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1 And the [Bnei Yisroel] did evil [harah] again in the sight of Yahweh; and Yahweh delivered them into the hand [yad] of the Philistines [Pelishtim] 40 years [arba'im shanah.].
2 And there was a certain man [ish] of [Tzorah], of the family of the Danites [mishpakhat HaDanai], whose name was [Manoach]; and his wife [isha] was barren, and bare not.
Israel having been a long time in bitter servitude to the Philistines, the time had arrived when God would deliver them. The angel of Yahweh appeared to the wife of Manoah, of the family of the Danites, in Zorah, and informed her of the coming birth of Samson, for this purpose, and of the need for bringing him up as a Nazarite. The woman, without knowing the nature of her visitor, described him to her husband as "a man of God (with) countenance like the countenance of an angel of God-very terrible" (Judges 13: 6).
Manoah entreated Yahweh that the man might return to them to instruct them how to bring up the child that should be born. Manoah's request was granted, and the angel returned and repeated the message, with instructions how the mother was to treat herself. Manoah, who "knew not that he was an angel of Yahweh," asked the man's name, and pressed him to accept their hospitality. The angel declined on both points, but consented to remain while Manoah offered an offering to Yahweh.
"And Manoah took a kid with a meat offering and offered it upon a rock unto Yahweh. And the angel did wondrously. And Manoah and his wife looked on. For it came to pass when the flame went up toward heaven that the angel of Yahweh ascended in the flame of the altar. . . . Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of Yahweh" (Judges 13: 19-21).
Afterwards came the birth of Samson, who was tended, in accordance with the angel's instructions, with all the scrupulous care which such a prelude to his birth would generate.
When Samson was grown to manhood, he evinced a super-natural strength which enabled him single-handed to work his will upon the enemies of Israel, and finally to deliver his people. The record of his exploits is a record of miracle, in so far as his great strength was miraculous; but in so far as those exploits were natural to great strength, the narrative need not particularly engage our attention.
Suffice it, that the whole episode was one of many instrumentalities by which the feeble and struggling nationality of Israel was divinely kept alive in the midst of unfriendly surroundings, which, left to themselves, would have destroyed it from the earth, as in the case of all other nationalities of that time.
The miraculous was a necessary element occasionally brought to bear in the process by which this result was achieved. The agencies employed were in the main natural, but, in the right manipulation of these, the visible hand was necessary at certain points, and the time of Samson was one of these.
Visible Hand of God Ch 21
The Samson Option...
The US war with Iraq...
''General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the American commander, eventually acknowledged that Iraq could have as many as fifteen battalions of launchers, each supplied with fifteen Scuds- a total of 225 missiles.
There was another element involved in those first hours, not known to the public but detected by an American satellite making its ninety-six-minute orbit around the earth.
The satellite saw that Shamir had responded to the Scud barrage by ordering mobile missile launchers armed with nuclear weapons moved into the open and deployed facing Iraq, ready to launch on command. American intelligence picked up other signs indicating that Israel had gone on a full-scale nuclear alert that would remain in effect for weeks.
No one in the Bush administration knew just what Israel would do if a Scud armed with nerve gas struck a crowded apartment building, killing thousands. All George Bush could offer Shamir, besides money and more batteries of Patriot missiles, was American assurance that the Iraqi Scud launcher sites would be made a priority target of the air war.
Such guarantees meant little; no Jews had been killed by poison gas since Treblinka and Auschwitz, and Israel, after all, had built its bomb so it would never have to depend on the goodwill of others when the lives of Jews were being threatened.
The escalation didn't happen, however; the conventionally armed Scud warheads caused-amazingly-minimal casualties, and military and financial commitments from the Bush administration rolled in.
The government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir received international plaudits for its restraint.