This is the story of Samson in about 500 words, as told by Jared Allen. The humane society would have my head for this, but it starts with the tale of the foxes. Or, perhaps I should call it, “The Tail of the Foxes”.
His long strides brought Samson to his next stop as he treked through the woods near his home in Zorah. The leaves crunched beneath his heavy boots as he readjusted the burden he carried over his shoulder: a large sack full of foxes. As he aproached the next fox trap on his route he looked up and saw the fox caught in the rope noose he had fashioned to a bent sapling. This poor beast, like all the others had taken the bait and triggered the spring of the sapling, the noose the slid around the little fox and strung him up in the air.
Samson smiled as the beast pawed and swung around wildly trying to escape. “Save your energy, friend. There will be time enough to use it tonight.” He set down the sack of foxes by a tree and cut down the hanging fox. Using the rope from the trap, Samson bound the creatures paws together, then secured its mouth closed with a cloth strip and added him to the bag.
“You’re the last of them… Whew.” Samson wiped the sweat from his brow, he’d been at this fox catching nonstop for quite a few weeks. Tonight, he would take his revenge on the Philistines.
By the time Samson arrived at his home in Eshtaol, the other foxes in a massive cage beside his house started clawing and scratching at the walls and gate.
“Patience, lads, only a few hours till sunset now.” His face lit up with a smirk as he unbound the new catches and tossed them into the cage with the others. A full three hundred foxes. Now for the second half of his plan.
It was midnight, or half past. Samson peered over the ridge at the open farmland beyond. He had dug a pit in this place days earlier and covered it with straw, now, three hundred foxes clambered around in it. Samson waited until the last Philistine had gone inside the farmhouse, then took two of the foxes and tied their tails together with twine, placing a torch in the knot in the center. He then staked the pair of them to the ground so that they could not run away and did similarly to the next 149 pairs.
Samson looked down the line at all of his restless fox avengers and lit the torch in his hand. Then, one by one he went down the line lighting the torches on the fox tails and setting them free to wreak havoc on the Philistine corn fields. As the terrified fox pairs ran rampant trying to get away from each other and the fire on their tails, Samson fell to the ground in laughter. The corn fields went up in a fiery blaze, prompting shouts from inside the farmhouse. Philistines poured out like ants and hurried to find water, desperately trying to put out the fires. But, for every flame that was quenched, 150 pairs of foxes would light a thousand more. It was hysterical to watch. Samson laughed until he couldn’t breath as he watched the Philistines, beside themselves trying to put the fires out.
It took the greater part of the night, but they eventually figured out that to stop the fire, they had to catch the foxes. That was a rodeo all by itself, but after several hours, the foxes were caught or doused out by men with buckets of water and sand. Samson considered taking a torch to the farmhouse as well, but then figured the Philistines had suffered enough for one night. With a broad smile on his face, he went home and enjoyed one of the best sleeps he’d had in weeks.
“Who sent the foxes upon us? Who did this?” The Philistine commander ordered and sent his men into the town to round up any witnesses and extract from them the truth. The commander fumed as he looked upon the ruined corn fields, vinyards, and olive gardens. Someone would pay for this.
His men returned not long after he had sent them with several Israelites who had been awakened by the shouts and the fire.
“Do any of you know who did this?” The commander asked. No answer. “Speak up or I shall remove your tongues! Who let loose the foxes?”
“It- it was Samson the Danite, my lord.” One of the younger men said, one who was not particularly fond of Samson for all of the young women looked at Samson if he was Apollo or Hercules and paid no attention to himself.
“You say it was Samson?” The captain inquired.
“Yes, my lord.” The boy replied, some of the others nodded agreement.
“We have heard of this Samson. He is a trouble maker, sir.” One of the Philistine soldiers said. “He slew 30 men in Ashkelon last summer simply to pay off a bet.” The captain arched an eyebrow curiously.
“Why would this Samson set fire to our fields?” The captain asked sternly.
“I can answer that,” a older man replied, stepping into the torchlight. He was a wisened man and wished no harm to come to his people. “Samson is the son-in-law of a certain Timnite who took the boy’s wife and gave her to his companion. He swore to get even with the Philistines for it. Please sir, do no harm to these people. We have done as you asked.” The old man said, bowing his head respectfully.
The commander narrowed his eyes on the group. “Go your way, sleep in peace, we will not trouble you tonight.” As the group of villagers left, the commander turned to his officer. “Go to Timnath. Kill the man and his daughter, the wife of Samson.”
A loud banging sounded on Samson’s door, jarring him from a peaceful sleep. He got out of bed grumpily and opened the door to find a young boy there who used to follow him around when he was in Timnath. The boy looked as if he’d run all the way here.
“What is it lad, it’s late.” Samson said in a fatherly way. The boy tried to talk, but was so out of breath he couldn’t say a thing. “Here,” Samson ducked inside and returned a second later with his water skin. “Sit down, and drink some of this.” The boy did as he was told and regained enough of his breath and energy to deliver his message.
“The… Philistines. They’re burning down-… Your, father-in-law’s house.” Samson looked alarmed but, not frantic like the boy. His father-in-law had this coming to him. The boy shook his head. “You don’t- understand… Your wife and father-in-law are still inside!” The boy squealed.
Samson’s eyes got wide and he darted from his home, galloping all the way to Timnath. When he arrived, the house was all but gone and both his wife and father-in-law were charred skeletons. Samson stood and wept as he stared at the horrific scene. Then, something snapped, his fists clenched and he charged through the village of Timnath, raging toward the Philistine encampment.
As he came upon the sleeping tents of the Philistines, he gave a loud roar that shook the camp. Men began to pop out of their tents and scurry around looking for weapons and armor. They never had a chance. Samson sprang upon them, crushing skulls, breaking bones. By the time his rage had died down, the encampment was nothing but a field of corpses. Samson fled to Etam.
In this, the second part of a three part saga on the strongest man to ever live, we see the consequences of our actions. In part one, Samson married a Philistine, something Israelites had been instructed not to do. Secondly, he gave into temptation from his bewitching bride to be and told her the answer to his riddle, this caused the death of 30 men and the loss of his wife.
In part two, however, the consequences of our actions are taken to a higher level. Out of revenge Samson set the foxes upon the Philistines. Vengeance is God’s not man’s, and when man tries to take revenge it ends up coming back at him. His wife and father-in-law’s lives were the price of Samson’s revenge. Those circumstances no doubt make revenge taste a little less sweet.
As always, thanks for reading. We will return in part three with the dramatic conclusion of the story. Until then.
–the anonymous novelist