Do not offer him a bribe, for he will not accept it

Short message from Sehion Ministries, Attappady, Palakkad, Kerala, India.

 

Name children with Saints name

God has his own plan about the blessings and future of a child at the time of birth. The God who wish that child should be a great personality and blessed person also have a wish that child should have a good and meaningful name.

We can see in the Holy Bible that God  has some demand that all persons whom God selected should have special and meaningful names. This demand prove from that for some people name have decided and given before their birth and for some others removed their old name and given new names.

In the books of Genesis Chapter 13 we can see that God called Abram from haron, the person whom he called first to make the covenant people for God. Abram listened God’s voice and passed through the path he showed.

Again in Genesis Chapter 17:4 God speak about the covenant with Abram. God blessed and changed name of the first leader whom he selected for his people.

Genesis 17:5
5 No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations.

Again God blessing the wife of Abraham with a name he chosen.

Genesis 17:15
15 God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.

We have not seen here that God giving names to persons who do not have names, but he changed the old names and given new names.

Why the Almighty God interfere in such matters? Whatever the name be, life should be good, isn’t it?

Is it a joke that the omniscient,almighty God doing like this? God had a demand that a blessed name is necessary for the life of the person whom he selected to be blessed.

Jacob Wrestles with an angel whole night near the stream of Jabbok. At the end Jacob asked only one thing  “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”  What blessing God gave him? A Good name.

Genesis 32:28 Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel,….

When Jacob asked for blessing, God gave him a new name. Again God affirm that name in Bethel.

Genesis 35:10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall you be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So he was called Israel.

If God make a person blessed, then he will change his name also blessed.

Isaiah 65:15 ……but to his servants he will give a different name.

God bless not only people, but also countries by giving new name.

Isaiah 62:1-2

1 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
until her vindication shines out like the dawn,
and her salvation like a burning torch.
2 The nations shall see your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will give.

When we complete the life in this world and reach heaven, there also God has selected a name for us.

Revelation 2:17
To everyone who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.

God giving very importance to names of his beloved people

We can see the importance of this when we read the scene that angel appear before Joseph, husband of Mary, and revealing the wish of God.

Matthew 1:20-21
20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Jesus is the first and last son for Joseph and Mary. But God did not give them the right to give name to that child. Annunciation of the birth of Jesus Christ itself God strengthening about the name. Before Joseph or Mary say anything, Angel saying ‘you will name him Jesus’. No other selection he allowed. Name has importance. Otherwise why should God demand like this?

God himself named John Baptist also

Luke 1:13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.

God did not ask permission from Zechariah or Elizabeth or ask whether they have any suggestion for their son who will be born at their old age. But he demanded him that ‘you will name him John’.

Luke1:59-64
59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. 60 But his mother said, “No; he is to be called John.” 61 They said to her, “None of your relatives has this name.” 62 Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. 63 He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And all of them were amazed. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God.

God had given importance in names given to his beloved people and so he blessed them with good names.

Name is very important for our children also, to live as God’s children, get blessings and good future. Do not take it as easy.

Once priest asked to one child his name. He replied, “Bajio”. Immediately  his mother said with feeling of shame that “this child is born during foot ball match period. I gave him the name of my best loving foot ball player.” During the period of April-May 2008  trending name in media was Obama – Candidate for American President. Many people named their child Obama. This is not a good practice to give name easily to our children with any name of place or player whom we like. God does not like this.

Saints are praying for you before God.

Give blessed names filled with God’s spirit to children during baptism. They should be known with that names. It is an obedience to church by giving name of Saints to children.

These days many families are interested to name their children with names of prophets and saints, like Daniel, Jeremiah, Joshua, Samuel, Sarah, Maria etc.

It is true that If a child is named with a name of a Saint, that Saint’s presence and blessings will be with that child and God will bless him. This is a promise from God.

CCC No. 2156 The sacrament of Baptism is conferred “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” In Baptism, the Lord’s name sanctifies man, and the Christian receives his name in the Church. This can be the name of a saint, that is, of a disciple who has lived a life of exemplary fidelity to the Lord. The patron saint provides a model of charity; we are assured of his intercession. The “baptismal name” can also express a Christian mystery or Christian virtue. “Parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to see that a name is not given which is foreign to Christian sentiment.”

Isaiah 43:1 But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.

CCC No.2158 God calls each one by name. Everyone’s name is sacred. The name is the icon of the person. It demands respect as a sign of the dignity of the one who bears it.

John 10:3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

One day during a convention an innocent small child came and told to Fr. Francis Thottunkarayil that when Father was preaching on the stage that child saw St. Francis Xavier on the stage.

