02 May 2010

May 2

Reference links:
Old Testament

Today we finish the story of Samson, and he does not become any more likable in the process. Samson went to try to sleep with the wife he abandoned. When he learned that her father had given her to another man, Samson decides that the best response is a combination of animal cruelty and property destruction:
Samson said, “This time I cannot be blamed for everything I am going to do to you Philistines.” Then he went out and caught 300 foxes. He tied their tails together in pairs, and he fastened a torch to each pair of tails. Then he lit the torches and let the foxes run through the grain fields of the Philistines. He burned all their grain to the ground, including the sheaves and the uncut grain. He also destroyed their vineyards and olive groves.
In response, the Philistines kill Samson's kind of wife and her family and attack the people of Judah until they give up Samson. They do, but Samson breaks free of his bonds and kills 1000 men with the jawbone of a recently killed donkey (so it was probably still all fleshy and toothy. Eww.).

Later, Samson destroys the city gates of Gaza when he is escaping the city after spending the night with a prostitute there. Yup, God's holy warrior Samson can sleep with prostitutes, and it is all okay with God.

Later Samson falls in love with another woman, Delilah. The ruler of the Philistines bribe her to tell them the secret of Samson's strength. So she tries to wheedle it out of him. We then see a series of events that show that Samson is a freaking idiot. Delilah asks Samson about his strength:
Please tell me what makes you so strong and what it would take to tie you up securely. [emphasis mine]
Okay, unless they were into that sort of thing, this request should have automatically raises Samson's flags. Now, he was not quite so stupid enough to give his secret away immediately. He lied to her three times. Each time, she tried what he said and called the Philistines to come take them. Each time he broke free. After all of this, after she tries to betray him three times, he tells her the truth: his hair is the source of his strength. How stupid is he? Does he really think she is not going to use that against him?

Of course, he gets captured by the Philistines, and they gouge his eyes out. Eventually he hair grew back, and he was able to get his final victory over the Philistines.
Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time. With one blow let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes.” Then Samson put his hands on the two center pillars that held up the temple. Pushing against them with both hands, he prayed, “Let me die with the Philistines.” And the temple crashed down on the Philistine rulers and all the people. So he killed more people when he died than he had during his entire lifetime.
New Testament

Today we read the story of Jesus turning water to wine at a wedding feast. This story does not appear in the rest of the gospels (I am sure I will get tired of pointing that out soon enough). It also puts the relationship between Jesus and his mother in an interesting light.
The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”
“Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions.
Unlike the other gospels, where the main interaction we see between Jesus and his family is Jesus' rejection of them, here they seem on pretty good terms. We also see that Jesus' mother knew of his miraculous abilities and was not afraid to boss him around.

We also read about how Jesus clears the money changers and animal sellers from the temple. This is mainly interesting because it appears at the beginning of Jesus' ministry. In the synoptic gospels, it appears at the end and is the event which causes the Jewish leaders to put real effort into having him arrested and executed.

Today's reading ends with this little passage, which is one of those ones that you never seem to hear quoted,
Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew human nature. No one needed to tell him what mankind is really like.
Now, the sentiment that mankind is depraved comes across often, but I cannot seem to recall anyone ever mentioning that Jesus did not trust the people who trusted in him. So remember, you may say you repent, but Jesus doesn't trust you!

Psalms and Proverbs

Nothing of particular note.