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JUDGES CHAPTER 9 ~ 16

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JUDGES CHAPTER 9 ~ 16

Post  Jude on Mon 06 May 2013, 01:19

JUDGES 9


1 Abimelech son of Jerubbaal
Went to Shechem, to cause some trouble,
To his mother’s brothers, and spoke
With them and with all on the yoke
Of the house of his mother’s father,
Saying 2 “Speak, I pray, in ears rather
Of all men of Shechem ‘Whether
It is better for every fer,
That all seventy sons at the stir
Of Jerubbaal reign over you,
Or that just one reign over you?’
Remember I’m your flesh and bone.”
3 And his mother’s brothers were prone
To speak all these words in the ears
Of all Shechem’s men for his fears,
And their heart was inclined to follow
Abimelech, for they said hollow,
“He is our brother.” 4 So they gave
Him seventy silver shekels glaive
From the temple of Baal-Berith,
With which Abimelech beneath
Hired vain and lewd persons to wallow
And follow after him to swallow.

Behold, Beloved, the way political,
First one must campaign by juridical,
And then buy followers to suit the law
Of survival of witness at the draw.
Who sit for office, whether run or stand,
They always have a seemly, hired band
To play their tunes to make the crowdies roar
In praise of idol worship on the shore.
Beloved, I prefer Your system of lot
To choose the kings of Israel not bought.
Such senators and bishops would be caught
Far less with hand in till and on the spot.
Beloved, I whirl about in sacred plot
And cast my pennies copper in the pot.
5 Then he went to his father’s house
At Ophrah and killed man and spouse
Of his brothers, the seventy sons
Of Jerubbaal, on one stone’s runs.
But Jotham youngest son of all
Jerubbaal’s sons had missed the brawl,
Because he hid himself in stall.
6 And all the men of Shechem came
Together, all of Beth Millo,
And they went and made for his fame
Abimelech king by the show
Of terebinth tree at the post
That was in Shechem for a toast.
7 Now when they told Jotham, then he
Went and stood on top of the lee
Of Mount Gerizim, lifted voice
And cried out. And he said by choice
To them, “Listen to me, you men
Of Shechem, that God may again
Listen to you! 8 “The trees once went
Forth to anoint a king content
Over them. And they said unto
The olive tree, ‘Rule us as due!’
9 But the olive tree said to them,
‘Should I cease giving oil in hem,
With which they honour Ælohim
And men, and go to sway and seem
King over trees?’ 10 “Then the trees said
To the fig tree, ‘You come, be led
To reign over us!’ 11 But the fig
Tree told them, ‘and should I renege
My sweetness and my good fruit, and
Go to hold sway over trees’ stand?’
12 “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You
Come and reign over us and crew!’
13 But the vine said to them, ‘Should I
Cease my new grape juice, by which I
Cheer up both Ælohim and men,
And go hold sway on trees again?’
14 “Then all the trees said to the bramble,
‘You come, reign over us for gamble!’
15 And the bramble said to the trees,
‘If you really anoint my knees
As king over you, then come and
Take shelter in my shade and fanned,
But if not, let fire come out from
The bramble and devour in sum
Mighty cedars of Lebanon!’

The fools of kings are well known for the truth
They speak in prophecies despite the ruth
Of court and knight armed to the mail forsooth.
So Jotham puts on cap and bells to show
How far in kingship human hearts will go
Who murder saviours and their sons in tow.
This prophecy of Jesus on the tree
Implies that seventy of his sons and free
Were also crucified and unseemly
By Shechem’s well or by some nearby sea.
Beloved, I hear the speeches of the vine
Spoken before both tree and asinine,
And know the right from wrong though many try
To mist the matter with the sell and buy.

16 “Now therefore, if what you have done
Is true and right in making king
Of Abimelech, and if you
Have dealt well by Jerubbaal’s due
And his house, and have done to him
As he deserves, 17 “for my dad’s whim
Fought for you, risked his life and limb,
And saved you from the Midianite,
18 “But you have risen up in spite
Against my father’s house this day,
And killed his seventy sons in pay
Upon one stone, and made to sway
Abimelech, son of his maid,
King over Shechem’s men who strayed,
Because he is your brother, 19 “then,
If you have acted well and right
With Jerubbaal and house this night,
Then rejoice in Abimelech,
And let him joy too in your neck.
20 “But if not, let fire come out from
Abimelech consuming sum
Of men of Shechem and Beth Millo,
And let fire come from Shechem’s silo
Of men and also from Beth Millo
Consuming Abimelech’s milo!”
21 And Jotham ran away and fled,
And went to Beer to live instead,
For fear of Abimelech bred
His brother who cut off each head.

Who tell the truth in public if they’re wise
Flee from the wrath that always will arise
From hearing truth. Beloved, I know the rate
For having sat upon a throne of state.
Who speak to brambles or who tell the tale
Of how the bramble made his wealth at sale,
Such live to suffer punishment and wail.
Search out but do not touch the holy grail.
Beloved, the things I say, they may be true,
But do not stretch Your hand out now as due,
But forgive me my spoof in poetry,
Lest I hang twisting from the nearest tree.
Instead let my art find a berry patch
Where I can pick blackberries with a snatch.

22 After Abimelech had reigned
Over Israel three years and stained,
23 Ælohim sent spirit of ill
Will between Abimelech still
And the men of Shechem, and they,
The men of Shechem would betray
Abimelech, 24 that the crime done
To the seventy sons when won
Of Jerubbaal might be set down
And their blood be laid on the crown
Of their brother Abimelech,
Who killed them, and upon the neck
Of Shechem’s men, who aided him
In killing of his brothers grim.
25 And the men of Shechem set men
In ambush against him again
On the tops of the hills, and they
Robbed all who passed by them that way,
And it was told Abimelech.
26 Now Gaal son of Ebed in trek
Came with his brothers and went there
To Shechem, Shechem’s men beware
To put their confidence in him.
27 And they went out into the fields,
And gathered from their vineyards’ yields
And trod them, and made merry there.
And they went into their god’s house,
And ate and drank with son and spouse,
And cursed Abimelech. 28 Then Gaal
The son of Ebed said for sal,
“Who is Abimelech, and who
Is Shechem, that we should in due
Serve him? Is he not the son of
Jerubbaal, and is not his shove
Zebul? Serve the men of Hamor
The father of Shechem in store,
But why serve him now anymore?
29 “And would to God this people were
Under my rule! Then I’d concur
To remove Abimelech’s fur.”

Who rise to power, it seems, by putting down
The sons of good men, small or of renown,
Live to see their own lack of loyalty
Spread out against them for the world to see.
The round of human guile that seems to rate
Is sent from You, Beloved, upon the pate
Of killer to avenge the slain man’s fate.
You may think that sets everything once right,
But think about the widows in the sight
Of Jerubbaal’s sons. Though the speech that night
Might have been sweet to hear, the graves remained,
Closed just as tight the orphans’ hearts and pained.
The only retribution worth a pea,
Beloved, is resurrection of the free.

