Samson And The Philistines

Samson And The Philistines


FOR forty years the people of Israel were enslaved by the Philistines because of their evil ways in the sight of the Lord.
There was a man called Manoah of the family of the Danites, and he had no children.

The angel of the Lord appeared to his wife and told her that she was to have a son.
The angel said: "Be cautious and drink no wine nor any strong drink,and do not eat any unclean thing.
 You will have a son and no razor shall come near his head,  for he is dedicated to God from birth,
 and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines."

Later the angel appeared to Manoah also, and in due course he and his wife had a son whom they called Samson.
Samson grew up tall and strong,
 and when he was a grown man he went down to Timnath and saw a daughter
of the Philistines and wanted to make her his wife.
At first his parents withheld their accord, for they wished him to marry one of his own people.
 They did not know that this marriage was part of the Lord's plans to destroy the Philistines,
 but when Samson insisted, they abided by his wishes.

So Samson went to Timnath with his parents.
 As he came to the vineyards a young lion tried to attack him, and he killed it with his bare hands,
 but he did not tell his father and mother what he had done.
He met the Philistine girl and spoke to her and she pleased him very much.
When he returned again to see her, he turned aside to look for the carcass of the lion which he had killed,
 and found it with a swarm of bees and honey inside.
He took out a handful of the honey and ate it, and gave some to his parents,
 but he did not tell them from where it came.


Later on, the marriage was arranged and a wedding feast was prepared.
Thirty young Philistine men were present, and Samson said to them: "Here is a riddle for you,
 and if you can solve it for me within seven days of the feast,
 then I shall give you thirty sheets and thirty suits of clothes,
 but if you fail to find the answer,
 you must give me thirty sheets and thirty changes of clothing."

So they said: "Tell us your riddle."

 Samson said: "Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong
came forth sweetness."

Three days passed and the Philistines had found no answer to the riddle.
On the seventh day they said to Samson's wife: "Coax your husband and persuade him to tell us the solution.
Otherwise we shall set fire to your father's house and burn you alive."

Samson's wife wept and said to him: "You must hate me instead of loving me,
 for you have given my people a riddle to solve, and you have not told me the answer to it."

He said: "I have told neither my father nor my mother. Why should I tell you?"
She went on weeping for seven days all the time that their feast was going on.
 At last, on the seventh day,Samson could bear it no longer and he told her the answer and she passed it on to her countrymen.
Before sunset on the seventh day,
 the men of the city said to Samson: "What is sweeter than honey? And what is
stronger than a lion?"

 Samson saw what had happened and he said:"You would never have found the answer to my riddle if you had not threatened my wife."
He went down to Ashkelon and there he killed thirty men and took their belongings.
 From these he took thirty suits of clothes, which he gave to the men who had answered the riddle.
Then he went back to his father's house.
He was exceedingly angry at the Philistines and with the woman whom he had married.


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