Read the Bible | April 6th
Samson Defeats the Philistines
 After some days, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife with a young goat. And he said, “I will go in to my wife in the chamber.” But her father would not allow him to go in.  And her father said, “I really thought that you utterly hated her, so I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister more beautiful than she? Please take her instead.”  And Samson said to them, “This time I shall be innocent in regard to the Philistines, when I do them harm.”  So Samson went and caught 300 foxes and took torches. And he turned them tail to tail and put a torch between each pair of tails.  And when he had set fire to the torches, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines and set fire to the stacked grain and the standing grain, as well as the olive orchards.  Then the Philistines said, “Who has done this?” And they said, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife and given her to his companion.” And the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire.  And Samson said to them, “If this is what you do, I swear I will be avenged on you, and after that I will quit.”  And he struck them hip and thigh with a great blow, and he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam.
 Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah and made a raid on Lehi.  And the men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” They said, “We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him as he did to us.”  Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?” And he said to them, “As they did to me, so have I done to them.”  And they said to him, “We have come down to bind you, that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines.” And Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not attack me yourselves.”  They said to him, “No; we will only bind you and give you into their hands. We will surely not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock.
 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands.  And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men.  And Samson said,
“With the jawbone of a donkey,
heaps upon heaps,
with the jawbone of a donkey
have I struck down a thousand men.”
 As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone out of his hand. And that place was called Ramath-lehi.
 And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the LORD and said, “You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?”  And God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came out from it. And when he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore the name of it was called En-hakkore; it is at Lehi to this day.  And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years. (ESV)
Samson and Delilah
 Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her.  The Gazites were told, “Samson has come here.” And they surrounded the place and set an ambush for him all night at the gate of the city. They kept quiet all night, saying, “Let us wait till the light of the morning; then we will kill him.”  But Samson lay till midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts, and pulled them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron.
 After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.  And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.”  So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you.”
 Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.”  Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she bound him with them.  Now she had men lying in ambush in an inner chamber. And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he snapped the bowstrings, as a thread of flax snaps when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known.
 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Behold, you have mocked me and told me lies. Please tell me how you might be bound.”  And he said to her, “If they bind me with new ropes that have not been used, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.”  So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And the men lying in ambush were in an inner chamber. But he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread.
 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you might be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and fasten it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.”  So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his head and wove them into the web. And she made them tight with the pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled away the pin, the loom, and the web.
 And she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies.”  And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death.  And he told her all his heart, and said to her, “A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.”
 When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up again, for he has told me all his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands.  She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him.  And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him.  And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison.  But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.
The Death of Samson
 Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.”  And when the people saw him, they praised their god. For they said, “Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us.”  And when their hearts were merry, they said, “Call Samson, that he may entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. They made him stand between the pillars.  And Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.”  Now the house was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about 3,000 men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained.
 Then Samson called to the LORD and said, “O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.”  And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other.  And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life.  Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had judged Israel twenty years. (ESV)
Micah and the Levite
 There was a man of the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Micah.  And he said to his mother, “The 1,100 pieces of silver that were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse, and also spoke it in my ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it.” And his mother said, “Blessed be my son by the LORD.”  And he restored the 1,100 pieces of silver to his mother. And his mother said, “I dedicate the silver to the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a carved image and a metal image. Now therefore I will restore it to you.”  So when he restored the money to his mother, his mother took 200 pieces of silver and gave it to the silversmith, who made it into a carved image and a metal image. And it was in the house of Micah.  And the man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and household gods, and ordained one of his sons, who became his priest.  In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
 Now there was a young man of Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.  And the man departed from the town of Bethlehem in Judah to sojourn where he could find a place. And as he journeyed, he came to the hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah.  And Micah said to him, “Where do you come from?” And he said to him, “I am a Levite of Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to sojourn where I may find a place.”  And Micah said to him, “Stay with me, and be to me a father and a priest, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year and a suit of clothes and your living.” And the Levite went in.  And the Levite was content to dwell with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons.  And Micah ordained the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.  Then Micah said, “Now I know that the LORD will prosper me, because I have a Levite as priest.”
Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-Two
 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go.  And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.  Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.  Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road.  Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’  And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you.  And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house.  Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you.  Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’  But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say,  ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’  I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
Woe to Unrepentant Cities
 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.  But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you.  And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.
 “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
The Return of the Seventy-Two
 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”  And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.  Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Jesus Rejoices in the Father's Will
 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.  All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!  For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”