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Samson The Mighty Warrior
Samson was the 12th military leader of ancient Israelites. During that time, they had no country and no king yet. Military leaders took the lead to fight against the enemies of Israelites. While other military leaders gathered troops to fight, Samson fought alone. Samson is the strongest man. Samson had no haircut since birth. His long hair was made into seven braids. Seven is a number related to God.

In 11th century BC, Israelites violated the commandments of God and thus became weak. They were ruled by Philistines for forty years. There was a couple who feared God but the wife was barren. One day, an angel appeared to the woman, telling her that she would bear a son and this son would be a Nazarite unto God. Nazarite means being separated for God. Besides following the commandments for Israelites, a Nazarite must also abstain from drinking alcohol, having haircut and going near to a dead body. God had a series of plan to save Israel from Philistines and the woman's son would make a start. The woman then gave birth to a son and named him Samson.

Samson grew up. He knew about his mission. However he put priority on his personal affair instead and carried out his mission only when it was convenient. He wanted to marry a Philistine woman although his parents objected. He violated two commandments here: honour parents and do not marry a person of different religion. He thought that the marriage could both fulfill his love towards the Philistine woman, and his mission to weaken Philistines. One day, he went to see the woman for a chat. On the way a lion roared at him. He ripped the lion apart alive with his bare hands. After some days he passed by that place again and he wanted to take a look at the dead lion. He violated a commandment here: do not go near to a dead body. He saw that honey bees had built a hive in the carcass. Ignoring the possible contamination from the dead body, he ate the honey and took some honey back for his parents to eat. He violated a commandment here: do not eat unclean thing.

Samson held a wedding feast at the woman's house. Thirty Philistines attended the feast. Samson wanted to give them a riddle, with a wager of thirty sets of clothes under a time frame of seven days. They agreed. The riddle was based on personal experience, in which nobody would know the answer: "out of the eater came forth something edible, and out of the strong came forth something sweet." They could not get the answer. They threatened the bride to burn her and her family if she could not give them the answer. Philistines were barbaric. The bride hassled Samson with a lot of crying. Samson could not stand it and revealed the answer. The thirty Philistines gave the answer: what sweeter than honey is and what stronger than a lion is. Samson went to another city to kill another thirty Philistines to get their clothes to pay his bet. He was angry that his wife sold him out, so he went back to his father's house.

After some days, Samson wanted to see his wife. His father-in-law thought that he did not want her anymore, so she was given to his best man. Samson was once again betrayed by the bride's side. Philistines did not treat a marriage seriously. Marriage should not be changed by mere speculation. It was a great dishonour to the bridegroom's side. Samson caught three hundred foxes. He tied their tails together in pairs, and fastened a torch to each pair of tails. He released the incendiary foxes into the farmland of Philistines. Crops, vineyards and olive groves were destroyed in fire. Philistines then burnt Samson's wife and father-in-law. After that, Samson killed many Philistines. A war began.

Samson went to stay in a cave in the land of Judah. Judah was a tribe of Israelites. The army of Philistines told people of Judah that they wanted to tie Samson up. Samson let people of Judah tie him up and delivered him to Philistines. Philistines shouted at him. He snapped the rope. He saw a fresh jawbone of a donkey and picked it up. He violated a commandment here: do not go near to a dead body. He used it to kill one thousand Philistines. He was thirsty and prayed to God. Water flowed out of the ground.

One night, Samson slept with a prostitute. He violated a commandment here: be holy. Philistines locked the city gate to confine him. He woke up at midnight and tore down the city gate in one piece. He carried the gate to the top of a hill to demonstrate his strength to Philistines.

After that, Samson was in love with a woman named Delilah. She was a wicked woman who was obssesed with money. The leaders of Philistines asked Delilah to get the secret of Samson's strength and each leader promised to give her one thousand one hundred pieces of silver. Delilah was not an Israelite, so she was not aware that Samson kept the commandments for Nazarite. She asked him about the secret. He lied to her three times. He violated a commandment here: do not bear falsehood. He could just ignore her without lying. Delilah did not give up and constantly nagged him every day. Samson was very sick of the nagging so he finally revealed the secret: he is a Nazarite unto God, in which his strength will be gone if his hair is shaved off. She knew he spoke the truth this time because he mentioned about God, indicating the seriousness. Delilah sent someone to ask the Philistine leaders to come. They came with the money. Delilah used a certain way, probably getting him drunk, to make him fall into deep sleep on her knees. She asked a skilled barber to shave off his seven braids without waking him up. He became bald. She woke him up by saying, "Philistines are here to get you, Samson." He wanted to go out to exercise his body but was caught. His eyes were gouged out. He was shackled with brass fetters and commanded to push a millstone in prison. His hair grew gradually.

