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Lesson Prep

Background Scripture (read 2-3 times during the week)

Judges 13-16

Story Summary

The Samson story is a very popular Bible story, but it is actually very complex and fraught with land mines when teaching it to children! The Egermeier's Bible Story Book does a very nice job of telling this story in a safe and age-relevant way. Below is a summary that you can use to guide your teaching of the story if you do not have the Egermeier's Bible.

The story of Samson is set within the period of the Judges when the Israelites were in their all-to-familiar pattern of disobedience, then oppression by an enemy, Israel crying out to God, God sending someone to deliver them, and then starting the cycle again. This time, the Israelites were being oppressed by the Philistines, and God sent Samson to deliver Israel.

An angel told Samson's mother and father that they would have a son who would deliver Israel from the Philistines. The angel gave his parents special instructions. Samson was to never drink wine and they were to never cut his hair. This would be a sign to others that Samson belonged to God. Samson grew and became very strong.

Samson's First Battle With the Philistines

Samson became very angry with the Philistines (you can read the backstory on that in Judges 14), and decided to take it out on them by burning their fields. He did this in a most creative way, by tying 300 foxes together two-by-two by the tail, and then tying a lit torch to their tails and setting the very angry foxes free in the grain fields of the Philistines. The Philistines didn't like that a bit, so they killed Samson's wife and her father in retaliation. Then they came after Samson and captured him. God gave Samson strength to escape from the Philistines and kill over 1,000 of them in battle with the jawbone of a donkey.

Samson and Delilah

Samson then fell in love with a woman named Delilah. The Philistines found out about this, and were desperate to get even with Samson. So, they convinced Delilah to try and figure out what made Samson so strong. She asked Samson, "What is the secret of your strength?" Samson tricked her 3 times with false answers: 1) if you tie me up with leather straps, I can be controlled 2) if you tie me up with new ropes that have never been used 3) if you braid my hair into cloth on a loom. None of those worked, of course, because Samson was lying to her.

But Delilah kept pestering him and giving him a guilt trip ("If you really loved me, you would tell me..."). Finally, Samson told her that the secret to his strength was that he had never used a razor on his hair. So, this time when the Philistines came to attack Samson, he was unable to fight them off. They gouged out his eyes, put him in bronze chains and carried him away.

The Philistines were so angry with Samson because of all the battles he had won against them, they had a big party to celebrate the capture of Samson. They paraded him in front of 3,000 Philistines who were partying. Samson asked the guard who was watching him to put him against the pillars of the temple. When he did, Samson asked God for strength one last time, and he pulled the pillars of the temple down on himself and everyone at the party. Samson had won one last final victory.

What You Will Need

Supplies
ropes, leather straps (for telling the story of Samson and Delilah)

Resource Sheets

Samson Coloring Sheet

This coloring sheet depicts Samson tearing down the Philistine temple.

Samson's Face

Use this coloring sheet for the "Samson's Hair" reinforcement activity below.

Samson's Face - Small

Use this for the "Samson Puppet" reinforcement activity

Lesson

1. Warm Up

get your kids talking and engaged

Ask the children, have you ever gotten angry at your brother or sister or friend and done something to them to get back at them or get even? 

Today, we are going to learn about a man in the Bible named Samson who had that same problem.

2. Teach the Story

teach a holistic story

Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.

For older children, read story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or tell the story yourself.

There are elements in this story that are very difficult to understand, even for adults. We read the narrative of the Samson story, but there isn't much in there to tell us whether God condoned all of Samson's actions. He seems to break a lot of the Law of Moses in this story, but then at times it says he was filled with the Spirit of God before he attacked the Philistines.

There seems to be two things that we can take from this story:

  1. God used Samson to punish the Philistines.
  2. Samson did not have control over his temper or his love life.

So, be sensitive to the age of your children as you are teaching the lesson. You can leave out certain details if you think it is too much for them (e.g. the Philistines gouging out Samson's eyes). But above all, we have to honor the fact that God decided to dedicate 4 chapters of his Bible to this story, so it is there for a reason.

