Bible Stories for Young Adults


Samson - The Deception of Cohabitation

Samson was a man planned by God from before his conception.  His

mother-to-be was approached by the angel of the Lord who said,  "Though you

are barren and childless, you are going to conceive and have a son."

The angel told her that she was to take special dietary precautions during

her pregnancy because this son was to be set apart unto God as a Nazarite

who would neither eat or drink anything from the grapevine nor cut his hair.

The long hair would be an outward sign of an inward devotion to God.

Through this son of hers,  Israel would begin to experience deliverance from

the Philistines who had oppressed Israel for forty years.

The woman then told her husband Manoah about this supernatural encounter

with a "man of God" who looked like an angel.  Then Manoah prayed to the

Lord, "O Lord, I beg you, let the man of God come again to teach us how to

bring up the boy who is to be born."  Whether or not Manoah wanted his

wife's report to be confirmed or if he truly wanted to know spiritual

directives on child-rearing is something we can only guess about, but either

way, he was acting on his head-of-household responsibilities as a man.

God answered Manoah's prayer by having the angel of God to appear once again

to Manoah's wife.  Since Manoah wasn't with her, she ran to get him, and

brought him to the heavenly stranger.  It was confirmed to both Manoah and

his wife that they would  have a son and that he would be set apart unto


The boy was born and was named Samson.  As he grew the Lord blessed him.

How sad it must have been for Manoah and his wife when Samson went to

Timnah, a Phlistine city, and saw a young woman there that he wanted to

marry.  Samson's parents pleaded with him to consider marrying a woman from

Israel, a woman who worshipped the same God as they did.  They did not want

their son, supposedly a man set apart unto God, to be unequally yoked with

an unbeliever. 

However, Samson insisted, "Get her for me.  She pleases me well."  So his

parents gave in.  At the wedding feast, Samson proposed a riddle, and the

Philistines were going to lose a suit of clothes each to Samson if they

couldn't guess the riddle.  Samson's bride was threatened by the Philistine

men and she feared for her life if she did not cajole Samson into telling

her the answer to the riddle.

"You hate me!  You don't really love me.  You've given my people a riddle

and you haven't told me the answer,"  she whined and sobbed.  She cried the

whole seven days of the wedding feast, so Samson finally gave in and told

her the answer.  She then told her kinsmen and when they gave him the

answer, he knew his wife had been coerced into telling them.  At this a

Spirit of great strength came over Samson and as he seethed with anger he

went to a nearby Philistine city and struck down thirty men there and took

their belongings and gave them to the ones who knew the riddle.  Samson went

home to his father and, without his knowing it, his new wife was given to

his friend who had attended him at the wedding.

After several other great feats of strength recorded in the 15th chapter of

Judges, Samson visited a prostitute in Gaza, another Philistine town.  As he

was sleeping with her, he awoke in the middle of the night.  He must have

sensed the plot that the men of Gaza had made to kill him at dawn.  So

Samson arose, went to the locked city gate, and with his supernatural

strength, pulled the entire gate with the gateposts out of the ground,

lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill.

Samson, now has had two encounters that we know of with ungodly women.  He

married outside of the faith, then he visits a prostitute.  That visit would

have cost an ordinary man his life.  God has now preserved Samson twice

after having the wrong kind of woman.  Three strikes and you're out, Samson.

What happens next?  Be careful, Samson.  You're sowing to the flesh.  Don't

be deceived.  God will not be mocked.

Samson fell in love with Delilah and began living with her.  Delilah was

another Philistine and her affections for Samson were rather shallow,

because when the oppportunity arose for her to betray Samson to the

Philistines for a sizable sum of money, she made money her goal, not

Samson's safety. 

The deal that the rulers of the Philistines offered Delilah was eleven

hundred shekels of silver (a little over $7000 in today's money) from each

of the Philistine rulers if she could find out from Samson what made him so

strong.  They wanted to capture the man who they saw as their worst enemy.

Delilah went to work for that money right away.  She asked, "What is the

secret of your strength?  How could anyone tie you up and subdue you?"

Perhaps she asked in such a flattering way that Samson did not suspect evil

motives.  However, due to his obvious sinful state of being, he may not have

wanted to say anything about the one true God that he was supposed to be

serving, so he said, "Tie me up with seven fresh bowstrings and I will be as

weak as any other man."  So, perhaps playfully, she tied him up in seven

fresh bowstrings that the Philistines had brought her.

With the Philistines hidden nearby, Delilah cried to Samson, "The

Philistines are here!"  At that Samson jumped up and snapped off those

bowstrings as if they were burning in a flame.

Delilah then tried the guilty conscience trick on Samson.  She moaned that

he had made her feel like a fool.  She told him he had lied.  She then gave

him a chance to "repent" of his "abuse" of her by asking again how he might

be tied. 

Surely by this time Samson should have seen through her and known to leave

her house for good.  But no, his delight in Delilah's shallow "love" was

greater than his common sense.  He was "whipped" as they say these days.

