Friday, March 12, 2010

WTF Moment in Bible Study: Samson...oh yeah, and Delilah

Okay, so now we're in Judges which I totally love. If there was a Bible book that was written by a woman, it's definitely Judges! Ah, the women of Judges. But anyway, there we are at Samson.

When his story begins, the Phillistines and the Israelites are living in relative peace. True, the Israelites are not rulers in their land and are under tribute but hey, they've gotten accustomed to it. MUCH too ACCUSTOMED and at PEACE with the situation. God decides to make trouble.

And how does he do it? He sends an angel to a barren woman and tells her he'll give her a child. She is to have a special diet and to keep herself pure from unclean foods. She does -- and what does she get for this special mercy? What kind of perfect child does God give to her? A vindictive, strong kid with a very nasty temper!!!! Yes, my kind of deliverer.

But still, there isn't trouble. Both the Phillistines and the Israelites aren't apt to fight over anything. So what does God do? He makes Samson fall in love with a Phillistine woman? Yes, yes, I know... ministers like saying that Samson's lust carried him away. Puhleze! The Bible states that "this thing was from the Lord." I suspect people like saying it's Samason's fault because they remember that Moses had commanded the Israelites not to intermarry with the Phillistines, so ministers think that God wouldn't willfully cause Samson to sin like that. But really? Hey, Samson was totally fine when he lied through his teeth to Delilah. (Anyway, we haven't gotten to Delilah yet.)

So, yeah, God sets up poor Samson to fall in love with a woman from the enemy's camp. So God could start trouble with his vindictive nasty-tempered deliverer! I love it!

So Samson gets into a snit because the Lords of the phillistines threatened and nagged his wife to give him an answer to a riddle. And what does he do? He goes down to Eskalon and murders 30 innocent people who had nothing to do with his fight with the other Phillistines. But even then, the Phillistines don't get too upset about it. They let it go. Yes, they LET IT GO. But God has made this particular deliverer majorly testy -- a troublemaker of the highest order. And Samson keeps causing trouble...ruining the Phillistine crops. The Phillistines -- extremely patient people-- ask the men of Judah (Israelites) to help them capture Samson. The men of Judah think Samson is being unreasonable. But he allows them to bound him and then he kills the Phillistines who have finally lost their temper.

The Phillistines let this go as well. Amazingly! They don't kill a ton of Israelites. But they are losing patience with Samson.

Then Samson meets Delilah. No, she isn't a harlot. He meets her after he visited a harlot. And we don't know what Delilah is. The Bible doesn't say. Many Christians think she's a Phillistine. This is probably because of that xenophobic evil strange woman thing so many Christians have. A bit of racism or whatever. Anyway, ministers want to believe she's a Phillistine. But for all we know she could've been a sweet little Israelite farmer's daughter.

Samson loves her. We don't know if she loves him. But why not assume she does? After all, nowhere in the Bible does it say that Esther was in love with the king (or that she liked being one of a zillion women in the king's harem) but we assume. So, yeah, I'll assume she loved him. AT FIRST Anyway...then she gets all treacherous on him.

Down come the Phillistines....and they're (rightly) annoyed with Samson's shenanigans. So Delilah caves. Know what? I think I would've caved too if someone bribed me. Plus we KNOW how they had threatened Samson's other wife.

So she nags Samson -- Oh please! Let's not judge either her or Samson. Bible readers are always behaving as if IF they were in Samson's position they wouldn't have caved. Or if they loved someone they wouldn't have betrayed Samson. Well, let's see what happens when/if persecution comes. I can see why Delilah nagged. Although, I have to admit...she could've told Samson they were bribing her. Anyway I can see why Samson caved after being nagged so long. -- and Samson gives up his secret (He has a Nazarite vow of purity and cannot cut his hair.)

Again, at the end, we don't see the Phillistines harming any of the Israelites. They just don't seem real prone to harming anyone... and they only go against Samson after he killed their people.

But what gets me here in this story is how utterly at peace the Israelites were with being oppressed? And that God had to go to such measures to cause trouble with their oppressors? That's the way the Christian world is -- we're at ease with our diseases, the demonic element, the ways of the world. Ah, unholy peace! We need a holy troublemaker to challenge us to destroy the giants in the land. -C
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