13The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.
2 There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren, having borne no children. 3And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, Although you are barren, having borne no children, you shall conceive and bear a son. 4Now be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, or to eat anything unclean, 5for you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor is to come on his head, for the boy shall be a nazirite* to God from birth. It is he who shall begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines. 6Then the woman came and told her husband, A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like that of an angel* of God, most awe-inspiring; I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name; 7but he said to me, You shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the boy shall be a nazirite* to God from birth to the day of his death.
8 Then Manoah entreated the Lord, and said, O Lord, I pray, let the man of God whom you sent come to us again and teach us what we are to do concerning the boy who will be born. 9God listened to Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her. 10So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, The man who came to me the other day has appeared to me. 11Manoah got up and followed his wife, and came to the man and said to him, Are you the man who spoke to this woman? And he said, I am. 12Then Manoah said, Now when your words come true, what is to be the boys rule of life; what is he to do? 13The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, Let the woman give heed to all that I said to her. 14She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine. She is not to drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. She is to observe everything that I commanded her.
15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, Allow us to detain you, and prepare a kid for you. 16The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, If you detain me, I will not eat your food; but if you want to prepare a burnt-offering, then offer it to the Lord. (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord.) 17Then Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, What is your name, so that we may honour you when your words come true? 18But the angel of the Lord said to him, Why do you ask my name? It is too wonderful.
19 So Manoah took the kid with the grain-offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to him who works* wonders.* 20When the flame went up towards heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar while Manoah and his wife looked on; and they fell on their faces to the ground. 21The angel of the Lord did not appear again to Manoah and his wife. Then Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord. 22And Manoah said to his wife, We shall surely die, for we have seen God. 23But his wife said to him, If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt-offering and a grain-offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.
24 The woman bore a son, and named him Samson. The boy grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25The spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
14Once Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw a Philistine woman. 2Then he came up, and told his father and mother, I saw a Philistine woman at Timnah; now get her for me as my wife. 3But his father and mother said to him, Is there not a woman among your kin, or among all our* people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines? But Samson said to his father, Get her for me, because she pleases me. 4His father and mother did not know that this was from the Lord; for he was seeking a pretext to act against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.
5 Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah. When he came to the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion roared at him. 6The spirit of the Lord rushed on him, and he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as one might tear apart a kid. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. 7Then he went down and talked with the woman, and she pleased Samson. 8After a while he returned to marry her, and he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion, and there was a swarm of bees in the body of the lion, and honey. 9He scraped it out into his hands, and went on, eating as he went. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them, and they ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the carcass of the lion.
10 His father went down to the woman, and Samson made a feast there as the young men were accustomed to do.
11When the people saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him.
12Samson said to them, Let me now put a riddle to you. If you can explain it to me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty festal garments.
13But if you cannot explain it to me, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty festal garments. So they said to him, Ask your riddle; let us hear it.
14He said to them,
Out of the eater came something to eat.
Out of the strong came something sweet.
But for three days they could not explain the riddle.
15 On the fourth* day they said to Samsons wife, Coax your husband to explain the riddle to us, or we will burn you and your fathers house with fire. Have you invited us here to impoverish us?
16So Samsons wife wept before him, saying, You hate me; you do not really love me. You have asked a riddle of my people, but you have not explained it to me. He said to her, Look, I have not told my father or my mother. Why should I tell you?
17She wept before him for the seven days that their feast lasted; and because she nagged him, on the seventh day he told her. Then she explained the riddle to her people.
18The men of the town said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,
What is sweeter than honey?
What is stronger than a lion?
And he said to them,
If you had not ploughed with my heifer,
you would not have found out my riddle.
19Then the spirit of the Lord rushed on him, and he went down to Ashkelon. He killed thirty men of the town, took their spoil, and gave the festal garments to those who had explained the riddle. In hot anger he went back to his fathers house. 20And Samsons wife was given to his companion, who had been his best man.