It is a noticeable experience of a family who came from America for  staying retreat in Sehion Retreat Centre, Attappady, Palakkad, Kerala, India. He had no change or miracle for three days. Even after counselor prayed he could not feel any change and he was disappointed. A soul filled with sins. Counselor again prayed more powerful and he had a vision that Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavara is standing near to this person and praying. Then Counselor asked this man what is the relation with Fr. Chavara. He replied his name is Kurien. Saint of our name will pray for us. Last day of the retreat he got many blessings and miracles.

It is noticed that during retreat when some people do not have any feeling or change, then if pray intercede with saint of their name, they get very strong blessings from God.

Persons, institutions, churches, establishments should name with name or prophets, saints, apostles and also should encourage others also to do so.

Jesus changed Simon to Peter, Saul to Paul. Good and blessed names are God’s arrangement. We should give attention to this. That is a blessing.

Genesis 5:29 he named him Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the toil of our hands.”

Genesis 3:20 The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

Genesis 28:17-19 And he was afraid, and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

18 So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel; but the name of the city was Luz at the first.

1 Samuel 7:12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

Genesis 30:24 and she named him Joseph, saying, “May the Lord add to me another son!”

Exodus 17:15 And Moses built an altar and called it, The Lord is my banner.

Revelation 14:1 Then I looked, and there was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion! And with him were one hundred forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.

1 Samuel 1:20 In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I have asked him of the Lord.”

Inspiration and Courtesy – Malayalam Book written by Fr. Xavier Khan Vattayil, Sehion Retreat Centre, Attappady, Kerala State, India.

Practical directions for Tithe

  1. Where to give Tithe ?

It is written in Deuteronomy about whom to give tithe.

the Levites, because they have no allotment or inheritance with you, as well as the resident aliens, the orphans, and the widows in your towns, may come and eat their fill so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work that you undertake. (Deuteronomy 14:29)

One thing is clear from this verses that our tithe to be given to the work of God and helping the poor.

  1. How much percentage to be offered as Tithe?

We should give tithe (one-tenth part of) of our income/profit. It doesn’t mean that we should give only one-tenth part. Depends on your capacity you can give more. it is a great blessing that some business people who have many shops have reserved full profit from some shops for God’s work and helping the poor. Their business and life  is upgrading day by day due to this offering/help doing with right hand Without the knowledge of the left hand.

  1. From what items should give tithe ?

Set apart a tithe of all the yield of your seed that is brought in yearly from the field. (Deuteronomy 14:22)

  1. Do not be stingy or hindrance in offering tithe.

In many families while giving tithe some members make disapproval. In other families all are ignoring tithe just like ananias and zephera. These all are obstacles for blessings.

The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (2 Corinthians 9:6)

  1. Give tithe with happiness.

give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” (Luke 6:38)

Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)

10 Be generous when you worship the Lord,
    and do not stint the first fruits of your hands.
11 With every gift show a cheerful face,
    and dedicate your tithe with gladness.
12 Give to the Most High as he has given to you,
    and as generously as you can afford.
13 For the Lord is the one who repays,
    and he will repay you sevenfold. (Sirach 35:10-13)

What should we do?

  1. Should give one-tenth part of of our income/profit.
  2. Repent about the period of  not giving tithe.
  3. If ever talked wrong about titche, ask pardon to God, confess.
  4. Teach about tithe to people who do not know about this God’s commandment.
  5. Teach children from childhood about tithe.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
    you hold my lot. (Psalms 16:5)

From you let my vindication come;
    let your eyes see the right. (Psalms 17:2)

Turn my heart to your decrees,
    and not to selfish gain. (Psalms 119:36)

You will not fear the terror of the night,
    or the arrow that flies by day, (Psalms 91:5)

Inspiration and Courtesy – Malayalam Book written by Fr. Xavier Khan Vattayil, Sehion Retreat Centre, Attappady, Kerala State, India.

Praise the God with Wealth

Giving tithe is for praising the God. It is God’s commandment that we should adore and praise the God. In the whole old testament can hear the sorrow filled sound of the God that “You are not adoring me, you are not praising me”. We should not only praise God with our heart, but also with the wealth he has given us.

Honor the Lord with your substance
and with the first fruits of all your produce; (Proverbs 3:9)

17 Do not say to yourself, “My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today. (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)

When we give tithe to God, we are proclaiming that this wealth is given by God. Jacob reveal this in below bible verses.

20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, 21 so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, 22 and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house; and of all that you give me I will surely give one-tenth to you.” (Genesis 28:20-22)

Inspiration and Courtesy – Malayalam Book written by Fr. Xavier Khan Vattayil, Sehion Retreat Centre, Attappady, Kerala State, India.

Who should give Tithes to God?

Who should give tithes to God? Only the people who have savings or balance?

