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Thoughts and Reflection

In today’s reading, the Lord comes to Manoah and his wife and will bless them with a son. It is rare that a person is consecrated as a Nazirite from birth and lives this way for his or her entire life. Samson is consecrated this way. Samson is not particularly a good guy. He is looked upon as a hero because he is strong but he is not wise. He does not live a consecrated life. After killing the lion, Samson eats honey from its carcass. This is forbidden under the Law since it is a dead thing. He gives some honey to his parents which makes them unclean also.

Samson has many weaknesses, in particular his passions for anger and lust. This is a good reminder that we all have weaknesses and we should not dismiss them. We should take them to the Lord and ask him to heal and purify us.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Judges 12

1 The men of Ephraim mobilised; they crossed the Jordan near Zaphon and said to Jephthah, ‘Why did you go and make war on the Ammonites without asking us to go with you? We shall burn down your house over your head!’

2 Jephthah replied, ‘My people and I were in serious conflict with the Ammonites. I summoned you, but you did not come to rescue me from them.

3 When I saw that no one was coming to rescue me, I took my life in my hands and marched against the Ammonites, and Yahwehhanded them over to me. So why advance on me today to make war on me?’

4 Jephthah then mustered all the men of Gilead and made war on Ephraim, and the men of Gilead defeated Ephraim — since the latter used to say, ‘You are only fugitives from Ephraim, you Gileadites in the heart of Ephraim and Manasseh.’

5 Gilead then cut Ephraim off from the fords of the Jordan, and whenever Ephraimite fugitives said, ‘Let me cross,’ the men of Gilead would ask, ‘Are you an Ephraimite?’ If he said, ‘No,’

6 they then said, ‘Very well, say Shibboleth.’ If anyone said, “Sibboleth”, because he could not pronounce it, then they would seize him and kill him by the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell on this occasion.

7 Jephthah judged Israel for six years. Jephthah the Gileadite then died and was buried in his town, in Gilead.

8 After him, Ibzan of Bethlehem was judge in Israel.

9 He had thirty sons and thirty daughters. He gave his daughters in marriage outside his clan and brought in thirty brides from outside for his sons. He was judge in Israel for seven years.

10 Ibzan then died and was buried in Bethlehem.

11 After him, Elon of Zebulun was judge in Israel. He was judge in Israel for ten years.

12 Elon of Zebulun then died and was buried at Aijalon in the territory of Zebulun.

13 After him, Abdon son of Hillel of Pirathon was judge in Israel.

14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode seventy young donkeys. He was judge in Israel for eight years.

15 Abdon son of Hillel of Pirathon then died and was buried at Pirathon in the territory of Ephraim, in the Amalekite highlands.

Judges 13

1 Again the Israelites began doing what is evil in Yahweh’s eyes, and Yahweh delivered them into the power of the Philistines for forty years.

2 There was a man of Zorah of the tribe of Dan, called Manoah. His wife was barren; she had borne no children.

3 The Angel of Yahweh appeared to this woman and said to her, ‘You are barren and have had no child, but you are going to conceive and give birth to a son.

4 From now on, take great care. Drink no wine or fermented liquor, and eat nothing unclean.

5 For you are going to conceive and give birth to a son. No razor is to touch his head, for the boy is to be God’s nazirite from his mother’s womb; and he will start rescuing Israel from the power of the Philistines.’

6 The woman then went and told her husband, ‘A man of God has just come to me, who looked like the Angel of God, so majestic was he. I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name.

7 But he said to me, “You are going to conceive and will give birth to a son. From now on, drink no wine or fermented liquor, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy is to be God’s nazirite from his mother’s womb to his dying day.” ‘

8 Manoah then pleaded with Yahweh and said, ‘I beg you, Lord, let the man of God that you sent come to us again and instruct us what to do about the child when he is born.’

9 Yahweh heard Manoah’s prayer, and the Angel of Yahweh visited the woman again while she was sitting in a field and when her husband Manoah was not with her.

10 The woman quickly ran and told her husband, ‘Look,’ she said, ‘the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me again.’

