Son of Samson and the Heroes of God
Chapter 1: "The Honey Eater"Edit
While crossing the desert on an errand to return the sacred serpent staff of Moses to the tabernacle priests at Shiloh, Branan meets a man named Mizzah and his hunting parter Yitzhak. The strangers offer Branan some of their food and a seat at their fire, both provisions of which Branan is happy to accept.
When Yitzhak and Mizzah mention that they are lion hunters but have not had much success finding game on their expedition, the conversation turns to a discussion of the time the Hebrew judge Samson encountered a lion in the desert and tore the beast apart with his bare hands. The next time he came across the dead lion, he noticed a swarm bees had made honey in the animal's carcass. Mizzah then goes on to relate the events of Samson's slaughter of the thirty Ashkelonite men as recounted in the prologue of The Raiders of Joppa.
The next morning, Branan awakens to find that Mizzah and Yitzhak have made off with Uzal, Branan's supplies, and the serpent staff. While stumbling through the desert on foot, Branan discovers a lion caught in a hole trap presumably dug by the hunters Yitzhak and Mizzah. Branan frees the lion by grabbing a log and placing it in the hole for the lion to use to climb up out of the hole. When the lion gets out of the hole, it runs majestically away, to Branan's great relief.
After several hours of walking around in circles, Branan collapses face first into the desert sand. Incredibly, the lion Branan rescued earlier spots him unconscious in the dust and drags him to the nearest watering hole, saving his life. When Branan rises to leave after slaking his thirst, he notices the lion trailing closely behind and pitches a stick far into the distance, hoping the lion will chase after it and leave Branan alone.
Chapter 2: "Plotting Against God"Edit
Diving behind a large rock, Branan perceives that he has stumbled upon the Philistine army's camp. When one of the perimeter guards surprises Branan while he is spying on the camp, Branan knocks the man out and takes his armor.
Disguised as a Philistine sentry, Branan moves freely about the camp and slips into the food preparation tent. When the head cook catches Branan helping himself to the savory fare set out on the table, the cook scolds Branan for loafing around and orders him to carry the refreshment trays to Pathrus and his guests at the lord's tent.
Delivering the food to Pathrus's tent, Branan overhears Pathrus and Sidon reviewing their plans to raid the tabernacle at Shiloh and capture the ark of the covenant. When Branan dashes out of the tent, he literally bumps into the scoundrels Mizzah and Yitzhak, who identify Branan as an interloper and snitch on him to Sidon's guards.
At the livestock pen, Branan finds Uzal tied to a post, still carrying the sacred serpent staff. Just as Branan is on the point of escape, Sidon and a dozen of his soldiers surround Branan and dare him to resist arrest. With impeccable timing, Branan's lion friend stalks up behind the Philistines and lets loose a blood-chilling roar, scattering the petrified Philistines instantly.
Chapter 3: "Behind the Veil"Edit
Branan spurs Uzal hard through the desert to reach Shiloh before the Philistine army attacks. When Branan arrives, he immediately restores the bronze snake to the tabernacle priests and attempts to warn them of Pathrus's impending advance.
Unfortunately, Branan has considerable difficulty getting the holy men to hear his bad news, as they pepper him with all manner of questions about how he was able to retrieve their sacred relic from Amalek. When Branan finally manages to get in a word edgewise about the Philistines' diabolical plot to seize the ark, the head priest Zedekias becomes frantic, as all Shiloh's warriors are currently in Shechem defending that city from Philistine invasion.
Trusting that the Lord has sent the mighty Branan to protect the ark against the enemies of Israel, Zedekias grants Branan the the great privilege of replacing the serpent staff inside the tabernacle where, Zedekias believes, God will reveal his divine will to the lad. While inside the tent, Branan submissively prays before the golden altar of incense for God's aid in defending Shiloh against Pathrus's raid. When Branan looks up, the archangels Raphael and Uriel materialize and volunteer to help Branan in his lopsided battle against the Philistines.
Before the trio leave the tabernacle, Uriel pulls back the curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the tent and removes one of the ark's golden carrying poles. He offers the pole to Branan as a fighting staff, although he is reluctant at first to handle such a sacred weapon. When Uriel and Raphael return with Branan to the courtyard of the tabernacle to practice with the staff, Branan swings the pole around so furiously that he puts a massive dent in the large bronze water basin. Much to his surprise, the angels laugh and reassure Branan that it can be easily repaired.
After being fitted with a more suitable set of armor, Branan prepares himself for the upcoming battle against the whole of the Philistine army. A young scout returns with the news that Pathrus and his men are only minutes away.
Chapter 4: "Three Thousand Spears"Edit
When Pathrus's envoy approaches Zedekias to discuss terms of surrender, the head priest declares that the Hebrews will not yield. Believing that the Israelites have completely lost their senses in defying the Philistines, Pathrus gives the order to his charioteers to trample Branan and the tabernacle priests at will. As the chariot drivers charge furiously at Branan, he holds his gilded longstaff down to the ground at wheel level, thereby tripping up both horse and chariot driver.
Next, a trumpet blasts, signalling the Philistine archers to raise their bows and rain arrows down on Branan. Using their massive shields, Branan's angelic comrades protect Branan from suffering even a minor scratch from the enemy's darts. Incredulous that Branan remains unscathed after bearing through two such onslaughts, Pathrus orders four hundred horsemen to charge down into the valley to engage Branan. With the help of Uriel and Raphael, Branan supernaturally cuts down all of the Philistine horse riders using his longstaff.
As his last card to play, Pathrus sends down his entire force of three thousand spearmen to strike at Branan. Miraculously, Branan, Uriel, and Raphael manage to wipe out Pathrus's entire army. As Pathrus retreats from the battlefield in disbelief, Branan passes out from exhaustion and is carried back to Shiloh to have his wounds tended to. When Branan awakens and asks after his comrades Uriel and Raphael, Zedekias laughs and says that nobody saw anyone fight shoulder to shoulder with Branan on the battlefield that afternoon.