THE QUICK BROWN FOX
by Terry Weide
The quick brown fox
Jumps over the lazy dogs.
He leads them through a
Valley of silver pines
That shiver in the wind.
He skips across fields of
Green wheat and creeks of ice.
The barks from the pack fade.
Slowing, he lets the dogs
Then grins back–
Sticking his tongue out.
Circling them through
Brown grass and stick tights,
He comes from behind and
Does it again.
The quick brown fox
Jumps over the lazy dogs.
(Do you remember the first and last sentence from typing class? — every letter of the alphabet!)
Judges 15 (New International Version)
Samson’s Vengeance on the Philistines
1 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 thoroughly hated her,” he said, “that I gave her to your friend. 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 friend.”
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 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.
“Vengeance, retaliation, retribution, revenge are deceitful brothers; vile, beguiling demons promising justifiable compensation to a pained soul for his losses. Yet in truth they craftily fester away all else of worth remaining.”
–Richelle E. Goodrich, The Tarishe Curse
9 The Philistines went up and camped in Judah, spreading out near Lehi. 10 The men 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.”
Not quite the way to love God and love your neighbor . . .
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 upon him in power.
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.
Samson was unique among the judges because he was a “one-man army” against the Philistines. Other Judges of Israel led armies against their enemies, but Samson fought alone.
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.”
Samson’s bold declaration of victory has a poetic touch that is difficult to render in translation. One effort goes like this: “With the jawbone of an ass I have piled them in a mass!”
17 When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was called Ramath Lehi (that is, Jawbone Hill).
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?”
Isaiah 41:17 (NRSV)
When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
Revelation 21:6 (NRSV)
“It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.”
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 (that is, Caller’s Spring), and it is still there in Lehi.
“Be of good courage, fainting warrior! The God who made thee, and has used thee, knows thy frame, and what thou needest before thou askest.”
–F. B. Meyer
One cannot escape the many similarities in the stories of Samson and Jesus. Both had their births foretold by angels. Both did mighty things. Both were betrayed for money by someone they loved. Both were mocked and beaten, and finally died in an act to save their people. Of course, the differences also loom large, for Jesus is perfect and Samson was not! But let us “look with good intentions” on Samson and see Jesus in his story. This song makes a connection so nicely: Samson calls out for water, and Jesus offers himself as Living Water.
HERE is “All Who Are Thirsty” by Kutless.
20 Samson led Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.
My dear friend Sue expands on the idea of finding “wells of replenishment for everyday weariness” in this entry of her blog, May 1st Everlasting. Enjoy it HERE !