened when the Spirit of the LORD came upon Samson? What does he often appear to be driven by? (Jgs. 13:25; 14:19; 15:14)

5. What do you think Samson should have told Delilah when she tried to discover the source of his strength? What was its source? Did Samson appreciate this fact? (Jgs. 16)

6. Who left Samson when his hair was cut? (Jgs. 16:20)

7. Did Samson finally acknowledge the LORD as the source of his strength?   How, and what did the LORD do? (16:25-30)