Samson's Parents, Amon and Anna
Samson’s story starts with a miracle.
His parents, Amon and Anna can’t conceive a child. In desperation they take desperate action. Let them share their story.
‘What can we do Amon?’ Anna weeps uncontrollably. ‘Everyone’s saying we are cursed! Are we? Have we done something wrong? The women avoid me as if I’ve got a plague. I see the fear in their eyes as they turn way.’
Amon takes his wife in his arms. Oh, how he loves her and longs for her to hold a child of their own. But what can he do?
‘Hush Anna, hush.’ He holds her close until she finally sleeps a fretful sleep, punctuated by whimpering and tears.
Amon continues wide awake holding his wife. His lips move as his anguished heart prays to the only One, he knows can help them.
‘Lord, you know our pain. You know what people are saying about us. They say we are cursed, and they shun us. How much longer can we endure? We hurt so much wanting a child of our own but to have their scorn as well. Lord! It’s too much. What should we do? Guide me. Lead me. Help us. You recorded in Your word, the Bible how Sarah longed for a child and what about Hannah in ancient times, and Elizabeth too.¹ They cried out to you and you answered them, even though they were old women. They still believed you heard their cry. We believe too. Hear our pain and give us a child. What must we do?’
Amon eventually sleeps too and come morning awakens determined on a course of action.
‘Anna, do you remember hearing about the old wise man, Librarius? He’s a holy man of God. Remember?’
‘Mm’ she nods remembering.
‘Well…’ Amon pauses, looking into his wife’s eyes, ‘well I think we should visit him.’ He waits for her reaction.
She fixes his gaze, checking his eyes to see if he’s serious. To Amon, the pause seems an eternity.
‘Isn’t he living in the wild land of the north? How would we get to him? Wouldn’t it be dangerous?’ Anna queries.
Amon nods. ‘Yes, yes I believe it probably would be dearest.’
He holds both her hands in his. ‘But what do we have to lose? I can’t bear to see your suffering. I would do anything I could to see you with our own child. I think we should go. Yes, it won’t be easy. I’m not sure there’s even a way to get to him but we should try, shouldn’t we?’
Anna hears the desperation in her husband’s voice, tears catching in his throat and her own eyes fill, her pain always near the surface.
‘Let’s go’ she murmurs, a short sob escaping.
Amon pats her hands, nodding, not trusting himself to speak.
They pack for the journey only what they can carry walking on foot – food, a warm cloak, their staffs and setting off they head out determinedly.
The walking is hard, paths are muddy and often covered over but Amon is confident God will lead them. The first night, they huddle together in the overhang of cliff, sheltering from pelting rain and crouching nearer to the fire they’ve lit. It keeps them warm as they cook a rabbit, but both are also aware that it will keep danger away. A sudden howl splits the night air, an answering one following shortly after. ‘Wolves’ mutters Amon, stoking the fire so the flames shoot into the air brightly - their only defence. They don’t want unwelcome visitors in the night. ‘God of our lives, send your angels to protect us through this night.’
Journeying on the next day they make good progress, sleeping again in the forest, trying to keep warm and safe. Earlier, they’d seen the clear paw print of a bear and decided to take a forking path rather than risk encountering further danger.
On the third day they trudge on. Anna is beyond weary and Amon carries her pack along with his own.
‘Do you think it’s much further?’ she desperately asks Amon.
‘I’m not sure Anna. Look, why don’t you rest in this glade a while and I’ll scout on ahead and see if I can see spot anything.’
She gladly agrees, welcoming the rest and massaging her aching calves and shoulders. She nods sleepily in the warm sunshine, leaning back to rest.
After some time, Amon returns, his step sprightlier and calling ahead of him. ‘Anna, Anna’.
She jerks awake at his call. ‘What is it?’ she asks nervously.
‘Good news. Good news indeed! Just beyond the brow of this hill I can see the settlement. It’s really not far now at all.’
Anna sighs in relief. ‘Seriously? You’re not just coaxing me on?’
‘Seriously! We are nearly there.’
They pick up their packs and trudge forward, up the hill, onto the brow.
‘See, look!’ Amon points.
Anna stops in relief. There laid out below them is a clearing with round huts, smoke rising from fires and figures moving around the enclosure.
‘At last!’ she gasps in relief.