So he said to Abimelech,
“Increase your army and at beck
Come out!” 30 When Zebul, ruler of
The city, heard the words above
Of Gaal the son of Ebed, he
Was angry. 31 And he sent in fee
Messengers to him privily
To Abimelech secretly,
Saying “Take care, of Gaal beware,
The son of Ebed and his fair
Brothers have come to Shechem’s gate,
And here they try to strengthen state
Against you. 32 “Therefore up by night,
You and the folk who’re with your might,
And lie in wait there in the field.
33 “And it shall be, as soon as sealed
The sun in the morning, that you
Shall rise early and rush in view
Upon the city, and when he
And the folk who are with him be
Come out against you, you may then
Do them by opportunity.”
34 And Abimelech and the men
Who were with him rose up by night,
And lay in wait in Shechem’s sight
In four bands. 35 And Gaal Ebed’s son
Went out and stood under the sun
At the gate of the city won,
Abimelech and the folk who
Were with him rose from ambush brew.

The point is, my Beloved, that You once said
Not to kill any other knucklehead.
Now that’s Your law. And here I see out spread
The killings back and forth that seem to be
The product of the wicked heart in spree,
But said by sacred Word to be Your own
Actions in secret sent from divine throne.
Who does a good deed does it in Your name,
Who does evil does Your will just the same
Despite the rebellion of veil and grief.
All things work at last to righteous relief.
Gaal may stand up, Abimelech resign,
But ebb and flow of power on fir and pine
Falls to the lichened stones and laps about
The lakeshore when the frosty ice is out.

36 And when Gaal saw the people come,
He said to Zebul, “Look, how run
People down from the mountaintops!”
And Zebul said to him for flops,
“You see the shadows of the hills
Like men in a mirage that kills.”
37 And Gaal spoke up again and said
“See, people are coming full fled
Down from the middle of the land,
From Meonemin another band.”
38 Then Zebul said to him, “Where now
Is your mouth, when you made a row
Saying ‘Who is Abimelech,
That we should serve him with our neck?’
Are not these the folk you despised?
Go out, I pray, and fight advised.”
39 So Gaal went out, leading the men
Of Shechem, and fought with a yen
Abimelech. 40 Abimelech
Chased him, and he fled from the wreck,
And many fell wounded, up to
The entrance of the gate in view.

The enemy is just another veil
That distracts from the clear and crimson sale
Of divine oneness on the common pale.
Beloved, I see the forests move like men
And join the winds to battle on the fen,
But when the night is over and the sun
Looks out upon the night work lost and won,
The dust is settled from the glory gore,
I still see You in oneness on the shore.
The pitiful and childish kings that rise
To drop plutonium down from the skies,
Despite half-lives beyond the ancient guise,
Go to the grave to wait the cleansing power
Of time and space beneath Your throne and tower.

41 Abimelech then lived there at
Arumah, and Zebul out flat
Drove Gaal and his brothers, so that
They would not live in Shechem more.
42 And it came to pass the next day
That the people went out in shore
Of the field, and they told the play
To Abimelech. 43 So he took
His folk, divided them by hook
Into three bands, and lay in wait
In the field. And he saw the fate,
The folk coming out of the city,
And he got up and without pity
He struck them down. 44 Abimelech
And the band that was at his beck
Rushed forward and stood at the gate
Entrance of the city to wait,
And the two other bands rushed on
All who were in the fields at dawn
And killed them. 45 So Abimelech
Fought against the city a speck
All that day, and he took the town
And killed the people with a frown
Who were in it, and he destroyed
The city and with salt employed
To drown it. 46 And when all the men
Of Shechem’s tower had heard again,
They went in the temple stronghold
Of the god Berith they thought bold.
47 And it was told Abimelech
That all the men of Shechem’s check
Were gathered in the tower. 48 And then
Abimelech went up again
To Mount Zalmon, he and the folk
All who were with him at a stroke.
And Abimelech took an axe
In hand and cut a branch in stacks
From the trees, and took it and laid
It on his shoulder, then he said
To the people who were with him,
“What you’ve seen me do, do with vim.”
49 So each of the folk likewise cut
Down his own bough and followed rut
Of Abimelech, put them by
The stronghold, and set on the sly
The stronghold on fire above them,
So that all the folk in the hem
Died in the tower of Shechem,
About a thousand men with spouse,
And so ended all Shechem’s house.

You pit the wicked to defend the right
In their own eyes as they go out to fight.
And so for one wrong done and done in spite
One wrecks vengeance upon the other’s plight.
The house of Shechem has gone down at last
By Abimelech’s hand, who was outcast,
And from his shameful state invented greed
To show the world effect of hand and steed.
Abimelech may serve Your hand just now,
But none can trust You, Beloved, anyhow,
A mill-stone in a woman’s hand can bring
The hero down to death and in one sting.
Give me no hand to kill and I shall sing
Your praise from my heart and like anything.

50 Abimelech went to Thebez,
And he encamped against Thebez
And conquered it. 51 There was a strong
Tower in the city, and the throng,
All the folk of the city, fled
There and shut themselves in their bed,
And went up to the tower top.
52 Abimelech came with bebop
As far as the tower and he fought
Against it, and he came near caught
Door of the tower to set alight.
53 But a certain woman on site
Dropped an upper millstone on him,
On Abimelech’s head and grim
Crushed his skull. 54 Then he quickly called
To the young man, who was installed
His armour bearer, and told him,
“Draw sword and kill me, do not swim,
Lest men say of me, ‘A woman
Killed him.’” And that’s why his young man
Thrust him through, and he died by plan.
55 And when the men of Israel saw
Abimelech was dead as claw,
They left, every man to his place.
56 Thus Ælohim repaid the grace
Of Abimelech’s wickedness,
Which he’d done to his father’s race
By killing seventy brothers’ trace.
57 And all the evil of the men
Of Shechem Ælohim again
Returned on their own heads, and on
Them came the curse of Jotham drawn,
The son of Jerubbaal in spawn.

You may have paid in vengeance on the pate
Of Abimelech at the going rate,
But still he got to rule and win the great
Battles above the hills of Shechem’s gate.
He fought and ruled and spoke in pride of life
Through all the retributions and the strife.
He could not hope for immortality,
But only to enjoy life lustfully,
And that he did. Your vengeance is no more
Than the same death You always have in store
For righteous and for wicked. Lower eye
From comprehensive view to see the sty
From human suffering, then try to deny
The common lot of men. In praise I try.

WEEK 48 JUDGES 10


1 And after Abimelech there
Came to defend Israel’s share
Tola the son of Puah, son
Of Dod, who’s a man of the run
Of Issachar, and he lived in
Shamir in Mount Ephraim’s bin.
2 And he judged Israel twenty years
And three, and died and it appears
Was buried in Shamir with tears.

The sixth in line of twelve Tola came up
To judge the people from a brilliant cup
Of alabaster, from which he set out
The law in wisdom against people’s doubt.
Like Ja’fer after him, he made the true
In all its glories come before the view
Of those who sought the right. Tola whose name
Took from the worm forever any shame
That might light on the thorn or thistle’s plot,
Or on the flint found round about the lot
Of Shamir. I too am a worm that seeks
To soften the flint hearts of my reliques.
Beloved, let my inaudible praise find
Its own path in the gate of earth, though blind.

THE SEVENTH JUDGE: BURDEN OF TRIBUTE


3 And after him Jair came up,
A Gileadite, and judged the cup
Of Israel twenty-two years.
4 And he had thirty sons that rode
On thirty donkey colts to goad
And had thirty cities and called
Havoth-Jair and all installed
To this day, which are in the land
Of Gilead to make a stand.
5 And Jair died, was laid in plot
In Qamon while they played gavotte.

