Introduction: Have you or your children made some bad decisions in
marriage? Have you wondered if the way you raised your children
contributed to problems in their marriages? Is “anger management” a
problem in your marriage? This week we look at early life of Samson
and his “marriage” to discover how God can work through our bad
decisions. Let’s dive right into our story!

  1. The Promise

    1. Read Judges 13:2-5. Imagine the excitement of Manoah’s
      wife! What does God ask her to do and why? (He tells her
      that she must raise her coming son as a Nazirite because
      he “will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of
      the Philistines.”)

      1. How proud would you be if an angel said this about
        your son?

      2. If the son is to be raised as a Nazirite, why does
        this involve Mom not drinking alcohol or eating
        anything unclean? She is not the one taking the vow!
        (This is a strong argument against abortion. God
        considers this son a Nazirite from the moment of
        conception. He tells the mother not to drink or eat
        anything inconsistent with the Nazirite vow so she
        will not be passing it along to her newly conceived

    2. Read Judges 13:6. Why didn’t the wife ask the angel for
      his credentials? (I’ll bet you understand. She was
      overwhelmed by the moment. She is wishing she had asked to
      bolster the credibility of her story.)

    3. Read Judges 13:7-8. What did these parents want to know?

      1. What instructions had the wife been given about how
        to bring up their son? ( Judges 13:5 – don’t cut his
        hair – as part of the Nazirite vow. For more
        information about taking the Nazirite vow read
        Numbers 6:1-21. The instructions were a little thin.)

    4. Read Judges 13:9-14. What grade would you give the angel’s

      1. Is there more here than meets the eye? Can we
        conclude from this apparently non-responsive answer
        that the righteousness of the mother is incredibly
        important in the raising of righteous children?
        (Consider in this regard the angel’s conversation
        with Mary: Luke 1:28-33.)

      2. How qualified do these parents feel to raise a
        special child?

        1. How qualified do you think they are? (They have
          the right attitude: they want to do it right!)

  2. The Son and His Wife

    1. Read Judges 13:24-14:2. How would you react if you were
      Samson’s parents? (He is supposed to be “set apart to
      God,” he is supposed to deliver “Israel from the hands of
      the Philistines.” He is not supposed to be taking the hand
      of a Philistine in marriage!)

      1. Is this how arranged marriages are supposed to work?
        (Marriages were supposed to be negotiated by the
        parents. But, I feel confident that it was the
        parents who generally made the “executive decision,”
        not the child.)

      2. What kind of picture are we getting of Samson? (A
        mixed picture. The Holy Spirit is working in him. At
        the same time, he improperly treats his parents and
        his mission in life.)

      3. What do you think about Samson’s judgment about
        women? (The text says he merely “saw” her – this
        seems totally based on her appearance.)

    2. Read Judges 14:3. Was this marriage acceptable to
      Samson’s parents? (Read Deuteronomy 7:1-3. One commentary
      suggested, based on this text, that it was not “unlawful”
      to marry a Philistine. On the other hand, Exodus 34:16
      says not to give your son a wife who will lead him to
      worship other gods. How could Samson deliver his people
      from a group that was about to become part of the

    3. Read Judges 14:4. How do you explain this “behind the
      scenes” comment? Is it really God’s will to violate His
      rules about marriage? Would God select a spouse just to
      create a fight? (This is an example of God working with
      our bad decisions to further his cause. Samson should
      have been leading the fight to throw off the yoke of the
      Philistines ( Judges 13:5). Instead, he is hanging around
      them and ogling their women. God uses Samson’s poor
      choices because to further His cause.)

    4. Read Judges 14:5-7. What does this confirm about Samson’s
      basis for picking this woman to be his wife? (He had not
      even spoken with her before.)

      1. Who enabled Samson to defeat the lion? (“The Spirit
        of the Lord.” This opens my eyes. For some reason, I
        generally think that angels give us physical
        protection and the Holy Spirit gives us understanding
        of God’s will. With this division of duties, when I
        pray to God for help with legal arguments, who should
        I ask for? This shows the Holy Spirit is not limited
        to being the “Comforter,” and a “revealer.” The
        third-person of the God-head is a “lion-killer” too!)

    5. Read Judges 14:8-9. This account tells us more than meets
      the eye. Is this as simple as eating a candy bar? (No!
      Remember, Samson is supposed to be a Nazirite and they
      ( Numbers 6:6) “must not go near a dead body.” This clearly
      shows that Samson is very lax obeying God.)

    6. Samson, as the groom, fulfills his feast obligations. The
      wedding week begins and Samson challenges his 30
      Philistine companions. Read Judges 14:12-14. Do you know
      the answer?

    7. Read Judges 14:15-17. The Philistines are obviously “nice
      people.” Do you blame Samson’s new wife for her actions?
      What would you have done if you were Samson’s wife?

      1. The marriage starts out terribly. What is the root
        cause of the problem in their marriage? (Marrying
        someone outside of God’s people.)

    8. Read Judges 14:18-19. What does Samson mean when he says,
      “If you had not plowed with my heifer?” (They used his
      wife unfairly to learn the answer to the riddle.)

      1. Since Samson realizes they have acted unfairly, why
        does he pay them? (Perhaps he is still concerned
        about the threat to his wife.)

      2. With whom is Samson angry? (Most likely his wife. If
        he were angry with the 30 guys, then he could have
        killed them, instead of killing the Philistines from

    9. Read Judges 14:20. Samson’s parents were not wild about
      this marriage. What attitude do the girl’s parents seem to
      have about it? (The father gives her in marriage to one of
      the 30 Philistines to be his wife!)

      1. Surely the father realizes that Samson has been
        treated unfairly by his daughter and the 30
        Philistines. Why would he make the problem permanent
        by marrying his daughter to someone else?

    10. Read Judges 15:1-2. Why do you think the “father-in-law”
      offers another daughter to Samson?

    11. Read Judges 15:3-5. Think about what has happened. Is it
      “fair” for Samson to attack the crops of the Philistines?
      Who is really the source of his grievance? (His “father-in-law.”)

      1. Why would he attack the crops in this fashion? (I
        think he has a perverted sense of “fun.” PETA would
        not be happy. Of course, neither were the
        Philistines as we will see.)

    12. Read Judges 15:6. Samson might not have been able to
      pinpoint the source of his problem, but the Philistines
      could. What does this teach us about the character of the
      Philistines and why God had decided to execute judgment on

  3. Lost Opportunities

    1. Judges 15 records that Samson retaliated, the Philistines
      responded, and Samson ended up killing 1,000 Philistines.
      Israel made Samson its leader, but he continued to be
      attracted to the wrong kind of women. In the end,
      Samson’s weakness for women, his failure to follow God’s
      law, causes him to be captured by the Philistines. Let’s
      pick up the story in Judges 16:21. How has life ended up
      for Samson?

      1. Why would they blind him? (No doubt to make him less
        dangerous. Consider that the “lust of the eyes” has
        led him to where he is now. He loses his eyes.)

    1. Read Judges 16:23-30. Samson ends up being a “suicide
      warrior.” He is more successful in death than in life.
      What a lost opportunity! What would you say was the
      central weakness in Samson’s life which brought him to
      this low point?

    2. Friend, Samson stands as an object lesson for being
      faithful to God’s commands when it comes to sexual
      desires. Will you determine to follow God and not end up
      like Samson?

  1. Next week: Boaz and Ruth: Firm Foundations.