[b-hebrew] Samson and the Judges: [was: collecting myrrh and honey]

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Sun Oct 28 20:26:05 EDT 2007

Samson was not merely a person with superior intelligence.

The judges were the Torah luminaries of their day, who had Torah 
transmitted to them and were the spiritual leaders.  After Joshua 
came the Elders and Judges.  Some of these were also prophets.

Rashi in Samuel 1:1 says "Moses transmitted the Torah to Joshua, 
Joshua to the Zekenim, and one Shofet to another Shofet until Eli, 
and from Eli to Samuel, as we learned (Avos 1:1).  And the Zekenim 
transmitted it to the Nevi'im

The names of the Judges and leaders of Israel from the time of their 
entry into the land in 2488 until the establishment of the dynasty of 
David, 396 years later were:

Joshua ben Nun, Osniel ben Kenaz, Ehud ben Gera, Shamgar ben Anas, 
Devorah and Barak ben Avinoam, Gideon (Yerubaal), Avimelech ben 
Gideon, Tolah ben Puah, Yair HaGiladi, Yiftach HaGiladi, Ivtzan 
(Boaz), Elon HaZevuloni, Avdon ben Hillel, SAMSON, Eli, Samuel, King 
Saul, King David

Samson's dates are 2813 - 2832 (Judges 15:20)

The prophets  and Prophetesses during this period who are mentioned 
in Tanach were:

Joshua, Pinchas ben Elazar, Devorah, Elkanah and Chana (parents of 
Shmuel), Eli, the Cohen Gadol, Samuel, King David, Gad HaChozeh, 
Asaph, Yedusun, Heman, Eisan, Nasan HaNavi

Not all of the judges were of the same spiritual stature.  Samson is 
referred to as one of the "lesser judges" (Rosh Hashana 25a); 
nevertheless the Sages state that he attained Ruach HaKodesh - Divine 
inspiration - a level just below prophecy (Judges 13:25 and Sotah 
9b).  The Sages also remark that he "judged Israel righteously like 
the Almighty Himself (Sotah 10a)

> And why not? Samson was more than just a simple farmer, he ended up
> judging Israel for 20 years. That indicates superior intelligence.

Please note that the word "to judge" as used in the book of Judges means
something like "to rule", without any implication of legal or
knowledge. It was quite common in the ancient world for military heros
to become rulers. For that matter, it is not uncommon for military
to become presidents and prime ministers even today.
And it is not uncommon for rather dull people to be world leaders today.

>> Samson was not a "deep" person, but he certainly like his word play.
>   Where is your evidence that he was not a "deep" person?

That is my interpretation of the text. There is certainly nothing
that he was wise (as with Solomon) or wrote proverbs.
There is a lot that says he goes somewhere,
falls in love with the wrong woman, gets in trouble,
and only saves himself by his physical strength.
Not quite the wise man of Kohelet chapter 9.

> "Rachel" means "ewe", a female sheep, not "calf". No, it is not a
> common term for woman (in 2 Samuel 3:5 it is a personal name).

I meant female animal. It was a common name given to a girl,
signifiying some form of endearment.
It is not common for people to give their baby girls names like "cow" or

> Please give examples, I know of no such uses.

My next line gave examples, namely XWR$Y R( and XWR$Y )BN.

>> (see Joshus 2:1, Isaiah 3:3, Judges 16:2) and "to make a plan
>> as in XWR$Y R( and XWR$Y )BN.

> Whereas he made a play on his words, are you implying that he used
> words in other than their usual meaning, i.e. contrary to how others
> used them?

No, that he was purposely using double entendre.

> You don't seem to recognize how high priced a bet he made. The reason
> his guests went after Samson's wife was because they would have found
> it difficult to pay him.

OK. Doesn't effect my argument. Samson purposely used a VERY HARD
but it was still a riddle that was possible to decipher.
Otherwise, why would the Phillistines have agreed in the first place ?

> No. Even to bring it up is the etymological error.

I would appreciate your derivation.

> Maybe, but I have not found it. Furthermore, we don't need it to
> understand this passage.

I guess you don't. I do.

Yaakov (J) Stein
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