Scriptural Base: Judges 13-16 ; Hebrews 11:32
The Scriptures are clear that Samson had faith, that he was set apart by God to fulfil a mission. But the simple reading of his story makes us wonder what kind of a "man of God" Samson was. What might have been, is the question asked here. And, by application, what might God do in our lives if we refused to allow ourselves to be "distracted" by the world to which we are called to minister?
Various and sundry Philistines
Costumes and Scenery
The costumes can be modern dress or period, whichever is possible for your group. A simple kitchen table, chairs, a counter with simple cooking utensils, a papier-mâché rock two papier-mâché columns and a "god" will help create the scenes. Some pillows and a blanket will work for Delilah's bed.
Manoah and his wife are picking themselves up off the ground. In-between them is a rock which shows signs of having been used as an altar.
Manoah: (dusting himself off and looking around)
"I don't know about this. Any minute now, we are going to get struck by lightning, or the ground is going to open up and swallow us, or "
"Relax, Manny. If God had wanted to kill us, that goat on the rock over there wouldn't be the only thing turned to charcoal. Besides, the messenger told me that I was going to have a baby. I can't do that when I'm dead."
"Still, seeing God isn't something that happens every day. After an experience like this, I need a drink."
"Maybe YOU do, but you heard what the messenger said no more wine for me, or anything that's even remotely related. From now it's five to ten servings of fruit and vegetables every day, plenty of milk and lean chicken."
"I suppose you'll want dill pickles and ice cream too?"
"Manny, don't be silly. But, a peanut butter and grilled cheese sandwich calls out to me."
"You're kidding. You are going to run me right into the poor house."
"What you spend on my cravings during the next nine months you'll make up in all the money you save on haircuts. This boy the messenger promised us is to be set apart for God, a Nazarite; no haircuts, no drinking, no unhealthy food, no nonsense."
Manoah: (rubbing his chin)
"I wonder how much he is going to cost me in bail money. The messenger said that our son was also going to rescue us from the Philistines. Somehow, I don't think they are going to be exactly thrilled to hear that bit of news. I can see it all now while he's rescuing US from the Philistines, I'm rescuing HIM from those same Philistines."
"Don't worry, she says. Not to have kids is to not worry. To have a kid destined by God to be a pain in the neck to our worse and most powerful enemies, is to have plenty of reason to worry."
"He'll be a good boy. You'll see. Special to God from birth to death. What could go wrong?"
(Exit. Fade to black.)
A grown-up Samson is sitting at the kitchen table working on the mound of food his mother has just placed in front of him.
"Hey, mom, guess who I met this morning?"
"I can't imagine. And don't talk with your mouth so full please, Sammy. Anyone would think you hadn't eaten in a week from the speed at which you are shoveling all that food in."
"I can't help it. I met the girl of my dreams this morning and I'm burning calories just thinking about her."
"A girl? What girl? Who are her parents?"
"Just a girl from down there in Timnah. Her dad owns a vineyard."
(Manoah walks in.)
"Timnah? She's a Philistine girl? Are you crazy? You can't marry a Philistine girl. She's a pagan, a sworn enemy. What are you thinking?"
"I don't care what you say. I want you to go down and negotiate with her father and get her for me. No expense spared. She's the perfect one for me. I just know it. "
(Manoah and his wife exit shaking their heads. Fade to black as Samson works on his dinner.)
Samson is sitting at the same kitchen table, but with his head in his hands, looking very unhappy. Enter Manoah and his wife. The wife approaches Samson and puts her arms around him in a gesture of comfort.
"Don't be upset, Sammy. It will all work out for the best."
"Right. Any minute now, the law is going to be banging on our front door asking for you. All the money in the world isn't going to bail you out of this one. What were you thinking to kill thirty Philistines, steal their clothes and then give stolen goods away to your wedding guests?"
"I had no choice, dad. Things got a little out of hand at the wedding party. I promised new clothes to anyone who could figure out the riddle I told. I was sure no one would catch on. I mean, who would even guess that I found honey inside a dead lion? How was I to know that my new bride was going to tell them the answer? My credit card is maxed out from the wedding and I had to pay off the debt somehow."
"Never trust a woman."
"Well, she IS a Philistine after all. You might have expected that she would sell you out at the first opportunity."
"That's not fair. I heard it from her cousin, who heard it from her mother's sister-in-law, that those "guests" threatened her and her family with bodily harm if she didn't find out the answer."
"She's still a Philistine. (Then under his breath) And a woman."
"In any case, God did say that Sammy was going to rescue us from the Philistines."
"Yeah, but thirty at a time? He won't live long enough to finish the job."
Samson: (rising from the table)
"I have to go."
"To see my wife. Maybe I can make it up to her."
