13 The people of Israel again did what the Lord considered evil. So the Lord handed them over to the Philistines for 40 years.
2 There was a man from Zorah named Manoah. Manoah was from the family of Dan. His wife was not able to have children. 3 The Messenger of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You’ve never been able to have a child, but now you will become pregnant and have a son. 4 Now you must be careful. Don’t drink any wine or liquor or eat any unclean[a] food. 5 You’re going to become pregnant and have a son. You must never cut his hair because the boy will be a Nazirite dedicated to God from birth. He will begin to rescue Israel from the power of the Philistines.”
6 The woman went to tell her husband. She said, “A man of God came to me. He had a very frightening appearance like the Messenger of God. So I didn’t ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name. 7 He told me, ‘You’re going to become pregnant and have a son. So don’t drink any wine or liquor or eat any unclean food because the boy will be a Nazirite dedicated to God from the time he is born until he dies.’”
8 Then Manoah pleaded with the Lord, “Please, Lord, let the man of God you sent come back to us. Let him teach us what we must do for the boy who will be born.”
9 God did what Manoah asked. The Messenger of God came back to his wife while she was sitting out in the fields. But her husband Manoah was not with her. 10 The woman ran quickly to tell her husband. She said, “The man who came to me the other day has just appeared to me again.”
11 Manoah immediately followed his wife. When he came to the man, he asked him, “Are you the man who spoke to my wife?”
“Yes,” he answered.
12 Then Manoah asked, “When your words come true, how should the boy live and what should he do?”
13 The Messenger of the Lord answered Manoah, “Your wife must be careful to do everything I told her to do. 14 She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevines, drink any wine or liquor, or eat any unclean food. She must be careful to do everything I commanded.”
15 Manoah said to the Messenger of the Lord, “Please stay while we prepare a young goat for you to eat.”
16 But the Messenger of the Lord responded, “If I stay here, I will not eat any of your food. But if you make a burnt offering, sacrifice it to the Lord.” (Manoah did not realize that it was the Messenger of the Lord.)
17 Then Manoah asked the Messenger of the Lord, “What is your name? When your words come true, we will honor you.”
18 The Messenger of the Lord asked him, “Why do you ask for my name? It’s a name that works miracles.”
19 So Manoah took a young goat and a grain offering and sacrificed them to the Lord on a rock he used as an altar. While Manoah and his wife watched, the Lord did something miraculous. 20 As the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the Messenger of the Lord went up in the flame. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they immediately bowed down with their faces touching the ground.
21 The Messenger of the Lord didn’t appear again to Manoah and his wife. Then Manoah knew that this had been the Messenger of the Lord. 22 So Manoah said to his wife, “We will certainly die because we have seen God.”
23 But Manoah’s wife replied, “If the Lord wanted to kill us, he would not have accepted our burnt offering and grain offering. He would not have let us see or hear all these things just now.”
24 So the woman had a son and named him Samson. The boy grew up, and the Lord blessed him. 25 The Lord’s Spirit began to stir in him while he was at Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
14 When Samson went to Timnah, he saw a young Philistine woman. 2 He went home and told his father and mother, “I’ve seen a Philistine woman at Timnah. Now get her for me so that I can marry her.”
3 His father and mother asked him, “Aren’t there any women among our relatives or all our people? Do you have to marry a woman from those godless Philistines?”
But Samson told his father, “Get her for me! She’s the one I want!” 4 His father and mother didn’t know that the Lord was behind this. The Lord was looking for an opportunity to do something to the Philistines. (At that time the Philistines were ruling Israel.)
5 Samson went with his father and mother to Timnah. When they were coming to the vineyards of Timnah, a young roaring lion met Samson. 6 The Lord’s Spirit came over him. With his bare hands, he tore the lion apart as if it were a young goat. He didn’t tell his parents what he had done.
7 Then he went to talk to the young woman. She was the one he wanted. 8 Later he went back to marry her. On his way he left the road to look at the lion he had killed. He saw a swarm of bees and some honey in the lion’s dead body. 9 He scraped the honey into his hands and ate it as he walked along. When he came to his father and mother, he gave them some of the honey to eat. He didn’t tell them he had scraped it out of the lion’s dead body.
10 After his father went to see the woman, Samson threw a party. (This is what young men used to do.) 11 When her family saw him, they chose 30 of their friends to be with him.
12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me tell you a riddle. If you solve it during the seven days of the party, I’ll give you 30 linen shirts and 30 changes of clothes. 13 But if you can’t solve it, you will give me the same things.”
They responded, “Tell us your riddle! Let’s hear it!”
14 So Samson said to them,
“From the eater
came something to eat.
From the strong one
came something sweet.”
For three days they couldn’t solve the riddle. 15 On the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, “Trick your husband into solving the riddle for us. If you don’t, we’ll burn you and your family to death. Did the two of you invite us just to make us poor?”
