When I first made this blog I promised myself I wouldn't waste words apologizing for not posting in a while.
So, I caught up on reading from a while ago. I'm now in Samuel, still in the Psalms, reading the Gospel of Mark, and am in the middle of the Nicene Creed in the Catechism.
It's interesting to note the stories of Joshua, Gideon, and Samson in the Bible are not kid-friendly stories. It's around this time that there are a lot of statements attributed to God that involve mass killing of the people who lived in the Promised Land. Stories of Joshua usually end at around the fall of Jericho. That was only the beginning. The land is split up between the different tribes who are told "go and conquer it" (except for the tribe of Levi, which by God's command gets none as it is set apart for service to God, and except for the tribe of Joseph which is never called the tribe of Joseph, it is really the two tribes of his sons, the Ephraimites and Manessahites).
The Benjaminites are all but wiped out by the other tribes due to a rather...sexually corrupt... town. In fact the other tribes went "oops we killed all the Benjaminite women... and we swore a curse on anyone who willingly gives a wife to the remaining men... what do we do now?" FYI their solution was daughter-stealing. But it makes the rise of Saul the Benjaminite to king significant. Saul is of the least important family of the least important clan, of the smallest tribe (because it got all but wiped out). And Samuel is telling him that he will be king. The pattern follows when David, the youngest and least important of his brothers, is anointed king. Neither Saul nor David make the best kings, though David is the one who gets God's promise that his family will have the kingship forever (as Jesus is of the line of David). As Jesus said, "the first shall be last, and the last shall be first."
Gideon is not really called Gideon in the Bible. Well, he is, but he gets renamed Jerubabaal, because he was told by God's angel to take down his family's (and town's) stuff they used to worship Baal. BTW he did it in the dead of night when no one would see him. On the topic of Baal, (skipping ahead to when Saul is king) the ark of the covenant gets brought to the battlefield because Saul left God's way and has gone mad. The battle is lost and the ark of the covenant is captured. They think it's a good idea to put it in their temple next to their statue (Baal or and equivalent). In the morning the statue has fallen on its face in front of the ark. They think, hey, coincidence, and prop the thing back up. The next morning, not only is the statue fallen over, it's head and hands are cut off. And everyone in the town is getting horribly sick. They think, hey, let's give this over to our neighbor kingdom. But they all get sick, so they have no solution left than "give it back!!! please!!!" And so it gets sent back. But, yeah, the book of Judges is full of idolatry. There's even a point where they make an image of God, and the Bible calls it an "idol"...though God forbade them to make images of Him (remember the golden calf made while Moses was up getting the commandments? At least the New American Bible says that they were trying to worship God through the calf... I guess at that point they didn't really have any concept of using images to think of God vs worshiping the image instead of God.) Oh, back to Gideon. Yeah, apparently before an angel got to him, his family worshiped Baal... not really part of his popular image. (oh and he's also the least significant in family and tribe... ) I didn't even go into the fact that the book of Judges is a cycle of idolatry, being conquered, crying to God for help, a Judge being raised up to fight back, then idolatry again repeated over and over.
And you'll just have to go read about Samson yourself... I'll just say Delilah was just the most famous of a line of Philistine women in his life...