10 December 2012
Samson’s Character Analysis
About a thousand years before Jesus the Israelites maintained an uneasy truce with the Philistines who dominated the land. A troublemaker arises of an extraordinary, superhuman strength. His name is Samson. His explosive rage disrupts peace in the land. The story of Samson asks one important question about the main hero, is he merely a violent man driven by a thirst for adventure and sex, or does he play a divinely inspiring role. According to the Old Testament the story begins in the Village of Zorah, in the family of a poor shepherd named Manoah. His wife who is unnamed in the story has been childless for many years and yearns for a baby. This theme of a barren mother giving birth touches very powerfully in an agricultural society. There is the sense of a barren field that all of a sudden springs crop, the barren womb that all of a sudden gives seed, and that is a part of the divine promise. One day an angel appears before the woman and tells that she is going to conceive a son who will liberate Israel from the hands of its enemy, the Philistines. The angel instructs the woman to raise the boy as a Nazirite referring to the elite core of warriors who lived by the strict rules of ritual purity. It means that a child and eventually a man who was promised to be a Nazirite will have to reject much of this world in order to be spiritually true to the God who chose him. It has a profound impact on the way someone not only is raised, but how they feel about themselves. Nazirites vow not to eat unclean food or drink alcohol believing - these acts of self-denial will endow them with superhuman strength. They also single themselves out by vowing never to cut their hair. This ritual has a strong significance. Haircut is an affectation of culture. It is something only people do, whereas animals don’t cut their hair. Samson’s long hair is symbolic of his connection to nature and to the...
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