16 So Samson’s wife cried on his shoulder. She said, “You hate me! You don’t really love me! You gave my friends a riddle and didn’t tell me the answer.”
Samson replied, “I haven’t even told my father and mother, so why should I tell you?”
17 But she cried on his shoulder for the rest of the seven days of the party. Finally, on the seventh day he told her the answer because she made his life miserable. Then she told her friends the answer to the riddle.
18 So before sundown on the seventh day, the men of the city said to him,
“What is sweeter than honey?
What is stronger than a lion?”
“If you hadn’t used my cow to plow,
you wouldn’t know my riddle now.”
19 When the Lord’s Spirit came over him, he went to Ashkelon and killed 30 men there. He took their clothes and gave them to the men who solved the riddle. He was angry, and he went to his father’s house. 20 Samson’s wife was given to his best man.
29 John saw Jesus coming toward him the next day and said, “Look! This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. 30 He is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘A man who comes after me was before me because he existed before I did.’ 31 I didn’t know who he was. However, I came to baptize with water to show him to the people of Israel.”
32 John said, “I saw the Spirit come down as a dove from heaven and stay on him. 33 I didn’t know who he was. But God, who sent me to baptize with water, had told me, ‘When you see the Spirit come down and stay on someone, you’ll know that person is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen this and have declared that this is the Son of God.”
35 The next day John was standing with two of his disciples. 36 John saw Jesus walk by. John said, “Look! This is the Lamb of God.” 37 When the two disciples heard John say this, they followed Jesus.
38 Jesus turned around and saw them following him. He asked them, “What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” (which means “teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39 Jesus told them, “Come, and you will see.” So they went to see where he was staying and spent the rest of that day with him. It was about ten o’clock in the morning.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two disciples who heard John and followed Jesus. 41 Andrew at once found his brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”). 42 Andrew brought Simon to Jesus.
Jesus looked at Simon and said, “You are Simon, son of John. Your name will be Cephas” (which means “Peter”).
43 The next day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee. He found Philip and told him, “Follow me!” 44 (Philip was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Andrew and Peter.)
45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the man whom Moses wrote about in his teachings and whom the prophets wrote about. He is Jesus, son of Joseph, from the city of Nazareth.”
46 Nathanael said to Philip, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
Philip told him, “Come and see!”
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and remarked, “Here is a true Israelite who is sincere.”
48 Nathanael asked Jesus, “How do you know anything about me?”
Jesus answered him, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
49 Nathanael said to Jesus, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel!”
50 Jesus replied, “You believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 Jesus said to Nathanael, “I can guarantee this truth: You will see the sky open and God’s angels going up and coming down to the Son of Man.”
1 O Lord, hear my prayer,
and let my cry for help come to you.
2 Do not hide your face from me when I am in trouble.
Turn your ear toward me.
Answer me quickly when I call.
3 My days disappear like smoke.
My bones burn like hot coals.
4 My heart is beaten down and withered like grass
because I have forgotten about eating.
5 I am nothing but skin and bones
because of my loud groans.
6 I am like a desert owl,
like an owl living in the ruins.
7 I lie awake.
I am like a lonely bird on a rooftop.
8 All day long my enemies insult me.
Those who ridicule me use my name as a curse.
9 I eat ashes like bread
and my tears are mixed with my drink
10 because of your hostility and anger,
because you have picked me up and thrown me away.
11 My days are like a shadow that is getting longer,
and I wither away like grass.
12 But you, O Lord, remain forever.
You are remembered throughout every generation.
13 You will rise and have compassion on Zion,
because it is time to grant a favor to it.
Indeed, the appointed time has come.
14 Your servants value Zion’s stones,
and they pity its rubble.
15 The nations will fear the Lord’s name.
All the kings of the earth will fear your glory.
16 When the Lord builds Zion,
he will appear in his glory.
17 He will turn his attention to the prayers
of those who have been abandoned.
He will not despise their prayers.
18 This will be written down for a future generation
so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord:
19 “The Lord looked down from his holy place high above.
From heaven he looked at the earth.
20 He heard the groans of the prisoners
and set free those who were condemned to death.
21 The Lord’s name is announced in Zion
and his praise in Jerusalem
22 when nations and kingdoms gather
to worship the Lord.”
23 He has weakened my strength along the way.
He has reduced the number of my days.
24 I said, “My God, don’t take me now in the middle of my life.
Your years continue on throughout every generation.
25 Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth.
Even the heavens are the works of your hands.
26 They will come to an end, but you will still go on.
They will all wear out like clothing.
You will change them like clothes,
and they will be thrown away.
27 But you remain the same, and your life will never end.
28 The children of your servants will go on living here.
Their descendants will be secure in your presence.”