Many people’s complaint is that “I have not enough money to fulfill daily requirements, then how can I give tithes to God? I have nothing to give. ” This is a game of Satan. Satan will play his game and give us troubles and sorrows in mind to violate the Word of God. Are you a person who think that “I have nothing to give, what will I do? Let others who have enough to give.” Are you a person who suffering with this kind of bad thoughts in mind? Satan made your heart closed for not giving to God and you get God’s blessings by giving him.

We can see a story in the Bible 1 Kings 17:8-16

The Widow of Zarephath

8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 9 “Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” 10 So he set out and went to Zarephath. When he came to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks; he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, so that I may drink.” 11 As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” 13 Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.” 15 She went and did as Elijah said, so that she as well as he and her household ate for many days. 16 The jar of meal was not emptied, neither did the jug of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.

Is this widow was a women with savings or balance?  She had nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; She was gathering a couple of sticks,  to go home and prepare it for herself and her son, that they may eat it, and die. Elijah accepted an offering even from her. Was he done that to give trouble to her? Was it not to bless them? Are we not better than that widow and son?

Jesus also agree this.

The Widow’s Offering

21 He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; 2 he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3 He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; 4 for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4)

Jesus praised the offering of this widow. Out of her poverty she has put in all she had to live on.

For the Lord is the one who repays,
and he will repay you sevenfold. (Sirach 35:13)

Is it necessary for priests to give tithes to God?

25 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 26 You shall speak to the Levites, saying: When you receive from the Israelites the tithe that I have given you from them for your portion, you shall set apart an offering from it to the Lord, a tithe of the tithe. 27 It shall be reckoned to you as your gift, the same as the grain of the threshing floor and the fullness of the wine press. 28 Thus you also shall set apart an offering to the Lord from all the tithes that you receive from the Israelites; and from them you shall give the Lord’s offering to the priest Aaron. (Numbers 18:25-28)

Above Word of God reveal that Priests who do not have business establishments, estates, farms also should give tithe and remind us the importance of tithe to God. God knows about our life, he knows what we give is only for us to give him. He ask us to give from whatever we have. This commandment is for the purification and blessings of the people. Following this commandment of tithe by schools, convents, churches and other institutions will be a blessing for them.

Inspiration and Courtesy – Malayalam Book written by Fr. Xavier Khan Vattayil, Sehion Retreat Centre, Attappady, Kerala State, India.

Samuel is Born-Great Stories of the Holy Bible

When Hannah prays for a child she promises she will give him back to God. (I Samuel 1:1-28): Slide 11

1 Samuel 1:1-28

Samuel’s Birth and Dedication

1 There was a certain man of Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham son of Elihu son of Tohu son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

3 Now this man used to go up year by year from his town to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord. 4 On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; 5 but to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. 6 Her rival used to provoke her severely, to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it went on year by year; as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

9 After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before the Lord. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly. 11 She made this vow: “O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head.”

12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she was drunk. 14 So Eli said to her, “How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your sight.” Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and her countenance was sad no longer.

19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. Elkanah knew his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20 In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I have asked him of the Lord.”

21 The man Elkanah and all his household went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and to pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, that he may appear in the presence of the Lord, and remain there forever; I will offer him as a nazirite for all time.” 23 Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Do what seems best to you, wait until you have weaned him; only—may the Lord establish his word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son, until she weaned him. 24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine. She brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh; and the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. 27 For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. 28 Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.”

She left him there for the Lord.

Samson a man of super-human strength-Great Stories of the Holy Bible

Judges 13

The Birth of Samson

1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.

2 A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. 3 The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. 4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. 5 You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”

6 Then the woman went to her husband and told him, “A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name. 7 But he said to me, ‘You will become pregnant and have a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from the womb until the day of his death.’”

8 Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.”

9 God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her. 10 The woman hurried to tell her husband, “He’s here! The man who appeared to me the other day!”

11 Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the man who talked to my wife?”

“I am,” he said.

12 So Manoah asked him, “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that governs the boy’s life and work?”

13 The angel of the Lord answered, “Your wife must do all that I have told her.

Samson sets a riddle for his wedding guests. (Judges 13:1-14:20): Slide 14

Samson sets a riddle for his wedding guests.

14 She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her.”

15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.”

16 The angel of the Lord replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord.” (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the Lord.)

17 Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?”

18 He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.” 19 Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the Lord. And the Lord did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: 20 As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. 21 When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord.

22 “We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!”

23 But his wife answered, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.”

24 The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, 25 and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Judges 14

Samson’s Marriage

14 Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. 2 When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.”

3 His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?”

But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.” 4 (His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)

5 Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him. 6 The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done. 7 Then he went down and talked with the woman, and he liked her.

8 Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. 9 He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.

10 Now his father went down to see the woman. And there Samson held a feast, as was customary for young men. 11 When the people saw him, they chose thirty men to be his companions.

