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Chapter XXVII.

The Israelites yet again turned to idols; and, being deprived of the divine protection, were subdued by the Philistines, and paid the penalty of their unfaithfulness by forty years of captivity. At that time, Samson is related to have been born. His mother, after being long barren, had a vision of an angel, and was told to abstain from wine, and strong drink, and everything unclean; for that she should bear a son who would be the restorer of liberty to the Israelites, and their avenger upon their enemies. He, with unshorn locks, is said to have been possessed of marvelous strength, so much so that he tore to pieces with his hands a lion which met him in the way. He had a wife from the Philistines, and when she, in the absence of her husband, had entered into marriage with another, he, through indignation on account of his wife being thus taken from him, wrought destruction to her nation. Trusting in God and his own strength, he openly brought disaster on those hitherto victors. For, catching three hundred foxes, he tied burning torches to their tails, and sent them into the fields of the enemy. It so happened that at the time the harvest was ripe, and thus the fire easily caught, while the vines and olive-trees were burnt to ashes. He was thus seen to have avenged the injury done him in taking away his wife, by a great loss inflicted on the Philistines. And they, enraged at this disaster, destroyed by fire the woman who had been the cause of so great a calamity, along with her house and her father. But Samson, thinking himself as yet but poorly avenged, ceased not to harass the heathen race with all sorts of evil devices. Then the Jews, being compelled to it, handed him over as a prisoner to the Philistines; but, when thus handed over, he burst his bonds and seizing the jaw-bone293293    Simply “osse asini” in text. of an ass, which chance offered him as a weapon, he slew a thousand of his enemies. And, as the heat of the day grew violent, and he began to suffer from thirst, he called upon God, and water flowed forth from294294    This is clearly the meaning, and Halm’s punctuation, “invocato Deo ex osse, quod manu tenebat, aqua fluxit,” is obviously wrong. the bone which he held in his hand.


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