The seventh in the line of twelve has come
Each time to luminate curriculum
Of souls seeking the way to Your kingdom.
If Jair will bring light on the seventh step,
Then Musa shines a double star with pep
Upon the frozen nights where easily
Humankind wanders lost unfaithfully.
The balm of Gilead rides on the town
On thirty donkeys to accept the crown
Of thirty days a month and at the end
Of every season one more day and friend
To keep the Sabbath counted and in line.
The seventh and the hidden one are fine.
I come to rest in Qamon, where I dine.

THE EIGHTH JUDGE: MAJESTY


6 And Israel’s folk did wickedly
Again in YHWH’s sight on a spree
Of serving Baals and Ashtaroth,
The Syrian gods and Zidon’s broth,
The gods of Moab, Ammon’s folk’s
Gods, and the Philistine gods’ oaks,
Forsaking YHWH to make Him wroth.
7 And YHWH’s wrath burned against the folk
Of Israel, down to a bloke,
And He sold them into the hands
Of Philistines, and in the hands
Of Ammon’s children and their folk.
8 And that year they vexed and oppressed
The folk of Israel addressed
For eighteen years, all Israel’s folk
That were on Jordan’s other spoke
In the land of the Amorites,
Which is in Gilead by rights.
9 And Ammon’s folk, they went so far
As to cross over Jordan’s bar
To fight also against Judah,
And Benjamin, and lay a paw
On Ephraim’s house, so the folk
Of Israel were about to croak.
And Israel’s folk cried to YHWH, saying
“We’ve sinned against You, for not praying
To You our God whom we forsook,
And also serving Baals like crook.”
11 And so YHWH said to Israel’s folk,
“Not from the Egyptians at stroke,
And not from Amorites and from
The folk of Ammon, and in sum
From Philistines have I not saved?
12 The Zidonians also raved,
And Amalekites and depraved
Maonites came to oppress you,
And you called to Me and I saved
You from their hands as once enslaved.
13 But you turned from Me and to serve
Other gods, therefore I shall swerve
No more to save you from their verve.
14 Go call to the gods you have chosen,
Let them save you when you are frozen
When you’re in troubled times and squozen.

Your heart too, my Beloved, though patient still
At some place must require the check and bill.
Divine patience is no more patience if
It has no end at all to junk the skiff.
Though with each breath I take I say Your name,
With every exhalation lose the same.
That small rebirth and small death cannot deal
More than an instant with the divine peal.
Each moment human soul darkens the wheel,
Forgetting the name that created all.
A man is very like a calf in stall.
Beloved, though I turn from Your golden face,
Wherever I turn, there I find Your grace
Who are present in every time and place.

15 And the children of Israel said
To YHWH, “We have sinned in our bed,
Do with us what You think for best,
But only save us, we request.”
16 And they threw out their heathen gods
From themselves and served at the prods
Of YHWH, and His soul then was grieved
For Israel’s misery unreprieved.
17 Then Ammon’s folk came to one place
Encamping in Gilead’s trace.
And Israel’s folk gathered there too,
Encamping in Mizpeh’s fresh dew.
18 And Gilead’s folk and princes said
To one another, “What man led
Will begin to fight Ammon’s folk?
He shall be Gilead’s chief bloke.”

In difficulty people turn to You,
Beloved, and pray something for You to do.
Each one who prays knows just the thing he wants,
A new computer with spanking new fonts.
Beloved, I turn to You so rarely in
Prayer because I have everything in bin
I need to eat and drink and sleep in fair
Warm weather or in cold, my wealth and share
Suffice for my wants and my daily care.
But though I need no thing at all to live
In comfort, still occasionally sieve
My actions down to turn to You and give
Your praises my breath and my mind belated.
Beloved, take empty petitions related.

JUDGES 11


1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was
A mighty man as mighty does,
A trollop’s son was he, his pa
Was Gilead, dad of Jephthah.
2 And Gilead’s wife bore him more sons,
And his wife’s sons as paragons
When they grew up threw Jephthah out,
And said to him, “You are a clout,
Not to inherit our dad’s house,
Son of strange woman and not spouse.
3 Then Jephthah fled from house and home
And went to land of Tob to roam,
And Jephthah lived there with vain men,
All of whom ran about again.

Beloved, my brothers all have cast me out
From native land with awful din and shout
As they raise up their hearts and hands to Baal
And claim to praise Your name with sinful wail.
In quietness I make my hearth and home
Among the firs and birches and the gloam
Of snow and ice upon a granite loam.
The land is Tob, a good land and a fair,
And I’m content to live an outcast there.
But unlike Jephthah fled, I have no crowd
Of vain men praising me who sing aloud,
And so escape the fate of Jephthah brought
To lead the people in a war unsought.
Beloved, I walk alone with You unbought.

4 It came to pass as time went on
The children of Ammon were drawn
To make war against Israel.
5And so it happened when the folk
Of Ammon made war at a stroke
Against Israel, the elders of
Gilead went to fetch with love
Jephthah out of the land of Tob.
6 And they told Jephthah, “Come enrobe,
And be our captain, so we’ll fight
With children of the Ammonite.”
7 But Jephthah said to Gilead’s old
Men, “Did you not hate me so bold
And throw me from my father’s house?
And why have you come now to grouse
To me when you are in distress?”
8 And Gilead’s old men said to
Jephthah, ”Therefore we turn anew
To you now so you’ll go with us
And fight against Ammon with fuss,
And be our chief of all the folk
In Gilead who live there broke.”
9 And Jephthah said to Gilead’s old
Men, ”If you bring me to the fold
Again to fight against the bold
Folk of Ammon, and YHWH uphold
Me giving them into my hand,
Shall I then be your chief of band?”
10 The old men of Gilead said
To Jephthah, ”YHWH be witness led
Between us if we do not do
According to your words in view.”
11 Then Jephthah went with the old men
Of Gilead, and the folk then
Made him chief and captain of them,
And Jephthah spoke all his words there
Before YHWH in Mizpeh to glare.

The democratic way to choose a head
Of state is find a son of whore well fed
On scandals and on going out to make
A robber’s row with vain men at the stake.
All chosen leaders are such men, though bold.
The robber’s band is the womb and the fold
Of senators both in Rome and the state
That I shall not mention for fear of fate.
Beloved, preserve me from the choice of vote,
But let me serve a hidden king of note
Who was taken up from the circling throng
That would kill once again and for no wrong.
Beloved, I flee to You from those who take
A whore’s son for the president, a rake.

12 And Jephthah sent messengers to
The king of Ammon’s folk in due,
Saying “What have you in your view
On my account to come to fight
Against me in my land of right?”
13 And the king of Ammon’s folk said
To Jephthah’s messengers biped,
”Because Israel stole my land,
When they came from Egypt in band,
From Arnon even to Jabbok,
As far as Jordan to a rock,
So give me back those lands in peace.”

Ah my Beloved, how human beings love
To treat of history dagger in glove!
For anything a man wishes to do,
He finds a precedent within the view
Of past events obscured by time and will.
That’s history, excuse to fit the bill.
The mythopoeic mind of man comes still
To play upon affairs of state and hill
Of mud pies: every memory comes late
To bring a disagreement on the pate.
Both elephant and man are slaves to what
Remembrance brings in vengeance and in glut.
Beloved, let me have memory alone
Of You and of the grace before Your throne.

