Skip to main content
Pages and Files
Notes & Reflections
The Making of Samson I
And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him.
Oh, for the old religion! For Jehovah. The original Jehovah, when He was one god among many, chosen by the ancient Hebrews to be their own. A manly god. A lusty, hasty, pugnacious god, drunk with ambition, besotted of His consort, Asherah. Such a being appoints heroes to crush His enemies and consolidate His power. The primal Jehovah knows how to summon a hero from among motley farmers, camel drivers, and goat herders.
Start with the mother
, is Jehovah's motto for making a hero.
Not just any mother, but a desperate woman. His favorite type: the barren, perimenopausal wife, made reckless by decades of infertility. Suddenly, shockingly, she is aware of a boy-child leaping in her womb.
Visit her with an angel.
When alerting gravid females, Jehovah sends the Archangel Gabriel, Prince of the element water. He can be trusted. He is liege lord of the Western Celestial Army and one of seven magnificent officers who answer directly to the god.
Such a visitation comes to the wife of Manoah in the latter days of the Judges. The record gives no name for this thrifty, crafty housewife who makes and sells goat cheese. She breeds kids so spotless they fetch an excellent price from anyone needing the local witch to read entrails.
On this clear day in April, the woman considers herself too busy for a messenger.
"Greetings, good lady," the stranger begins. He bows, a formal and absurd act in a parochial outpost. "May a thirsty traveler seek the kindness of water?"
The good lady snorts. She continues working in front of her two room house in the uncrowded village of Zohar. She is packing crockery and rolls of canvas into tall, lidded baskets, using wheat straw to protect the nested bowls, the jugs and pitchers and cups. She squints at the man, for her eyes are weak, and she considers his city clothes. Bluntly she states, "There will be water at the place where you stabled your mount."
"I arrive not mounted," the man replies. He seems unperturbed by her rudeness. "Neither camel nor ass nor gelding.”
The woman pauses and stares at his sandals, at the hem of his robe, none of it dusty as would be that of a walker. "I suppose you have wings," she says.
help on how to format text
Turn off "Getting Started"