Job recalls his creation by God (Job 10:8-10:17)

“Your hands fashioned and made me.

Now you turn and destroy me.

Remember that you fashioned me like clay.

Will you turn me to dust again?

Did you not pour me out like milk?

Did you not curdle me like cheese?

You clothed me with skin and flesh.

You knit me together with bones and sinews.

You granted me life.

You granted me steadfast love.

Your care has preserved my spirit.

Yet these things you hide in your heart.

I know that this was your purpose.

If I sin, you watch me.

You do not acquit me of my iniquity.

If I am wicked,

Woe to me!

If I am righteous,

I cannot lift up my head.

I am filled with disgrace.

Look upon my affliction.

Bold as a lion,

You hunt me.

You repeat your exploits against me.

You renew your witnesses against me.

You increase your vexation toward me.

You bring fresh troops against me.”

Job used very descriptive terms to explain his creation by God. The concept of the hands and eyes of God were a common theme among these biblical writers who were talking about a spiritual God. The God who created Job was now trying to destroy him. Job was like clay and would return to dust. He could be poured out like milk or curdled like cheese. His skin was like clothes and his bones were knit together. God had given Job life and love. However, God’s heart is hidden. Job knew that if he sinned or was wicked, he would not be acquitted. He could not lift his head because of his disgrace and affliction. He knew that God would come after him like a lion, with many witnesses and fresh troops.

A poem about Judas Maccabeus (1 Macc 3:3-3:9)

“He extended the glory of his people.

He put on his breastplate like a giant.

He tied on his armor of war.

He waged battles.

He protected the camp by his sword.

He was like a lion in his deeds.

He was like a lion’s cub roaring for prey.

He searched out

He pursued those who broke the law.

He burned those who troubled his people.

Lawbreakers shrank back for fear of him.

All the evildoers were confounded.

Deliverance prospered by his hand.

He embittered many kings.

He made Jacob glad by his deeds.

His memory is blessed forever.

He went through the cities of Judah.

He destroyed the ungodly out of the land.

Thus he turned away wrath from Israel.

He was renowned to the ends of the earth.

He gathered in those who were perishing.”

Somehow this poem about Judas Maccabeus is here at the beginning of his adventures, and not at the end. He was the commander of the army of revolutionaries in Judea. He was like a giant of his time. Like a giant, he wore the armor and breastplate of a fighter waging wars. He was like lion or lion’s cub as he went after his prey. He searched out those who broke the Mosaic Law. He made many people fear him, but he made the memory of Jacob proud. He destroyed the ungodly of the land so that the wrath of God was turned away from Israel. He became renowned to the ends of the earth.

The Bethel prophet saves the body of the man of God (1 Kings 13:26-13:32)

“When the prophet, who had brought the man of God back from his way, heard of it, he said. ‘It is the man of God, who disobeyed the word of Yahweh. Therefore Yahweh has given him to the lion, which has torn him up and killed him, according to the word which Yahweh spoke to him.’ Then he said to his sons. ‘Saddle a donkey for me.’ So they saddled one. He went and found his body thrown in the road. The donkey and the lion were standing beside the body. The lion had not eaten the body or attacked the donkey. The prophet took up the body of the man of God. He laid it on the donkey. He brought it back to the city, to mourn and to bury him. He laid the body in his own grave. They mourned over him, saying. ‘Alas, my brother!’ After he had buried him, he said to his sons. ‘When I die, bury me in this grave in which the man of God is buried. Lay my bones beside his bones. For the saying that he proclaimed by the word of Yahweh against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.’”

When the old prophet from Bethel heard about the mauling of the man of God from Judah, he said that it was God’s will since he had disobeyed Yahweh. Once again, he has his sons saddle up a donkey. He then went out and found the dead body of the man of God. Inexplicitly, the lion and the donkey were just standing there. For no apparent reason, the lion did not try to eat either the man or the donkey. What happened to the lion after he left is not clear. So this local Bethel prophet put the body on a donkey. Then he brought him back to his town. He then put the body in his own grave. He told his sons that he wanted his body buried beside the body of the man of God from Judah. This good man had proclaimed the word of Yahweh against the altar at Bethel and all the high places in Samaria. This is the first mention of this word Samaria. Obviously it comes from a time when they called this area Samaria, and not just northern Israel.

Samson’s riddle (Judg 14:10-14:20)

“He went down to the woman. Samson made a feast there as the young people were accustomed to do. When the people saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him. Samson said to them. ‘Let me now put a riddle to you. If you can explain it to men within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty festive garments. But if you cannot explain it to me, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty festive garments.’ So they said to him. ‘Ask your riddle. Let us hear it.’ He said to them.

‘Out of the eater came something to eat.

Out of the strong came something sweet’

But for three days they could not explain the riddle.”

Apparently, they had a week long wedding festival, more or less a drinking party with at least 30 companions. Samson proposed his riddle about the eater and something strong and sweet. They had 7 days to figure it out. The winner got 30 festive garments. Samson would get 30, but the others would get 1 each from Samson. For the first 3 days there was no answer.

“On the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife. ‘Coax your husband to explain the riddle to us or we burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us here to impoverish us?’ So Samson’s wife wept before him, and said. ‘You hate me. You do not really love me. You asked a riddle to my people, but you have not explained it to me.’ He said to her. ‘Look, I have not told my father or my mother. Why should I tell you?’ She wept before him the seven days that their feast lasted. Because she nagged him, on the seventh day he told her. Then she explained the riddle to her people. The men of the town said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down.

‘What is sweeter than honey?

What is stronger than a lion?’

Then he said to them,

‘If you had not plowed with my heifer,

You would not have found out my riddle.’”

Samson’s wife wanted him to explain the riddle to her. The 30 companions had threatened to burn her and her father’s house if she did not tell them. She cried and nagged Samson from the 4th to the 7th day. Then on the 7th day he explained it to her. She went in turn and explained how to solve the riddle to the companions. However, Samson realized that it was his wife who gave them the answer proclaiming that they had plowed with his heifer.

“Then the Spirit of Yahweh rushed on him. He went down to Ashkelon. There he killed thirty men of the town. He took their spoil. He gave the festive garments to those who had explained the riddle. In hot anger he went back to his father’s house. Samson’s wife was given to his companion, who had been his best man.”

Don’t make Samson mad. He went to Ashkelon, which was a chief Philistine city. There he killed 30 Philistine men and took their festive garments so that he could give them to the 30 companions at Timnah. He then went home and gave his wife to his best man. I guess that this was not a long marriage, just about a week long.