It has been the general opinion of interpreters of the Old Testament to blame Samson’s weakness for women as the sole reason for the tragic end of Samson.
My understanding of Samson is significantly different from this general opinion, which is a Trojan horse for smuggling the pet theories of the moralists.
Being Moral is entirely different from being a Moralist. A Moralist is one who goes around prescribing standards of ‘desirable’ behaviour for others to follow.
Samson’s association with Delilah, and before that with that woman from Timnath, whom he married; and the Harlot from Gaza are bandied about as reason for his tragic end. No doubt Samson’s choice of women were mostly Philistine women, who were the “Rulers” of the Jews then.
A necessary parallel has to be drawn to King David, who was no less active in the same field as Samson, but King David’s choice starts with Mehrab as the trophy for having defeated Goliath. When Mehrab was not too keen on becoming the spouse of David, a single swallow making the summer then, settles down for Michal, who according to the Bible was in love with this young hero, more as a compromise to gain access to be counted as a member of the King’s family. Then David marries Abigail, who had met him the previous night and conveniently for David, Abigail’s husband dies the next morning putatively out of a broken heart for his indiscreet words to David’s men the previous day‼️ David’s other women were Maacah, a Princess of Geshur. All these women gave David access to the princely power through Michal; economic resources through Abigail; another Princely cohabitation with Maacah. As regards Ahinoam and Haggith, except that the latter was the mother of Adonijah, very less is known of them. Lastly, Bathsheba, who was the mother of Solomon through David and the one who was involved in the accession politics after David became incapacitated in his last days. But the thread which runs through the choice of the women of David is that his priorities as a Ruler never took a backseat. More than that David never succumbed, except in his last leg, to the charms of these women so as to risk his Life.
But Samson played with fire right from that woman from Timnath; the harlot at Gaza; and finally with Delilah. Samson’s behaviour and association was risky from the outset.
But is that all there was to Samson? I guess not.
Samson was from the tribe of Dan. Dan as a tribe was the last tribe to receive its territory from Joshua, just over Philistia and West of Ephraim and Northwest of Judah and South of West Manasseh. Dan was a small enclave East of the Mediterranean. Therefore a tribe hemmed in on all sides. Surrounded by the big boys like Ephraim, Manasseh and Judah.
Let us get back to the origins of this tribe. Dan was one of the sons of Bilah, maid of Rachel.
Not a very bright prospects for a person born to one of those handmaiden Tribes of Israel. Even this territory was divested and in time Dan ended up in the North along with those tribes, not of stature. But at least they escaped the slings & arrows of their supercilious half-brothers.
Even Gideon of Manasseh had to say : “Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer?” to Ephraimites to palliate their hurt pride, as Gideon had not included them at the beginning of his campaign against the Midianites. Such was the hierarchy of the tribes. Uterine brother Ephraim was above Manasseh, how much worse would have been Dan’s position with Ephraim, Judah and Manasseh encompassing Dan and a common border with Philistia, to boot!
If I should exemplify with another example, Jephtha, the Gileadite had trouble with the Ephraimites even after his victory over Ammonites and had to encounter the wrath of the ‘superior’ Ephraimites thus:
“Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire.”
When such was the case, what would have been the plight of a brilliant hero Samson, from Dan?
If the reader thinks I am imagining please read the attitude of the tribe of Judah, when Samson was on the rock of Etam after he had set the fields of the philistines afire.
Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? what is this that thou hast done unto us? And he said unto them, As they did unto me, so have I done unto them.
Here was a strong man Samson who should have been assisted and his lack of tact should have been supplemented by others, but Alas, Judah is trying to educate the irrepressible Samson into subjugation by teaching Samson who their masters were‼️
I pity that generation of Judah, which had not only become servile but were without the spirit of resistance when they had a hero like Samson around.
Judah saw the Danites as lowborn and wouldn’t aid his attempts.
I don’t say that Samson was a great man manager, but those are skills which could be supplied through advice and mentoring. Till Danites captured Laish and renamed it as Dan in the Northern tip, they were hemmed in between half-brothers who were intent on suppressing and stifling Danites and I feel that this also contributed greatly to the downfall of Samson.
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