The Second Jealousy of Ephraim & Samson

You aren’t joshing when You say a vow is a vow.

A Man Named Ammon
Ben-ammi commonly known as Ammon was the son of an incestuous union of Lot with his younger daughter.

He was the brother of Moab, who was also a child of Lot’s incestuous relationship with his eldest daughter.

Both were conceived after the destruction of Sodom.

Ammon became the ancestor of the Ammonites.

He is on the Biblical Timeline around 1900 B.C.

Just like the Moabites, Ammonites were usually in conflict with the Israelites.

The Bible relates an incident when the Ammonites refused to let the Israelites pass through their land.

They were also mentioned as one of the nations who fought against Judas Maccabeus.

Another incident was when the Ammonites allied with the Moabites in a war against the Israelites.

And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee?  We will burn thine house upon thee with fire. 

And Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, ye delivered me not out of their hands. 

And when I saw that ye delivered me not, I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivered them into my hand: wherefore then are ye come up unto me this day, to fight against me? (Jdg 12:1-3).

Jephthah gathered all his men of Gilead and fought Ephraim, and the Gilead’s smote them, and took the passages of Jordan. Some of Ephraimite’s men escaped, but when they caught up with them they said,

…Let me go over [the Jordan]; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite?  If he said, Nay;

Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right.  Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand (Jdg 12:5-6).

Jephthah judged Israel for six years and died and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.

After him was Ibzan of Beth-lehem and he had 30 sons and 30 daughters, and he judged Israel for seven years and died and was buried in Beth-lehem.

Israel and Judah were related Iron Age kingdoms of the ancient Levant.
The Kingdom of Israel emerged as an important local power by the 9th century B.C. before falling to the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 722 B.C.

Israel’s southern neighbor, the Kingdom of Judah, emerged in the 8th century and enjoyed a period of prosperity as a client-state of first Assyria and then Babylon before a revolt against the Neo-Babylonian Empire led to its destruction in 586 B.C.

Following the fall of Babylon to the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 539 B.C., some Judean exiles returned to Jerusalem, inaugurating the formative period in the development of a distinctive Judahite identity in the Persian province of Yehud.

Yehud was absorbed into the subsequent Hellenistic kingdoms that followed the conquests of Alexander the Great, but in the 2nd century B.C. the Judaeans revolted against the Hellenist Seleucid Empire and created the Hasmonean kingdom.

This, the last nominally independent Judean kingdom, came to an end in 63 B.C. with its conquest by Pompey of Rome.

With the installation of client kingdoms under the Herodian Dynasty, the Kingdom of Israel was wracked by civil disturbances which culminated in the Jewish Revolt, the destruction of the Temple, the emergence of rabbinical Judaism and Early Christianity.

Elon, a Zebulonite, judged Israel for 10 years, died and was buried in Aijalon in the country of Zebulun.

Abdon, the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, had 40 sons and 30 nephews.  He judged Israel for eight years, died and was buried in Pirathonite in the land of Ephraim, in the mount of the Amalekites.

And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years. 

And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. 

And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.

Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:

For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city located in the central West Bank, neighboring south Jerusalem, with a population of about 25,000 people.

It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian Authority.

The economy is primarily tourist-driven.

The Hebrew Bible identifies Bethlehem as the city of David.

The New Testament identifies Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus.

The town is inhabited by one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, although the size of the community has shrunk due to emigration.

Bethlehem was sacked by the Samaritans in 529, but rebuilt by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I.

Bethlehem was conquered by the Arab Caliphate of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattāb in 637, who guaranteed safety for the city’s religious shrines. In 1099, Crusaders captured and fortified Bethlehem and replaced its Greek Orthodox clergy with a Latin one.

The Latin clergy were expelled after the city was captured by Saladin, the sultan of Egypt and Syria.

With the coming of the Mamluks in 1250, the city’s walls were demolished, and were subsequently rebuilt during the rule of the Ottoman Empire.

Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name:

But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.

Then Manoah entreated the LORD, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born. 

And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her. 

And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day.

And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman?  And he said, I am. 

And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass.  How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him? 

And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. 

She may not eat of anything that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.

And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee.

And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD. 

And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honor?

Lower Gilead Yarmuk Valley
The Yarmuk River is the northern border of Gilead and the southern border of Bashan (modern Golan Heights).

The Yarmuk is never mentioned by name in Scripture.

In the bottom of the valley, on the border of Israel and Jordan, is Hammath Gader, a region of hot springs (hammath) in the district of Gadara.

These baths were built and visitors flocked to the site in the Roman and Byzantine periods.

And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?  

So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on.

For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the  flame of the altar.  And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. 

But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife.  Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD.

And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. 

But his wife said unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.

Tell el-Husn
Ramoth Gilead has been identified with three sites in close proximity to each other.

Tell er-Rumeith (pictured above) was excavated by Paul Lapp in the 1960s and has Iron Age remains.

Some scholars feel that the site is too small to fit the biblical description.

Tell el-Husn (pictured left) is another possibility, though the Muslim cemetery on top prevents excavation.

A third candidate is er-Ramtha, but the modern city sits on top of this site and makes excavation impossible.

And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. 

And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol (Jdg 13:1-25).

Samson

Samson and the Lion
by Gleb W. Derujinsky, Russian-American sculptor.

Samson, a member of the tribe of Dan, was one of the Judges of Israel.  He Judged Israel for 20 years. Samson’s mother received a visit from an angel, who told her she would give birth to an unusual son, a Nazirite, and not to cut his hair.  Samson had great strength, he killed a lion with his bare hands,

and later killed 1,000 Philistines with a jawbone of a donkey.  He had romantic encounters with three Philistine women.

He fell in love with one of the women, Delilah.  The five leaders of the Philistine nation went to Delilah, and demanded that she find out from Samson what made him so strong, so they could subdue him.  She eventually found out it was because his hair had never been cut.  While asleep, Samson’s hair was cut off.  Losing his strength, he was captured by the Philistines, who gouged out his eyes, and made him grind grain in prison.

Later, the Philistines stood Samson in the center of a temple during a celebration, his hair had now grown back.  Samson was placed between the two main pillars of the temple.  He asked God to strengthen him one more time “so that I may pay back the Philistines for the loss of at least one of my eyes.”  Then Samson pushed against the pillars with all his might.  “Let me die with the Philistines,” he prayed.

The temple crashed, killing more Philistines at the time of his death, than during his entire lifetime. His brothers brought him back home and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol, where his father, Manoah was buried.  The story of Samson is found in the Book of Judges, chapters 13-16.  The name Samson means “Little Sun.”