The Israelites, in those days, imagined they should die if they saw an angel, taking occasion perhaps from those words spoken by the Lord to Moses, Ex. 33.20, No man shall see me and live. But the event demonstrated that it was but a groundless imagination.
13:23. And his wife answered him: If the Lord had a mind to kill us, he would not have received a holocaust and libations at our hands; neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor have told us the things that are to come.
13:24. And she bore a son, and called his name Samson. And the child grew, and the Lord blessed him.
13:25. And the Spirit of the Lord began to be with him in the camp of Dan, between Saraa and Esthaol.
Judges Chapter 14
Samson desireth a wife of the Philistines. He killeth a lion: in whose mouth he afterwards findeth honey. His marriage feast, and riddle, which is discovered by his wife. He killeth, and strippeth thirty Philistines.
His wife taketh another man.
14:1. Then Samson went down to Thamnatha, and seeing there a woman of the daughters of the Philistines,
14:2. He came up, and told his father and his mother, saying: I saw a woman in Thamnatha of the daughters of the Philistines: I bescech you, take her for me to wife.
14:3. And his father and mother said to him: Is there no woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou wilt take a wife of the Philistines, who are uncircumcised? And Samson said to his father: Take this woman for me; for she hath pleased my eyes.
Is there no woman among the daughters of thy brethren... This shews his parents were at first against his marriage with a Gentile, it being prohibited, Deut. 7.3; but afterwards they consented, knowing it to be by the dispensation of God; which otherwise would have been sinful in acting contrary to the law.
14:4. Now his parents knew not that the thing was done by the Lord, and that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.
14:5. Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Thamnatha. And when they were come to the vineyards of the town, behold a young lion met him, raging and roaring.
14:6. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson, and he tore the lion as he would have torn a kid in pieces, having nothing at all in his hand: and he would not tell this to his father and mother.
14:7. And he went down, and spoke to the woman that had pleased his eyes.
14:8. And after some days, returning to take her, he went aside to see the carcass of the lion, and behold there was a swarm of bees in the mouth of the lion, and a honey-comb.
14:9. And when he had taken it in his hands, he went on eating: and coming to his father and mother, he gave them of it, and they ate: but he would not tell them that he had taken the honey from the body of the lion.
14:10. So his father went down to the woman, and made a feast for his son Samson: for so the young men used to do.
14:11. And when the citizens of that place saw him, they brought him thirty companions to be with him.
14:12. And Samson said to them: I will propose to you a riddle, which if you declare unto me within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty shirts, and as many coats:
14:13. But if you shall not be able to declare it, you shall give me thirty shirts and the same number of coats. They answered him: Put forth the riddle, that we may hear it.
14:14. And he said to them: Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not for three days expound the riddle.
14:15. And when the seventh day came, they said to the wife of Samson: Sooth thy husband, and persuade him to tell thee what the riddle meaneth. But if thou wilt not do it, we will burn thee, and thy father's house. Have you called us to the wedding on purpose to strip us?
14:16. So she wept before Samson and complained, saying: Thou hatest me, and dost not love me: therefore thou wilt not expound to me the riddle, which thou hast proposed to the sons of my people. But he answered: I would not tell it to my father and mother: and how can I tell it to thee?
14:17. So she wept before him the seven days of the feast: and, at length, on the seventh day, as she was troublesome to him, he expounded it. And she immediately told her countrymen.
14:18. And they, on the seventh day before the sun went down, said to him: What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? And he said to them: If you had not ploughed with my heifer, you had not found out my riddle.
14:19. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he went down to Ascalon, and slew there thirty men whose garments he took away, and gave to them that had declared the riddle. And being exceeding angry, he went up to his father's house:
14:20. But his wife took one of his friends and bridal companions for her husband.
Judges Chapter 15
Samson is denied his wife. He burns the corn of the Philistines, and kills many of them.
15:1. And a while after, when the days of the wheat harvest were at hand, Samson came, meaning to visit his wife, and he brought her a kid of the flock. And when he would have gone into her chamber, as usual, her father would not suffer him, saying:
15:2. I thought thou hadst hated her, and therefore I gave her to thy friend: but she hath a sister, who is younger and fairer than she, take her to wife instead of her.
15:3. And Samson answered him: From this day I shall be blameless in what I do against the Philistines: for I will do you evils.
15:4. And he went and caught three hundred foxes, and coupled them tail to tail, and fastened torches between the tails:
Foxes... Being judge of the people he might have many to assist him to catch with nets or otherwise a number of these animals; of which there were great numbers in that country.
15:6. And setting them on fire he let the foxes go, that they might run about hither and thither. And they presently went into the standing corn of the Philistines. Which being set on fire, both the corn that was already carried together, and that which was yet standing, was all burnt, insomuch that the flame consumed also the vineyards and the oliveyards.
15:6. Then the Philistines said: Who hath done this thing? And it was answered: Samson, the son in law of the Thamnathite, because he took away his wife, and gave her to another, hath done these things. And the Philistines went up and burnt both the woman and her father.
15:7. But Samson said to them: Although you have done this, yet will I be revenged of you, and then I will be quiet.
15:8. And he made a great slaughter of them, so that in astonishment they laid the calf of the leg upon the thigh. And going down he dwelt in a cavern of the rock Etam.
15:9. Then the Philistines going up into the land of Juda, camped in the place which afterwards was called Lechi, that is, the Jawbone, where their army was spread abroad.
15:10. And the men of the tribe of Juda said to them: Why are you come up against us? They answered: We are come to bind Samson, and to pay him for what he hath done against us.
15:11. Wherefore three thousand men of Juda went down to the cave of the rock Etam, and said to Samson: Knowest thou not that the Philistines rule over us? Why wouldst thou do thus? And he said to them: As they did to me, so have I done to them.
15:12. And they said to him: We are come to bind thee, and to deliver thee into the hands of the Philistines. And Samson said to them: Swear to me, and promise me that you will not kill me.
15:13. They said: We will not kill thee: but we will deliver thee up bound. And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him from the rock Etam.
15:14. Now when he was come to the place of the Jawbone, and the Philistines shouting went to meet him, the Spirit of the Lord came strongly upon him: and as flax is wont to be consumed at the approach of fire, so the bands with which he was bound were broken and loosed.
15:15. And finding a jawbone, even the jawbone of an ass, which lay there, catching it up, he slew therewith a thousand men.
15:16. And he said: With the jawbone of an ass, with the jaw of the colt of asses, I have destroyed them, and have slain a thousand men.
15:17. And when he had ended these words, singing, he threw the jawbone out of his hand, and called the name of that place Ramathlechi, which is interpreted the lifting up of the jawbone.
15:18. And being very thirsty, he cried to the Lord, and said: Thou hast given this very great deliverance and victory into the hand of thy servant: and behold I die for thirst, and shall fall into the hands of the uncircumcised.
15:19. Then the Lord opened a great tooth in the jaw of the ass and waters issued out of it. And when he had drunk them, he refreshed his spirit, and recovered his strength. Therefore the name of that place was called The Spring of him that invoked from the jawbone, until this present day.