left biblioblography: SHEMASH

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Here is yet another character straight out of the OT who is...well, lets just say, not a prince among men. I refer of course, to Samson (Shemash), who seems to be anything but an upstanding pillar of morality in the OT.

The birth origins seem to be fairly standardized.

Jdg 13:2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name [was] Manoah; and his wife [was] barren, and bare not.
Jdg 13:3
And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou [art] barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.
Jdg 13:4
Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean [thing]:

Wow, biblical equivalent of pre-natal care here.

Jdg 13:5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

Damn hippy.

Jdg 13:6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance [was] like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he [was], neither told he me his name:
Jdg 13:7 But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean [thing]: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.
Jdg 13:8 Then Manoah entreated the LORD, and said, o, my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.
Jdg 13:9
And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband [was] not with her.

Twice so far, the nameless wife has visions. Been hittin' the poppy fields again, dear?

Jdg 13:10 And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the [other] day.
Jdg 13:11 And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, [Art] thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I [am].

I can see the man sitting in a field, tapping his foot, and consulting his heavenly Rolex. Dude, whatchoo say to my wife, huh? Lets skip over a few....
Anyways, brief synopsis: Manoah (and his unnamed wife) offer to cook Johnny Angel some stew, angel says hes not hungry, they cook, JA goes up into the sky in a steam of meatloaf, wife and Manoah agree, since they never see JA again, he must be from on high, etc.


1 And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.
2 And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife.

Is it me, or does that sound like an order? What commandment was that, Honor thy mother and father...?

3 Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.

Stick with your own kind. Better yet: Cant you find a nice Jewish girl? Still sounds like an order.

4 But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.

Politics. What a surprise.

5 Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him.
6 And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.

Anyone believe that? I sure don't. Wonder what the name of that lion was? We can only hope it was Aslan.

Oh, here's a goody:
In rabbinic literature

Rabbinical literature identifies Samson with Bedan; Bedan was a Judge mentioned by Samuel in his farewell address (1 Samuel 12:11) among the Judges that delivered Israel from their enemies. However, the name "Bedan" is not found in the Book of Judges.

The name "Samson" is derived from shemesh (= "sun"), so that Samson bore the name of God, who is also "a sun and shield" (Psalms 84:12). As God protected Israel, so did Samson watch over it in his generation, judging the people even as did God. Samson's strength was divinely derived (Talmud, Tractate Sotah 10a]). Samson resembled God in requiring neither aid nor help (Midrash Genesis Rabbah xcviii. 18).

Jewish legend records that Samson's shoulders were sixty ells broad. He was lame in both feet (Talmud Sotah 10a), but when the spirit of God came upon him he could step with one stride from Zoreah to Eshtaol, while the hairs of his head arose and clashed against one another so that they could be heard for a like distance (Midrash Lev. Rabbah viii. 2). Samson was said to be so strong that he could uplift two mountains and rub them together like two clods of earth (ibid.; Sotah 9b), yet his superhuman strength, like Goliath's, brought woe upon its possessor (Midrash Eccl. Rabbah i., end).

In licentiousness he is compared with Amnon and Zimri, both of whom were punished for their sins (Lev. R. xxiii. 9). Samson's eyes were put out because he had "followed them" too often (Sotah l.c.).

It is said that in the twenty years during which Samson judged Israel he never required the least service from an Israelite (Midrash Numbers Rabbah ix. 25), and he piously refrained from taking the name of God in vain. As soon, therefore, as he told Delilah that he was a Nazarite of God she immediately knew that he had spoken the truth (Sotah l.c.). When he pulled down the temple of Dagon and killed himself and the Philistines the structure fell backward, so that he was not crushed, his family being thus enabled to find his body and to bury it in the tomb of his father (Midrash Gen. Rabbah l.c. § 19).

In the Talmudic period many seem to have denied that Samson was an historic figure; he was apparently regarded as a purely mythological personage. This was viewed as heretical by the rabbis of the Talmud, and they refuted this view.

Yeah, keep telling me this guy was real, Johnny Fundie.

8 And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass of the lion.
9 And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcass of the lion.

Is it just me, or does that sound...unsanitary?

10 So his father went down unto the woman: and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do.
11 And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him.
12 And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments:
13 But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it.

SOUNDS fair enough, don't it?

