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Power of the Flame

Samson's ministry as a judge was both colorful and tragic. This novel will teach you much about the religion of the Philistines and how their beliefs intertwined with the story of Samson. This novel covers the last 20 years of the Philistine captivity.

Category - Biblical Novels

Chapter 25

The Ode to Samson

 Early the next morning, a rooster notified the sun that it was time to rise. Roosters are confident that the sun will always obey them if they persist. And they are persistent. No one can dissuade them from their calling, though many have been martyred for the cause.

The women rose early to grind wheat and make bread for the day. Shortly after the sun rose, we enjoyed a good breakfast. But being anxious to return to Zorah, I explained to Boaz that it was urgent that I leave quickly. So after expressing my thanks to him and his wife for their good hospitality, I was soon on my way back through the mountain along the ridge overlooking the Valley of Sorek.

As I approached the camp of Israel, Pegasus slowed to a walk. I was surprised by the silence, for I expected much activity. “I wonder if the camp has decided to escape or to move to a new location,” I said to Pegasus.

“I do not think they were so lucky,” Dogma said, holding his nose to the wind. “I smell blood.”

Pegasus broke into a canter, and we soon reached the scene that had been Israel’s camp just a day earlier. It was a scene of carnage, and it appeared that many Israelites had been killed, for we could see dead bodies scattered on the floor of the valley. Philistine soldiers were walking amidst the dead, perhaps to kill any who lay wounded.

“It appears that there was a battle last night,” Pegasus observed. “It is doubtful that the Israelites would have attacked the Philistine army, so I suspect that the Philistines mounted a surprise attack on the Israelite camp last night.”

The ridge at the Rock of Etam was nearly deserted as we walked past it. When the few remaining Philistine soldiers saw our approach, they grabbed their weapons and looked at me with suspicion. We stopped and waited for them to come to us.

“I am just a pilgrim passing through,” I assured them. “I am from a far country. I did not know that there was a battle being fought here. I am unarmed. I am not a soldier, nor am I a threat to you.”

The soldiers seemed to relax, and I could see that they were satisfied with my explanation.

“It appears that you have won a victory today,” I ventured. “You are the only ones left on the battlefield.”

“Yes, we killed about 4,000 of these rebels,” a soldier replied. 123 “The rest have run away like dogs.”

Dogma growled in a low voice.

“They were not like my dog,” I said with a slight smile. “He was born in Ashkelon, so it seems that he is braver than Israelite dogs.”

The soldier laughed. “You may go,” he said. “Let him pass,” he commanded the others.

We passed through the camp and continued down the road toward Zorah. Before an hour had passed, we arrived at the path leading to the house of Manoah. But before I could turn off the road, Dogma stopped and perked up his ears.

“I hear the sound of a harp,” he said, “and a whiff of love has come my way.”

“I hear nothing,” I said, “but I trust your ears and nose. Let us find the source of this music and see who loves who and why.”

Dogma trotted up the road, and I followed on Pegasus. Presently, we came to Samson’s tomb, where I saw a man engrossed in great contemplation while strumming on a harp.

“Nathan!” I shouted in a surprised voice.

Nathan looked up. “Anava! Pegasus! Shalom, my friends! And who is this dog?”

“This is Dogma. He was Eglah’s guardian in brighter days. When she was killed and her house burned to the ground, we inherited him. He has left a pawprint on my heart, and he is now a Kingdom dog. He heard your music, smelled the love, and led us here.”

“I am so glad to meet you,” Nathan said.

“The pleasure is mine,” Dogma said.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“I came to pay my respects to my friend, Samson,” he replied. “I have been sitting here, inspired by the breeze in the trees. I seemed to have heard a voice singing, and so I have composed a song to honor Samson.”

“I would very much like to hear it,” I said. “Samson’s stormy life has come to an end, but I know that in the end his spiritual eyes were opened. Though others overpowered him, he finally saw the light, and so he was the last to overcome his own flesh.”

“Then here is my Ode to Samson,” Nathan said, positioning his fingers to play his harp. “I will play it for you on My Father’s Tear.”

Things look different now to me.

I never saw what now I see.

Eyes are closed, spirit free,

Things look different now to me.

Looking over the grassy plain,

Vineyards full and fields with grain,

Now I have a heavenly view,

A change of eyes—old for new.

Blindness left when blindness came,

Never will I be the same,

The gift of strength became my curse,

Anger only made things worse.

Love was never good to me,

Never found its golden key,

Despising simple reality,

Great deeds hid greater joys from me.

Things look different now to me.

I never saw what now I see.

Eyes are closed, spirit free,

Things look different now to me.

“That is beautiful,” I said. “The wind will remember this song, and I believe it expresses the spirit of Samson today.”

“For all the turmoil that Samson endured in his calling as Israel’s judge,” Pegasus said, “his one joy was that he had great friends who could see beyond his flesh and know him by the spirit.”

Together we walked back to the house of Manoah, where Naamah, Azzah, and Sipporah greeted us. Naamah welcomed Nathan and invited him to stay the night, or as long as he wished to stay. It was comforting to be surrounded by Samson’s friends, for though we all mourned his weakness, we all rejoiced in the inner strength that he had found in the end.


Footnotes

  1. 1 Samuel 4:2