Abagwebi 15

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1 Kwathi kwakuba ntsuku, ngemihla yokuvuna ingqolowa, uSamson wamvelela umkakhe, enetakane lebhokhwe; wathi, Ndiya kungena kumkam egumbini. Ke uyise womfazi ebengamvumeli ukuba angene.

2 Wathi uyise womfazi, Bendiba umthiyile ngenene, ndamnika umlingane wakho. Akamhle na umsakwabo kunaye? Makabe ngowakho esikhundleni sakhe.

3 Wathi uSamson kubo, Ndimsulwa okwesi sihlandlo kumaFilisti, xa ndithe ndenza ububi kuwo.

4 Waya uSamson wabamba amakhulu omathathu eempungutye, wathabatha izikhuni ezivuthayo, waziqhagamshela ngemisila, wafaka isikhuni sasinye phakathi kwayo.

5 Walumeka ngomlilo ezikhunini, wazindulula zaya engqoloweni yamaFilisti engekavunwa; watshisa, ethabathela ezitheni, wesa engqoloweni engekavunwa, wesa emiyezweni yeminquma.

6 Athi amaFilisti, Ngubani na lo wenze oku? Bathi, NguSamson, umyeni womTimnata; ngokuba emthabathile umkakhe, wamnika umlingane wakhe. Enyuka amaFilisti, amtshisa yena noyise ngomlilo.

7 Wathi uSamson kuwo, Ukuba nenjenje, inene, ndiya kuziphindezelela kuni, ndandule ukupheza.

8 Wawaxabela kakhulu ihleza nethanga; wehla ke, wahlala emqhokrweni wengxondorha yase-Etam.

9 Enyuka amaFilisti, amisa kwaYuda, akha uluhlu eLehi.

10 Athi amadoda akwaYuda, Yini na ukuba ninyuke nize phezu kwethu? Athi wona, Sinyuke seza kukhonkxa uSamson, senze kuye njengoko enze ngako kuthi.

11 Ehla amadoda angamawaka amathathu, evela kwaYuda, aya emqhokrweni wengxondorha yase-Etam, athi kuSamson, Akwazi na ukuba amaFilisti ayasilawula? Yintoni na le usenze yona? Wathi kuwo, Njengoko enze ngako kum, ndenze ngako nam kuwo.

12 Athi kuye, Sihle, size kukukhonkxa, ukuba sikunikele esandleni samaFilisti. Wathi uSamson kuwo, Ndifungeleni, ukuba aniyi kundibulala ngokwenu.

13 Athi kuye, Siya kukukhonkxa sikuqinise, sikunikele esa ndleni sawo; ukukubulala, asiyi kukubulala. Amkhonkxa ngezintya ezintsha ezimbini, amnyusa engxondorheni.

14 Weza eLehi; amaFilisti amkhawulela eduma. Wamfikela ngamandla uMoya kaYehova; izintya ebezisemikhonweni yakhe zaba njengeflakisi ngumlilo, amakhamandela akhe acombuluka ezandleni zakhe.

15 Wafumanana nomhlathi omtsha we-esile, wasolula isandla, wawuthabatha, wabulala ngawo iwaka lamadoda.

16 Wathi uSamson, Ngomhlathi we-esile zizigigaba ngezigigaba; Ngomhlathi we-esile ndisike iwaka lamadoda.

17 Kwathi, akugqiba ukuthetha, wawulahla umhlathi esandleni sakhe, wathi loo ndawo yiRamati-lehi.

18 Wanxanwa kakhulu, wanqula uYehova, wathi, Wena unike ngesandla somkhonzi wakho usindiso olungaka; kanti nanku ndiya kufa linxano, ndeyele esandleni sabangalukanga.

19 Wawucanda uThixo umgongxo oseLehi; kwaphuma amanzi kuwo. Wasela, wabuya umoya wakhe, waphila ke. Ngenxa yoko wathi igama laloo ndawo nguMthombo woMnquli, oseLehi unanamhla.

20 Wawalawula amaSirayeli ngemihla yamaFilisti iminyaka emashumi mabini.


Exploring the Meaning of Abagwebi 15      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 15: Samson defeats the Philistines.

At the beginning of this chapter, we learn that the one who gave Samson’s wife to another man was his father-in-law, who thought that Samson truly hated her. He then offered Samson her younger sister instead, saying, “Is she not better? Take her.”

Samson, enraged, took three-hundred foxes and tied them tail-to-tail in pairs, with a lit torch between them. He then released them in the Philistines’ standing grain, vineyards and olive groves to burn up their crops, as revenge for the loss of his wife. In retaliation, the Philistines went and burned her and her father. In a final act of vengeance, Samson killed very many of the Philistines, then went to dwell in the cleft of the rock of Etam.

The Philistines went to Judah, stating their intent to arrest Samson, and the men of Judah passed on the message to him. Samson made the Judeans promise not to kill him themselves, but only to bind him with two new ropes before giving him to the Philistines as a prisoner.

When the Philistines came, Samson broke apart the ropes, and killed a thousand of them with the jawbone of a donkey. Then he threw the jawbone away, and complained to the Lord that he was thirsty. The Lord answered his cry for help by splitting the ground where the jawbone fell, so that Samson could drink the water that flowed from it.

The final verse of this chapter tells us that Samson judged Israel twenty years.

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Samson’s marriage to a Philistine woman speaks to the appealing, or even enticing, nature of ‘faith alone’ spirituality, represented by the Philistines. We must stay on our guard, to ensure that we are not caught up in thinking that faith alone will save us. The father offers Samson his wife’s younger sister, saying she is even better, but Samson had already learned to be wary by that point.

The foxes, tied together with their tails lit on fire, vividly describes the twisted and destructive nature of faith alone, and the way it consumes our potential to lead a fruitful life. The Word often depicts the state of a nation or religion through a story illustrating its true nature (True Christian Religion 130)

The cycle of revenge between Samson and the Philistines represents our personal struggles during temptation and our wish to regenerate. Our whole effort during regeneration is to resist sins that might lure us in, and to maintain our intention to live the Word (see Swedenborg’s work, Divine Providence 83[6]). The men of Judah who bind Samson represent our love for the Lord and for everything of the Lord, although this seems contradictory on a surface level. In this case, being ‘bound up’ means to be bound in our commitment to the Lord, so that we are restrained from doing evil (see Swedenborg’s work, Heaven and Hell 577[4]).

Samson stands for the power of the Word acting in our lives to assert what is true, to protect what must be upheld, and to defend against evils. He uses the jawbone of a donkey because a jawbone allows us to eat food (spiritually, nourishment from the Word), and also to proclaim the Lord’s truths. This gives us the power to expose and reject the belief that spirituality consists of faith alone (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 9049[6]).

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