The Death of Samson
|Goliath was confused. Why did Samson just tell him to run? He was supposed to take care of this man until they took him back to prison. He couldn't leave his post. A true soldier never abandons his post until relieved. He would not shirk his duty.|
His whole life, Goliath had wanted to be a soldier. Despite his father's best efforts to restrain him, he would go to where the soldiers trained and watch them. He even had made himself a dummy sword and shield to imitate their movements. The soldiers thought this was amusing so they had allowed him to stay.
Over time, he had grown larger than his peers, larger at ten years of age than some grown men. The only boys close to his size were his cousins Saph, Jazo, and Zeu, but they were several years younger and so, while large for their ages, not as big as he. He knew his father and Uncle Alexi were bigger than any other man in Gath, but never paid much mind to it. His mother had told him that they were descended from a great man called Anak, who she said was like a god. This made him proud and even more determined to be a soldier. And now this foreigner was telling him to run like a scared little girl?
Then Samson stood up.
The chains attached to the neck harness that he wore snapped like they were made of parchment. Then he pulled his arms in and those chains broke as well. Then Samson kicked towards the man standing behind him, snapping that chain. Samson's foot caught the other man in the chest and he flew backwards several feet before slamming to the ground. He blinked, then coughed, then blood spewed out of his mouth and spattered several feet away. His back arched and then he fell back hard. Dead.
Goliath took this in with wide eyes, then he heard a scream and his head swiveled towards the sound. A guard had stabbed Samson with a spear, but the Israeli had simply pulled the spear through him and then wrenched the Philistines head, breaking his neck. He was tossing the body aside and pulling the spear out when Goliath's eyes came around. With a roar, Samson flung the spear into the crowd. It slammed through a couple who were in the process of disrobing while kissing and pinned them shrieking to a wall.
Samson reached out and grabbed a hold of the central pillars and Goliath knew what he was going to do. Panic rose in him and he looked around for a way out. The closest way was a window on the other side of the pillars that Samson now leaned on. With no hesitation, Goliath ran towards the window. As he passed Samson, he heard him cry out.
"LORD, let me die with the Philistines."
Then this judge of Israel, this terror of the Philistines, this man of unassuming looks but terrific power, this Nazarite, shoved on the pillars. And they collapsed.
Goliath dove out of the window, not caring that it was on the second floor. He heard the crash and thunder of falling stone and dried mud bricks behind him. The screams as people were crushed. He hit the ground and pain shot up his left leg. He tried to stand but couldn't support himself on his hurt leg, so he crawled away as fast as he could. Dust was covering the street. He could not see very far in front of him. He came against a wall and pulled himself into a sitting position. Coughing, he looked around. He could see people rushing towards the temple and he yelled for help.
Then he remembered. His father and mother were in the temple. He had to find them. He tried to stand but the pain was too much. He looked at his leg and saw bone jutting out just above his knee, blood running down his leg.
He felt darkness closing in and he tried to stay awake, but the pain struck him suddenly and he went limp.
* * * * *
He awoke on a bed of piled animal skins. He had a cover over him and a lamp burned in the corner of the room. His leg ached, but the pain was not as severe as he remembered. He saw his aunt, Demetra. She was sitting in a chair midway between the bed and door. He tried to speak, but his throat was so dry he couldn't do more than make a strangled sound, then cough. His aunt looked up and smiled at him, then reached to pick up a cup that was setting on the table with the lamp. She stood and crossed to him, leaning over and holding the cup to his mouth. He tasted it and discovered that it was water with honey for sweetener. He drank the sweet liquid, then asked, "How long was I asleep?"
Demetra smiled. "You have been out for 3 days. The doctor gave you medicine a few times to help you rest so that your leg could heal, and you woke up briefly a few times to have me pour some broth down you, but mostly you've slept."
Pain etched through him at the remembrance of the temple collapsing. The screams would haunt him as long as he lived.
His aunt sat on the bed and touched his shoulder. "Oh, Goliath, my strong man. Your parents did not survive."
Shock. Then grief. He tried his best to hold back the tears, but it was a futile effort. It felt like his heart was being torn apart. He sobbed while his aunt hugged him. He cried into her shoulder until he had no more tears, then he gripped her hard, shaking in silent grief.
After a while it subsided, and he slumped back onto the bed, drained. His aunt stroked his forehead as he shuddered away the last of his grief. When it finally stopped, he was thirsty again and asked for some more water. He drank it down and then his stomach growled. His aunt heard and said she would go get him something to eat.
As he lay there waiting on his food, his mind went back to that day. He remembered his awe at being so close to the great Samson. How stupid he had been. That man was an enemy. He did not deserve any sort of friendship or kindness. And neither did his people. If that was how they were, they needed extinguished.
His aunt came in with the food and began to fuss around, helping him sit up and eat. He tolerated it, but the whole time his mind was racing. When Uncle Alexi came back, he would beg to join him. He could learn to fight and he would kill every Israelite he could. For his family.