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told her all his heart, and how his great strength depended on his obeying God's word, that no razor should touch him ; and that if he were
1 shaven his strength would go from him, and he would become like any other man. When Delilah saw that Samson had really told her his secret, her covetous heart was glad; and she sent to the chief Philistines, who came and brought her the money which they had promised her.
Then she watched to get Samson to sleep, and made a man come while he slept and shave off his hair; and directly his strength began to
from him. When Delilah roused him, saying, “The Philistines be upon thee, Samson!” he awoke, saying, "I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself ;” not knowing that the LORD was departed from him. Like too many of us, Samson had not taken good
, care of God's gift which was entrusted to him, and in his self-confidence and rashness he had lost it. The strength was not Samson's, but God's; and pow, though to outer sight he looked just the same, he was weak like any other man, and the Philistines took him easily, and bound him with chains, putting out both his eyes, and setting him to grind in the prison at Gaza.
They rejoiced greatly over his defeat, and after awhile they made a great feast and sacrifice to their false idol Dagon, praising him for having delivered this terrible foe into their hand. While they were full of mirth and gladness, they sent for their poor blind captive, that he might make sport for them, and they set him between the pillars of the house. But they did not know that his hair was growing again, and that with his hair his strength was returning
Now in the house where the feast was, were assembled together all the lords of the Philistines, and a very great company of men and women ;
besides about three thousand more people, who were upon the roof, looking on. Samson was led by a boy, and he asked the lad to let him lean upon the pillars of the house. When he felt them, Samson called unto the LORD, and said, “ O LORD God, remember me I pray Thee, and strengthen me, I pray Thee,
, I only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes." Then Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and saying, “Let me die with the Philistines,” he bowed himself with all his might, and the house fell upon the people, and they were all killed, none escaped. But Samson died too. Then his brethren came for his body, and took him home, and buried him beside his father Manoah. Samson had judged Israel for twenty years.
It pleased the LORD to send a famine in the land in the days of one of these Judges of Israel, and the people sought to find food in countries where there was greater plenty. Among others, a man called Elimelech, who lived at Bethlehem, went into the land of Moab, with his wife Naomi, and his two sons, Mahlon and Chilion. These two young men married Moabite wives,—Orpah and Ruth. About ten years after Elimelech and Naomi had settled in Moab, he died, and afterwards both his sons died also. Then when Naomi found herself alone without husband or son, she longed to be in her own land again ; and hearing that the Lord had visited His people, and given them plenty again, she set off to return to the land of Judah.
Naomi's two widowed daughters-in-law set off with her, and went part of the way; and then Naomi spake to them tenderly, and said, “Go, return each to her mother's house; the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead and with me; the LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband." And Naomi kissed her two daughters as she bade them farewell, and they all lifted up their voice, and wept. Both Orpah and Ruth said, “Surely we will return with thee unto thy people."
But Naomi would not hear of this; she again bade them return to their own people, and seek to begin life again ; and though they all still wept very sore, Orpah ceased to resist, and kissing her mother-in-law, she turned back to Moab. But Ruth clave unto her.
Then Naomi said, “Behold, thy sister-inlaw is gone back unto her people, and to her gods; return thou after thy sister-in-law." And Ruth answered, saying, “ Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go ; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge : thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest will I die, and there will I be buried; the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.”
When Naomi saw that Ruth was stedfastly minded to go with her, she left off speaking against it, and the mother and daughter went on together till they came to Bethlehem.
When the two women reached Naomi's native place, all the city was moved about them, and the people came to hear of her doings. Now the name Naomi means “ Pleasant,” so she
" said unto them, “ Call me not Naomi, but call me Mara," (which means “ Bitter,”) “ for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me: I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty; why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the ALMIGHTY hath afflicted me?"
Naomi and Ruth lived together in Bethlehem, and it was so that they arrived there just about the time of the barley harvest, and as they were very poor, Ruth asked Naomi to let her go out into the fields and glean. Now there was in Bethlehem a mighty man of great wealth, named Boaz, who was a kinsman of Elimelech, Naomi's husband. And it pleased God so to order things, that Ruth went all unknowing, into Boaz' fields, and gleaned after his reapers. By and by Boaz came forth to the fields, and met his husbandmen, saying,