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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
We passed through the city gate, waved to the guard, and crossed the bridge. Dogma was sitting at the crossroad, waiting for us under the shade of the “Fox Farm” sign.
“Shalom, Master Dogma,” I said. “What news do you have for us?”
“I want to show you something,” Dogma answered. “May I walk with you for a while?”
“Yes, of course, my friend.” We turned toward the east, following the road along the Brook Sorek for about an hour. When we came to the edge of the last vineyard not far from the ridge, Dogma stopped and put his nose into the air for a moment. “This is the place,” he said. “Follow me.”
We turned left off the road into the tall grass next to the vineyard until we came to a mound under a lone oak, and Sippore flew to it to observe from a prominent branch. Upon drawing closer, the mound turned out to be the dead body of a lion, now partially decayed. Flies buzzed everywhere, as they hollowed out the dried carcass.
“Come,” I commanded. A large fly suspended itself in the air near my ear. “What happened here?” I asked the fly.
A tiny voice answered, “A strong man killed this lion with his bare hands. We are returning him to the earth as our lord commands.”
“Who is your lord?” I asked.
“Beelzebub,” the fly answered, “the god of Ekron, 28 the lord of the flies.”
“He is known as Beelzebul in Israel,” I said, “the lord of the dunghill.” 29
“Yes, he is that, too,” the fly answered. “Our purpose is to return all dead things to the earth in order that the land may be cleansed. We do so by eating that which is set before us.”
“Do it quickly,” I answered, “for the bees are coming when you are finished.”
“I will spread the word,” the fly said as he took to the air in flight.
“I see that you speak fly,” Dogma observed, “but he spoke too softly for me to hear, even though my ears are keen. What did he say?”
“Samson killed this lion,” I replied, “when he and his father were on their way to your house to negotiate for Eglah’s hand in marriage. There is more to this story than meets the eye, for it prophesies of things yet to come.”
A lone bee then landed on my shoulder. “What says the word of the Lord?” I asked it.
“What will bee will bee,” it replied in a small voice. “Deborah is my name. I am a scout, and I search for a new place to build a colony for the Kingdom. This dead lion is an unlikely place, but our Lord has sought a resting place here under this tree.”
“Is a dead lion not an unclean place to make honey?” I asked.
“Deborah must bring His dabar to the unclean world,” the bee explained. “This revelation can come only through the body of a dead lion. I do not question my Master’s will. I only carry His word. It is who I am, and I do what I was created to do.”
Turning to Dogma, I explained, “Deborah means bee in Hebrew, and the name derives from the root word dabar, to speak a word. Bees are prophets whose honey enlightens the eyes of the faithful and whose stings teach the lawless ones to be obedient. They teach judges—sometimes by sharing honey and at other times by the sting of the law—to judge the people and cleanse the land.”
“The word must go into unclean places in order to cleanse them,” the bee added. “The whole earth has been polluted by blood; all is cleansed by the honey of the word, as long as it is received by faith and thanksgiving. If it is eaten only to satisfy a fleshly appetite, then it will do nothing to cleanse the heart. Yet when honey is eaten with even a pinch of faith, it has the power to transform the heart.”
“Thanks, Deborah, for your enlightening word,” I said.
“It is always my pleasure to impart the word from my Master,” came the reply. “Yet before you leave, I have a request for you. Will you consecrate this ground so that it may be used for my Master’s good purpose? Much guilt has been seeded here and watered by fear. If this is not resolved in accordance with the laws of creation, the fruit of this tree will be bitter, and our honey, though sweet to the taste, will become bitter in one’s stomach. Make clean the unclean. Innocent blood has been shed here. I carry the knowledge of the law, but I lack the ability to implement it.”
“Yes, of course,” I replied. “Innocent blood pollutes the land, and the land can be cleansed only by innocent blood.” I took out my flask of living water and gave it to Sipporah, while I took the flask of wine from breakfast. Each of us drank from both vessels. We stood together for a moment, facing the lion and the tree, and I declared, “I declare that this wine is innocent blood that has the power to cleanse the land.”
“And I declare that this is living water that has power over death, bringing life, healing, and restoration,” Sipporah added.
“Let this land be consecrated for the Creator’s use,” I said, “and let it be cleansed of all sin that has been deposited here.”
Sipporah then walked to the left, and I to the right, each pouring the contents of a flask in a circle around the lion and the tree. We met and passed each other on the far side of the consecrated plot of ground and continued walking in a circle until we met again at the original spot. The holy ground was thus consecrated with water and wine. Then taking the remaining bread which I had brought from the tavern, I broke it and gave half to Sipporah. Each of us then broke it again, eating half of what was in our hands and feeding the ground with the other half.
“Let this be a covenant of peace between us and this hallowed place—blood for blood to satisfy the law; bread for bread to unify us in a new covenant. O great Creator of heaven and earth, forgive Your people, whom You have redeemed, and do not reckon the guilt of innocent blood in our midst.” 30
“My eyes no longer see blood polluting this ground,” Dogma added. 31 “It is finished.” 32
The tree clapped its hands as the breath of God blew through it. Much is spoken in this world, sometimes using words, but not all language is verbal or tonal. Much that is spoken in nature can be perceived only by little-known senses.
Trees speak a silent tongue from the heart that expresses emotion with motion. “I am healed,” the oak said wordlessly. “I am healed.” Its words were few, but weighty and twice spoken. Trees are moved by the breath of God, and when they speak, all would do well to listen.
“Thank-you and Shalom,” the bee said. “We may now begin to cleanse all things in preparation for deliverance and restoration.”
We returned to the main road, and we turned our faces toward Zorah. “I must return to my house,” Dogma said, preparing to part from us. “Perhaps we will meet again soon.”
“I am confident that we will, my friend,” I replied thoughtfully. “Shalom!”
Dogma trotted west, and we turned east toward the ridge that loomed above us. As we climbed the hill, we could see the Philistine town of Sorek on our right, through which the brook flowed, as it wound its way from distant hills toward the plain. The road soon curved to the left toward Zorah, and soon we reached the top of the ridge.
But then we stepped suddenly through the veil of time, and a tingling sensation rippled softly through our bodies.
“We have passed many days in just a moment,” I commented.
“But we are at the same location,” Pegasus added.
“I hear a donkey cart approaching,” Pleiades said.