12 “Let me tell you a riddle,” Samson said to them. “If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes. 13 If you can’t tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.”

“Tell us your riddle,” they said. “Let’s hear it.”

14 He replied,

“Out of the eater, something to eat;
out of the strong, something sweet.”
For three days they could not give the answer.

15 On the fourth day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father’s household to death. Did you invite us here to steal our property?”

16 Then Samson’s wife threw herself on him, sobbing, “You hate me! You don’t really love me. You’ve given my people a riddle, but you haven’t told me the answer.”

“I haven’t even explained it to my father or mother,” he replied, “so why should I explain it to you?” 17 She cried the whole seven days of the feast. So on the seventh day he finally told her, because she continued to press him. She in turn explained the riddle to her people.

18 Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to him,

“What is sweeter than honey?
What is stronger than a lion?”
Samson said to them,

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
you would not have solved my riddle.”
19 Then the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of everything and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he returned to his father’s home. 20 And Samson’s wife was given to one of his companions who had attended him at the feast.

Judges 15

Samson’s Vengeance on the Philistines

Samson shows his strength against the Philistines, (Judges 15:1-20): Slide 5     Samson shows his strength against the Philistines, (Judges 15:1-20): Slide 11

 Samson shows his strength against the Philistines.

15 Later on, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat and went to visit his wife. He said, “I’m going to my wife’s room.” But her father would not let him go in.

2 “I was so sure you hated her,” he said, “that I gave her to your companion. Isn’t her younger sister more attractive? Take her instead.”

3 Samson said to them, “This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm them.” 4 So he went out and caught three hundred foxes and tied them tail to tail in pairs. He then fastened a torch to every pair of tails, 5 lit the torches and let the foxes loose in the standing grain of the Philistines. He burned up the shocks and standing grain, together with the vineyards and olive groves.

6 When the Philistines asked, “Who did this?” they were told, “Samson, the Timnite’s son-in-law, because his wife was given to his companion.”

So the Philistines went up and burned her and her father to death. 7 Samson said to them, “Since you’ve acted like this, I swear that I won’t stop until I get my revenge on you.” 8 He attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them. Then he went down and stayed in a cave in the rock of Etam.

9 The Philistines went up and camped in Judah, spreading out near Lehi. 10 The people of Judah asked, “Why have you come to fight us?”

“We have come to take Samson prisoner,” they answered, “to do to him as he did to us.”

11 Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cave in the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines are rulers over us? What have you done to us?”

He answered, “I merely did to them what they did to me.”

12 They said to him, “We’ve come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines.”

Samson said, “Swear to me that you won’t kill me yourselves.”

13 “Agreed,” they answered. “We will only tie you up and hand you over to them. We will not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and led him up from the rock. 14 As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. 15 Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.

16 Then Samson said,

“With a donkey’s jawbone
I have made donkeys of them.
With a donkey’s jawbone
I have killed a thousand men.”
17 When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was called Ramath Lehi.

18 Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the Lord, “You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived. So the spring was called En Hakkore, and it is still there in Lehi.

20 Samson led[d] Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.

Judges 16

Samson and Delilah

16 One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. 2 The people of Gaza were told, “Samson is here!” So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, “At dawn we’ll kill him.”

3 But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.

Samson in a moment of weakness shares the secret of his strength. (Judges 16:4-31): Slide 4    Samson in a moment of weakness shares the secret of his strength. (Judges 16:4-31): Slide 9

Samson in a moment of weakness shares the secret of his strength.

4 Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. 5 The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.”

6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.”

7 Samson answered her, “If anyone ties me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I’ll become as weak as any other man.”

8 Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she tied him with them. 9 With men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the bowstrings as easily as a piece of string snaps when it comes close to a flame. So the secret of his strength was not discovered.

10 Then Delilah said to Samson, “You have made a fool of me; you lied to me. Come now, tell me how you can be tied.”

11 He said, “If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I’ll become as weak as any other man.”

12 So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them. Then, with men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the ropes off his arms as if they were threads.

13 Delilah then said to Samson, “All this time you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied.”

He replied, “If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” So while he was sleeping, Delilah took the seven braids of his head, wove them into the fabric 14 and tightened it with the pin.

Again she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and pulled up the pin and the loom, with the fabric.

15 Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” 16 With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it.

17 So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.”

18 When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. 19 After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him.

20 Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!”

He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.

21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. 22 But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.

The Death of Samson
23 Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.”

24 When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying,

“Our god has delivered our enemy
into our hands,
the one who laid waste our land
and multiplied our slain.”
25 While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them.

When they stood him among the pillars, 26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. 28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.

31 Then his brothers and his father’s whole family went down to get him. They brought him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had led Israel twenty years.