"Son, I told you, she isn't your wife anymore. Her father gave her to your best man."
Wife: (to her husband)
"And you said something about not being able to trust a woman?"
"I'm going to get her back or else."
Manoah: (throwing up his hands in exasperation)
"The 'or else' is what worries me."
(They all exit. Fade to black.)
Manoah and his wife are in the kitchen again. Manoah is working with a calculator, while his wife kneads bread dough.
"So, how do things look?"
"Thirty here and a thousand there. We're catching up, but the Philistines are still running the show around here. Sammy's been leading Israel for twenty years and we haven't gotten out from under the thumb of these pagans yet."
"Well, it's been hard. After all, he hasn't only had to deal with the Philistines and all the traps they have set for him. Even our own people have been less than cooperative. Cowards! It took three thousand of them to tie him up and hand him over to the Philistines."
"And a lot of good it did them. They may as well have used spaghetti to tie him up. The Lord has sure blessed that boy with strength beyond anything human. Remember all those Philistines who attacked him? He got out of that one with only the jawbone of an ass as a weapon."
"But I worry about him. He seems to get himself into such fixes. He almost got trapped in Gaza that one night. He never did tell me what he was doing there in the first place."
"You don't want to know, mother."
"Well, I still worry."
"I seem to recall you telling ME once, not to worry about Samson, that he was special to God."
"He is. But it's just that he sometimes isn't very wise about how he chooses his friends."
Manoah: (under his breath)
"Or his lovers."
"What did you say?"
"Sammy has always been special to God. And he has done a lot to lighten the burden for us even though we are still prisoners in our country. The Philistines certainly respect us more. It's just that it seems that God has had to use our son in spite of himself. There must be an easier way for him to do God's will. And it worries me that if he keeps going as he has, he may end up in even more serious trouble."
(Fade to black.)
In a bedroom. Samson is half asleep. Delilah has a pair of scissors hidden in her hand .
"Just relax, sweetie. Close your eyes and rest. "
Samson: (totally relaxed with his eyes closed and head in Delilah's lap)
"What are you doing?"
"Not a thing, dear. You've played so many tricks on me that I am quite exhausted. I'm just going to sit here without doing a thing."
"You're exhausted? Tricks on you? Delilah, sometimes I wonder about you."
"Who? Little old me?"
Samson: (slowly, as if talking in his sleep)
"You've tied me up with wet leather. And then the ropes. You braided my hair into a loom, and almost given me a heart attack three times by calling in your friends to see if I could get out of your little traps. And then you say that I'm playing tricks on you? Girl, you're nuts."
"Well, you deserved it. You wouldn't tell me the truth. And you know how much I love you. You shouldn't keep secrets from someone who loves you."
"Well, now you know the truth. I'm a Nazarite, have been since I born. There are things I have to do to keep my bond with God. The hair is one of those things. No hair and the bond is broken and my strength is gone. So, now that you know, no more tricks. Just let me sleep."
"Of course, darling. You relax. Close those big baby blues. Everything is going to be just fine."
(Fade to black as Delilah raises the scissors.)
Samson is chained to two pillars, surrounded by Philistines who are making fun of him.
In the background is an image, a representation of the Philistine god, Dagon.
"What's the matter, Sammy? Didn't have your Wheaties for breakfast this morning? You've certainly ground enough wheat to fill a million boxes. What wrong, Sam, The Man? Couldn't you see the cereal bowl?"
"They say that his God chose him to chase us out of the country. Looks like our god Dagon is doing the chasing now."
The Philistines in chorus, growing louder each time:
"Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands. Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands. Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands. Our god has delivered our enemies into our hands."
(They begin to dance around Samson, chanting. The chants should grow softer in volume as Samson picks up the conversation.)
"Lord, I blew it. I didn't see this coming and now, I can't see at all. I was supposed to be set apart for you, but I was mostly set apart for myself."
"What's wrong, Super Sam? Tired? Dance a little. Tell us a riddle."
"Don't let these people end up thinking that some stone statue is greater than you are. Give me strength just one more time. "
(Fade to black as Samson "pulls" on the columns. In total darkness the audience hears the crashing of the fall of Dagon's temple and the screams of the Philistines.)
Manoah and his wife are sitting in the kitchen.
"He really did believe that God had set him apart. I know he was special to God."
"Yes, he was. And, in spite of everything, he did believe."
"He did great things for God."
"He did that."
"He just got distracted."
"I wonder what even greater things God would have done through him if he hadn't allowed himself to get distracted."
(Fade to black)
Lynda Schultz (December 2005)
Lynda Schultz is a freelance writer currently serving with FEBInternational, the overseas arm of the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada. She works in resource development and discipleship in Caracas, Venezuela.
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