15After a while, at the time of the wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife, bringing along a kid. He said, I want to go into my wifes room. But her father would not allow him to go in. 2Her father said, I was sure that you had rejected her; so I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister prettier than she? Why not take her instead? 3Samson said to them, This time, when I do mischief to the Philistines, I will be without blame. 4So Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took some torches; and he turned the foxes* tail to tail, and put a torch between each pair of tails. 5When he had set fire to the torches, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and burned up the shocks and the standing grain, as well as the vineyards and* olive groves. 6Then the Philistines asked, Who has done this? And they said, Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken Samsons wife and given her to his companion. So the Philistines came up, and burned her and her father. 7Samson said to them, If this is what you do, I swear I will not stop until I have taken revenge on you. 8He struck them down hip and thigh with great slaughter; and he went down and lived in the cleft of the rock of Etam.
9 Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah, and made a raid on Lehi. 10The men of Judah said, Why have you come up against us? They said, We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him as he did to us. 11Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and they said to Samson, Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then have you done to us? He replied, As they did to me, so I have done to them. 12They said to him, We have come down to bind you, so that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines. Samson answered them, Swear to me that you yourselves will not attack me. 13They said to him, No, we will only bind you and give you into their hands; we will not kill you. So they bound him with two new ropes, and brought him up from the rock.
14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him; and the spirit of the Lord rushed on him, and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands.
15Then he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached down and took it, and with it he killed a thousand men.
16And Samson said,
With the jawbone of a donkey,
heaps upon heaps,
with the jawbone of a donkey
I have slain a thousand men.
17When he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and that place was called Ramath-lehi.*
18 By then he was very thirsty, and he called on the Lord, saying, You have granted this great victory by the hand of your servant. Am I now to die of thirst, and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised? 19So God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came from it. When he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore it was named En-hakkore,* which is at Lehi to this day. 20And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines for twenty years.
1 I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, that he may hear me.
2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
3 I think of God, and I moan;
I meditate, and my spirit faints.
4 You keep my eyelids from closing;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
5 I consider the days of old,
and remember the years of long ago.
6 I commune* with my heart in the night;
I meditate and search my spirit:*
7 Will the Lord spurn for ever,
and never again be favourable?
8 Has his steadfast love ceased for ever?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?
10 And I say, It is my grief
that the right hand of the Most High has changed.
11 I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord;
I will remember your wonders of old.
12 I will meditate on all your work,
and muse on your mighty deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is so great as our God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
you have displayed your might among the peoples.
15 With your strong arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
16 When the waters saw you, O God,
when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
the very deep trembled.
17 The clouds poured out water;
the skies thundered;
your arrows flashed on every side.
18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
your lightnings lit up the world;
the earth trembled and shook.
19 Your way was through the sea,
your path, through the mighty waters;
yet your footprints were unseen.
20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
11Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. 3So the sisters sent a message to Jesus,* Lord, he whom you love is ill. 4But when Jesus heard it, he said, This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for Gods glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it. 5Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, 6after having heard that Lazarus* was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
7 Then after this he said to the disciples, Let us go to Judea again. 8The disciples said to him, Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again? 9Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. 10But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them. 11After saying this, he told them, Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him. 12The disciples said to him, Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right. 13Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. 14Then Jesus told them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 15For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him. 16Thomas, who was called the Twin,* said to his fellow-disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus* had already been in the tomb for four days. 18Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles* away, 19and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. 21Martha said to Jesus, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him. 23Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise again. 24Martha said to him, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day. 25Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life.* Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? 27She said to him, Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah,* the Son of God, the one coming into the world.
28 When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, The Teacher is here and is calling for you. 29And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. 30Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34He said, Where have you laid him? They said to him, Lord, come and see. 35Jesus began to weep. 36So the Jews said, See how he loved him! 37But some of them said, Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?
38 Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39Jesus said, Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead for four days. 40Jesus said to her, Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God? 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upwards and said, Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me. 43When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come out! 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, Unbind him, and let him go.
45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what he had done. 47So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. 48If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place* and our nation. 49But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, You know nothing at all! 50You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed. 51He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was about to die for the nation, 52and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God. 53So from that day on they planned to put him to death.
54 Jesus therefore no longer walked about openly among the Jews, but went from there to a town called Ephraim in the region near the wilderness; and he remained there with the disciples.
55 Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. 56They were looking for Jesus and were asking one another as they stood in the temple, What do you think? Surely he will not come to the festival, will he? 57Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who knew where Jesus* was should let them know, so that they might arrest him.
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011