14 And Jephthah sent his men again
To Ammon’s folk’s king in his den.
15 And said to him, ”So says the man
Jephthah, ‘Israel did not by plan
Take for itself land of Moab,
Nor Ammon’s children’s land’s confab.
16 But when Israel came from Egypt,
And walked through the desert unclipped
To the Red Sea up to Kadesh,
17 “Then Israel sent messengers fresh
To king of Edom, saying “Let
Me please pass through your land no fret,”
But the king of Edom would not
Listen. And in the same way sought
They sent to the king of Moab,
But he would not consent a slab,
So Israel stayed there in Kadesh.
18 “Then they went along through the waste
And around land of Edom graced
And the land of Moab, and came
By the east side of Moab’s fame,
And pitched on Arnon’s far side claim,
But did not step across the line
Of Moab, for Arnon’s combine
Was the border of Moab’s wine.
19 “And Israel sent messengers to
Sihon king of Amorite view,
The king of Heshbon, and then said
Israel to him, “Let us pass led
Please through your land to my own bed.”
20 “But Sihon did not trust Israel
To pass through his share without guile,
But gathered all his folk and pitched
In Jahaz and fought Israel hitched.
21 “And YHWH the Ælohim bespoken
Of Israel delivered in token
Sihon and all his folk into
The hand of Israel and his crew,
And they smashed them, so Israel had
Possession of the land of cad
And Amorite who lived there bad.
22 “And they possessed there all the lands
Of Amorites from Arnon’s sands
As far as Jabbok, from the waste
Of desert to Jordan retraced.
23 “So now YHWH Israel’s Ælohim
Has dispossessed Amorite dream
Before His people Israel,
And would you then take it a spell?
24 “Will you not be content to keep
What your god Chemosh gave to reap?
But whomsoever YHWH our God
Shall drive out from before our prod,
Such ones we’ll hold both bean and pod.
25 “Are you better than Balak son
Of Zippor, king of Moab’s run?
Did he ever fight Israel’s gun,
Or did he strive under their sun,
26 “While Israel lived in Heshbon and
Its towns, and in Aroer’s stand
And its towns, and in all the towns
Along by the Arnon’s banks’ downs,
Three hundred years? Why then did you
Not recover that time your due?
27 “That’s why I do not wrong to you,
But you do me wrong by the war
That you raise against me in score,
YHWH the Judge be judge today for
The case between Israel’s folk and
The children of Ammon in band.’”
28 Nevertheless Ammon’s folks’ king
Refused to listen to the thing
That Jephthah had sent him to sing.

Note well, Beloved, how Jephthah’s history
In far greater detail of clarity
Shows how Israel did not attempt to take
Land on the east of Jordan for its sake,
But merely defended themselves from those
Who came to attack them and step on toes.
When the attacker had been knocked out right,
Then Israel just sat down on the site,
Concluding that You gave them land for fight.
Despite the logic of the argument
The king of Ammon remains adamant.
Neither logic nor right nor history
Can make a claim against the bigotry
Of the aggressor. He’s always home free.

29 Then the spirit of YHWH came on
Jephthah and he passed over lawn
Of Gilead and Manasseh,
And passed over Mizpeh for prey
Of Gilead and came into
The children of Ammon in view.
30 And Jephthah vowed a vow to YHWH
And said “If You without fail give
The folk of Ammon in my sieve,
31 “That it shall be whatever meets
Me from the doors of my house streets
When I return in peace from that
Folk of Ammon gone down at bat,
That one shall surely be YHWH’s own
A burnt offering before Your throne.”

Religion is the rash rate of mankind
Not satisfied with planted and the vined,
But must have prayer and sacrifice and fast
Beyond the ten words You gave once to last.
Your faith and yoke is too simple to bear,
Too light and delicate to stand the air.
We must have pilgrimage and county fair
And prostrations and tithes to feel our share
In creation’s work has been paid in full.
Your ten words are not enough for the bull.
Religions bind their followers to fate
Of burdens heavy, light and consecrate
Worthy lives to new Baals in every state.
Beloved, I take no more than Your ten’s rate.

32 So Jephthah passed over the flood
To Ammon’s folk to fight to blood
Against them and YHWH gave them all
Into his hands. 33 And he struck all
Of them from Aroer until
You come to Minith to the bill
Of twenty cities, to the plain
Of the vineyards with many slain.
So the folk of Ammon were struck
Before Israel’s folk in the muck.
34 Then Jephthah came back to Mizpeh
To his own house and in the way
His daughter came out to meet him
With timbrels and with dances dim,
And she was the man’s only child,
Besides which he had not compiled
Son nor daughter among the wild.
35 It happened when he saw her that
He tore his clothes and said “My pet,
You have brought me down very low,
And you to trouble are not slow,
For I have opened up my mouth
To YHWH and cannot recall drought.”
36 And she told him, “My father, you
Have opened up your mouth unto
YHWH, do to me as you have said,
For YHWH has taken vengeance led
By you upon your enemies,
The people of Ammon at ease.”
37 And she said to her father, “Please
Let this be done for me, let me
Alone two months, that I may go
Up and down on the mountains’ row
In grief for my virginity,
And all my friends along with me.”
38 And he said “Go.” And so he sent
Her away for two months, she went
With her companions, and bewailed
Virginity on hills unveiled.
39 When the two months came to an end,
She returned to her father’s blend,
Who did with her as he had said,
And she never took man to bed.
And so it was in Israel’s way
40 The women of Israel would stay
Four days in the year to lament
The daughter of Jephthah unspent,
Jephthah the Gileadite in tent.

The foolish commentator would reply
That Jephthah burned his daughter on the sly.
It’s clear however that the gift he gave
Was her virginity to be Your slave.
As such he may have invented the room
Of cloister and nunnery down to doom,
But at the same time bore a witness fair
Against human sacrifice to beware.
Beloved, I too bear witness in Your name
That sacrificing humans is a shame,
The thing that You prohibit with the claim
Of the commandment not to kill. I fly
To Your word against all that magnify
Necessity of State to crucify.

WEEK 49 JUDGES 12


1 The men of Ephraim came together
And went north to the end of tether
And said to Jephthah, “Why did you
Go to fight against Ammon’s crew,
And did not call us to lead you?
Now we will burn your house with fire.
2 And Jephthah told them in his ire,
“I and my people were in strife
Greatly with Ammon’s folk for life,
And when I called you, you did not
Save us at all out of their plot.
3 And when I saw that you did not
Save, I put my life in my hands,
And passed over against the bands
Of Ammon, and YHWH gave them all
To me. Now why do you install
Yourselves against me on this day
To fight against me in the way?”
4 Then Jephthah called together all
The men of Gilead from brawl,
And fought with Ephraim until
The men of Gilead would kill
Ephraim, because they said “You folk
Of Gilead are just a poke
Of fugitives from Ephraim
Among the Ephraimites to dream
And with the Manassites to seem.
5 And the Gileadites lay hold
Of the fords of Jordan as bold
Before the Ephraimites were told,
And when those Ephraimites escaped
And said “Let me go unredtaped,”
The men of Gilead said to him,
“Are you an Ephraimite and dim?”
If he said “No,” 6 Then they told him,
“Say Shibboleth” and then he said
“Sibboleth,” for he had been bred
So and could not pronounce the word.
Then they took him as it occurred
And killed him at the Jordan’s ford,
And there fell at that time by sword
Forty-two thousand Ephraimites.
7 And Jephthah judged Israel by rights
For six years. Then Jephthah deceased,
The Gileadite was buried fleeced
In one of Gilead’s cities leased.

