Judges 13; Judges 14; Judges 15; Luke 6:27-49

1 The Israelites sinned against the Lord again, and he let the Philistines rule them for forty years. 2 At that time there was a man named Manoah from the town of Zorah. He was a member of the tribe of Dan. His wife had never been able to have children. 3 The Lord's angel appeared to her and said, "You have never been able to have children, but you will soon be pregnant and have a son. 4 Be sure not to drink any wine or beer, or eat any forbidden food; 5 and after your son is born, you must never cut his hair, because from the day of his birth he will be dedicated to God as a nazirite. He will begin the work of rescuing Israel from the Philistines." 6 Then the woman went and told her husband, "A man of God has come to me, and he looked as frightening as the angel of God. I didn't ask him where he came from, and he didn't tell me his name. 7 But he did tell me that I would become pregnant and have a son. He told me not to drink any wine or beer, or eat any forbidden food, because the boy is to be dedicated to God as a nazirite as long as he lives." 8 Then Manoah prayed to the Lord, "Please, Lord, let the man of God that you sent come back to us and tell us what we must do with the boy when he is born." 9 God did what Manoah asked, and his angel came back to the woman while she was sitting in the field. Her husband Manoah was not with her, 10 so she ran at once and told him, "Look! The man who came to me the other day has appeared to me again." 11 Manoah got up and followed his wife. He went to the man and asked, "Are you the man who talked to my wife?" "Yes," he answered. 12 Then Manoah said, "Now then, when your words come true, what must the boy do? What kind of a life must he lead?" 13 The Lord's angel answered, "Your wife must be sure to do everything that I have told her. 14 She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine; she must not drink any wine or beer, or eat any forbidden food. She must do everything that I have told her." 15 Not knowing that it was the Lord's angel, Manoah said to him, "Please do not go yet. Let us cook a young goat for you." But the angel said, "If I do stay, I will not eat your food. But if you want to prepare it, burn it as an offering to the Lord." 17 Manoah replied, "Tell us your name, so that we can honor you when your words come true." 18 The angel asked, "Why do you want to know my name? It is a name of wonder." 19 So Manoah took a young goat and some grain, and offered them on the rock altar to the Lord who works wonders. 20 While the flames were going up from the altar, Manoah and his wife saw the Lord's angel go up toward heaven in the flames. Manoah realized then that the man had been the Lord's angel, and he and his wife threw themselves face downward on the ground. They never saw the angel again. 22 Manoah said to his wife, "We are sure to die, because we have seen God!" 23 But his wife answered, "If the Lord had wanted to kill us, he would not have accepted our offerings; he would not have shown us all this or told us such things at this time." 24 The woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson. The child grew and the Lord blessed him. 25 And the Lord's power began to strengthen him while he was between Zorah and Eshtaol in the Camp of Dan.
1 One day Samson went down to Timnah, where he noticed a certain young Philistine woman. 2 He went back home and told his father and mother, "There is a Philistine woman down at Timnah who caught my attention. Get her for me; I want to marry her." 3 But his father and mother asked him, "Why do you have to go to those heathen Philistines to get a wife? Can't you find someone in our own clan, among all our people?" But Samson told his father, "She is the one I want you to get for me. I like her." 4 His parents did not know that it was the Lord who was leading Samson to do this, for the Lord was looking for a chance to fight the Philistines. At this time the Philistines were ruling Israel. 5 So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother. As they were going through the vineyards there, he heard a young lion roaring. 6 Suddenly the power of the Lord made Samson strong, and he tore the lion apart with his bare hands, as if it were a young goat. But he did not tell his parents what he had done. 7 Then he went and talked to the young woman, and he liked her. 8 A few days later Samson went back to marry her. On the way he left the road to look at the lion he had killed, and he was surprised to find a swarm of bees and some honey inside the dead body. 9 He scraped the honey out into his hands and ate it as he walked along. Then he went to his father and mother and gave them some. They ate it, but Samson did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the dead body of a lion. 10 His father went to the woman's house, and Samson gave a banquet there. This was a custom among the young men. 11 When the Philistines saw him, they sent thirty young men to stay with him. 12 Samson said to them, "Let me tell you a riddle. I'll bet each one of you a piece of fine linen and a change of fine clothes that you can't tell me its meaning before the seven days of the wedding feast are over." "Tell us your riddle," they said. "Let's hear it." 14 He said, "Out of the eater came something to eat; Out of the strong came something sweet." Three days later they had still not figured out what the riddle meant. 15 On the fourth day they said to Samson's wife, "Trick your husband into telling us what the riddle means. If you don't, we'll set fire to your father's house and burn you with it. You two invited us so that you could rob us, didn't you?" 16 So Samson's wife went to him in tears and said, "You don't love me! You just hate me! You told my friends a riddle and didn't tell me what it means!" He said, "Look, I haven't even told my father and mother. Why should I tell you?" 17 She cried about it for the whole seven days of the feast. But on the seventh day he told her what the riddle meant, for she nagged him so about it. Then she told the Philistines. 18 So on the seventh day, before Samson went into the bedroom, the men of the city said to him, "What could be sweeter than honey? What could be stronger than a lion?" Samson replied, "If you hadn't been plowing with my cow, You wouldn't know the answer now." 19 Suddenly the power of the Lord made him strong, and he went down to Ashkelon, where he killed thirty men, stripped them, and gave their fine clothes to the men who had solved the riddle. After that, he went back home, furious about what had happened, 20 and his wife was given to the man that had been his best man at the wedding.
