1 Then the men of Ephraim cried out, went by to the north, and said to Jephthah, “Why did you pass by to fight against the sons of Ammon and did not call us to go with you? We will burn your house down around you with fire.” 2 And Jephthah said to them, “I and my people were engaged in intense fighting with the sons of Ammon; and I called you, but you did not deliver me from their hands. 3 So when I saw that you were not a savior, I put my life in my hands and passed on to the sons of Ammon; and the Lord delivered them into my hand. Why then did you come to fight against me today?”
4 Now Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead and went to war against Ephraim. Gilead defeated Ephraim, since those of Ephraim who escaped said, “You of Gilead are in the midst of Ephraim and in the midst of Manasseh.” 5 Gilead seized the fords of the River Jordan needed to enter Ephraim. And those of Ephraim who escaped said to the men of Gilead, “Let us cross over.” And the men of Gilead questioned, “Are you not of Ephraim?” If one said, “No,” 6 they then said to him, “Say the word ‘stachys’!” If he was unable to repeat the word in the same way, they seized him and killed him at the ford of the River Jordan. At that time, forty-two thousand from Ephraim fell.
7 Jephthah judged Israel sixty years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in his city in Gilead.
8 After him, Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. 9 He had thirty sons and thirty daughters, and he sent away thirty daughters in marriage, and brought in thirty daughters from without for his sons. He judged Israel seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried at Bethlehem.
11 After him, Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel. He judged Israel ten years. 12 And Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon in the country of Zebulun.
13 After him, Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy colts. He judged Israel eight years. 15 Then Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the mountains of the Amalekites.
1 Again the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.
The Birth of Samson
2 Now there was a certain man from Zorah, from the tribe of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and could not give birth. 3 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Indeed now, you are barren and have not given birth, but you shall conceive a son. 4 Now therefore, be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, and do not eat anything unclean. 5 For behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”
6 So the woman went in and told her husband, saying, “A Man of God came to me, and His appearance was like the appearance of an Angel of God, very frightening. But I did not ask Him where He was from, and He did not tell me His name. 7 And He said to me, ‘Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. Now drink no wine or strong drink, and do not eat anything unclean, for the child shall be holy to God from the womb to the day of his death.’ ” 8 Then Manoah prayed to the Lord and said, “Lord Adonai, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born.”
9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the Angel of God came to the woman again as she was sitting in the field, but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 Then the woman ran in haste and told her husband, and said to him, “Look, the Man who came to me the other day has just now appeared to me!” 11 So Manoah arose and followed his wife. When he came to the Man, he said to Him, “Are You the Man who spoke to my wife?” And the Angel said, “I am.” 12 Manoah said, “Now let Your words come to pass! What is to be the decision regarding the boy and his activities?”
13 So the Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “The woman will guard herself from everything I have told her. 14 She may not eat anything that comes from the vine of wine, and let her not drink wine or similar strong drink, nor eat anything unclean. All that I commanded her, let her observe.” 15 Then Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, “Let us delay You here, and we will prepare a young goat for You.” 16 And the Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Though you delay me, I will not eat your bread. But if you offer a burnt offering, you must offer it to the Lord”; for Manoah did not know he was the Angel of the Lord. 17 Then Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, “What is Your name, so when Your words come to pass we may honor You?” 18 And the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask My name, is it extraordinary?”
19 So Manoah took the young goat and the sacrifice, and offered it upon the rock to the Lord. And the Angel wrought a distinct work, while Manoah and his wife were looking on. 20 And it so happened when the flame went up above the altar toward heaven, that the Angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell upon their faces to the ground. 21 When the Angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and his wife, Manoah knew this to be the Angel of the Lord. 22 And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God!” 23 But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a meat offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have made us hear such things as these at this time.”
24 So the woman bore a son and called his name Samson; and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to proceed out with him at the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.
Samson Takes a Philistine Wife
1 Now Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the foreigners. 2 So he went up and told his father and mother, saying, “I have seen a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife.” 3 Then his father and mother said to him, “Are there not daughters of your brethren, or a woman among all my people? Must you go and get a wife from the uncircumcised foreigners?” And Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.”
4 But his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord—that He was seeking vengeance against the Philistines. For at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel. 5 So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother and came to the vineyards of Timnah. And behold, a young lion came roaring against him. 6 And the Spirit of the Lord leapt upon Samson, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hands. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.
7 Then they went down and talked with the woman, and she was pleasing to Samson’s eyes. 8 After a few days, when he returned to get her, he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion. And behold, a swarm of bees and some honey were in the mouth of the lion. 9 He took some of it in his hands and went along, eating. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them, and they also ate. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey out of the mouth of the lion.
10 So his father went down to the woman. And Samson gave a party there for seven days, as young men do. 11 And when they saw him, they brought thirty guests and they were with him. 12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me tell you a riddle. If you can correctly solve and explain it to me within the seven days of the party, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing. 13 But if you cannot explain it to me, then you shall give me thirty linen cloths and thirty changes of clothing.” And they said to him, “Tell the riddle; let us hear it.”
14 And he said to them:
“What meat comes forth from the eater,
And from the strong, sweetness?”
But three days passed by and they could not explain the riddle.
15 But on the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, “Now trick your husband so that he explains the riddle to you, or else we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Did you invite us to do us violence?” 16 Then Samson’s wife wept before him, and said, “You hate me! You do not love me! You told the sons of my people a riddle, but you have not explained it to me.” And Samson said to her, “If I have not explained it to my father or my mother, why should I explain it to you?” 17 Now she wept before him for seven days while their wedding banquet lasted. And on the seventh day he told her, because she annoyed him so much. Then she explained the riddle to the sons of her people. 18 And the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun rose:
“What is sweeter than honey?
What is stronger than a lion?”
And Samson said to them:
“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
You would not have come to learn my riddle!”
19 Then the Spirit of the Lord leapt upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and struck thirty of their men, took their apparel, and gave the changes of clothing to those who had explained the riddle. So Samson’s anger was aroused, and he went back up to his father’s house. 20 And the wife of Samson was given to one of his companions, one whom he called friend.
1 For the End, concerning Idithun; a psalm for Asaph.
2 With my voice I cried to the Lord,
With my voice to God, and He gave heed to me.
3 In the day of my affliction I sought out God
With my hands before Him by night,
And I was not deceived;
My soul refused to be comforted.
4 I remembered God and was glad;
I complained, and my spirit became discouraged.
5 I stayed awake through all the watches of the night;
I was troubled and did not speak.
6 I thought of the days of old,
And I remembered the eternal years; and I meditated.
7 By night I communed with my heart,
And my spirit searched.
8 Will the Lord cast me off unto the ages?
And will He be favorable no more?
9 Or will He cut off His mercy completely,
From generation to generation?
10 Or will God forget to be merciful?
Or will He in His wrath withhold His mercies?
33 God is far from the ungodly,
But He hears the prayers of the righteous.
34 Better is a small yield with the righteous
Than abundant fruits with the unrighteous.
35 Let the heart of a man think righteous things
That he may make his steps straight under God.
36 The eye that beholds good things gladdens the heart,
But a good report enriches the bones.
37 He who rejects instruction hates himself,
But he who gives heed to reproofs loves his soul.
38 The fear of God is instruction and wisdom,
And the beginning of glory will respond to it.
1 So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret,
2 and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets.
3 Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.
4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
5 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”
6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.
7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”
9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken;
10 and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”
11 So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.
Jesus Cleanses a Leper
(Matt. 8:1–4; Mark 1:40–45)
12 And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
13 Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him.
14 And He charged him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as a testimony to them, just as Moses commanded.”
15 However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities.
16 So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.