The Lion or the Lamb, Samson, Ruth & Salvation is biblical fiction that explores the meaning of salvation by contrasting the stories from The Book of Ruth and Mighty Samson’s exploits in the Book of Judges. The novel’s narrator, whom the reader may recognize from Bible study, is mentioned only once in scripture. Samson’s friend who received Samson’s Philistine bride as a gift from her father after Samson abandoned her, tells the tale, a story of wonder and disillusionment caused by the continuing violence he witnesses between his people, the invading Philistines and the self-styled sons of Avraham.
Padi, as he is called in the novel, is the son of a Philistine warrior who discovers at an early age that he does not fit among his violent people. Not only has his mild nature ruined his social standing, but his choice of best friend, a wild native boy named Samson, has set him completely apart.
Though no Philistine would harm Padi for fear of Samson, Padi abandons his home and moves to the Sorek Valley where he accepts Samson’s abandoned bride as a gift from her angry father, thus becoming witness to a succession of Samson’s destructive miracles.
Disillusioned by continuing violence in the valley, Padi deserts his faithless bride and heads to the hills, struggling until he stumbles into the village of Bethlehem exhausted and near death. There, despite his pagan blood, he is nursed back to health by relatives of Elimelech, husband of Naomi, who is soon to abandon Judah for Moab.
After a deceptive introduction to the tradition of circumcision, Padi marries and goes to work in the barley fields for his brother-in-law, Boaz. Happily married, father of three and in love with his newfound home, Padi’s life should be complete. But, as witness to continuing violence, he is plagued by a question; What exactly is salvation which his new people so keenly crave?
He learns the answer only after Naomi returns to Bethlehem with her Moabite daughter, Ruth, and Mighty Samson is captured and taken in chains to the Philistine temple at Gaza.
It happens that Samson and Ruth were, very likely, contemporaries! Read more.