We’ve covered a lot of nonsense stories so far, but the one we’ll cover today really stands out as a highlight for me. The last entry stopped just before the birth of the most famous figure in the book of Judges. Fellow readers from Belfast should be familiar with him, as there’s a big ass crane named after him sitting down at the docks, and here’s a clue, it’s not Goliath. That’s right, today’s entry will be all about the story of Samson, the ‘Conan the Barbarian’ type hero of Israel. Lets jump right into Chapter 13, ‘The Birth of Samson’.
Judg 13, Verse 1: Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.
Come on, this is ripping the absolute piss. I swear, the Israelites spend 90%of their time these days getting punished for being evil.
Judg 13, Verses 2-4: A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean.
God is pretty good at magicking women’s baby making parts back into life. I’ll not lie, it’s a nice talent to have, just somewhat strange. Also great job on the ‘no wine or fermented drink during pregnancy’ idea Bible, for real. Why wasn’t this mentioned in the laws back in Deuteronomy? Would have been a great one.
Judg 13, Verse 7: “Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from the womb until the day of his death.”
Ah. So it’s not actually for any medical reasons, grand. For those who can’t remember (which will be most, I imagine) a Nazirite is someone who has taken a certain type of vow. Sure, Samson is remembered for not cutting his hair, part of the Nazirite vow, but Nazirites are also not allowed to have any form of alcohol which is why she can’t drink while she’s pregnant.
The angel came back and chatted to Manoah and his wife a bit more about not much, then left them to have their son, and so Samson was born, and he apparently had a very uneventful childhood.
Judg 14, Verses 1-2: Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.”
He sounds like a spoiled little brat. “Get that one for me daddy! That one!”
Judg 14, Verse 3: His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?”
Haha, ‘among your relatives’ oh wow. But seriously dude, why those smelly Philistines? They don’t even cut off bits of their penises!
Judg 14, Verse 4: But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.” (His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)
It’s like something out of a Disney movie. “Dad, I saw her ages ago, like this morning! Trust me, it’s true love!” But of course really it’s just God meddling in things. So much for free will. But all-powerful all-knowing God, why do you need an occasion to confront the Philistines? Can’t you just, you know, do it? You’re God, right?
Judg 14, Verses 5-6: Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done.
Hahahaha what. Also how the hell did his parents not notice him rip a lion in half? It says they were all travelling together. Even if they did somehow manage to miss that, ripping a whole lion in half is messy business (or at least I think it is, I wouldn’t know), surely Samson would be covered in blood? Bit noticeable, right?
Judg 14, Verse 7: Then he went down and talked with the woman, and he liked her.
Again, how has nobody noticed he’s covered in Lion blood!?
Judg 14, Verses 8-9: Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.
Does he keep deliberately walking away from his parents at one certain part of the path? Also bee stings surely? Doesn’t matter how muscly you are, that’s still gotta hurt. Not to mention it was in a rotting carcass. Probably not very hygienic . . .
Judg 14, Verses 10-11: Now his father went down to see the woman. And there Samson held a feast, as was customary for young men. When the people saw him, they chose thirty men to be his companions.
Hah. Samson didn’t have any mates of his own so the Philistines had to get him some. What a loser.
Judg 14, Verses 12-13: “Let me tell you a riddle,” Samson said to them. “If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes. If you can’t tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.”
“Tell us your riddle,” they said. “Let’s hear it.”
New wardrobes on the line, strange thing to wager, but alright.
Judg 14, Verse 14: He replied,
“Out of the eater, something to eat;
out of the strong, something sweet.”
For three days they could not give the answer.
For those slightly slow of study, the riddle is about the lion carcass with the honey in it. So, not really a riddle at all, given that it is based entirely off a situation that only Samson was privy to. Basically he’s being a douche.
Judg 14, Verse 15: On the fourth day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father’s household to death. Did you invite us here to steal our property?”
To be fair, Samson is kind of stealing property by giving an impossible riddle. Samson’s wife cries to him for the rest of the week and so he eventually tells her, and she in turn tells the men who of course tell the answer to Samson to get their new clothes.
Judg 14, Verse 18: Samson said to them,
“If you had not plowed with my (young cow) heifer,
you would not have solved my riddle.”
What does that even mean, why are you calling your new wife a cow? So not called for. Also you say that they couldn’t have solved the riddle without coaxing it out of your wife, so kind of admitting to cheating . . .
Judg 14, Verse 19: Then the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of everything and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he returned to his father’s home.
Wait. What? So let me get this straight. He goes and kills 30 random, faultless guys. So he can get their clothes. And give them to the guys who threatened his wife. What? Why could you not have at least just stolen the clothes? Or killed the guys who threatened your wife?
Judg 15, Verses 1-2: 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 wife’s room.” But her father would not let him go in. “I was so sure you hated her,” he said, “that I gave her to your companion. Isn’t her younger sister more attractive? Take her instead.”