14 And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle.

Waitaminnit...ain't a riddle something someone CAN figure out? Yepper - from the Encyclopedia - riddle, puzzling question, specifically one that consists of a fanciful description or definition of something to be guessed. That sound kosher to anyone?

15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson's wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy fathers house with fire: have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so?

Nice people. See what happens when you think with the little head, Sammy boy?

16 And Samson's wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee?

Poor little thing's scared: who could blame her?

17 And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people.

Hey, who WOULDN'T buckle?

18 And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down, What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion? and he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.

Okay, what? Plowed with my heifer? Obviously, he's referring to his wife.

19 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his fathers house.

He just picks innocent bystanders off the street? Guess they didn't have Salvation Armies back then. All this over a change of clothing and some sheets? WTF?

20 But Samson's wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend.

Say WHAT? So her families threatened, with fiery death, no less. Still she could've told hubby dearest. So while Samson's off on his berserkergang, Manoah gives his wife away. Things spiral out of control quickly.


1 Later on, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat and went to visit his wife. He said, "I'm going to my wifes room." But her father would not let him go in.

2 "I was so sure you thoroughly hated her," he said, "that I gave her to your friend. Isn't her younger sister more attractive? Take her instead."

Yeah, nice family dynamic there. Can anyone say 'savages', boys and girls?

3 Samson said to them, "This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm them."

Ummm....hello? Your dad took her away, not the Philistines.

4 So he went out and caught three hundred foxes and tied them tail to tail in pairs. He then fastened a torch to every pair of tails,
5 lit the torches and let the foxes loose in the standing grain of the Philistines. He burned up the shocks and standing grain, together with the vineyards and olive groves.

Savage, but clever. Still, somewhat misdirected, dontcha think? Good thing PETA didn't exist then, ey?

6 When the Philistines asked, "Who did this?" they were told, "Samson, the Timnite's son-in-law, because his wife was given to his friend." So the Philistines went up and burned her and her father to death.

So damned if you do, damned if you don't. How pleasant.

7 Samson said to them, "Since you've acted like this, I won't stop until I get my revenge on you."
8 He attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them. Then he went down and stayed in a cave in the rock of Etam.

Well, thus far, no angels on either side. The Phillistines were running the show at the time, so there's gonna be some resentment.

11 Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cave in the rock of Etam and said to Samson, "Don't you realize that the Philistines are rulers over us? What have you done to us?" He answered, "I merely did to them what they did to me."

Wait,....three thousand men? What, was Sammy-boy hard of hearing, or what?

12 They said to him, "We've come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines."
Samson said, "Swear to me that you won't kill me yourselves."
13 "Agreed," they answered. "We will only tie you up and hand you over to them. We will not kill you." So they bound him with two new ropes and led him up from the rock.
14 As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands.
15 Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.

16 Then Samson said,
"With a donkeys jawbone
I have made donkeys of them. [a]
With a donkeys jawbone
I have killed a thousand men."

Shrub's done about the same. Most politicians have. Skipping ahead, he drinks some wellwater, rules Isreal for two decades.
Here's where things get even dafter.

So we go into chapter 16:

1 One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her.

Wait, this fella's a Judge? I guess the 'objective standards' were a tad lower then? We'll skip the gate-crashing part, go to the meat of the matter:

4 Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah.
5 The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, "See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels [a] of silver."

Whoa! That's some incentive!

6 So Delilah said to Samson, "Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued."

So unless bondage is the sign of the times, I'd have to say, this kinda blows the subterfuge, wouldn't you?

7 Samson answered her, "If anyone ties me with seven fresh thongs [b] that have not been dried, I'll become as weak as any other man."

Who's supplying the thongs? Victoria's Secrets? [Sorry, couldn't resist]

8 Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh thongs that had not been dried, and she tied him with them.
9 With men hidden in the room, she called to him, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" But he snapped the thongs as easily as a piece of string snaps when it comes close to a flame. So the secret of his strength was not discovered.

So she ties him up, hollers "Ollie Ollie oxenfree!", and he pops them. Yeah, I think it's kinda clear what the M.O here is, right out the gate. So Sammy boy's a Judge, been running Isreal for twenty years. You'd think he'd see what this was all about. But, nooooooooooooo.

10 Then Delilah said to Samson, "You have made a fool of me; you lied to me. Come now, tell me how you can be tied."

Some brass. What does Sammy do?