The Shibboleth marked dialect in times
Past, so people were caught up in their crimes.
The speech of one and all shows still in form
Who ought to rule and who ought to stay warm.
The human heart is bound so fast to tongue
It cannot distinguish right from the sung,
And is attached to its own full disgrace
By judging accents and the tint of face
Instead of doing well or doing wrong.
The human heart is far too pleased by song.
For sibilants a man may be condemned
To death still in these countries narrow hemmed.
Beloved, in wordless love I cling to You
And listen to no sound but voice of dew.

THE NINTH JUDGE: SUNBURNT


8 And after him Ibzan came to
Judge Israel from Bethlehem.
9 And he had thirty sons in crew
And thirty daughters like a gem
Whom he sent abroad and then took
In thirty daughters on their hook
For his sons. And he judged the folk
Of Israel seven years in stroke.
10 Then Ibzan died and was buried
In Bethlehem when he was freed.

THE TENTH JUDGE: ENCLOSED


11 And after him Elon arose
To judge Israel and none oppose,
A Zebulonite to his toes
For ten years he judged in his rows.
12 And Elon the Zebulonite
Died and was buried on the site
Of Aijalon in the country
Of Zebulon for all to see.

THE ELEVENTH JUDGE: REFRESHED


13 And after him Abdon the son
Of Hillel, Pirathonite won
To be judge of Israel when done.
14 And he had forty sons and yet
Thirty nephews, and they were set
On seventy donkey colts, and he
Judged Israel from that country.
15 And Abdon the son of Hillel
The Pirathonite died as well,
And was buried in Pirathon
In the land of Ephraim and on
The mount of the Amalekites,
And that’s the end of Adbon’s rights.

Obscurity marks three of the last four
In line of twelve along the promised shore.
So Taki, Naki, Askeri are known
But little by their deeds, although they shone
As judges in Israel and leaders of
The faithful to Your name and to Your love.
Before the great dawn of salvation and
The coming of justice to every land
Obscurity falls on the trusting band
And few are seen, though ripe on every hand
In silence they await Your fast decree
That You will intervene in human spree
And end injustice that rides now in state
Abetting the oil barons in their hate.

THE TWELFTH JUDGE: HELP

JUDGES 13


1 And the folk of Israel did wrong
Again in sight of YHWH, and YHWH
Delivered them into the strong
Hand of the Philistinian crew
For forty years. 2 And there was one
Man of Zorah, and of the dun
Of blesséd Danites, whose name was
Manoah, and his wife as does
Was barren, and had no child’s paws.
3 The angel of YHWH then appeared
To the woman, and the word steered
To her, “Indeed now you it’s feared
Are barren, and no child appeared,
But you shall conceive and bear son.
4 So be careful, please, and do not
Drink wine nor strong drink overdone
And do not eat the unclean pot.
5 See now you’ll conceive and you’ll bear
A son, and no razor shall tear
His head, for the child shall appear
A Nazarite to God and dear
From the womb, and he shall begin
To save Israel out of the din
Of Philistines and he shall win.”
6 Then the woman came and she told
Her husband, saying, “A man bold
From God came to me and his face
Was like the glory and the grace
Of an angel of God, fearsome,
But I did not ask where he’s from,
And he did not tell me his name.
7 But he said to me, “See the aim,
You shall conceive and bear a son,
So do not drink wine nor the run
Of strong drink, do not eat unclean,
For the child shall be Nazarene
To God from the womb to the day
That death shall come upon his way.”

The angel that You send about the earth
Is fearsome and that’s why there is a dearth
Of seeing such, yet many come to claim
That they have seen angels in all their fame.
The strange thing is that angels who come now
Are always painted with a friendly brow
And are not terrible to see or hear,
But comfort and not frighten at the ear.
The angels do perch on my window gear
And twitter with their yellow breast a while.
They come neither in fear nor with the guile
Of false comfort, they merely peer and smile
With beak a-perk and head cocked to the show.
They come in sunlight and in gleam of snow.

8 Then Manoah entreated YHWH
And said “O my Lord, let come true
The man of Ælohim You sent
Come once more to teach us the vent
Of what to do for the child that
Is to be born where we are at.”
9 Ælohim listened to the voice
Of Manoah, the angel choice
Of Ælohim came once more to
The woman in the field to do,
But Manoah her husband was
Not with her there as often does.
10 And the woman hurried and ran
And told her husband, told the man,
“Indeed the man has come again
That appeared to me you know when.”
11 Manoah got up and went after
His wife, not a matter for laughter,
And came to the man, said to him,
“Are you the man that on a whim
Spoke to my wife?” And he told him,
“I.” 12 And Manoah said “Now let
Your words take place. How shall we set
The child, and how care for the lad
So that he will not grow up bad?”
13 And the angel of YHWH said to
Manoah, “Of all I said to
The woman let her heed thereto.
14 She may not eat what comes from vine,
Neither let her drink of the wine
Or strong drink, nor eat unclean thing,
All I commanded let her sing.”

The first thing anyone should do who hears
The report of an angel in arrears,
Is say “Show me the man and I’ll believe.
Unless you do, I’ll ask God for reprieve.”
Beloved, the stories of angels today
Multiply beyond those of Passion-play.
I doubt what I myself see in my room,
And even more doubt what others in doom
Stay recommending of both art and gloom.
Angels about me are not for the blind,
They may be figments of the diseased mind.
I let the popular enchantment go
And flee to You, Beloved, who are not slow
To be invisible, unheard trousseau.

15 Manoah said to YHWH’s angel,
“Please remain here with us a spell,
Until we’ve killed a kid for you.”
16 The angel of YHWH said unto
Manoah, “Though I stay with you,
I will not eat your bread, if you
Will offer a burnt offering,
You must offer to YHWH the thing.”
For Manoah did not know that
He was an angel of YHWH flat.
17 Manoah said to YHWH’s angel,
“What is your name, when what you tell
Comes true we may honour you well?”
18 The angel of YHWH said to him,
“Why do you ask my name for whim,
Since it’s a secret thing and dim?”
19 And so Manoah took a kid
With a meat offering and valid,
And offered it upon a rock
To YHWH, and the angel ad hoc
Did wondrously, and Manoah
And his wife looked on it in awe.
20 It happened when the flame went up
Toward the sky from altar cup,
That YHWH’s angel ascended up
In the flame of the altar. And
Manoah and his wife in band
Looked at it and fell on the ground
On their faces amazement bound.
21 But the angel of YHWH did not
Again appear before the lot
Of Manoah and to his wife.
Then Manoah knew for his life
He was YHWH’s angel on the spot.