11 Manoah got up, followed his wife, came to the man and said to him, ‘Are you the man who spoke to this woman?’ He replied, ‘I am.’

12 Manoah then said, ‘When your words come true, what will be the boy’s way of life?’

13 The Angel of Yahweh replied to Manoah, ‘From everything that I forbade this woman, let her abstain.

14 Let her swallow nothing that comes from the vine, let her drink no wine or fermented liquor, let her eat nothing unclean and let her obey all the orders that I have given her.’

15 Manoah then said to the Angel of Yahweh, ‘Allow us to detain you while we prepare a kid for you’ — for Manoah did not know that this was the Angel of Yahweh.

16 The Angel of Yahweh said to Manoah, ‘Even if you did detain me, I should not eat your food; but if you wish to prepare a burnt offering, offer it to Yahweh.’

17 Manoah then said to the Angel of Yahweh, ‘What is your name, so that we may honour you when your words come true?’

18 The Angel of Yahweh replied, ‘Why ask my name? It is a name of wonder.’

19 Manoah then took the kid and the oblation and offered it on the rock as a burnt offering to Yahweh the Wonderworker. Manoah and his wife looked on.

20 Now, as the flame rose heavenwards from the altar, the Angel of Yahweh ascended in this flame before the eyes of Manoah and his wife, and they fell face downwards on the ground.

21 After this, the Angel of Yahweh did not appear any more to Manoah and his wife, but Manoah understood that this had been the Angelof Yahweh.

22 And Manoah said to his wife, ‘We are certain to die, because we have seen God.’

23 His wife replied, ‘If Yahweh had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and oblation from us, he would not have let us see all this and, at the same time, have told us such things.’

24 The woman gave birth to a son and called him Samson. The child grew, and Yahweh blessed him;

25 and the spirit of Yahweh began to stir him in the Camp of Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Judges 14

1 Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he noticed a woman, a Philistine girl.

2 He went home again and told his father and mother this. ‘At Timnah’, he said, ‘I noticed a woman, a Philistine girl. So now get her for me, to be my wife.’

3 His father and mother said to him, ‘Is there no woman among your brothers’ daughters or in our entire nation, for you to go and take a wife among these uncircumcised Philistines?’ But Samson said to his father, ‘Get that one for me; she is the one I am for me; she is the one I am fond of.’

4 His father and mother did not know that all this came from Yahweh, who was seeking grounds for a quarrel with the Philistines, since at this time the Philistines dominated Israel.

5 Samson went down to Timnah and, as he reached the vineyards of Timnah, he saw a young lion coming roaring towards him.

6 The spirit of Yahweh seized on him and he tore the lion to pieces with his bare hands as though it were a kid; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done.

7 He went down and talked to the woman, and he became fond of her.

8 Not long after this, Samson went back to marry her. He went out of his way to look at the carcase of the lion, and there was a swarm of bees in the lion’s body, and honey.

9 He took up some honey in his hand and ate it as he went along. On returning to his father and mother, he gave some to them, which they ate too, but he did not tell them that he had taken it from the lion’s carcase.

10 His father then went down to the woman, and Samson made a feast there, as is the custom for young men.

11 And when the Philistines saw him, they chose thirty companions to stay with him.

12 Samson then said to them, ‘Let me ask you a riddle. If you can give me the answer during the seven days of feasting, I shall give you thirty pieces of fine linen and thirty festal robes.

13 But if you cannot tell me the answer, then you in your turn must give me thirty pieces of fine linen and thirty festal robes.’ ‘Ask your riddle,’ they replied, ‘we are listening.’

14 So he said to them: Out of the eater came what is eaten, and out of the strong came what is sweet. But three days went by and they could not solve the riddle.

15 On the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, ‘Cajole your husband into explaining the riddle to us, or we shall burn you and your father’s family to death. Did you invite us here to rob us?’

16 Samson’s wife then went to him in tears and said, ‘You only hate me, you do not love me. You have asked my fellow countrymen a riddle and told not even me the answer.’ He said to her, ‘I have not told even my father or mother; why should I tell you?’