Yet, Samson was still keeping  his spiritual legacy hidden from Delilah, so

he said, "If I am tied with new ropes, I will be as weak as other men."

Delilah then tied him with new ropes.  The same thing happened as before.

The Philistines were hidden nearby, Delilah announced their presence, and

Samson snapped out of the ropes.

By this time Delilah must have become quite angry.  No one likes to be

around an angry woman.  Perhaps Samson thought about saying something about

his hair being a symbol of his strength, but then he backed off a bit.  He

did say something about his hair this time.  "Weave the seven braids of my

hair into the loom and tighten it with a pin.  Then I will be as weak as

other men."  So as he slept, she took his seven braids an d wove them like

fabric into the loom.  Again, he escaped as soon as Delilah cried, "The

Philistines are upon you."

Sometimes we wonder why people keep doing the same thing over and over

hoping for different results, and this is what we may think of Samson.  Why

doesn't he leave this conniving woman?  What is he thinking?  But now he has

had three strikes with Delilah and he is out.  He has withstood her pleas

three times, just as he held off for seven days his ex-wife's plea to reveal

a secret years ago.  So now Delilah pushes Samson like never before.  Be

careful, Samson, you are beginning to reap what you have been sowing.

Delilah uses all the psychological pressure she can find, saying, "How can

you say, 'I love you,' when you don't trust me?  Three times you have fooled

me and  not told me the truth about your great strength.  She nagged him day

after day until  she nearly drove him crazy.  Sometimes the best of us gives

in when hounded continually by another person about some matter.  So Samson

gave in and told her everything.

When he mentioned God, Delilah knew she  had the truth.  It was God who gave

him his strength and his long hair was evidence in Israel's culture that he

was set apart and given great strength.  Perhaps by now the Philistines were

wearied with Delilah and were tired of this game.  But Delilah was adamant.

She was sure this was the truth this time, so the Philistines came with

money in their hands.  She had Samson go to sleep on her lap and had a

barber come in to shave off the seven braids of his hair.  His strength left

him, but he did not know it.

This time, when Delilah called, "The Philistines are here!"  Samson awoke

and thought he could shake himself free, but the Lord had left him.  The

Philistines captured him, gouged out his eyes, and took him to be a slave in

Gaza, the very place he'd visited a prostitute.  He was shackled, and put to

work grinding grain in the prison.

We know how Samson's life ended.  Evidently after some time to think, to

relive the folly of his life in his mind as he blindly went around in

circles grinding grain in the prison, he repented.  One day as the

Philistines were celebrating their god in their temple, they called for

Samson to be put on display so they could mock Samson and praise their god

Dagon for delivering Samson into their hands.  At this, Samson asked the

servant-guard to allow him to lean against the pillars, and at this point

Samson prayed, "O Sovereign Lord, remember me, O God, please strengthen me

just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for

my two eyes."  With all  his might he pushed to pillars and down came the

whole building, killing three thousand Philistines and Samson himself.


Samson's cohabitation with Delilah was not the first time Samson had made

mistakes with women.  His loss of spiritual eyesight preceded his loss of

physical eyesight by some twenty  years.  Samson did not bother to consult

with his family about marrying Delilah after he'd made a fool of himself in

marriage to a Philistine earlier.  He just moved in with Delilah.

Cohabitation is becoming the norm in America today, but it is contributing

to the breakdown of the family.  Cohabitation used to be called "shacking

up" or "living in sin" but now more than half of married couples in the USA

say they lived together before marriage.  Amongst twenty-somethings to

thirty-somethings, cohabitation is replacing dating.  Cohabitation is no

longer considered a "trial marriage" either.

Scott Stanley, psychologist at the University of Denver and author of The

Power of Commitment, says, "It's relationship inertia.  It's sliding into a

relationship, not deciding." Couples tended to spend more and more time with

each other until one person's things end up being in the others' place of


The number of heterosexual couples in the US living together without

marriage has increased ten-fold since 1970.  Nearly one-third of cohabiting

households include children.  This is producing quite a cultural

transformation and the attitude has been that having sex is "no big deal" and

requires no strings attached.

Some think that cohabitation is the same as marriage except without the

legal document known as a marriage license but this is not true.  Those who

cohabit tend to think of themselves indulgently, independently, and

individualistically.  Contemporary research that has crossed cultures and

times shows that cohabitation produces distinctly inferior outcomes than

does marriage.  Cohabiting couples have less incentive to stick together

through trials and illnesses and are less willing to work through the

pressures of life together.  Each person's individuality is stronger than

their relationship together.

Cohabiting partners are less likely to be faithful to one another than

married partners.  The national sex survey showed that cohabiting men are

four times more likely to cheat than are husbands, while cohabiting women

are eight times more likely to cheat than wives.  Living together has been

shown to be more stressful than marriage and just over 50% of cohabiting

couples ever get married to each other.

Half a century ago, it was illegal in every state of the US for adult lovers

to live together without marriage.  Today only five states, of which

Mississippi is one, still criminalize cohabitors, but the law is rarely

enforced.  Cohabitation is destroying family strength in our country.