Let’s You and I, Beloved, think on the proofs
Manoah accepts and see if they’re goofs.
Proof’s he refuses hospitality,
Proof’s he gives no name in his secrecy,
And proof’s he goes up in a flame upon
The altar where a slaughtered kid is drawn.
The final proof of four is that once gone
The angel’s not again seen on the lawn.
Beloved, to my mind, weak though it may be,
And filled with bias, still I fail to see
In these proofs evidence of divine grace.
They smack of magic and a certain trace
Of disdain. Though I come before Your face,
I save the right to doubt, my Scotsman’s fee.

22 Manoah said then to his wife,
“We’ll surely die now, on your life,
Because we’ve looked on Ælohim.”
23 But his wife said to him, “I deem
If YHWH wished to kill us, He would
Not have received burnt offering good
And a meat offering at our hands,
Neither would He have by commands
Shown us all these things, nor have told
Us such wonders to make us bold.”

First off, Beloved, most people now who see
Angels do not think that the sight in fee
Requires death sentence. No, they are delighted,
Thinking they’re honoured by the vision sighted.
But his wife’s answer is a thing I find
Strange as a proof to the well fed and wined.
How did she know that YHWH received the gift
With pleasure, just because the flame could lift
A figment of imagination’s rift?
Who rest on visions personal or public
Merely support monarchy or republic.
I too have seen a vision, heard a voice,
But fail to make following it my choice.
In You alone, Beloved, I can rejoice.

24 The woman gave birth to a son,
And so she called his name Samson,
And the child grew, and so did YHWH
Bless him and his whole family’s crew.
25 And the spirit of YHWH began
To work him in the camp of Dan
Sometimes between Zorah the town
And Eshtaol, both of renown.

Forgive me, my Beloved, if Samson’s name
Reminds me of the legends and the fame
Of sun and sun-gods, children of the flame.
Manoah’s rest supports the evil claim
That sun worship lay lurking in his breast.
When fire went up, Manoah was impressed.
Think how much fire comes to enlighten quest
Of Samson through his journey with the best.
Beloved, I hope the twelfth one sent and blessed
Might be Your true salvation and Your rest,
But doubt of sun and Sunday still repeats
A warning to my heart of drinks and eats
That play a role in sacrifice of treats.
In this story there’s more than idle meats.

JUDGES 14


1 Now Samson went down to Timnah,
And saw a woman in Timnah
One of the Philistine girls there.
2 So he went up and told father
And mother, saying “I have seen
A woman in Timnah, the cream
Of the Philistine girls, therefore,
Get her for me as wife in store.”
3 Then his father and mother said
To him, “Is there no woman’s bed
Among the daughters of your brothers,
Or among all my people others,
That you must go and get a wife
From the uncircumcised in strife,
The Philistines?” And Samson said
To his father, “Get her for me,
For she pleases me wonderfully.”
4 But his father and mother did
Not know that it was YHWH that bid,
That He was seeking an excuse
To attack Philistine abuse.
For at that time the Philistines
Ruled over Israel and their vines.
5 So Samson and his father went
Down with his mother in consent
To Timnath, and arrived at where
The vineyards of Timnath were there,
And indeed a young lion roared
At him. 6 The spirit of the Lord
YHWH came on him strongly and poured,
And he tore it as he might have
Torn a young goat, a kid to halve,
With no weapon at all in hand,
But he did not report the deed
To mother or father, what need?
7 And he went down and had a talk
With the woman, who met his chalk.

The virile prowess of the man alone
Makes me think of the sun and the sun’s throne.
A hidden legend of the sun-god Baal
Seeps through in secret in the Bible tale.
He is one to scatter his fecund seed
While riding lions about in his greed.
But what matter at last if Canaanite
Gods are met with a rival in the fight?
Beloved, I doubt until the end, and yet
I lay a hand on the great battle met
And praise You that despite the sun’s bright glow
You intervene in world of men and show.
I do not criticize the lusty spark
Of Samson, though I know You in the dark.

8 As time passed he returned to take
His wife, and he turned in the wake
To see the lion’s carcass bake,
And indeed, bees swarmed in the dead
Body of the lion for bed.
9 He took some of it in his hands
And walked on eating on the sands,
And met his father and mother
And gave them some, who did concur
To eat, but he did not tell them
He took honey from lion’s hem.

I reckon, my Beloved, the carcass of
The lion was unclean to touch with glove,
And that is why he did not try to shove
The story on his dad and mom above.
I might too have been tempted by the sweet
Caught in the unclean carcass and the meat.
No idol attracts humankind but that
Containing honey in the dyeing vat.
Beloved, though the wood by my house is set
With hare and moose and fox, I could lay bet
That lions do not linger there if met.
Beloved, I take my idols from the throng
Of things familiar, though I know them wrong,
And treat them with a heartfelt sacred song.

10 His father went down to the girl
And Samson made a feast to curl
The habit of young men in time.
11 It happened when they saw him climb,
That they brought thirty youths and fine
To share his feast and drink his wine.
12 And Samson said to them, “I’ll now
Tell you a riddle anyhow,
If you can guess in seven days
Of the feast’s length, the riddle’s ways,
Then I will give you thirty sheets
And thirty suits to have for treats.
13 But if you cannot find the trick,
Then you’ll give me thirty and thick
Sheets and thirty suits. And they said
To him, “Let’s hear the riddle spread.”
14 So he told them, “Out of the eater
Came forth food, and out of the meter
In strength came forth the sweet and sweeter.”
Three days they tried to find the answer,
But could not by hearer or glancer.

I’ve got the riddle in a trice, I trow.
I don’t need three days thinking anyhow.
What is stronger than burning sun upon
The earth beginning at the fervent dawn,
Devouring all by fire throughout the day
And making desert of the fruitful way?
Yet out of the sun’s strength set out to slay
There comes to kiss the earth life-giving ray
That with its tears waters the ground to give
The sweet grain and fruit so that man may live.
Any Philistine could see through the book
And give the line as soon as take a look.
So Samson son of sun belies the faith
Of Philistine in fish god and in wraith.

15 On the seventh day they came to
Samson’s wife, saying all in crew,
“Entice your husband to say true
To us the riddle, or we’ll burn
You and your father’s house like urn
With fire, for have you invited
Us to steal from us pot and lid?
16 And Samson’s wife wept tears before
Him, and said “If you loved me more,
You would not tell a riddle to
My people’s children without due
Telling me the answer thereto.”
He said “Indeed, I have not told
My father nor my mother bold,
And shall I tell you or withhold?”
17 And she kept shedding tears before
Him the whole seven days in store
While their feast lasted, and it came
To pass on the seventh day’s claim
That he told her, because she kept
On begging and because she wept,
And she told her folk while he slept.

When Samson heard the groaning and the tears
With which his pagan mate greeted the fears
Of Sabbath day, he left the firm estate
Of secret known to him alone and late.
When Samson heard the whisper and the fame
Of a harlot’s faith and her empty claim
He knew full well he should not trust the fire,
But by Your grace he rushed into the mire.
Beloved, how I beware the tears and cry
Of those surrounding me under the sky
Upon the seventh day. The church is filled
With many temptresses whose pleasures skilled
Would turn me from Your law to idols’ hope.
The seventh day is fraught with noose and rope.

