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Judges 13-15

The Birth of Samson

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.

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.”

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 boy’s 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.

Samson’s Marriage

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.

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 Samson’s wife, ‘Coax your husband to explain the riddle to us, or we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us here to impoverish us?’ 16So Samson’s 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 father’s house. 20And Samson’s wife was given to his companion, who had been his best man.

Samson Defeats the Philistines

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 wife’s 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 Samson’s 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.

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.

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BOOK III

(Psalms 73-89)

Psalm 73

Plea for Relief from Oppressors

A Psalm of Asaph.
1 Truly God is good to the upright,*
   to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
   my steps had nearly slipped.
3 For I was envious of the arrogant;
   I saw the prosperity of the wicked.


4 For they have no pain;
   their bodies are sound and sleek.
5 They are not in trouble as others are;
   they are not plagued like other people.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
   violence covers them like a garment.
7 Their eyes swell out with fatness;
   their hearts overflow with follies.
8 They scoff and speak with malice;
   loftily they threaten oppression.
9 They set their mouths against heaven,
   and their tongues range over the earth.


10 Therefore the people turn and praise them,*
   and find no fault in them.*
11 And they say, ‘How can God know?
   Is there knowledge in the Most High?’
12 Such are the wicked;
   always at ease, they increase in riches.
13 All in vain I have kept my heart clean
   and washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all day long I have been plagued,
   and am punished every morning.


15 If I had said, ‘I will talk on in this way’,
   I would have been untrue to the circle of your children.
16 But when I thought how to understand this,
   it seemed to me a wearisome task,
17 until I went into the sanctuary of God;
   then I perceived their end.
18 Truly you set them in slippery places;
   you make them fall to ruin.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment,
   swept away utterly by terrors!
20 They are* like a dream when one awakes;
   on awaking you despise their phantoms.


21 When my soul was embittered,
   when I was pricked in heart,
22 I was stupid and ignorant;
   I was like a brute beast towards you.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with you;
   you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
   and afterwards you will receive me with honour.*
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
   And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
   but God is the strength* of my heart and my portion for ever.


27 Indeed, those who are far from you will perish;
   you put an end to those who are false to you.
28 But for me it is good to be near God;
   I have made the Lord God my refuge,
   to tell of all your works.

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29 April 2019

From the oremus Bible Browser https://bible.oremus.org v2.5.1 29 April 2019.