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Samson - part 1

Samson's calling and wedding.
Contributed by Wong Chim Yuen
Again the Israelites turned away from God, so He handed them over to the Philistines, who oppressed them for forty years. <br/>A man named Manoah from the tribe of Dan lived in the town of Zorah. An angel appeared to Manoah’s wife and said, ‘Even though you have been unable to have children, you will soon become pregnant and give birth to a son. His hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. He will begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines.’ <br/>When Manoah heard this news he prayed for the angel to return and give him more instructions. – Slide 1
God answered Manoah’s prayer, and the angel of God appeared once again to his wife who called for her husband. <br/>Manoah asked the angel, ‘When your words come true, what kind of rules should govern the boy’s life and work?’ <br/>‘Your wife must not eat grapes or raisins, drink alcohol or eat any forbidden food,’ the angel replied. <br/>Manoah took a young goat and a grain offering and offered it on a rock as a sacrifice to the Lord. As the flames from the altar shot up toward the sky, the angel of the Lord ascended in the fire. Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. <br/>When her son was born, she named him Samson. The Lord blessed him as he grew up and the Spirit of God stirred within him. – Slide 2
One day when Samson was in Timnah, one of the Philistine women caught his eye and he wanted to marry her. His father and mother objected, wanting him to marry an Israelite woman. <br/>But Samson insisted, ‘Get her for me!’  <br/>As Samson and his parents were going down to Timnah, a young lion suddenly attacked Samson. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him, and he ripped the lion’s jaws apart with his bare hands. When Samson arrived in Timnah, he talked with the woman and was very pleased with her. – Slide 3
Later, when he returned to Timnah for the wedding, he turned off the path to look at the carcass of the lion. A swarm of bees had made honey in the carcass and Samson scoped up the honey and ate it. He later gave some of the honey to his father and mother but he didn’t tell them where he had found it. – Slide 4
As his father was making final arrangements for the marriage, Samson threw a party at Timnah, as was the custom for elite young men. <br/>The bride’s parents selected thirty young men from the town to be his companions. <br/>Samson said to them, ‘Let me tell you a riddle. If you solve my riddle during these seven days of the celebration, I will give you thirty fine linen robes and thirty sets of festive clothing.  But if you can’t solve it, then you must give me thirty fine linen robes and thirty sets of festive clothing.’ <br/>They agreed and Samson told them the riddle. <br/>‘Out of the one who eats came something to eat; out of the strong came something sweet.’ – Slide 5
They could not solve the riddle so on the seventh day they went to Samson’s wife and pleaded, ‘Entice your husband to explain the riddle for us, or we will burn down your father’s house with you in it.’ <br/>Samson’s wife came to him in tears and said, ‘You don’t love me; you hate me! You have given my people a riddle, but you haven’t told me the answer.’ <br/>She kept crying until Samson told her the answer to the riddle. And she then passed the answer to the local young men. – Slide 6
They went to Samson and declared, ‘What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?’ <br/>Samson knew he had been betrayed by his wife. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. He went down to the town of Ashkelon, killed thirty men, took their belongings, and gave their clothing to the men who had solved his riddle. <br/>Samson was furious and he went back home to live with his father and mother. So his wife was given in marriage to the man who had been Samson’s best man. – Slide 7
Later on, during the wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat as a present to his wife. Her father wouldn’t let him in and explained, ‘I truly thought you must hate her so I gave her in marriage to your best man. But look, her younger sister is even more beautiful than she is. Marry her instead.’ <br/>Samson replied, ‘This time I cannot be blamed for everything I am going to do to you Philistines.’ – Slide 8
Samson went out and caught 300 foxes. He tied their tails together in pairs, and he fastened a torch to each pair of tails. Then he lit the torches and let the foxes run through the grain fields of the Philistines. He burned all their grain to the ground and also destroyed their vineyards and olive groves. <br/>When the Philistines found out what Samson had done and his reason for doing it, they got the woman and her father and burned them to death. <br/>‘Because you did this,’ Samson vowed, ‘I won’t rest until I take my revenge on you!’ So he attacked the Philistines with great fury and killed many of them. Then he went to live in a cave in the rock of Etam. – Slide 9
The Philistines retaliated by setting up camp in Judah. ‘Why are you attacking us?’ the men of Judah replied. <br/>‘We have come to capture Samson and avenge what he has done to us.’ <br/>So 3,000 men of Judah went down to get Samson at the cave in the rock of Etam. They told Samson, ‘We have come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines.” <br/>‘All right,’ Samson said. ‘But promise that you won’t kill me yourselves.’ <br/>So they tied him up with two new ropes and handed Samson over to the Philistines. – Slide 10
As Samson arrived at Lehi, the Philistines came shouting in triumph. But the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon Samson, and he snapped the ropes on his arms as if they were burnt strands of flax, and they fell from his wrists. Then he found the jawbone of a recently killed donkey. Using it as a weapon he killed 1,000 Philistines with it. – Slide 11
Slide 12