1 Some time later Samson went to visit his wife during the wheat harvest and took her a young goat. He told her father, "I want to go to my wife's room." But he wouldn't let him go in. 2 He told Samson, "I really thought that you hated her, so I gave her to your friend. But her younger sister is prettier, anyway. You can have her, instead." 3 Samson said, "This time I'm not going to be responsible for what I do to the Philistines!" 4 So he went and caught three hundred foxes. Two at a time, he tied their tails together and put torches in the knots. 5 Then he set fire to the torches and turned the foxes loose in the Philistine wheat fields. In this way he burned up not only the wheat that had been harvested but also the wheat that was still in the fields. The olive orchards were also burned. 6 When the Philistines asked who had done this, they learned that Samson had done it because his father-in-law, a man from Timnah, had given Samson's wife to a friend of Samson's. So the Philistines went and burned the woman to death and burned down her father's house. 7 Samson told them, "So this is how you act! I swear that I won't stop until I pay you back!" 8 He attacked them fiercely and killed many of them. Then he went and stayed in the cave in the cliff at Etam. 9 The Philistines came and camped in Judah, and attacked the town of Lehi. 10 The men of Judah asked them, "Why are you attacking us?" They answered, "We came to take Samson prisoner and to treat him as he treated us." 11 So these three thousand men of Judah went to the cave in the cliff at Etam and said to Samson, "Don't you know that the Philistines are our rulers? What have you done to us?" He answered, "I did to them just what they did to me." 12 They told him, "We have come here to tie you up, so we can hand you over to them." Samson said, "Give me your word that you won't kill me yourselves." 13 "All right," they said, "we are only going to tie you up and hand you over to them. We won't kill you." So they tied him up with two new ropes and brought him back from the cliff. 14 When he got to Lehi, the Philistines came running toward him, shouting at him. Suddenly the power of the Lord made him strong, and he broke the ropes around his arms and hands as if they were burnt thread. 15 Then he found a jawbone of a donkey that had recently died. He reached down and picked it up, and killed a thousand men with it. 16 So Samson sang, "With the jawbone of a donkey I killed a thousand men; With the jawbone of a donkey I piled them up in piles." 17 After that, he threw the jawbone away. The place where this happened was named Ramath Lehi. 18 Then Samson became very thirsty, so he called to the Lord and said, "You gave me this great victory; am I now going to die of thirst and be captured by these heathen Philistines?" 19 Then God opened a hollow place in the ground there at Lehi, and water came out of it. Samson drank it and began to feel much better. So the spring was named Hakkore; it is still there at Lehi. 20 Samson led Israel for twenty years while the Philistines ruled the land.
27 "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If anyone hits you on one cheek, let him hit the other one too; if someone takes your coat, let him have your shirt as well. 30 Give to everyone who asks you for something, and when someone takes what is yours, do not ask for it back. 31 Do for others just what you want them to do for you. 32 "If you love only the people who love you, why should you receive a blessing? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you receive a blessing? Even sinners do that! 34 And if you lend only to those from whom you hope to get it back, why should you receive a blessing? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount! 35 No! Love your enemies and do good to them; lend and expect nothing back. You will then have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High God. For he is good to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36 Be merciful just as your Father is merciful. 37 "Do not judge others, and God will not judge you; do not condemn others, and God will not condemn you; forgive others, and God will forgive you. 38 Give to others, and God will give to you. Indeed, you will receive a full measure, a generous helping, poured into your hands - all that you can hold. The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you." 39 And Jesus told them this parable: "One blind man cannot lead another one; if he does, both will fall into a ditch. 40 No pupils are greater than their teacher; but all pupils, when they have completed their training, will be like their teacher. 41 "Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but pay no attention to the log in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, "Please, brother, let me take that speck out of your eye,' yet cannot even see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. 43 "A healthy tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a poor tree bear good fruit. 44 Every tree is known by the fruit it bears; you do not pick figs from thorn bushes or gather grapes from bramble bushes. 45 A good person brings good out of the treasure of good things in his heart; a bad person brings bad out of his treasure of bad things. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 46 "Why do you call me, "Lord, Lord,' and yet don't do what I tell you? 47 Anyone who comes to me and listens to my words and obeys them - I will show you what he is like. 48 He is like a man who, in building his house, dug deep and laid the foundation on rock. The river flooded over and hit that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But anyone who hears my words and does not obey them is like a man who built his house without laying a foundation; when the flood hit that house it fell at once - and what a terrible crash that was!"
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