Old Testament – From Genesis to the Prophet Jonah
It often seemed that God was important to the Israelites in times of a crisis but in good times, he was forgotten and they went their own way!
After Joshua’s death there followed a period of just under 200yrs when the multiple Israel tribes didn’t have a prominent leader. Instead, they were held together by their faith and Judges. The Judges performed a significant tribal or another leadership role. The Book of Judges lists twelve. They were: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, and Samson.
Samson’s mother was infertile until an Angel from God promised her a son who would be, “Dedicated to God from birth until the day he died”. He was thus expected to abstain from drinking wine and cutting his hair. (Judges 13:7)
Samson grew to be exceptionally strong and well known for his ability to kill wild beasts with his muscular power. He didn’t lead an army nor always live up to moral expectations but he became a champion against the Philistines in the west, who were becoming a major Israelite threat.
When Samson’s Philistine wife was given away in marriage by his father-in-law because he thought Samson “despised her”, Samson promised revenge on the Philistines. During harvest time, he captured three-hundred jackals, tied them in pairs by their tails, attached flaming torches to each pair and released them into the Philistine grain fields, vineyards and olive groves, setting them ablaze. In turn, the Philistines burned his (ex) wife and father-in-law presumably, in revenge rather than to appease Samson!
When the men of Judah were attacked by the Philistines, Samson agreed to his arrest and handover, provided the men of Judah didn’t kill him. They then tied him up and as the Philistines approached, “The Lord’s spirit empowered him. The ropes around his arms were like flax dissolving in fire and they melted away from his hands. He happened to see a solid jawbone of a donkey. He grabbed it and struck down a thousand men”. (Judges 15:14-15)
Samson later fell in love with Delilah who succumbed to promises of great wealth from the Philistines if she betrayed him; they wanted to know how his power could be taken from him. At first, Samson misled Delilah suggesting being tied with seven bowstrings would work! He then suggested brand new ropes! Finally, he suggested weaving seven locks of his hair and tying them together with a pin! Delilah tried them all but her efforts were to no avail!
As Delilah cried and nagged all day and every day saying, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you will not share your secret with me,” Samson gave in! He told her his secret saying, “My hair [must] never [be] cut, for I have been dedicated to God”. (Judges 16:15, 17) (Judges 13:1-14:7, 14:19-16:15)
Perhaps, our life follows good and bad cycles just like the Israelites! In times of difficulty, we rely on God but in times of plenty, we forget Him!
Lord Jesus, help me to live today with honesty, integrity and fairness in my every word, action and decision. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.
Prayer: Divine Praises
Blessed be God,
Blessed be His Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.
Blessed be the name of Jesus.
Blessed be his Most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be His Most Precious Blood.
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit the Paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most Holy.
Blessed be her Glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be St Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in His Angels and Saints.