Dec 27, 2010

Judges chapter 16, December 6, 2010

Samson starts out (vv. 1-2) spending the night with a zonah, with a harlot.  Except that, true to his nature (he can’t seem to connect with women in a sustained way), he jumps up in the middle of the night (v3), grabs the doorposts of the Philistine city, and carries them 35 miles up the mountain to Hebron.  Score one for Samson as he shames the Philistines who were plotting against him.  From here it is all down hill. 
Samson loves Delilah (v 4) – the only women he loves.  It’s not clear if Delilah is Philistine or not, but her Philistine friends lean on her to help them capture Samson.  They want to degrade him (afflict him – also “make him helpless” – not a good translation).  The verb used here (v 5 and 6)  is ahnah (‘nh) [there is another ‘nh meaning answer].  We see the same verb used in Jud 16:19, as well as Gen 16.6 (Hagar) Gen 34.2 (Dinah), Jud 19.24 (wife and daughter), Jud 20.5 (Levite’s pilgesh). 
Q: Why does Samson attract women who get him into trouble?

Dec 5, 2010

Judges 14-15, November 15

Though the story of Samson’s birth has commonality with the biblical births of heroes, it is somewhat comical and might predict that as a hero, Samson will not be up to snuff.   In this light, what does it mean that Samson was an involuntary Nazirite?  He did not take on the role of deliverer which seemed to be thrust upon him.  Remember, too, that a Nazirite was not a hero in the Bible.  Rather, a person who chose to set him/herself apart from the community.   Sacrifice was required in order to return.  Being apart from community was not an end in itself.  As a heroic ideal, a reluctant Nazirite falls short.
The Philistines, in this story, are the rulers over the Israelites.   While Samson kills some of them, he never leads the Israelites in battle to win over them.   He is the last of the Judges and despite 20 years in this role (15:20), he does not conquer the enemy.

14:4         A bit ambiguous – is it God or Samson who is seeking an occasion to stir up trouble with Philistines?