18 And so the men of the city
Said to him on seventh degree
Before the sun went down, prithee,
“Say now what’s sweeter than honey?
And what is stronger than the free
Lion?” And he said to them there,
“If you had not ploughed with the share
Of my heifer, you would not have
Known the answer though told a Slav.”
19 The spirit of YHWH came on him,
And he went down to Ashkelon,
And killed thirty men on a whim,
And took their property out drawn,
And gave their suits to them who knew
To tell the riddle and tell true.
And his anger was kindled, and
He went up to his father’s land.
20 But Samson’s wife was married to
His friend in his companions’ crew.

The pagan sun-god’s worshippers play on
The sentiments, and with tears come to fawn
And request love, love as criterion.
But behind the expressions of their love,
I always find the same deceitful glove.
The scientific proof that rain is made
By the sun’s action on the sea unstayed
Does not imply a faith in the home-grown
Or in the golden powers of glaive and throne.
YHWH Ælohim, highest reality,
Stands everywhere behind the serpent sea,
And while the systematic observance
May well describe the unchaotic dance,
Still it does not return to origin.
Beloved, I flee deceitful love and sin.

JUDGES 15


1 It came to pass soon after that
At the wheat harvest habitat,
That Samson went to see his wife
With a kid, saying “On my life,
I’ll go to my wife in her room.”
But her father and to his gloom
Prevented him. 2 Her father said
“I really thought that you’d been led
To hate her, so I gave her to
Your friend, is not her younger shrew
More beautiful than she? take her,
Please instead of the former cur.”
3 And Samson said of them, “Now I
Shall be less guilty than the sly
Philistines though I do them wrong.”
4 And Samson went and caught erelong
Three hundred foxes, took firebrands
And turned tail to tail in their strands
And put a firebrand in between
Two tails. 5 And when he’d fixed the scene,
He let them loose in standing corn
Of Philistines, and burnt both shorn
Shocks and also the standing corn,
With vineyards and olives in scorn.
6 Then the Philistines said “Who did
This thing?” And they answered the quid,
“Samson, the son in law of one
Timnite, because he took when done
His wife and gave her to another.”
And the Philistines found the brother,
Burnt father and daughter together.

The red foxes remind me of the light
Of setting sun or of the linger bright
Sun rising as I set my woods on sprite.
The sun theme goes through all the tale to spin
The firebrands through the corn and barn and bin
Of sun worship and Dagon on the swim
Who also represents the legend dim
Of sun sinking into the sea to treat
The world with night and then once more to greet
The morning. My Beloved, though sun is fair
And by Your hand brings warm life everywhere,
I bow to none but You, Beloved, and share
My days beneath the haven of Your care,
My days beneath the haven of Your care.

7 And Samson said to them, ”Though you
Have done this I’ll be venged on you,
And after that I’ll stop the crew.”
8 He struck them hip and thigh with slaughter,
And went down and lived on his fodder
A-top the rock of Etam. 9 Then
The Philistines went up and pitched
In Judah and spread themselves hitched
In Lehi. 10 And the men of Judah
Said ”Why have you come up here ruder
Against us?” And they answered, ”To
Bind Samson have we come up few,
To do to him as he has done
To us.” 11 Then three thousand men won
Of Judah went to the rock’s top
Of Etam, and said to the fop
Of Samson, ”Do you not know that
The Philistines hold rulers’ hat
Over us? What is this that you
Have done to us and to our crew?”
And he said to them, ”As they did
To me only, and quid for quid
Have I given to them in bid.”
12 And they said to him, ”We have come
To tie you up for flunkeydom
And turn you over to the hand
Of Philistines who have command.
And Samson said ”Swear to me that
You will not fall on me for scat
Yourselves.” 13 And they spoke to him so,
Saying, ”No, but we’ll tie you slow,
And turn you over to the State,
Surely we shall mix in your fate.”
And they tied him with two new thongs,
And brought him from the rock for wrongs.

Ah my Beloved, see how one’s brothers treat
The fairest, chosen one, and go to greet
The police and the military beat
As though might made right in the driver’s seat.
Men cry why You don’t intervene a bit
When all the world is catastrophe hit,
But when You do provide a grace to fit,
The first thing’s done’s to crucify the kit.
I sigh and cry that beautiful as bloom
A human soul turns back to kiss the doom
And artist’s hand is stricken from the loom.
I weep to see the withering of the flowers
Upon the meadow, beneath hill and towers,
Before their time to fade, while in their powers.

14 When he was brought to Lehi, then
The Philistines shouted like men
Against him, and YHWH’s spirit came
Upon him mightily in fame
And the thongs that were on his arms
Became like flax before alarms
Burnt in the fire, and his bands broke
From off his hands as strong as oak.
15 He found a new donkey’s jawbone,
And took it in his hand alone,
And killed a thousand men with it.
16 And Samson said “With a bone fit,
A donkey’s jawbone, pile on shit,
I’ve killed a thousand men to wit,
With just a donkey’s jawbone knit.”
17 It happened when he finished talking,
He threw away the jawbone mocking
Out of his hand and called that place
Ramath-lehi, for throwing’s grace.
18 By this time he was thirsty too
And so in thirst he called on YHWH,
And said “You gave me great salvation,
Who am but in a servant’s station,
And now shall I die by my thirst
And be taken up by the worst
Of the uncircumcised to burst?”
19 But Ælohim opened a place,
A hollow in the jawbone’s trace,
And there came water out of it,
And when he had drunk and was fit,
His spirit reviving a bit,
He called the name of that place writ
En-hakkore, which still remains
In Lehi to this day for gains.
20 And he judge Israel those days
Of the Philistines twenty rays.

No cords could hold the burning arms of sun,
So the tale proclaims Samson on the run.
Though sun may bring the rain and dew up from
The restless sea, no sun can bring the wet
Up from a dried jawbone of donkey set.
And so Baals are shown to be nothing but
The donkeys of the heathen for their glut,
And Dagon when cast on the desert sand
Is made a fish out of the water canned.
Only You, my Beloved, can quench the thirst
Arising from the mighty doing worst
As hero of Your power over the strong.
Let me remember You when I find wrong
Still sits upon the throne of Gaza long.

WEEK 50 JUDGES 16


1 And Samson went to Gaza and
Saw a harlot there near at hand,
And went in to her. 2 The Gazites
Heard, “Samson’s come here and in sights!”
And they surrounded, lay in wait
For him all night by city gate.
They were quiet all night, saying
“When the morning will daylight bring,
We will kill him.” 3 And Samson lay
Low till midnight, then rose from play
At midnight, took hold of the doors
Of the gate of the city floors
And the two gateposts, pulled them up,
Bar and all, put them on his hup,
And carried them up to the top
Of the hill toward Hebron to drop.
4 And after that it happened he
Loved a woman in the valley
Of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.
5 And the lords of the Philistines
Came to her and said like the hyla,
“Entice him and find out the lines
Of his great strength, and how we may
Prevail against him on a day,
That we may tie him up and sting
Him with our tortures in a ring,
And we will give you every one
Of us eleven hundred spun
Pieces of silver when you’re done.”

Trust not the bedfellow nor closest friend
When the State has a jawbone to contend.
With silver every man can be aroused
And every woman with a ring unhoused.
Beloved, let none entice me to retreat
From Your word and reciting of the meet.
Beloved, let none take me away from You,
Even when You’re reflected in the brew
Of high or low, in brow of weak or strong.
When I rise to the hidden soldier throng,
Let me find Your face behind power’s sneer,
And Your grace listening behind the king’s ear.
Faith is to see You where the wrong is great,
To find You even in the perjured State.