Almost tripping over their feet, they fling themselves down the slope towards the enclosure. Before they arrive, they’ve been spotted, and someone comes out to greet them warmly.
‘Welcome travellers. Come, rest, let us refresh you.’
Amon and Anna are ushered into the compound, their packs taken off their shoulders, water handed to them to drink and a bowl of warm broth.
‘You are so welcome friends. Just rest. We can hear your story once you’re revived. I can see you’ve travelled far and are weary.’
They are taken into a hut and given a fur to rest on. Anna falls instantly asleep her aching body craving rest. Amon crouches beside her, watching her breathing rise and fall.
‘Lord, we’re here. We made it! You’ve guided us this far. Please guide us still.’
After resting, Amon and Anna are led into a circular hut at the centre of the compound.
‘Welcome friends.’ An old white-haired man is sitting comfortably within. His eyes sparkle with life despite his age and kindness rings in his voice. He gestures for them to sit next to him on the furs.
‘You’ve come far?’ he queries. They nod. ‘Hmm. It must be a matter of great importance? I’m Librarius. I would love to hear your story if you’d care to share with me.’
‘Are you really Librarius?’ Anna blurts out before realising she sounds rude.
He smiles and chuckles, ‘Yes, yes I am.
‘Oh! Oh!’ Anna seems lost for words suddenly.
Amon takes over. ‘Well, you’ll have realised we’ve come to seek your counsel, knowing you are a wise man of God. I hope you’ll be able to help us for our hearts are really sore.’
Amon continues, telling Librarius of their sorrow and why they’ve come.
When he finishes there is a hush in the room. Librarius nods thoughtfully. ‘I can see why you’re here and how much you’ve both suffered. He pats their hands kindly. Let me seek the counsel of the Most High God and we will talk further tomorrow.’ With that they are gently ushered out of the hut and back to theirs.
Come morning, they are once more invited to meet with Librarius.
They enter hesitantly and rather nervously but this disappears the moment they see Librarius smile warmly at them.
‘Come in, come in. I’ve good news. Whilst praying and asking God for his wisdom regarding your plight, He gave me a strategy for you. It may sound strange, but I believe if you do this in obedience, your desire for a child will be granted.’
Librarius continues, ‘I felt the Lord wants you, Amon, to give a rod of silver, equalling the length of your wife, to the church and that God will hear your cries. I know it’s an odd instruction and you must realise this has nothing to do with the church grasping for money but is a direct instruction from God so that He can release a blessing to you.’
‘I understand’ Amon replies, ‘thank you.’ He looks at Anna and can see her anxious response. ‘I will be obedient, whatever the cost. Thank you. Thank you so much for your counsel.’ He continues.
Getting up to leave, Librarius prays a blessing over their return journey and the fulfilment of the promise of a child.
‘But it makes no sense,’ Anna argues with her husband. ‘How can we possibly afford to give a length of silver?’
Amon is quiet but resolute. ‘Look Anna, we came to seek God’s counsel, and this has been given. We have a choice now. Will we believe and be obedient or will we argue and continue childless?’
‘But it’s so much money’ Anna continues.
‘Which is more important to you?’ Amon asks.
Anna suddenly realises. ‘The child of course.’
‘Yes, the child.’
And with that the matter is settled.
On their return Amon donates the length of silver to the church.
The morning afterwards, Anna wakes her husband excitedly.
‘Amon,’ she shakes him. ‘Amon.’
‘Mm’ he moans, still weary from the journey and not wanting to wake easily.’
Hearing the urgency in Anna’s voice, Amon is suddenly wide awake. Looking anxiously at his wife he asks, ‘What’s wrong? Has something happened?’
‘Yes! Yes, it has.’ Anna gabbles. ‘Whilst I was asleep last night, an angel visited me. He was beautiful, a golden colour and this light flowed out of him. He told me that I’m going to have a child and to call him Samson.’ Can you believe that, he even named our child and it’s a son! We’re going to have a son. Oh …. And he said that he shall be seven times brighter than the silver your husband has given for you to God!’
Anna is beaming with joy and peace.
‘Tell me again! Slowly.’ Amon asks. ‘I want to remember this moment forever.’
1 Genesis 18:10 Sarah; Luke 1:13-15. Elizabeth; 1 Samuel 1:9-11 Hannah