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Keeping secrets

To consider the importance of being trustworthy.

by Jenny Tuxford

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To consider the importance of being trustworthy.

Preparation and materials

  • A Bible from which to read the story of Samson and Delilah (Judges 14—16) or, better still, revise it yourself beforehand, and retell it in your own words.

  • Choose children to narrate the verses of the poem in section 2, telling the story of Samson, or have different voices for Samson, Delilah, God, etc.
    Tableaux could be devised for each section.

Assembly

  1. Read or retell the story of Samson and Delilah in Judges 14—16. Discuss it:
    Do the children think it is important to keep secrets? Why? Are some secrets more important than others? Is it important to be able to trust someone? Have they ever been let down by someone?
  2. Children to narrate: We would like to tell you the story of Samson – a strong man who had a very strange secret.

    Samson

Now, Samson was a strong man
But he didn’t achieve his might
By drinking magic potions
Or touching kryptonite.

He didn’t jog for hours on end
Or work out at a gym,
He hadn’t heard of ‘five a day’
And vitamins were not for him.

Now, exercise and healthy food
Didn’t make his muscles grow –
Samson was especially strong
For God had made him so.

But certain rules must be obeyed –
For him no beer or wine.
Well, Samson thought about it
And then he said, ‘That’s fine.’

God said, ‘One more condition,
Samson, you’ll stay strong
But never have your hair cut.
You must keep it long.’

Two sets of people at that time
Were always having fights –
The Philistines – the enemy –
And their foes, the Israelites.

The score in battles fought so far:
Baddies twenty; Goodies zero,
And that’s why God was taking time
To find Himself a hero.

‘The Philistines are killing
More people every day.
Samson I need someone like you
To make them go away.’

Samson flexed his muscles,
Stuck out his hairy chest,
Flicked his hair back from his face
And said, ‘I’ll do my best.’

He took a donkey’s jawbone
And killed one thousand men.
(‘A donkey’s jawbone?’ I hear you say –
Well, guns weren’t invented then.)

For the Philistines to find out
What was going on,
They bribed his friend Delilah
To see what made Sam strong.

(I don’t want to give the game away
By telling you the plot,
But I really have to warn you
A good friend she was not.)

When Samson met Delilah
He thought, ‘She’s quite a find!’
Little did he know
That she had treachery in mind.

He thought he’d found a friend indeed,
Perhaps a lifelong pal,
But someone to be trusted?
She was not that kind of ‘gal’.)

‘You are so brave,’ Delilah cooed,
‘And strong, my sweet lovebird.
Tell your secret just to me
And I promise I won’t breathe a word.’

‘All right, Delilah,’ Samson said,
‘Use the string that’s on my bow.
Tie me up with seven bits –
I’ll be the weakest man you know.’

Delilah did what Samson asked,
(But hid some Philistines nearby.)
‘Oh, Samson, free yourself!’ she cried,
‘Or we will surely die.’

Samson sadly shook his head,
Looked frightened to the core,
But when the Philistines approached
He gave a mighty roar.

Easily, he snapped the strings
And gave another roar,
Shook his fists and stamped his feet
And chased them out the door.

‘You lied to me!’ Delilah spat,
‘And telling lies is wrong.
You made me look a fool, so tell me,
How come you’re so strong?’

‘Right – tie me with some brand new rope
Instead of bits of string.’
(But when the Philistines drew near –
You’ve guessed it – same old thing.)

All this went on – and on – and on,
Every single day,
Til Samson said, ‘Enough’s enough!’
And finally gave way.

‘I’ll let you know – but only you,
The reason I’m so strong.’
(Samson please don’t say it!)
‘It’s because my hair is long!’

Oh dear!

When Samson soundly slept that night,
To his complete despair,
Delilah took the sharpest knife
And cut off all his hair!

Her mission now completed,
Delilah took her pay,
As weak as water, Samson, now,
To jail was led away.

The Philistines were scared no more,
Now Samson’s head was shorn,
They treated him quite cruelly,
And made him grind their corn.

They took him to their temple,
Three thousand of them there.
The place was absolutely packed,
Not any room to spare.

Samson was paraded –
The Philistines were cheering
And when they saw him bound in chains
Well, then they started jeering.

They put him by two pillars,
Upon which the temple stood.
Samson said, ‘I’d like to lean
Against them if I could.’

He reached out to the pillars
And touched them, left and right.
He hoped he’d find some strength
As he pushed with all his might.

(While he was in prison,
Day by day and bit by bit,
His hair had grown and grown until
There was quite a lot of it!)

His strength came flooding through him
As he offered up a prayer.
The temple walls came crashing down
And killed everybody there.

So both Samson and Delilah died when the temple came down. If time, discuss with the children what they think this story is telling us . . . Perhaps this story is a warning not to tell our secrets, or other peoples!

Time for reflection

If you’re looking for a friend

and someone kindly should apply,

say you want someone

upon whose word you really can rely.

Say they have to have good judgement

and make it very plain

that if something is a secret

then that’s how it should remain!

Prayer
Dear Father God,
Give us the strength to do the right thing,
The sort of strength that comes from within.
Help us to learn that ‘might isn’t right’,
That we’re always the strongest when we choose not to fight.
Amen.

Song/music

‘Our Father, who art in heaven’ (Come and Praise, 51)

Publication date: October 2010   (Vol.12 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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