I am working with Celia Kellett at BBC Radio Nottingham on an idea to present most of the books of the Bible, one a week, during 2011 as part of the celebrations of the King James Bible. The plan is to read some verses from the book, to give a one-and-a-half minute summary, to hear a human interest story which relates, and then include a short discussion making the connections.
Here’s the key verses and summary for Judges (‘I need a hero’), to be broadcast this Sunday 16th Jan from 8 am:
Verses: Judges 16.4–6, 16–18
Some time later, Samson fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.”
So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.” With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death. So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.”
When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines.
We all love the exciting times in life, when things are going well. But how do we cope with the hum-drum, the everyday? The Book of Judges is about this kind of time in the life of Israel. Moses had led them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea and into the wilderness, and Joshua has led them into the Promised Land. But both are long since dead—how will the people get on with life?
The answer is: not very well! They forget God, get into trouble, usually by being beaten up by their enemies, and so they cry to God for help. And he sends them a series of ‘judges’—heroic leaders who will sort things out. People like Gideon, who throws down a fleece to test God’s call. People like Deborah—yes, God’s people had a female leader in the Old Testament! People like long-haired Samson, physically strong but emotionally weak, someone who could tear apart a lion with his bare hands, but could not resist the charms of Delilah.
The trouble was that after being rescued, God’s people went back to their bad old ways. The story ends ‘And all the people did what was right in their own eyes.’ We don’t just need heroes to rescue us when we get into trouble—we need a healthy pattern of living so we don’t get into trouble in the first place!