December 11. Deborah and Samson. At the time of the Judges Hebrew society was patriarchal and most judges were men. Deborah was a married woman and a prophetess who counselled people but also dealt with military matters. Read Judges 5.

Samson was another one of the Judges. He was also one of the children born to childless women who played a special role in the history. An angel visited his mother and told her the boy’s hair must never be cut and he would be the strongest man alive. There are many stories about his strength as he led the people against the Philistines. However he gave into temptation and in a relationship with a spy, Delilah, she cut his hair while he was asleep. This made him lose his strength and he was taken prisoner. God allowed him a final moment of strength when he was able to pull down the pillars holding up the Philistine temple and so kill many enemies, as well as himself.

Pope Francis: Spiritual worldliness leads some Christians to war with other Christians who stand in the way of their quest for power, prestige, pleasure and economic security.   EG 98   For reflection and discussion.   What do we understand by a good judge in our day? Today they are concerned with interpreting and upholding the law. Would they be peace- loving or ready to fight against injustice? Would political leaders be good judges? How difficult is it to take the context of the time into consideration in reading such stories about wars and God’s role in victory and defeat? Also reflect on Samson’s immorality as the cause of his downfall and was his death a suicide as we see in our day too?