Samson – hero or zero?

Pearls Before Swine - February 20, 2009
Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis

I hope you weren’t looking for a thoughtful post on the biblical character of Samson and why we should possibly consider him a “hero” of the Bible. I mostly wanted an excuse to share this cartoon with you.

As it happens we were talking about Judges and Samson this week in class. I know that there is some very good scholarship out there on this subject, but I still find it difficult to find very much redeeming about Samson. He is a horny, selfish git whose sole redeeming quality (from the biblical author’s perspective) seems to be the fact that he kills lots of Philistines. Judges 14:4 is a particularly troubling verse:

“His father and mother did not realize that this was the LORD’s doing: He was seeking a pretext against the Philistines.”

I know that this falls into the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart category. Still, it is troubling if you are anyone other than Richard Dawkins (who find such passages merely affirm his preconceived assumptions about religion in general and Christianity and Judaism in particular).

So other than his Rambo like characteristics, what redeeming qualities are there to Samson?

 

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