3. Bible Mastery

give them basic Bible skills

Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: Judges 13:2-5, Judges 15:3-5, Judges 16:4-6, Judges 16:15-22

4. Comprehension Questions

make sure they understand the story

First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?

  • Who was Samson? (one of the judges of Israel)
  • What nation was oppressing the Israelites this time? (the Philistines)
  • What two things did the angel ask Samson's parents to not allow for Samson? (drink wine and cut his hair)
  • How did Samson burn down the Philistine grain fields? (tying foxes together by the tails and then tying torches to their tails)
  • What did the Philistines do in retaliation? (killed Samson's wife and her father)
  • What did Samson do in retaliation to that? (killed 1,000 Philistines with a donkey's jawbone)
  • Who did Samson fall in love with next? (Delilah)
  • What did the Philistines bribe her to do? (figure out what made Samson so strong)
  • What did she finally figure out was the source of his strength? (that his hair wasn't cut)
  • What did the Philistines do to Samson once they finally caught him? (poked his eyes out and chained him up)
  • How did Samson win his final battle? (he pulled down the pillars to the temple where the Philistines were partying)

5. Faith Questions

help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
  • Again, we have a story that is centered on God's judgment - this time of the Philistines. Samson was not a perfect person. He made a lot of mistakes. But God still used him as an instrument to accomplish his purposes.
  • Will you allow God to use you?

6. Memory Verse

hide God's Word in their heart
Nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37

Reinforcement Activities

Samson's Hair

Heads up! If you complete this activity ahead of time, you can cut Samson's hair as you teach the story.

Scripture “You will become pregnant. You will have a son. He must not use a razor on his head. He must not cut his hair. That is because the boy will be a Nazirite. He will be set apart to God from the day he is born. He will begin to save Israel from the power of the Philistines.” Judges 13:5

Supplies head picture (see Resource Sheets above), brown or black yarn, glue

  • Attach yarn to face to make hair.

Block Pillars

Scripture Then Samson reached toward the two pillars that were in the middle of the temple. They held the temple up. He put his right hand on one of them. He put his left hand on the other. He leaned hard against them. Samson said, “Let me die together with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might. The temple came down on the rulers. It fell on all of the people who were in it. So Samson killed many more Philistines when he died than he did while he lived. Judges 16:29-30

Supplies blocks or other material to build with (cardboard brick blocks would work well for this activity)

  • Build pillars with the blocks.
  • Act out the end of the story where Samson knocked down the pillars.

Samson Puppet

Scripture “You will become pregnant. You will have a son. He must not use a razor on his head. He must not cut his hair. That is because the boy will be a Nazirite. He will be set apart to God from the day he is born. He will begin to save Israel from the power of the Philistines.” Judges 13:5

Supplies Samson's Face - Small picture from Resource Sheets above, popsicle sticks, brown or black yarn, paper, glue

  • Glue face picture to popsicle stick.
  • Attach hair to head.
  • Draw arms with big muscles
  • Glue popsicle sticks to back of arms to make them stand out.
  • Glue arms to the bottom of the stick that has been glued to the Samson face.
Samson Puppet Example

How strong are you?

Scripture Then he prayed to the Lord. He said, “Lord and King, show me that you still have concern for me. God, please make me strong just one more time. Judges 16:28

Supplies different size weights

  • Have students take turns lifting different sizes of weights.
  • Samson was given great strength to accomplish God's plan to rescue the Israelites from the Philistines.

Samson Grass Head

Heads up! It would be a good idea to make a sample several weeks prior to the lesson, so some grass seed has time to grow.

Scripture So he told her everything. “I’ve never used a razor on my head,” he said. “I’ve never cut my hair. That’s because I’ve been a Nazirite since the day I was born. A Nazirite is set apart to God. If you shave my head, I won’t be strong anymore. I’ll become as weak as any other man.” Judges 16:17

Supplies small plastic cups, permanent markers, dirt, grass seed, water

  • If you have a sample, you can cut "Samson's" grass hair during the lesson.
  • Draw a face on the small plastic cup.
  • Add dirt and grass seed.
  • Water grass seed.
  • Encourage students to place their Samson head in sunlight.
  • They can cut Samson's hair as it grows.