Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Bible's Superman!

Samson was very strong, but he had one weakness. If he had his hair cut, he would lose his strength. He was very much like Achilles, who was very strong and who also had a weakness (his heel). Then there was Superman. He too was very strong, until he was exposed to Kryptonite. Samson was to be a Nazirite. A Nazirite is not a priest but is someone who makes a special vow, under certain conditions. He is not to consume grapes in any form, including wine, touch a corpse, or cut his hair.

Samson was so strong that he could tear apart an attacking lion with his bare hands. He could be tied up with the strongest rope and escape by breaking the rope as if it were thread.

Unfortunately, Samson was also very naive, especially when it came to women. He was attracted to women who wanted to take advantage of him and use him, probably because of his enormous strength. He had disastrous relations with two women. The first was identified only as a Philistine woman. She was not named. Samson decided to marry her, over the objections of his parents. He probably should have listened to his parents. This lady was not a good match for Samson. She kept trying to get information out of Samson but failed. However, I am not certain that the marriage ever happened.

Well, Samson's second time around in the area of romance turned out to be an even bigger disaster. He fell in love with Delilah. Unfortunately, Delilah was bribed by the Philistines to find out Samson's secret: what would take away his super powers? Samson thought that Delilah was just teasing him when she kept asking him for the secret. Maybe he thought that her goal was something X rated and between the two of them. Who knows? Anyway, Delilah tied Samson up with ropes, which he broke. She braided his hair and tied the braids together, but he was able to remove those without difficulty. But, eventually, Delilah sweet talked Samson into telling her his secret. She had servants shave Samson's head while he was asleep. He became weak immediately and lost his status as a Nazirite because his vow was considered broken, even if it had not been broken voluntarily.

The Philistines wanted revenge because Samson had killed many Philistines. In fact, he struck down 1,000 men with a donkey's jawbone. That was his weapon of choice because he was strong enough to make that jawbone into a deadly weapon.  Anyway, the Philistines did get their revenge. They put Samson into prison and forced him to grind grain. And they put out Samson's eyes, so he was blind.

Samson's fate was tragic but, eventually, his hair grew back and he regained his strength but not his eyesight. He managed to get out of prison to go to the Philistines' temple. There, he leaned on the pillars until they broke, causing the entire building to be structurally unsound. The building then collapsed, killing everyone inside it, including Samson.

After Delilah got her servant to shave Samson's head, she is never mentioned again.

Here is a picture of Delilah cutting Samson's hair: Samson gets an unwanted haircut

The story of Samson and Delilah is very dramatic. In fact, Camille Saint Saens wrote an opera based on this tale. One of the more unusual things about this opera is that the leading lady is a mezzo soprano, not a soprano, although the strong Samson is played by a tenor. Because I am a mezzo soprano, I like the idea of a mezzo soprano leading lady.

More tales later!

No comments:

Post a Comment