Samson

One day, Philistine leaders wanted to give a great sacrifice to their idol in a very huge temple. They praised their god for defeating Samson so Samson was the candidate for the sacrifice. They got Samson from the prison and made fun of him like a monkey in public. Samson asked the youngster who held his hand to let him touch the pillars of the temple. The temple was full of people and there were three thousand people on just the rooftop. Samson was alone in his enemy's hand with no way out. Although held captive, as a warrior he did not want to let the enemy take away his life easily, so he wanted to use up all he had to make a desperate last minute stand to avenge his eyes. He was still putting personal matter on the first priority, and his mission the second. He prayed to God for the strength for the last time. His left arm took hold of a pillar and his right arm another. He broke the two pillars and the temple collapsed. He killed more Philistines when he died than when he was alive. Philistines lost their leaders and many people so the nation started to become weak.

Recap

There are two morals of the story. The first moral is to keep God's commandments. Samson as a Nazarite broke all commandments except one, keeping his hair. God was lenient towards him and let him have the strength albeit just one commandment was upheld. Note that his strength did not come from his hair, but from keeping God's commanndment. If he cut his hair and kept another commandment, he would still have the strength. By breaking God's commandments, Samson caused calamity on himself and had to sacrifice his life to accomplish his mission. Only by keeping God's commandments, the bondage of sin can be broken, like how Samson escaped from the binding rope. We do not have to keep the commandments for Nazarite of course but just keep the ten commandments. The second moral is we should not emphasize on personal affair over God because God is our Lord.

The story above begins from Judges 13.

In Chinese

參孫的故事

參孫是以色列人的第十二位士師。當年以色列還沒有王,由士師帶頭對抗敵人。其他士師帶隊打仗,參孫則是單槍匹馬打仗,因爲他是史上最強的大力士。他出世到長大沒剪過頭髮,綁成七條辮子。七這個數字和上帝有關。

主前十一世紀,也就是中國周朝剛開始的時候,以色列人因不遵守上帝的誡命而衰弱,結果被非利士人統治四十年。有一對敬畏上帝的夫婦,太太不能生育。有一天,天使向那位太太顯現,說她將會生一個兒子,這孩子將歸給上帝做拿細耳人,拿細耳就是歸給上帝的意思。拿細耳人除了要守以色列人基本的戒律,還有不可喝酒,不可剪頭髮,不可靠近屍體。上帝有一連串計劃拯救以色列人脫離非利士人,這孩子將做個開頭。過後她生孩子,取名叫參孫。

參孫長大了知道自己的使命,但卻把私事放在第一,然後才順便找機會履行使命。他不顧父母的反對,要和非利士女人結婚。這裡他犯了兩條誡命:孝敬父母和不可選擇非信徒作配偶。他想這樣做不但可以和心愛的非利士女子一起,也可以順便找機會對付非利士人。有一天,他去找那個女子説話,路上有獅子向他吼叫,他徒手把那只獅子活生生撕開。過了一段日子又經過那個地方,就想去看那只死獅子。這裡他犯了誡命:不可靠近死屍。看到屍體内有蜜蜂做窩,也不管蜜糖被屍體污染,就取了來吃,也帶回去給爸媽吃了。這裡他犯了誡命:不可吃不潔之物。

參孫在女子的家擺設婚宴。有三十個非利士人來參加。參孫要給他們出了一道謎語,以三十套衣服打賭,以七天爲限。他們答應了。這是以個人主觀經歷作爲答案、別人不可能猜到的謎語:吃的從吃人的出來,甜的從強壯的出來。那三十人猜不出來,就威脅新娘探出謎底,不然就燒死新娘和家人。非利士人還真野蠻。新娘就啼哭吵鬧參孫。參孫頂不順,就說了。秘密洩露了,三十個人說出謎底:有什麽比蜜還甜,有什麽比獅子還強。參孫去另外一個城市,殺了另外三十個非利士人,拿了他們的衣服回來還債。參孫生氣妻子出賣自己,就囘老家去了。

