Cogwheel –

Ideas for engaging in cultural apologetics

Fast forwarding into the past

Posted by samthambu on September 13, 2007

By Samuel Thambusamy

Read together Judges 16: 21 – 31

The Philistines grabbed Samson and poked out his eyes. They took him to the prison in Gaza and chained him up. Then they put him to work, turning a millstone to grind grain. But they didn’t cut his hair any more, so it started growing back. The Philistine rulers threw a big party and sacrificed a lot of animals to their god Dagon. The rulers said: Samson was our enemy, but our god Dagon helped us capture him! Everyone there was having a good time, and they shouted, “Bring out Samson–he’s still good for a few more laughs!” The rulers had Samson brought from the prison, and when the people saw him, this is how they praised their god: Samson ruined our crops and killed our people. He was our enemy, but our god helped us capture him. They made fun of Samson for a while, then they told him to stand near the columns that supported the roof. (SEE 16:24) A young man was leading Samson by the hand, and Samson said to him, “I need to lean against something. Take me over to the columns that hold up the roof.” The Philistine rulers were celebrating in a temple packed with people and with three thousand more on the flat roof. They had all been watching Samson and making fun of him. Samson prayed, “Please remember me, LORD God. The Philistines poked out my eyes, but make me strong one last time, so I can take revenge for at least one of my eyes!” Samson was standing between the two middle columns that held up the roof. He felt around and found one column with his right hand, and the other with his left hand. Then he shouted, “Let me die with the Philistines!” He pushed against the columns as hard as he could, and the temple collapsed with the Philistine rulers and everyone else still inside. Samson killed more Philistines when he died than he had killed during his entire life. His brothers and the rest of his family went to Gaza and took his body back home. They buried him in his father’s tomb, which was located between Zorah and Eshtaol. Samson was a leader of Israel for twenty years. (CEV)

Questions for discussion

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1) What is this passage about?

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2) Who are the characters mentioned in the passage? What do we know about them?

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3) Samson had messed up his life. He is captured, chained and taken to Gaza. His eyes were gouged out. Samson lost his celebrity status. How did he feel about this? Imaginatively narrate Samson’s feelings in Samson’s own words.

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4) We all carry a past. Every face tells the story. What has been your experience in dealing with your failures? How did it feel to go through the failure/disappointment? How did you wriggle yourselves out of the situation?

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5) How do you understand the authorial comment: “And Samson’s hair began to grow”. In what ways have you experienced God’s grace in the midst of failures?

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6) Why do you think Samson prayed such a prayer (16:28). Why do you think God heard this prayer? What does this tell about God?

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7) What is God telling us through the passage? What are you going to do in response to God’s Word?

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