Whoops, not a good idea Samson’s wife’s Dad, even though I can see exactly where you coming from, given Samson buggered off in a huff.
Judg 15, Verse 3: Samson said to them, “This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm them.”
Huh? But it was your dad that gave your wife away? How does that mean you get to attack random Philistines? Please, just don’t do anything crazy.
Judg 15, Verses 4-5: 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, 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.
Bible, at least make it something believable. Like this is just ridiculous, how does one even catch 300 foxes?
Judg 15, Verse 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 companion.” So the Philistines went up and burned her and her father to death.
But . . . why kill her and her dad? That makes like 0 logical sense. You’re really outdoing yourself with the whole ‘completely fucking retarded’ thing, Bible, I’m impressed.
Samson then killed loads of them and ran away to hide in a cave. The Philistines were obviously a bit pissed at having their grain burned and a lot of their people killed, so they mustered an army and went to Judah, and told them to bring them Samson or else. Samson agreed to be taken by the men of Judah, so off they went.
Judg 15, Verses 14-15: As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.
*sigh* Assuming that he could just kill 1,000 men single-handedly, how would the Philistines be that stupid? I mean if I was with 999 other lads trying to kill one guy, after the first maybe 20 or so went down, I’d get a bit worried that something was up. Certainly once he’d killed 100 people, I’d know that something was definitely very wrong, and I’d get the hell out.
Judg 15, Verse 16: Then Samson said,
“With a donkey’s jawbone
I have made donkeys of them.
With a donkey’s jawbone
I have killed a thousand men.”
Yeah you know what, maybe the rap game isn’t for you Samson, stick to what you’re good at. Mindless slaughter.
Judg 16, Verses 1-2: One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. The people of Gaza were told, “Samson is here!” So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, “At dawn we’ll kill him.”
What makes you think you’ll be any more successful than the other 1,000 guys? And why wait til he wakes up? Get him while he’s asleep, surely?
Judg 16, Verse 3: But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.
BUT WHY. Why did he carry the whole gate to a hill? Why not just barge through and walk away!? DOES ANY OF THIS MAKE SENSE?
Judg 16, Verse 4: Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah.
For a righteous Judge of Israel, he’s kind of a womanizer isn’t he?
Judg 16, Verse 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 of silver.”
And of course, the story will now take another turn for the maddeningly stupid.
Judg 16, Verse 6: So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.”
It was at this point that alarm bells should be going off in Samson’s head that maybe this girl isn’t the best thing for him. Luckily, he isn’t stupid enough to tell her straight away, and he lies to her saying that if he is bound by seven fresh bowstrings, his strength will fail him. So she got the bowstrings and tied him up, then let the Philistine men in, but of course, Samson snapped the strings and chased them off.
Judg 16, Verse 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.”
“Hold up. Didn’t you just try to get me killed?” Is what Samson should really be saying. I mean come on dude, what is wrong with you!? Can’t you see what’s going on here? Instead of leaving Delilah (or just killing her) he decides to bullshit her again, same stuff happens.
Judg 16, Verse 13: Delilah then said to Samson, “All this time you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied.”
And he lies again . . .
Judg 16, Verse 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.”
“How can you say you love me when you keep trying to get me killed for money!?” Please Samson, stop being so dumb.
Judg 16, Verses 16-17: With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it. So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.”
CAN YOU GUESS WHAT HAPPENS NEXT FOLKS?
Judg 16, Verse 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.
Clearly the story of the boy who cried wolf hadn’t been made up yet, if I was a Philistine I would have stopped listening to Delilah by now. Also how did they know to bring the silver this time? Could it be that they knew because the story is actually entirely made up!?!?
Judg 16, Verses 19-20: After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. 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.
How could you not have seen this coming Samson!?
Judg 16, Verses 21-22: Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.
To be fair, it is kind of karma for all the innocents you’ve murdered over the years.
Then the Philistines think it would be a bit of fun to get Samson to perform for thousands of them at the temple, so that happens. Then Samson leans on one of the temple’s pillars, and has an idea.
Judg 16, Verses 29-30: Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.
More than while he lived? And this is supposedly something to be proud of? *sigh*
So Samson, eh? Weird guy, am I right? But was he actually real? Well, of course not. Those of you who know Greek mythology will probably know the story of Heracles (Hercules is the Roman version), and well everyone else will have heard of him. Samson is basically a Jewish version of Heracles, as you can see from these comparisons: Heracles and Samson both killed a lion with their bare hands, Heracles and Samson both used a blunt weapon, Heracles a club, Samson a bone as a club, and they were both betrayed by a woman which led to their deaths, Heracles by Deianira, Samson by Delilah (even the names are far too similar to be coincidence). So really, like an awful lot of the Bible, it’s just plagiarised from other cultures. Shocking.
By Rory McDowell