Cohabitation is indicative of a weakness in character that cannot make a

firm commitment.  It is "free sex" which is largely at the expense of the

woman and this is why some feminists oppose it, though feminism contributed

to its explosion. 

Is cohabitation worse than "secret" fornication?  At least cohabiting

couples are not being hypocritical about their sin!  Not so.  Usually, the

cohabiting couple does not even recognize fornication as sin, and they have

no conscience or sense of shame about it.  If they do recognize it as sin,

they are are rebelliously glorying in their shame, and their end is

destruction.  (Philippians 3:19)  Too, the open acceptance of cohabitation

just because "everybody's doing it," has caused even more fornication and

the further destruction of God's holy institution of life-long committed


But is cohabitation not the same as "common law" marriage?  It is not.

Though common law marriage is recognized in 14 states and D.C., one is not

considered married by common law unless the pair has verbally spoken of

themselves as married to one another and if they have held themselves out to

the public as married, in addition to having cohabited.  Some couples who

cohabit have intentions to marry someday; others do not.

From the story of Samson we see that Delilah put her own interests ahead of

Samson's.  She loved money more than she loved Samson.  She was not really

committed to Samson and was unfaithful to Samson in her own way.  Samson had

his chance to leave the situation.  He chose to disobey God by cohabiting

with Delilah to his own peril.  He did reap what he had sown.  He had sown

to the flesh and he reaped destruction.

Discussion questions.

1.  What  made Samson's conception and birth so special?

2.  Why do you think Manoah wanted to see the angel that  his wife spoke of?

3.  What were some restrictions on Samson since he was a Nazarite?  What are

some special vows that some religious people take today?

4.  What was wrong  with Samson's wanting a Philistine wife?

5.  What was the "wrong turn" Samson made in Gaza with respect to a woman


6.  Why do you think Samson settled for another Philistine woman in the

person of Delilah?

7.  Why did Delilah want to find out from Samson the secret of his strength?

8.  Why do you suppose Samson was hesitant to tell Delilah the real reason

for his strength?

9.  Why did Samson finally "cave in" to Delilah and tell her the real reason

for his strength?

10.  What happened to Samson after his hair was shaved off?

11.  Do you think Samson truly repented of his sins?

12.  Biblical marriage can be described by the acrostic "COMPANY".  Tell in

what ways cohabitation is different.

  C - Covenant promises made before at least 2 witnesses

  O - One-flesh relationship  (sexual activity within the marriage only)

  M - Multiply (hopes to have children to provide for, protect, and train)

  P - Permanance "till death do us part."

  A - Approved by authorities (the state, church, and/or family)

  N - Name of husband given to wife, indicating his leadership

  Y - Yieldedness - each acts for the others' good, not individualistic,

           but acting as a unit.

  In light of this, why is it entirely appropriate and in line with the Biblical concept of marriage to say “Mr. and Mrs. John Doe” when addressing a couple?


13.  How is cohabitation, as well as any type of fornication, a mockery of God and His institution of holy matrimony? 



When children think of Samson, they think of the amazing physical strength that he had.  They also know that he lost this strength when he told the secret of his strength to Delilah.  Few realize that Samson also had a terrible weakness -- one that led to his losing his physical strength.  He lacked wisdom when it came to women.  He did not marry Delilah, but he lived with her.  When it became advantageous for her to deceive Samson, Delilah did so.  
What does God feel when his people do as Samson did?  Is cohabitation without marriage a good thing?  Read this lesson and find out.
The Samson story is in Judges 13-16.

The angel confirms the words to Manoah and his wife that he had spoken before.  This couple would have a special son named Samson.

Much to his parent’s displeasure, Samson wanted to marry a Philistine woman, not a woman who worshipped the Lord God of Israel.

After sleeping with a prostitute in Gaza, Samson arose and escaped Gaza by tearing down its city gates and carrying them to a hilltop.

Samson’s foolish lust for the treacherous Delilah, and his cohabitation with her,  led to his final downfall. 

The spiritually blind Samson now became physically blind and chained as a slave when the Philistines gouged out his eyes and made him push a grindstone in their mill day after day. 

Samson ended his own life and three thousand others’ lives when he pulled down the two supporting pillars in the temple of the Philistines.

For a fun link to a pop song about Samson, go to


God created a wife for the man so he would not be alone but have company. Gen. 2:18-23

C - Matthew 18:16

     2 Corinthians 13:1

O - Genesis 2:24-25

     Matthew 19:5-6

M - Genesis 1:28

      Psalm 127:3

P -  I Corinthians 7:39

      Matthew 19:9

A - Matthew 14:4

     I Corinthians 5

N - Isaiah 4:1 & 62:2

      Revelation 3:12

Y -  I Peter 5:5

      Ephesians 5:21-33

Cohabitation is still illegal in five states:  Michigan, Mississippi, Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina.  Though anti-gay marriage crusaders say that gay marriage will destroy traditional marriage, the fact is that traditional marriage started eroding due to the proliferation of fornication, cohabitation, and easy divorce.