Judges 13:1 - 16:31

God is our refuge

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Samson, God's strong man

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Samson Was So Strong
The Birth of Samson - Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the
Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years. A certain man
of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was
childless, unable to give birth. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said,
“You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give
birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and
that you do not eat anything unclean. You will become pregnant and have a son
whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite,
dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the
hands of the Philistines.”
Then the woman went to her husband and told
him, “A man of God came to me. He looked like an
angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t ask him
where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his
name. But he said to me, ‘You will become
pregnant and have a son. Now then, drink no wine
or other fermented drink and do not eat anything
unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God
from the womb until the day of his death.’” Then
Manoah prayed to the Lord: “Pardon your
servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you
sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up
the boy who is to be born.” God heard Manoah,
and the angel of God came again to the woman
while she was out in the field; but her husband
Manoah was not with her. The woman hurried to
tell her husband, “He’s here! The man who
appeared to me the other day!” Manoah got up
and followed his wife. When he came to the man,
he said, “Are you the man who talked to my wife?”
“I am,” he said. So Manoah asked him, “When
your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that
governs the boy’s life and work?”
The angel of the Lord answered, “Your wife must do all that I have told her. She must not eat anything that comes
from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I
have commanded her.” Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young
goat for you.” The angel of the Lord replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you
prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord.” (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the Lord.) Then
Manoah inquired of the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes
true?” He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.”  Then Manoah took a young goat,
together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the Lord. And the Lord did an amazing thing while
Manoah and his wife watched: As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the Lord
ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. When the angel of the
Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord.
Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the
vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him. The Spirit of the Lord
came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have
torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done.
Samson said to them, “This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm
them.” So he went out and caught three hundred foxes and tied them tail to tail in pairs. He then
fastened a torch to every pair of tails, lit the torches and let the foxes loose in the standing grain
of the Philistines. He burned up the shocks and standing grain, together with the vineyards and
olive groves. When the Philistines asked, “Who did this?” they were told, “Samson, the Timnite’s
son-in-law, because his wife was given to his companion.”
The people of Gaza were told, “Samson is here!” So they surrounded the place and lay in wait
for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, “At dawn we’ll kill
him.” But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of
the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted
them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.
Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah.
Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the
third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.”  
With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it. So he told her
everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite
dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me,
and I would become as weak as any other man.”
Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to
celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.” When the people saw
him, they praised their god, saying, “Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands, the one who laid
waste our land and multiplied our slain.” While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out
Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. When
they stood him among the pillars, Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can
feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” Now the temple was crowded
with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three
thousand men and women watching Samson perform. Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign
Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge
on the Philistines for my two eyes.”