Thursday, 9 March 2017

Delilah

One of the most interesting stories is the story of Simson or Samson and Delilah. Short story what had happened before we begin: In Judges 13-16 we meet him as  a “Nazarite unto God” from his birth. The first recorded event of his life was his marriage with a Philistine woman of Timnath. His wife was however soon taken from him and given “to his companion” . (there is so much behind that phrase, Han). For this Samson took revenge by burning the “standing corn of the Philistines” , who, in their turn, in revenge burnt his wife and her father with fire. Her death he terribly avenged: Samson slew a thousand Philistines on his own.  During the twenty years following this he judged Israel; but we have no record of his life.

We enter the story as the Philistines think they have a more powerful weapon in the shape of Delilah, and boy must she have been pretty. Let's stick to the bible text because it reads like a novel. This is from the book of Judges and start reading at Judges 16:20



Samson en Delilah Peter Paul Rubens (1609)


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.”   So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.”

Samson answered her, “If anyone ties me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she tied him with them. With men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the bowstrings as easily as a piece of string snaps when it comes close to a flame. So the secret of his strength was not discovered.

Gerrit van Honthorst ca. 1615
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.” He said, “If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them. Then, with men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the ropes off his arms as if they were threads.

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.” He replied, “If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” So while he was sleeping, Delilah took the seven braids of his head, wove them into the fabric and tightened it with the pin. Again she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and pulled up the pin and the loom, with the fabric.

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.” 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.” 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. 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.

This painting is from Christiaen van Couwenberg from 1925

Is that a story or is that a story. Lust and bondage. And a terrible ending. OK, the story goes on that the Philistines wanted not to kill Samson and let him work as a slave doing hard labour. His hair grew back and he destroyed the temple of the Philistines, killing himself and all in it.

The story has been an inspiration of painters of all ages.

4 comments:

  1. Never have understood why Samson trusted the deceitful Delilah betrayed him the first time! Personally, I think his brains must have been in his lower head rather than the one on his shoulders. Oh and once his hair grew back...deceitful Delilah is the first person he should have destroyed.

    Hugs and blessings...Cat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did Delilah not get 39 lashes, same as Christ? It was believed 40 could kill a man, and therefore it was 39? I think so.

      Han

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  2. I think Samson was a very submisive man , who liked it Little rough and Little bondage.
    I think Delilah was his Misstres ..
    Smile

    Mona Lisa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well it really seemed this way when you look upon this story with my (and it seems also your) eyes.. Ah, well lots of stories there. Different times, Different culture, Different lives.

      And yet some things never change

      Han

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