6 Delilah said to Samson, “Tell
Me please what is your great strength’s spell,
And how they might tie you up to
Torture you and afflict in crew.”
7 And Samson said to her, “If they
Tie me with seven green withes one day
That never had been dried, then I
Shall be weak as a man or fly.”
8 Then the lords of the Philistine
Brought up to her seven withes of green,
Which had not been dried, and she tied
Him with them. 9 Now men came to hide
With her in her room. And she said
To him, “The Philistines are spread
Against you, Samson.” Like a thread
He broke the withes, and as a thread
Of tow is squandered by the fire.
So his strength was not known entire.
10 Delilah said to Samson, “Look,
You’ve mocked me, told me lies, forsook,
Now tell me, please how you may be
Tied up by any enemy.
11 And he said to her, “If they tie
Me tight with new ropes on the sly
That never were used, then shall I
Be weak as any man or fly.”
12 So then Delilah took new ropes,
And tied him with them in her hopes,
And said to him, “The Philistines
Are after you, Samson, the swines,”
And there were hidden with her there
Men waiting for him in her lair.
He broke off the ropes from his arms
Like a thread when he heard alarms.
13 And Delilah said to Samson,
“So far you’ve mocked me on the run,
And told me lies, tell me now true
With what means can the folk tie you?”
And he told her, “If you braid tight
The seven locks of my hair right
With the web.” 14 And she fastened it
With the pin, and said in her wit,
“The Philistines would make a hit,
Samson.” And he woke up in fit,
And escaped with the pin from beam,
And with the web after his dream.

So Samson was into bondage for play.
He told Delilah what to do and say.
He laughed at the superstition in sway
Of heathendom. He knew You in Your way,
And knew his strength came on the moment caught
By Your spirit and not by magic plot
Of bindings and numbers or blowing on
The hair, or withes or ropes tied up in knot.
And so after his bondage play at dawn
He always rose up with the rage of faun.
Beloved, I shudder for the scorn he lay
Upon the pagan spell and roundelay.
Let me not underestimate the time
When You might depart from my lingered rhyme.

15 And she said to him, “How can you
Claim to love me, when in your pew
Your heart is not with me as due?
You have mocked me these three times past,
And have not told me to the last
Wherein your great strength is tied fast.”
16 It happened as she pressed him daily
With her words, and urged him on gaily,
That his soul was vexed unto death.
17 So he told her all in his breath,
Emptied his heart to her and said
“There’s not come razor on my head,
For I have been a Nazarite
To Ælohim from my mom’s sight,
If I am shaven, then my strength
Will go from me, and I at length
Shall become weak like any man.”
18 When Delilah saw that he’d told
Her all his heart, she made so bold
To send for the lords Philistine,
Saying “Come up once more to dine,
For he has showed me all his heart.”
Then the lords Philistine like dart
Came up to her with coin in hand.
19 And she made him sleep on her knees,
And she called for a man as planned,
And had him shave the seven keys
Of hair from off his head, and she
Began to afflict him to see
That his strength went from him at last.
20 And she said “The Philistines fast
Have come upon you, Samson.” And
He awoke out of his sleep’s band,
And said “I’ll go out as before
And shake myself beside the door.”
But he did not know that YHWH had
Departed from His chosen lad.

Samson knew well that trick and bait were not
The secret of his strength in divine plot.
He knew he depended in all on You.
So he was not afraid of heathen crew,
No matter what they did with band or spell.
He knew that in Your care all things were well.
He did not dream the symbol of his hair
Was where his strength lay, no, not for a dare.
So why did You let Philistine take him
To reaffirm their superstitions grim?
You helped him through murder and fornication,
So what now made You betray Samson’s station?
The legend is not about moral whines.
You dispensed with him to kill Philistines.

21 But the Philistines took him and
Put out his eyes and made him stand
In Gaza, and bound him with rail
Of brass, and used him for stud male
Where they kept him grinding in gaol.
22 But yet his head of hair began
To grow again from shaven span.
23 Then the lords of the Philistines
Gathered together in their wines
Of sacrifice to Dagon god
Of theirs and to rejoice unshod
For they said “Our god’s given us
Samson our foe gratuitous.”
24 And when the people saw him they
Praised their god, for they said “Hooray,
Our god has given us this day
Our enemy, and him who laid
Our country waste, in ambuscade
Killed many of our folk waylaid.”

I live in constant praise of Philistine
God that has decked the land in fervid wine
And claims to be the God of Sinai’s fire,
While all her patrons sunken in desire
Worship the sun instead, worship the deal
That human hearts awaken when they feel.
Beloved, I see the temple and the crowd,
I hear the raging rock sound out aloud,
I hear the evil curse spoken in sound
Of sweetness of hypocrisy around.
Beloved, You are One and not three though You
Are hidden from Philistine temple’s view,
Are silent before all the rocking deck.
I wait once more for Samson to bow neck.

25 It happened when their hearts were full
Of joy, that they said “Bring the bull
Samson to come and give a show
Of male prowess of hump and go.
And they brought Samson from the gaol
And set him by the pillars pale.
26 And Samson said to the young lad
That held him by the hand, he bade,
“Let me feel the pillars whereon
The building stands, that I updrawn
May lean on them. 27 The house was full
Of men and women gullible,
And all the lords of Philistines
Were there, and on the roof in vines
Where about three thousand of men
And women, and they watched again
Samson grinding in sport with ten.
28 And Samson called once more on YHWH,
And said O Lord YHWH, take in view
Remembering me, I pray for strength,
I pray only this once at length,
O Ælohim that I may be
At once avenged for the degree
Of my two eyes on Philistines.
29 And Samson took hold of the tines
Of the two middle pillars on
Which the building was standing, on
Which it was borne up, of the one
With his right hand, and that when done
The other with his left hand spun.
30 And Samson said “Let me now die
With the Philistines.” And with cry
He bowed himself with all his might,
And the house fell upon the wight,
Upon the lords and all the folk
That were in it. So the dead folk
Which he killed at his death were more
Than those he killed in his life’s score.
31 Then his brothers and all the house
Of his father came down with spouse
And took him and brought him up and
Buried him between Zorah’s land
And Eshtaol in the graveyard
Of Manoah, his father’s guard.
And he judged Israel twenty years
And saved them from all of their fears.

I told You they would give Dagon the glory
For blinding Samson and for all his story.
The writer thinks his growing hair to blame,
But You and I know calling on Your name
Is what put Samson back into the game.
They put out his eyes so he could not see
The many women he made pregnant free
By their genetic experiment’s spree
To get an army of strong men for glee.
He ground his seed for their sport but at last
He killed his own offspring in final blast
When all the pregnant women of his past
Were crushed by his sacrifice and Your hand.
Samson accomplished all of Your command.


AUTHOR: THOMAS G. MCELWAIN


Copyright © 2007 Adams & McElwain Publishers and Thomas McElwain First Published in two volumes, The Beloved and I 2005, and Led of the Beloved, 2006. Second Edition, 2010 Third and revised edition, 2012 All rights reserved. No part of this verse commentary on the sacred Scriptures may be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in a retrieval system, in any form or by any means, without permission in writing from publisher.

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