[b-hebrew] Samson at Gaza - Judges 16:1

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Mon Aug 13 16:21:43 EDT 2007

On Mon, August 13, 2007 12:47 pm, Yigal Levin wrote:
> Dear Bruce,
> Your comment about "Christendom paints Samson as a bad man" is
> interesting.
> How representative is that statement of different Christian denominations.

It's pretty thoroughly representative from what I've seen.  Most
Christian-based commentaries paint him as a failure in his mission, and
see women as the cause of his downfall.  I disagree wholeheartedly, and in
1992 I presented a paper to the ETS annual meeting arguing that Samson's
problem wasn't lust, but loneliness.  As for his mission, the oracle his
father is said to have received said he would "begin to" deliver Israel
from the Philistine oppression; I see this as setting things up for the
rise of the davidic dynasty which ultimately (according to the text) threw
off the Philistine yoke and established an independent kingdom.  Viewed in
this wider context, his mission wasn't a failure at all.

However, I'm far from representative of the average Christian commentator.
 It's much more common to see him described in terms such as "the
profligate judge" as one commentary put it.

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Bruce Prince" <bruceprince at bigpond.com>
> To: "b-Hebrew List" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Monday, August 13, 2007 10:18 PM
> Subject: [b-hebrew] Samson at Gaza - Judges 16:1
>> Folks
>> Not being very good at understanding the intricate details of Biblical
>> Hebrew, I'm wondering if you can help me understand what is going on in
>> this
>> verse?
>> Generally, Christendom paints Samson as a bad man, but I'm not
>> convinced.
>> Even whilst staying in Gaza, the power of the Lord was upon him as he
>> heaved
>> those massive gates out of their foundation and up the hill. God's
>> purpose
>> for Samson was to rile the Philistines - a task he seemed particularly
>> adapted to.
>> Samson's reputation had gone before him to this city, and I'm wondering
>> if
>> he was simply using the home of the harlot as a place of abode in much
>> the
>> same way that the spies used Rahab's home in Jericho.
>> Does the Hebrew of this verse undeniably state that Samson had
>> intercourse
>> with the harlot? Verse 3 states that he lay until midnight; it doesn't
>> say
>> that he lay with her.
>> I'd appreciate any views.
>> Thanks
>> Bruce Prince
>> Australia
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Dave Washburn
Why do it right when you can do it again?

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