Your word is a lantern to my feet and a light upon my path. I have sworn and will fulfil it, to keep your righteous judgements.
I am troubled above measure; give me life, O Lord, according to your word. Accept the freewill offering of my mouth, O Lord, and teach me your judgements.
My soul is ever in my hand, yet I do not forget your law. The wicked have laid a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your commandments. Your testimonies have I claimed as my heritage for ever; for they are the very joy of my heart. I have applied my heart to fulfil your statutes: always, even to the end. I hate those who are double-minded, but your law do I love. You are my hiding place and my shield and my hope is in your word.
Away from me, you wicked! I will keep the commandments of my God. Sustain me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be disappointed in my hope. Hold me up and I shall be saved, and my delight shall be ever in your statutes. You set at nought those who depart from your statutes, for their deceiving is in vain. You consider all the wicked as dross; therefore I love your testimonies. My flesh trembles for fear of you and I am afraid of your judgements. I have done what is just and right; O give me not over to my oppressors. Stand surety for your servant’s good; let not the proud oppress me.
My eyes fail with watching for your salvation and for your righteous promise. O deal with your servant according to your faithful love and teach me your statutes. I am your servant; O grant me understanding, that I may know your testimonies. It is time for you to act, O Lord, for they frustrate your law.
Therefore I love your commandments above gold, even much fine gold.
Therefore I direct my steps by all your precepts, and all false ways I utterly abhor.
After a while, at the time of the wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife, bringing along a kid. He said, ‘I want to go into my wife’s room.’ But her father would not allow him to go in. Her father said, ‘I was sure that you had rejected her; so I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister prettier than she? Why not take her instead?’ Samson said to them, ‘This time, when I do mischief to the Philistines, I will be without blame.’ So Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took some torches; and he turned the foxes tail to tail, and put a torch between each pair of tails. When he had set fire to the torches, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and burned up the shocks and the standing grain, as well as the vineyards and olive groves. Then the Philistines asked, ‘Who has done this?’ And they said, ‘Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken Samson’s wife and given her to his companion.’ So the Philistines came up, and burned her and her father. Samson said to them, ‘If this is what you do, I swear I will not stop until I have taken revenge on you.’ He struck them down hip and thigh with great slaughter; and he went down and lived in the cleft of the rock of Etam.
Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah, and made a raid on Lehi. The men of Judah said, ‘Why have you come up against us?’ They said, ‘We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him as he did to us.’ Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and they said to Samson, ‘Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then have you done to us?’ He replied, ‘As they did to me, so I have done to them.’ They said to him, ‘We have come down to bind you, so that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines.’ Samson answered them, ‘Swear to me that you yourselves will not attack me.’ They said to him, ‘No, we will only bind you and give you into their hands; we will not kill you.’ So they bound him with two new ropes, and brought him up from the rock.
When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him; and the spirit of the Lord rushed on him, and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. Then he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached down and took it, and with it he killed a thousand men. And Samson said,
‘With the jawbone of a donkey heaps upon heaps,
with the jawbone of a donkey I have slain a thousand men.’
When he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and that place was called Ramath-lehi.
By then he was very thirsty, and he called on the Lord, saying, ‘You have granted this great victory by the hand of your servant. Am I now to die of thirst, and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?’ So God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came from it. When he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore it was named En-hakkore, which is at Lehi to this day. And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines for twenty years.
Once Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute and went in to her. The Gazites were told, ‘Samson has come here.’ So they encircled the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They kept quiet all night, thinking, ‘Let us wait until the light of the morning; then we will kill him.’ But Samson lay only until midnight. Then at midnight he rose up, took hold of the doors of the city gate and the two posts, pulled them up, bar and all, put them on his shoulders, and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron.
People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’
A certain ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honour your father and mother.” ’ He replied, ‘I have kept all these since my youth.’ When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’
Those who heard it said, ‘Then who can be saved?’ He replied, ‘What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.’
Then Peter said, ‘Look, we have left our homes and followed you.’ And he said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.’
you have entrusted to your Church a share in the ministry of your Son our great high priest:
inspire by your Holy Spirit the hearts of many to offer themselves for the ministry of your Church,
that strengthened by his power,
they may work for the increase of your kingdom and set forward the eternal praise of your name;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.