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AFTER A MODERN PAINTING BY F. VASARRI.
“And he did grind in the prison house.”—Jud., 16, 21.
HEN by Delilah's treachery Samson was at length
taken prisoner, the Philistines made his cap
ture the occasion of a great national rejoicing. “For they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us." They did not kill their prisoner; for that would have been to shorten their own triumph. They "put out his eyes.” Then they brought the disgraced, exhausted, and blinded giant down to Gaza, their chief city. Here he was cast into prison, bound "with fetters of brass” and compelled to toil as a slave in the prison house. He was put to the work for which asses or oxen were usually employed, dragging wearily round and round in an endless circle to turn one huge millstone upon another in grinding grain.
Legend tells us of his life amid this misery, jeered at and tormented by the Philistines, visited and mourned with by his aged father, Manoah. It tells also of Delilah's remorse and of her grief for her lover's sorrow. But of such matters the Bible makes no mention; having told sternly of Samson's folly, it leaves us to imagine his suffering, and his heartbreak,
and his shame.
FIRST SAMUEL XIV-JONATHAN'S DISOBEDIENCE
bearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow.
15 And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling.
16 And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and, behold, the multitude melted away, and they went on beating down one another.
17 Then said Saul unto the people that were with him, Number now, and see who is
from us. And when they had numbered, behold, Jonathan and his armourbearer were not there.
18 And Saul said unto Ahiah, Bring hither the ark of God. For the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel.
19 | And it came to pass while Saul talked unto the priest, that the noise that was in the host of the Philistines went on and increased: and Saul said unto the priest, Withdraw thine hand.
20 And Saul and all the people that were with him assembled themselves, and they came to the battle: and, behold, every man's sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great discomfiture.
21 Moreover the Hebrews that were with the Philistines before that time, which went up with them into the camp from the country round about, even they also turned to be with the Israelites that were with Saul and Jonathan.
22 Likewise all the men of Israel which had hid themselves in mount Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, even they also followed hard after them in the battle.
23 So the LORD saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over unto Beth-aven.
24 ( And the men of Israel were distressed that day: for Saul had adjured the people, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies. So none of the people tasted any food. .
25 And all they of the land came to a wood; and there was honey upon the ground
. 26 And when the people were come into the wood, behold, the honey dropped; but no man put his hand to his mouth: for the people feared the oath.
27 But Jonathan heard not when his father charged the people with the oath: wherefore he put forth the end of the rod that was in his hand, and dipped it in an honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened.
28 Then answered one of the people, and said, Thy father straitly charged the people with an oath, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food this day.
food this day. And the people were faint. 29 Then said Jonathan, My father hath troubled the land: see,
FIRST SAMUEL XIV-SAUL'S FEROCITY
I you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey.
30 How much more, if haply the people had eaten freely to-day of the spoil of their enemies which they found ? for had there not been now a much greater slaughter among the Philistines ?
31 And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon: and the people were very faint.
32 And the people flew upon the spoil, and took sheep, and oxen, and calves, and slew them on the ground: and the people did eat them with the blood.
33 | Then they told Saul, saying, Behold, the people sin against the Lord, in that they eat with the blood. And he said, Ye have transgressed: roll a great stone unto me this day.
34 And Saul said, Disperse yourselves among the people, and say unto them, Bring me hither every man his ox, and every man his sheep, and slay them here, and eat; and sin not against the Lord in eating with the blood. And all the people brought every man his ox with him that night, and slew them there.
35 And Saul built an altar unto the LORD: the same was the first altar that he built unto the LORD.
36 | And Saul said, Let us go down after the Philistines by night, and spoil them until the morning light, and let us not leave a man of them. And they said, Do whatsoever seemeth good unto thee. Then said the priest, Let us draw near hither unto God.
37 And Saul asked counsel of God, Shall I go down after the Philistines ? wilt thou deliver them into the hand of Israel? But he answered him not that day.
38 And Saul said, Draw ye near hither, all the chief of the people: and know and see wherein this sin hath been this day.
39 For as the LORD liveth, which saveth Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die. But there was not a man among all the people that answered him.
40 Then said he unto all Israel, Be ye on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side. And the people said unto Saul, Do what seemeth good unto thee.
41 Therefore Saul said unto the LORD God of Israel, Give a perfect lot.' And Saul and Jonathan were taken: but the people escaped.
42 And Saul said, Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son. And Jonathan was taken.
43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, Tell me what thou hast done. And Jonathan told him, and said, I did but taste a little honey with the end of the rod that was in mine hand, and, lo, I must die.
44 And Saul answered, God do so and more also: for thou shalt surely die, Jonathan.
The phrase "give a perfect lot" might also be translated, "Show the right.".