See also:Philistines, reckoned as one of the "
See also:judges " of
See also:Israel (Judg. xv . 2o, xvi . 31); the
See also:story itself (Judg. xiii . 2–xvi . 31a), however, represents him not as a
See also:judge but as a popular hero of vast strength and sarcastic
See also:humour . He is consecrated from his
See also:birth to he a
See also:Nazarite or religious devotee (ch. xiii., cf .
See also:Samuel), and it is possible that this was conceived simply as a vow of revenge, which is the meaning it would have in an Arab story (W . R .
See also:Smith) . But he is inspired by no serious religions or patriotic purpose, and becomes the enemy of the Philistines only from
See also:personal motives of revenge, the one passion which is stronger in him than the love of
See also:women . The stories of his exploits are plainly taken from the mouths of the
See also:people and have all the appearance of folk-tales, not unmixed with mythical motives . Samson commenced his career by strangling a lion on his way to visit a
See also:Philistine woman .
On his return he found that the carcase, like the
See also:skull of Onesilus (Herod. v . 114), was occupied by a swarm of bees; he took the
See also:honey and the incident suggested a riddle . The narrative of Samson's
See also:marriage and riddle is of
See also:interest as a record of
See also:manners; specially noteworthy is the
See also:custom of the wife remaining with her parents after marriage.' His next exploit, an
See also:act of revenge for the faithlessness of his wife, was to catch 300 foxes and set them loose in the
See also:fields with firebrands tied to their tails . (Analogous customs, e.g. the
See also:Roman Cerealia, are referred to in G . F .
See also:Moore's Commentary, p." 341.) The Philistines retaliated by burning her and her
See also:household, and Samson in his turn smote them "
See also:hip and thigh " and slew a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass .2 The story has apparently been influenced by the existence of a
See also:rock, called by reason of its shape, " Ass's Jawbone," from which issued a fountain called En-hakkore, " the
See also:spring of the caller " (a name for the
See also:partridge) . The well-known removal of the
See also:gates of Gaza to
See also:Hebron, 40 M. distant—" no
See also:journey of the
See also:day " (Milton, Samson Agonistes)—has been rendered still more marvellous by a later exaggeration (xvi . 2) . Finally the PhiIis= tine
See also:Delilah (q.v.)
See also:worms out of Samson the secret of his strength, and by shaving his head3 renders him an easy
See also:captive . He is blinded and put to
See also:work, and as his hair grows again his invincible strength returns . At a festival of
See also:Dagon he is led out before the Philistines in the
See also:temple, and by pulling down the
See also:house upon their heads kills more at his
See also:death than in all his
See also:time . Points of similarity between Samson and the Babylonian Gilgamesh, the
See also:Horus-Ra and Hercules, have been observed by many writers, and it has been inferred that the whole story of Samson is a solar myth .
His name, and the proximity of Beth-shemesh (" house of the
See also:sun ") to his father's home, favour the view that mythical. elements have attached themselves to what may have been originally a legendary figure of the Danites, the tribe whose subsequent fortunes ' In Judg. xiv . 1-to the narrative has been revised; originally Samson went down alone to Timnath to contract his marriage . The metrical riddle and its answer are thus translated by G . F . Moore (Sacred Books of the Old Testament: Judges): " Out of the eater came something to eat, And out of the strong came something sweet." " If with my
See also:heifer ye did not plough, Ye had not found out my riddle, I'trow." No doubt the
See also:Hebrews, like the
See also:Arabs, were fond of enigmas; see 1
See also:Kings x . 1, and Ency . Biblica, s.v . " Riddle." 2 The punning
See also:couplet of the
See also:original is thus rendered by G . F . Moore: ` with the jawbone of an ass, I assailed my assailants " (more literally " I piled them in heaps," or perhaps " flayed them clean ") . 3 For the hair as the seat of strength cf . J .
G . Frazer,
See also:Golden Bough ,2 iii . 390 seq . In ch. xiii. the consecration of the hair is regarded differently . neighbouring
See also:town of Cornigliano is a
See also:bridge, where
See also:Massena signed the capitulation of Genoa .
JOSEPH ISIDORE SAMSON (1793-1871)
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