The Morgan Crusader Bible of Louis IX
or Maciejowski Bible
or The Bible of Shah Abbas

Ms Morgan 638, folio 14r




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Just Desserts:
Abimelech has ruled Israel for three years, but the Lord does not favour this usurper. From atop the besieged stronghold of Thebez, a woman takes aim at Abimelech with a piece of a millstone. The stone dashes against his head, crushing his skull. With his remaining strength, Abimelech summons his armour bearer, begging that he be slain by a sword so that men will not say that he was killed by a woman. Abimelech appears twice—once beneath the millstone and once beneath the sword—but in different clothing. The reason for this inconsistency in a single miniature is unclear. (Judges 9:50–54)

Divine favour:
The Israelites are sinful in the eyes of the Lord and must serve the Philistines for forty years. But again, the Lord prepares a deliverer. An angel of the Lord visits Manoah, of the tribe of Dan, and his barren wife (In the biblical account, Manoah is not present). The angel promises that Manoah's wife will conceive and bear a son. She is to partake neither of wine nor of strong drink during the pregnancy, for the boy is to be a Nazirite, that is, a consecrated one. Most importantly, a razor is never to touch one hair of the boy's head. (Judges 13:2–5)

A Thanksgiving:
Manoah invites the Lord's angel to dine, but the angel would rather Manoah make a burnt offering to the Lord. Accordingly Manoah chooses a kid from the flocks and prepares it on an altar. As Manoah pours an offering of oil and his wife feeds the fire, the angel ascends to heaven in the midst of the rising flames. (Judges 13:15–20)

Samson, Mightiest of Men:
As the Lord promised, Manoah's wife conceives a boy, Samson. When he comes of age, his parents accompany him to Timnah to choose a wife. On the way, the family is surprised by a vicious, raging lion. The spirit of the Lord comes upon the young Samson. Samson steals away from his parents and, without their knowledge, rips the lion to pieces with his hands alone. (Judges 14:5–6)

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