Son of Samson and the Maiden of Thunder
Chapter 1: "Civil Disobedience"Edit
At a wrestling match in the Philistine city of Gezer, Byblos the Phoenician accepts the challenge to wrestle the undefeated town champion. When a beardless youth emerges from his tent and enters the wrestling circle, Byblos is incredulous that such a "pup" could be the local title holder. Once the bout begins, however, Byblos discovers that he grossly underestimated the prowess of his opponent. After only a few minutes of grappling with Byblos, the town champ delivers a finishing blow to the hairy Phoenician in the form of a Babylonian neck stomp. The victor then removes his turban and flowing robes to reveal that the champion of Gezer is actually a brawny woman named Zarah, who wrestles under the ring name of "Maiden of Thunder."
Sitting in the stands, Branan draws unwanted attention to himself when his insatiable stomach growls loud enough for everyone around him to hear. As no volunteers to scrap with Zarah are forthcoming, the entertainment-hungry assemblage pressures Branan to accept her challenge to fight, taunting him that he could buy a good meal for himself if he beats her. Unlike any of Zarah's previous opponents, Branan manages to hold his own with the wily pugilist, and the bout drags on for hours.
With the townsfolk thus distracted with the interminable wrestling match, three small Hebrew boys - Zackeus, Yehude, and Mizraim - decide to cause mischief by dumping fish guts on Commander Sidon while he is harassing an innocent fishmonger in the marketplace.
Back at the wrestling match, it becomes increasingly obvious that neither Branan nor Zarah will yield the bout. The bored announcer points out that the crowd has already dispersed and thus proposes calling the match a draw - a verdict both Branan and Zarah are relieved to accept. During their conversation after the match, Zarah mentions to Branan that she inherited her impressive strength from her Hebrew father Samson. With tears in his eyes, Branan gushes that Samson is his father as well, which means that Branan and Zarah are siblings.
Sidon, meanwhile, decides to punish all the Hebrews for the fish dumping mischief by doubling the food offering tribute the Israelites must pay to the Philistine god Dagon. But far from preventing the boys from further striking back against the Philistines, Sidon's persecution of the Hebrews makes Zackeus, Yehude, and Mizraim even more eager to retaliate against Sidon's tyrannical treatment of their people.
Chapter 2: "All Things Are Possible"Edit
Zarah invites her new-found brother Branan home for supper and manages to turn even that eating occasion into a competitive event. After the meal, Branan asks Zarah what her favorite anecdote about their father is. She replies that the legend of Samson tying torches to the tails of three hundred foxes and sending them out into the Philistine wheat fields impresses her the most. When Branan expresses his doubt about the plausibility of that yarn, Zarah bets that she could catch more foxes than Branan could before sunrise.
Branan agrees to the challenge, and the two siblings head out to a wooded dell not far from town to begin their foxhunt. When daybreak arrives and neither Branan nor Zarah have caught even a single fox, Branan reluctantly infers that the tale of Samson capturing hundreds foxes must have been exaggerated. Just as he comes to this conclusion, he and Zarah stumble upon an entire fox community. Branan looks up to heaven and asks the Lord for forgiveness for doubting the veracity of the fox story.
Chapter 3: "Wrestling With a God"Edit
Returning from their night of adventure, Branan and Zarah run into Zackeus, Yehude, and Mizraim skulking about town. The boys brag to Zarah that they snuck into the Philistine temple and plastered the vile Dagon idol with mud. Rather than be pleased at their antics, Zarah is livid and warns the boys how angry Sidon will be with the Hebrews once he finds out about the desecration of the Dagon idol.
Branan and Zarah take it upon themselves to cover up the boys' misdeed. Zarah leads Branan to the temple where they decide to wash the large statue in the city fountain. While carrying the heavy idol around town, Branan slips and accidentally drops the idol into the city's sewage canal. This actually turns out to be a blessing in disguise because hiding in the canal keeps Branan and Zarah hidden from the city patrol.
Branan and Zarah then decide to ride the canal down to the edge of the river where they intend to bathe the idol in fresh water. However, when they stand the statue up in the river, the statue begins to sink down into the mud. Branan and Zarah frantically lasso Dagon and manage to pull him out with "all the might of Samson." After dousing the god on the riverbank with pails of water, Branan and Zarah set off to return the deity to its temple. As they do their best to smuggle the idol through town under the cover of night, the sight of the idol manages to scare a local thief so thoroughly that he vows then and there to give up his life of crime.
Unfortunately, Branan lets Dagon slip down into the mud yet again just outside the entrance to the temple. In their panic to get the idol back in place before Dagon's priests arrive to report the desecration to Sidon, Branan and Zarah set the statue down facing the wrong way. Luckily, the temple priests interpret the filthy, misplaced idol as the fulfillment of a dream one of the priests had of the Hebrew God defeating Dagon by raining produce down upon him.
The temple priests return the food Sidon extorted from the Hebrews the day before because of the ominous "sign" of the filthy Dagon idol.
The Adventures of Young Branan: "Brigand's Lair"Edit
Returning from a business trip to Bethlehem to purchase olive oil jars, Branan and his maternal uncle Mathias become waylaid by a gang of ruthless highwaymen. When one of the thieves gets into a brawl with the mighty Branan and discovers how strong the boy is, the robber decides to kidnap Branan and Mathias and force Branan to join their outlaw gang. While in their lair, the thieves offer Branan some wild boar meat to eat, which he and Mathias reject because pork is not kosher.
Later that evening, the bandits leave their cave to return to town to continue their crime spree. The gang attempts to rob a mumbling elderly couple, who defend themselves by pummeling their-would be assailants with produce. After the startled robbers run away, Samson crosses the elderly couple's path and asks if they've seen a little boy and his uncle in an oxcart pass that way. The man and his wife regret to say that it's possible the boy and his uncle have fallen prey to the highwaymen who lurk around that area.
The next day, the thieves become ill from all the unclean food they ate the day before and rush out of the cave to vomit. While the robbers are throwing up in some nearby bushes, Branan grabs a nearby dagger and uses it to cut both his and Mathias's ropes. Despite their ill state, the outlaws manage to chase after Branan and Mathias as they attempt to escape their captors' lair.
Hoping they can evade the robbers by hiding in some rocky outcrops, Branan and Mathias run into a dead end just as the bandits have their prey cornered. When Branan bravely steps forward and warns the men to leave him and Mathias alone, the thieves look up and see Samson standing watchfully on the edge of cliff high above the boy. As the bandits run away, Branan and Mathias are left to believe that Branan was the one to strike fear in the hearts of these hardened men.