11 He said, "If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I'll become as weak as any other man."

Oy gevalt! You sorta get the impression he's toying with her, right?

12 So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them. Then, with men hidden in the room, she called to him, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" But he snapped the ropes off his arms as if they were threads.

Oy vey! Yeah, that's not a red flag, is it?

13 Delilah then said to Samson, "Until now, you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied."
He replied, "If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin, I'll become as weak as any other man." So while he was sleeping, Delilah took the seven braids of his head, wove them into the fabric
14 and [c] tightened it with the pin. Again she called to him, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" He awoke from his sleep and pulled up the pin and the loom, with the fabric.

I dunno: is this some sort of Judaic foreplay I'm not familiar with?

15 Then she said to him, "How can you say, 'I love you,' when you won't confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven't told me the secret of your great strength."
16 With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death.

I'd really like to hear the nagging part. My constant question would be: "Why the hell do YOU wanna know?"

17 So he told her everything. "No razor has ever been used on my head," he said, "because I have been a Nazirite set apart to God since birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man."

For some reason, Rapunzel keeps popping into mind. I dunno why.

18 When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, "Come back once more; he has told me everything." So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands.
19 Having put him to sleep on her lap, she called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. [d] And his strength left him.

A bald Victor Mature.

20 Then she called, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!"
He awoke from his sleep and thought, "I'll go out as before and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had left him.

I think it's safe to say, Sammy-boy warn't all that bright. Should've learned from the LAST fiasco, ya think?

21 But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.

Ouch! Not taking any chances with him, were they?

22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.

How none of them are smart enough to figure this out is beyond me.

23 Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.

Yeah, never mind about Delilah.

24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us.

Hmmm....wonder where Delilah got to?

25 And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.

I'm guessing they moved the furniture around on him?

27 Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.

ROOF PARTY! Oh wait. Isn't that supposed to be under the roof?

28 And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.

29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.

Waitaminnit: the two load-bearing pillars are in the middle? Fire the contractors, I say.

30 And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.

Ummmm...I'm no construction worker or architect, but that narrative seems kinda...I dunno, RIDICULOUS. Sounds like one of those horror movies, where all the doors swing shut and lock, and didn't these folks have windows of any sort? I mean, I understand the lack of fire exits and all, but, the whole house falling IN on itself? If the Phillistines were that stupid, how'd they rule over Israel for so long?

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PastaLaVista said...

Whew! Boy that was a long post Reluctant. I feel like I went to Sunday school. Ah those ancient storytellers. Actually some pretty savage stuff in there with burning out the eyes and so forth. I like the part where Samson tells his dad: Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well. I can relate to being pleasethed well.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Yeah, sorry about the length. I've been working on it on & off for a few weeks. I feel like I went to Sunday school.
Oh, good. My sunday sermon, hehehehe.
Yeah, ole sammy-boy was obviously an only child.

udonman said...

you knw what if it wasnt in the bible I would be asking you what the hell you are smoking there buddy that be some bull shit I really think I am going to force myself to sit down and read the buybull if I can keep m,yself from laoughing

Krystalline Apostate said...

I really think I am going to force myself to sit down and read the buybull if I can keep m,yself from laoughing
Yeah, it's a fairly amusing read, all right.

Anonymous said...

yee-hah, RA! The buy-bull is SO much more fun when it's accompanied by your running commentary!
I don't think Sammy's mom was barren; daddy was infertile and Johnny Angel wasn't just Talking to her.
And it would seem Sammy's weakness was not so much a lack of hair, as it was giving in to nagging and, of course, general stupidity. "ER...uh, c'mon, tell me honey, what's the best way to tie you up...not that I would take advantage of it or anything...
and I'll just slip you a Rufie, so you won't remember those mean old Philistines trying to git ya. Oh, and where do you hide your will, while we're talking?"

And just how did he die, if the temple didn't fall on him? Did he
get his wish upon a star?

About the load-bearing pillars...my guess is the outer ones were made of styrofoam to save on costs, so they'd have plenty of shekels for bribery.


Krystalline Apostate said...

The buy-bull is SO much more fun when it's accompanied by your running commentary!
Why, thanks, darlin'. I do me best.
It's a perfect example of the little head doing the thinking for the big head.
Despite what the pro-biblers say, it's pretty apparent that YHVH was on Sammy's side no matter WHAT he did.
& I'd like to see a judge in this day & age behave like that, & not get pilloried for it.