過了一些日子,參孫要見妻子。岳父卻以爲參孫不要她了,已經把女兒給了參孫婚禮的伴郎。參孫再次被女方背叛。非利士人不尊重婚姻,婚約已定,沒有什麽以爲不以爲的,這對男方是一種大恥辱。參孫抓了三百只狐狸,將狐狸尾巴一對一對捆上火把,放在非利士人的農地,把莊稼、葡萄園和橄欖園都燒光了。然後非利士人燒死參孫的妻子和岳父。參孫又去大大擊殺他們。一場戰爭開始了。

參孫去住在猶大人地區的山洞。猶大是以色列的一個支派。非利士人的軍隊跟猶大人說要捆綁參孫。參孫讓猶大人綁起來送出去。非利士人抓住參孫,大聲喧嚷。參孫把繩子掙斷,拿起地上一塊未乾的驢子下巴骨頭。這裡他又犯了誡命:不可靠近屍體。他拿那塊骨頭殺了一千個非利士人。他口渴了禱告上帝,地上就冒出泉水來。

有一晚,參孫和一個妓女親近。這裡他犯了誡命:要聖潔。非利士人把城門鎖上,要抓住他。他半夜起來,把整個城門拔了下來,還扛到山頂上,向非利士人展示他的力氣。

過後參孫喜歡一個叫大利拉的女子。她是一個財迷心竅的坏女人。非利士人的首領看准這點,就叫那女子探出參孫力氣大的秘密,並答應每人給她一千一百塊銀子。大利拉不是以色列人,所以不懂參孫遵守拿細耳人的誡命。大利拉問參孫如何除去他的力氣,參孫說了三次謊。這裡他犯了誡命:不可作假,他大可不必回答的。大利拉失敗了三次還不死心,天天嘮叨。參孫煩到要死,結果把秘密說了出來,就是他歸給上帝作拿細耳人,頭髮剃了就沒有力氣了。大利拉知道他講真話,因爲他提到上帝,顯示了嚴肅性。大利拉打發去請非利士人的首領再來一次。他們拿著銀子來了。她用某個方法,可能是灌醉,讓參孫沉睡在她的膝頭上,叫一個熟練的理髮師來悄悄剃掉參孫的七條辮子,成了一個光頭佬。大利拉接著說參孫啊,非利士人來捉你了。參孫醒來,想要出去活動身体,不料被抓住了,眼睛被挖掉,被扣上銅鏈腳鐐,被丟在監牢裏推磨。他的頭髮漸漸長起來了。

有一天,非利士人的眾首領在一個巨大的神廟要給他們的偶像獻大祭。他們讚美他們的神打敗參孫,所以參孫是祭品的人選,就把參孫從監牢裏提出來當猴子戲耍。參孫請求拉他的手的小伙子讓他摸柱子靠一靠。神廟裏滿了人,單是天台上就有三千人。參孫獨自一人在敵人手中不能逃脫。雖然被俘虜,身為一個戰士,他不要被敵人輕易取去他的性命,所以就打算竭盡全力作最後的掙扎,好報眼睛被挖掉的仇。他還是把自己的事情放在第一,把任務放在第二。他禱告上帝要求這一次的力量。參孫左手扶一根柱子,右手扶一根柱子,把柱子弄斷。神廟坍塌,參孫死的時候所殺的非利士人比活著時所殺的還多。非利士人失去首領和一些人口,國力開始衰弱。

這故事有兩個教訓。第一個教訓是要遵守上帝的誡命。參孫作爲一個拿細耳人,每一條誡命都犯了,只是一條沒犯,也就是蓄長髮,而上帝對他也寬容,繼續讓他有力氣。要注意參孫的力量不是來自他的長髮,而是來自他對上帝的誡命的遵守。如果他把頭髮剪了,但還有遵守一條其他的誡命,他還是一樣有力氣的。參孫不遵守上帝的誡命,給自己帶來禍害,也要犧牲性命才能勉强完成他的使命。遵守上帝的誡命,才能脫離罪的捆綁,就好像參孫掙脫捆綁的繩子一樣。我們不需要遵守拿細耳人的誡命,但可以遵守十誡。第二個教訓是不要把自己的事情看得比上帝還重要,因爲上帝是我們的主。

以上故事開始於士師記十三章。

Posted: 2015-11-08; updated: 2015-12-25 by Ong Seng Aun.
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