Reading 72/341, Judges 14-16

[A] Samson is a terrible person. He seems to have no redeeming quality that would make him a hero. He is remembered for his strength, but not his morality.
[B] Notice in this text, lines reminiscent of parts of Scripture that he have already read. E.g. Samson sounds like the Israelites when complaining about a lack of water, and then gets a drink of water from a rock, just like the Israelites in the Pentateuch.


Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines. He came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, “I have seen in Timnah one of the daughters of the Philistines. Now get her for me as a wife.” Then his father and his mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you go to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines?” Samson said to his father, “Get her for me; for she pleases me well.” But his father and his mother did not know that this was of the Lord; for he sought an occasion against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines had rule over Israel. Then Samson went down, and his father and his mother, to Timnah, and came to the vineyards of Timnah, and behold, a young lion roared against him. The Spirit of the Lord came mightily on him, and he tore it as he would have torn a kid goat. He was barehanded. He did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. He went down, and talked with the woman, and she pleased Samson well. After a while he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion, and behold, there was a swarm of bees in the body of the lion, and honey. He took it into his hands, and went on, eating as he went, and he came to his father and mother, and gave to them, and they ate, but he did not tell them that he had taken the honey out of the body of the lion.

His father went down to the woman, and Samson made a feast, as young men used to do. It happened, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him. Samson said to them, “Let me now put forth a riddle to you. If you can solve it for me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing, but if you cannot solve it for me, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing.” They said to him, “Put forth your riddle, that we may hear it.” He said to them, “Out of the eater came forth food. Out of the strong came forth sweetness.” They could not in three days solve the riddle. It happened on the seventh day, that they said to Samson's wife, “Entice your husband, that he may declare to us the riddle, lest we burn you and your father's house with fire. Have you called us to impoverish us?” Samson's wife wept before him, and said, “You must hate me, and do not love me. You have put forth a riddle to the children of my people, and have not told it to me.” He said to her, “Behold, I have not told it to my father or my mother, but I should I tell you?” She wept before him for seven days, while their feast lasted, and it happened on the seventh day, that he told her, because she pressed him sorely, and she told the riddle to the children of her people. The men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down, “What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?” He said to them, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have found out my riddle.” The Spirit of the Lord came mightily on him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and struck down thirty men of that town, and took their spoil, and gave the changes of clothing to those who solved the riddle. His anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house. But Samson's wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his best man.

But it happened after a while, in the time of wheat harvest, that Samson visited his wife with a kid goat, and he said, “I will go in to my wife in the chamber.” But her father would not allow him to go in. Her father said, “I most certainly thought that you had utterly hated her; therefore I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister more beautiful than she? Please take her, instead.” Samson said to them, “This time I shall be blameless with regard to the Philistines, when I do them mischief.” Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and tied tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the middle between every two tails. When he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks and the standing grain, and also the olive groves. Then the Philistines said, “Who has done this?” They said, Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife, and given her to his companion. The Philistines came up, and burnt her and her father with fire. Samson said to them, “If this is how you act, surely I will be avenged of you, and after that I will cease.” He struck them, hip and thigh, with a great blow, and he went down and lived in the cleft of the rock of Etam.

Then the Philistines went up, and encamped in Judah, and raided Lehi. The men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” They said, “To bind Samson have we come up, to do to him as he has done to us.” Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, “Do not you know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then have you done to us?” He said to them, “As they did to me, so I have done to them.” They said to him, “We have come down to bind you, that we may deliver you into the hand of the Philistines.” Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not attack me yourselves.” They spoke to him, saying, “No. We will bind you fast, and deliver you into their hand, but surely we will not kill you.” They bound him with two new ropes, and brought him up from the rock. When he came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they met him, and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily on him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands dropped from off his hands. He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put forth his hand, and took it, and struck down a thousand men with it. Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps! With the jawbone of a donkey, I have struck a thousand men!” It happened, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and that place was called Ramath-lehi [Hill of the Jawbone]. He was very thirsty, and called on the Lord, and said, “You have given this great deliverance by the hand of your servant, and now I shall die of thirst, and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised.” But God split the hollow place that is in Lehi, and water came out of it. When he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived, therefore the name of it was called En Hakkore, [Caller’s Spring] which is in Lehi, to this day. He judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

Samson went to Gaza, and saw there a prostitute, and went in to her. It was told to the Gazites, saying, “Samson has come here.” They compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, “Let him be until morning light, then we will kill him.” Samson lay until midnight, and arose at midnight, and laid hold of the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and plucked them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of the mountain that is before Hebron. It came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. The lords of the Philistines came up to her, and said to her, “Entice him, and see what his great strength lies in, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him, and we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver. Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me, Please, what your great strength lies in, and with what you might be bound to afflict you.” Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven green cords that were never dried, then I shall become weak, and be like any other man.” Then the lords of the Philistines brought to her seven green cords which had not been dried, and she bound him with them. Now she had an ambush waiting in the inner chamber. She said to him, “The Philistines are on you, Samson!” He broke the cords, as a string of flax is broken when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known. Delilah said to Samson, “Behold, you have mocked me, and told me lies, now tell me, please, with which you might be bound.” He said to her, “If they only bind me with new ropes with which no work has been done, then I shall become weak, and be like any other man.” So Delilah took new ropes, and bound him with them, and said to him, “The Philistines are on you, Samson.” The ambush was waiting in the inner chamber. He broke them off his arms like a thread. Delilah said to Samson, “Up till now you have mocked me, and told me lies, tell me with what you might be bound.” He said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web.” She fastened it with the pin, and said to him, “The Philistines are on you, Samson.” He awakened out of his sleep, and plucked away the pin of the beam, and the web. She said to him, “How can you say, I love you, when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me what your great strength lies in. It happened, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, that his soul was vexed to death. He told her all his heart, and said to her, “No razor has ever come on my head; for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will go from me, and I will become weak, and be like any other man.” When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up once more, for he has told me all his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her, and brought the money in their hand. She made him sleep on her knees, and she called for a man, and shaved off the seven locks of his head, and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. She said, “The Philistines are on you, Samson.” He awoke out of his sleep, and said, “I will go out as at other times, and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. The Philistines laid hold of him, and put out his eyes, and they brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of bronze, and he ground at the mill in the prison. However, the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaved.

The lords of the Philistines gathered themselves together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice, for they said, “Our god has delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.” When the people saw him, they praised their god, for they said, “Our god has delivered into our hand our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, who has slain many of us.” It happened, when their hearts were merry, that they said, “Call for Samson, that he may make us sport.” They called for Samson out of the prison, and he made sport before them. They set him between the pillars, and Samson said to the boy who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars whereupon the house rests, that I may lean on them.” Now the house was full of men and women, and all the lords of the Philistines were there, and there were on the roof about three thousand men and women, who saw while Samson made sport. Samson called to the Lord, and said, “Lord God, remember me, please, and strengthen me, please, only this once, God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” Samson took hold of the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and leaned on them, the one with his right hand, and the other with his left. Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” He bowed himself with all his might, and the house fell on the lords, and on all the people who were inside. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than those who he killed in his life. Then his brothers and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the burial site of Manoah his father. He judged Israel twenty years.

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