Judges 12-16; Psalm 146; Luke 24
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The following text is from the English Standard Version.
The men of Ephraim were called to arms, and they crossed to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, ”Why did you cross over to fight against the Ammonites and did not call us to go with you? We will burn your house over you with fire.”
And Jephthah said to them, ”I and my people had a great dispute with the Ammonites, and when I called you, you did not save me from their hand.
And when I saw that you would not save me, I took my life in my hand and crossed over against the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day to fight against me?”
Then Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought with Ephraim. And the men of Gilead struck Ephraim, because they said, ”You are fugitives of Ephraim, you Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim and Manasseh.”
And the Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. And when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, ”Let me go over,” the men of Gilead said to him, ”Are you an Ephraimite?” When he said, ”No,”
they said to him, ”Then say Shibboleth,” and he said, ”Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it right. Then they seized him and slaughtered him at the fords of the Jordan. At that time 42,000 of the Ephraimites fell.
Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in his city in Gilead.
After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel.
He had thirty sons, and thirty daughters he gave in marriage outside his clan, and thirty daughters he brought in from outside for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years.
Then Ibzan died and was buried at Bethlehem.
After him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel, and he judged Israel ten years.
Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.
After him Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel.
He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys, and he judged Israel eight years.
Then Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried at Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.
And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, so 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. And his wife was barren and had no children.
And the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, ”Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son.
Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean,
for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.”
Then the woman came and told her husband, ”A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name,
but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.”’
Then Manoah prayed to the LORD and said, ”O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.”
And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field. But Manoah her husband was not with her.
So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, ”Behold, the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.”
And Manoah arose and went after 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.”
And Manoah said, ”Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?”
And the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, ”Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful.
She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe.”
Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, ”Please let us detain you and prepare a young goat for you.”
And the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, ”If you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the LORD.” (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the LORD.)
And Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, ”What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?”
And the angel of the LORD said to him, ”Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?”
So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the LORD, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching.
And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the LORD went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.
The angel of the LORD appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the LORD.
And Manoah said to his wife, ”We shall surely die, for we have seen God.”
But 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.”
And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the LORD blessed him.
And the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines.
Then he came up and told his father and mother, ”I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. Now get her for me as my wife.”
But his father and mother said to him, ”Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, 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, for she is right in my eyes.”
His father and mother did not know that it was from the LORD, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel.
Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah, and they came to the vineyards of Timnah. And behold, a young lion came toward him roaring.
Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.
Then he went down and talked with the woman, and she was right in Samson’s eyes.
After some days he returned to take her. And he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion, and behold, there was a swarm of bees in the body of the lion, and honey.
He scraped it out into his hands and went on, eating as he went. And he came to his father and mother and gave some to them, and they ate. But he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey from the carcass of the lion.
His father went down to the woman, and Samson prepared a feast there, for so the young men used to do.
As soon as the people saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him.
And Samson said to them, ”Let me now put a riddle to you. If you can tell me what it is, within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes,
but if you cannot tell me what it is, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, ”Put your riddle, that we may hear it.”
And he said to them, ”Out of the eater came something to eat. Out of the strong came something sweet.”And in three days they could not solve the riddle.
On the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, ”Entice your husband to tell us what the riddle is, lest we burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us here to impoverish us?”
And Samson’s wife wept over him and said, ”You only hate me; you do not love me. You have put a riddle to my people, and you have not told me what it is.” And he said to her, ”Behold, I have not told my father nor my mother, and shall I tell you?”
She wept before him the seven days that their feast lasted, and on the seventh day he told her, because she pressed him hard. Then she told the riddle to her people.
And the men of the city 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 plowed with my heifer, you would not have found out my riddle.”
And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and struck down thirty men of the town and took their spoil and gave the garments to those who had told the riddle. In hot anger he went back to his father’s house.
And Samson’s wife was given to his companion, who had been his best man.
After some days, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife with a young goat. And he said, ”I will go in to my wife in the chamber.” But her father would not allow him to go in.
And her father said, ”I really thought that you utterly hated her, so I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister more beautiful than she? Please take her instead.”
And Samson said to them, ”This time I shall be innocent in regard to the Philistines, when I do them harm.”
So Samson went and caught 300 foxes and took torches. And he turned them tail to tail and put a torch between each pair of tails.
And when he had set fire to the torches, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines and set fire to the stacked grain and the standing grain, as well as the olive orchards.
Then the Philistines said, ”Who has done this?” And they said, ”Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife and given her to his companion.” And the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire.
And Samson said to them, ”If this is what you do, I swear I will be avenged on you, and after that I will quit.”
And he struck them hip and thigh with a great blow, and he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam.
Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah and made a raid on Lehi.
And the 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.”
Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, ”Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?” And he said to them, ”As they did to me, so have I done to them.”
And they said to him, ”We have come down to bind you, that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines.” And Samson said to them, ”Swear to me that you will not attack me yourselves.”
They said to him, ”No; we will only bind you and give you into their hands. We will surely not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock.
When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands.
And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men.
And Samson said, ”With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey have I struck down a thousand men.”
As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone out of his hand. And that place was called Ramath-lehi.
And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the LORD and said, ”You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?”
And God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came out from it. And when he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore the name of it was called En-hakkore; it is at Lehi to this day.
And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.
Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her.
The Gazites were told, ”Samson has come here.” And they surrounded the place and set an ambush for him all night at the gate of the city. They kept quiet all night, saying, ”Let us wait till the light of the morning; then we will kill him.”
But Samson lay till midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts, and pulled them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron.
After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.
And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, ”Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.”
So Delilah said to Samson, ”Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you.”
Samson said to her, ”If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.”
Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she bound him with them.
Now she had men lying in ambush in an inner chamber. And she said to him, ”The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he snapped the bowstrings, as a thread of flax snaps when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known.
Then Delilah said to Samson, ”Behold, you have mocked me and told me lies. Please tell me how you might be bound.”
And he said to her, ”If they bind me with new ropes that have not been used, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.”
So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, ”The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And the men lying in ambush were in an inner chamber. But he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread.
Then Delilah said to Samson, ”Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you might be bound.” And he said to her, ”If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and fasten it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.”
So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his head and wove them into the web. And she made them tight with the pin and said to him, ”The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled away the pin, the loom, and the web.
And she said to him, ”How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies.”
And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death.
And he told her all his heart, and said to her, ”A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.”
When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, ”Come up again, for he has told me all his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands.
She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him.
And she said, ”The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, ”I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him.
And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison.
But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.
Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, ”Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.”
And when the people saw him, they praised their god. For they said, ”Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us.”
And when their hearts were merry, they said, ”Call Samson, that he may entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. They made him stand between the pillars.
And Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, ”Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.”
Now the house was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about 3,000 men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained.
Then Samson called to the LORD and said, ”O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.”
And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other.
And Samson said, ”Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life.
Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had judged Israel twenty years.
Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul!
I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.
And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.
And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ”Why do you seek the living among the dead?
He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,
that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”
And they remembered his words,
and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles,
but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.
But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.
That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,
and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened.
While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.
But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
And he said to them, ”What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.
Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, ”Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
And he said to them, ”What things?” And they said to him, ”Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,
and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.
But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.
Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning,
and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.
Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, ”O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther,
but they urged him strongly, saying, ”Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.
When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.
And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.
They said to each other, ”Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,
saying, ”The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”
Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, ”Peace to you!”
But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit.
And he said to them, ”Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.
And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, ”Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of broiled fish,
and he took it and ate before them.
Then he said to them, ”These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
and said to them, ”Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,
and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.
And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.
While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.
And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
and were continually in the temple blessing God.