[Marxism] The Samson story
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jan 9 10:30:44 MST 2009
Of the Samson story, Mary Joan Winn Leith writes in The Oxford Companion
to the Bible, “It’s one of the most artfully composed tales in the
Bible…A subtle study of deception and betrayal, by humans and by god,
for good and for ill.”
On the other hand: what a horrible story! There are few redeeming
qualities in this selfish, oversexed, vicious brute who abuses animals
by setting their tails on fire and doesn’t even have the good sense to
figure out that Delilah’s working with the enemy.
Now, this of course is a text probably written between 2600-2800 years
ago. Its unknown author(s) have nothing to do with any contemporary
political disputes, and we can’t expect the text to give us much insight
about the thinking of the Zionists in relation to this present
blitzkrieg on Gaza.
Still, there are some passages to think about:
(1) “…all this came from Yahweh, who was seeking grounds for a
quarrel with the Philistines, since at this time the Philistines
dominated Israel” (New Jerusalem Bible, Judges 14:4; the New Oxford
Bible renders this “seeking a pretext to act against the Philistines”).
The fact is, Israeli leaders have indeed sought grounds for war with the
Palestinians, repeatedly. They have manufactured pretexts for decades.
In 2006 they used a Hezbollah attack on an Israeli border patrol station
that killed six and resulted in two Israeli soldiers being taken hostage
as the pretext for a massive assault on Lebanon, killing over 1000.
The author of this fictional work, writing perhaps 2600-2800 years ago,
states that Yahweh himself was looking for a fight. The secular humanist
might interpret the passage to mean that the worshippers of Yahweh were
spoiling for a fight with the Philistines, whose land they coveted.
(2) “Then the spirit of Yahweh seized on him. He went down to
Ashkelon, killed thirty men there, took what they wore and gave the
festal robes to those who had answered the riddle…” (Judges 14:19)
Ashkelon, the former Palestinian town taken over by Zionist settlers
since 1948, has been in the news lately. We have heard a lot about the
indiscriminate Palestinian bombardment of the town which is occasionally
hit by homemade rockets from Gaza. Here in the Samson story we have the
Israelite hero indiscriminately killing thirty men there. But he does so
filled with the spirit of God!
You can be sure that this Sunday preachers from pulpits across the U.S.
will endorse the Israeli invasion of Gaza as a godly act of
self-defense. (They’ll be responding to Israel’s slick PR campaign of
nauseating righteousness.) Will such ironies be lost upon them?
(3) “Let me die with the Philistines!” Samson cries as he causes
the feasting-hall to collapse from its foundations (Judges 16:29).
Doesn’t this strike you as the mentality of the suicide bomber? We’re
told Samson killed more at the banquet party that he had during his life
(16:31) and that his brothers came to take his body away. (But he
probably didn’t expect to be reborn into a Paradise; that Persian notion
hadn’t yet really pervaded Judaism. It was probably a product of the
Babylonian Captivity----of Iran’s contribution to the Jewish experience.)
Thus Samson the judge of Israel destroys himself and thousands of
Philistines in Gaza. Definitely a Bible story worth rereading at this
* * *
Many Israelis like to present their nation to the world as little David,
the shepherd boy who will be king, confronting Goliath of Gath, the
Philistine giant, through the grace of God felling him with a stone from
I suggest another image: Israel as Samson. Wild, irrational, thuggish,
untamed, covetous, given to religious obsessions, the incredible hulk
able to carry away the city gates of Gaza but ultimately vulnerable. The
really scary thing about Samson is that, filled with self-pity and
self-righteousness even after committing atrocities against so many
Philistines, he’s prepared to kill an additional 3000 and himself by
bringing down the great hall on top of everyone’s head.
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