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Love, seduction, betrayal, violence, riddles, and myth all find their place in the biblical story of Samson. Samson is the last of the judges, with 20 percent of the book devoted to him–more than any other judge. From the beginning, Samson is unlike any other judge, which the author suggests when narrating Samson’s birth. Samson is destined, even before his birth, to deliver Israel. He doesn’t lead his people into battle, he acts alone; his battles are personal vendettas. Samson fights with a lion, defeats the Philistines with the jawbone of an ass, captures foxes, sets Philistine fields on fire, and carries the Gates of Gaza on his shoulders. So what stands behind these stories? Was Samson a mythological hero like Hercules and Gilgamesh? Like other men in the Hebrew Bible, Samson can’t resist foreign women. Time after time, he follows Philistine women who eventually betray him. Samson is defeated not by physical strength, but by the powers of seduction, making this story a tragedy. Who were these women and how did they defeat Samson? Readers of this volume will rediscover Samson and better understand his achievements and failures. This study will afford a provocative and useful insight into the character of Samson.
Acerca de Shaul Bar
Dr. Shaul Bar, Director of the Bornblum Judaic Studies Program at the University of Memphis. He is the author of A Letter Has Not Been Read: Dreams in the Hebrew Bible (2001), I Deal Death and Give Life: Biblical Perspectives on Death (2010), God’s First King: The Story of Saul (2013), Daily Life of the Patriarchs: The Way It Was (2014), and A Nation Is Born: The Jacob Story (2016).
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