17 She wept on his neck for the seven days that their feasting lasted. She was so persistent that on the seventh day he told her the answer, and she told her fellow-countrymen.

18 So on the seventh day, before he went into the bedroom, the men of the town said to him: What is sweeter than honey, and what stronger than a lion? He retorted: If you had not ploughed with my heifer, you would never have solved my riddle.

19 Then the spirit of Yahweh seized on him. He went down to Ashkelon, killed thirty men there, took what they wore and gave the festal robes to those who had answered the riddle, then burning with rage returned to his father’s house.

20 Samson’s wife was then given to the companion who had acted as his best man.

Judges 15

1 Not long after this, at the time of the wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife, with a kid; he said, ‘I wish to go to my wife in her room.’ But her father would not let him enter.

2 ‘I felt sure’, he said, ‘that you had taken a real dislike to her, so I gave her to your companion. But would not her younger sister suit you better? Have her instead.’

3 But Samson answered them, ‘I can get my revenge on the Philistines now only by doing them some damage.’

4 So Samson went off and caught three hundred foxes, then took torches and, turning the foxes tail to tail, put a torch between each pair of tails.

5 He lit the torches and set the foxes free in the Philistines’ cornfields. In this way he burned both sheaves and standing corn, and the vines and olive trees as well.

6 The Philistines asked, ‘Who has done this?’ and received the answer, ‘Samson, who married the Timnite’s daughter; his father-in-law took the wife back again and gave her to his companion instead.’ The Philistines then went and burned the woman and her father’s family to death.

7 Samson said to them, ‘If that is how you behave, I swear I will not rest till I have had my revenge on you.’

8 And he fell on them systematically and caused great havoc. Then he went down to the cave in the Rock of Etham and lived there.

9 The Philistines came up and encamped in Judah and made a foray against Lehi.

10 The men of Judah said to them, ‘Why are you attacking us?’ They replied, ‘We have come to seize Samson and to treat him as he has treated us.’

11 Three thousand men of Judah then went down to the cave of the Rock of Etham and said to him, ‘Don’t you know that the Philistineshave us in their power? Now what have you done to us?’ He replied, ‘I have treated them only as they treated me.’

12 They then said, ‘We have come down to take you, to hand you over to the Philistines.’ He said, ‘Swear to me not to kill me yourselves.’

13 They replied, ‘No; we only want to bind you and hand you over to them; we certainly do not want to kill you.’ They then bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the Rock.

14 As he was approaching Lehi, and the Philistines came running towards him with triumphant shouts, the spirit of Yahweh was on him; the ropes on his arms became like burnt strands of flax and the cords round his hands came untied.

15 Coming across the fresh jawbone of a donkey, he reached out and snatched it up; and with it he slaughtered a thousand men.

16 And Samson said: With the jawbone of a donkey I have laid them in heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey I have felled a thousand men.

17 And with that he hurled the jawbone away; and that is why the place was called Ramath-Lehi.

18 And as he was very thirsty, he called on Yahweh and said, ‘You yourself have worked this great deliverance by the hand of your servant; and now must I die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?’

19 Then God opened a hollow in the ground, the hollow there is at Lehi, and water gushed out of it. Samson drank; his vigour returned and he revived. And therefore this spring was called En-ha-Kore; it is still at Lehi today.

20 Samson was judge in Israel in the days of the Philistines for twenty years.

Psalm 146

1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh, my soul!

2 I will praise Yahweh all my life, I will make music to my God as long as I live.

3 Do not put your trust in princes, in any child of Adam, who has no power to save.

4 When his spirit goes forth he returns to the earth, on that very day all his plans come to nothing.

5 How blessed is he who has Jacob’s God to help him, his hope is in Yahweh his God,

6 who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them. He keeps faith for ever,

7 gives justice to the oppressed, gives food to the hungry; Yahweh sets prisoners free.

8 Yahweh gives sight to the blind, lifts up those who are bowed down.

9 Yahweh protects the stranger, he sustains the orphan and the widow. Yahweh loves the upright,but he frustrates the wicked.

10 Yahweh reigns for ever, your God, Zion, from age to age.

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