by Jarvis Ottum
Judges 13 – Birth of Samson
Manoah’s wife, Eshaol was Barren. An angel of the Lord appeared to Eshaol. He told her, “though you are barren and have no children, you will become pregnant and give birth to a son. Be careful to drink no wine and eat no unclean animal. No razor is ever to touch your son’s head. The purpose of his birth is for him to be dedicated to the service of God. One day he will set Israel free from the power of the Philistines.
On another day the angel came to visit Manoah.
Manoah said, “stay with us while we prepare a goat for you.”
The angel said, “I cannot stay. But you may sacrifice it to God.”
Manoah placed the kid on a rock and set a fire to cook the goat. The angel appeared in the flame, extended heavenly white wings, and flew up to heaven. The couple kneeled and put their heads to the ground. Manoah told his wife, “We are going to die because we have seen God.”
Eshaol said, “God would not have accepted our holocaust and cereal offering or let us see His Angel if he meant to kill us.”
The baby was born; and his mother named him Samson. God placed His hand on Samson, blessed him, and strengthened his heart.
Judges 14 – Marriage of Samson
Samson took his parents to meet the Philistine woman he loved. A lion appeared in their path. Its roared at Samson, but he showed no fear. The Lord gave Samson the strength to tear the lion apart.
In the village of the woman, Samson had a great banquet for his wife’s people. He gave the men of her village a riddle. “I bet you thirty tunics that you can’t solve it in seven days.”
“We’ll take your bet,” they agreed.
Samson said, “out of the eaters came forth food, and out of the strong came forth sweetness.”
The men went to his wife and said, “get the answer out of your husband. Or we will burn you and your family.”
On the seventh day they answered the riddle. “What is sweeter than honey; and what is stronger than a lion?”
Later that day the Lord gave power to Samson. He killed the thirty men and took their belongings. Samson threw the tunics over them. “My wife must have told you.”
Judges 15 – Samson defeats the Philistines
“I wish to speak to my wife.”
“I gave her to your best man,” said his father.
“The Philistines cannot blame me if I harm them.”
Samson caught three hundred foxes. He took them by pairs and tied their tails together around lit torches. They were set loose to burn down grain, vineyards, and olive orchards.
Three thousand fellow citizens of Judah came to meet him. “We must hand you over to the Philistines,” they said.
“Swear that you will not kill me.”
“We swear to only tie you up and deliver you to the Philistines.”
When they reached the one thousand Philistines, the power of the Lord came over Samson. The ropes on his arms became like weak strings; and he broke free. Samson eyed the jawbone of a donkey. He snatched the bone up and used it for a weapon. That evening the ground was stained red from the blood of the Philistines.
Judges 16 – Delilah and the death of Samson
“Tomorrow, we will kill him,” said the men of Gaza. “We will wait here all night and ambush him when he arrives at the city gates. When he opens the gates, we will kill him. “
At midnight Samson arrived. He pulled the gate out of the ground by the gatepost. Samson hoisted it on his shoulder, carried it to a nearby hill, and set it down.
“Quiet,” the men whispered. “He might see us.”
The Philistines met with the woman Samson loved and said, “use your charm to trick Samson into telling his weakness. If you do each of us will give you one thousand pieces of silver.
Delilah went to him and he said, “if they bind me with seven new bowstrings I will be as weak as any man.”
Later that night, she tied him with seven new bowstrings. “Samson! Get up! The Philistines are here!”
He snapped the bowstrings and beat up the men.
“You lied to me. Tell me at once how you may be defeated.”
“If they tie me up tight with new unused rope, I will be as weak as any man.
The next night she bound him with new rope. “Samson! Get up! The Philistines are here!”
He snapped the rope like thread and defeated the men.
“Again, you lied to me. Tell me how you may be defeated.”
“If you weave seven locks of my hair into a web and fasten them around me with a pin, I will be as weak as any man.”
Later that evening she plucked seven locks of hair from his head. She wove them into a web and fastened it around him with a pin. “Samson! Get up! The Philistines are here!”
He took out the weaver’s pin, removed the web, and defeated the men.
“Don’t you love me? Three times you have lied to me and not told me the secret of your strength.
“The Lord has declared my hair sacred. If my head is shaved, my strength will be gone, and I will be as weak as any man.”
Later that night, she said, “Lay your head on my lap, my love.” She caressed his shaved head.
The Philistines arrived with baskets of silver.
“Samson! Get up! The Philistines are here!”
He stood up and she slapped him, and he crashed to the floor. The Philistines gouged out his eyes, and put him in prison.
“Let us sacrifice Samson to the god of grain, Dagon,” said the Philistines.
They tied him up between two columns.
“Our god has delivered to us our enemy who took our valuables, took our land, and murdered our people,” they said.
“Oh Lord God, remember me! Strengthen me so that I may finally have vengeance on the Philistines.”
Samson pushed his palms against the columns. The columns fell over. The temple crumbled and toppled him and the thousands of Philistines. The ones that lie dead under the temple numbered more than all the people Samson killed in his lifetime.
Jarvis Ottum writes middle grade fiction. His works have appeared in the anthologies Balm: Poetry for Unbroken Souls and the Gift.