Thursday, October 23, 2014

Delilah was an Israelite not a Philistine

Traditionally it is assumed that Delilah was another Pagan Philistine woman that Samson got involved with.  In fact The Bible never says that.

Samson had two earlier relationships with Philistine women, the one he married early on, and the harlot in Gaza at the start of chapter 16.  Neither of them are named, in fact I don't think any male Philistine characters are named at any-point in the Samson narrative either.  But Delilah has a name.  Critics of The Bible starting with the assumption that we're supposed to think of Delilah as a Philistine like to point out that her name isn't a Philistine name.

It seems in fact perfectly Hebrew deriving from the Hebrew word for night Layil (Strong number 3915, the same root as Lilith interestingly) and/or Dalah (Strong number 1809) meaning to fail, to bring low or to empty, from which the Strongs interprets the name Delilah to mean "languishing".  It's similar to Strong number 1808 Daliah which means branch.

She's from a valley (not a city) called Sorek.  This location is never mentioned (not by the same name at least) again in Scripture.  We have no solid geographical clues to it's location.  Which means I'm inclined to be skeptical of the archeological site traditional identified with Sorek.  All we do know is the last place Samson was before coming here was Hebron, which is in the heart of Judah.

I think Samson went to Gaza to sow his wild oats, but after that his thing for Philistine women was done.

In the movies Delilah is always sent to seduce Samson from the start.  In The Bible it's not like that, the Philistines come to her after they've been involved for awhile.

The amount of Silver paid is debated.  Is it really 1100 pieces from each lord as the KJV translation clearly leads us to assume?  Or is that the total they all pulled together?  I don't know, either way works fine for me.

It's interesting that again we see betrayal linked with being paid in Silver, just like Judas with Jesus and Judah with Joseph.

I mentioned in an earlier post how there is disagreement of if Judges 17-18 actually follows 16.  Now I believe they do follow 16.

Judges 17 begins with a story involving Micah's mother having 1100 shekels of Silver, the exact same amount Delilah was paid (either once or multiple times).  I don't think that's a coincidence, I think this is Delilah.

Others who've noticed that possible connection then assume Samson is Micah's father, but I don't think so.  Judges tends to note when a key character it's following is conceived out of wedlock, and Samson and Delilah were never married.  Also, if Samson was his father Micah would be a Danite, and in chapter 18 Micah doesn't think of the Danites as his kin.  But maybe I'm wrong and he is the son of Samson.

Maybe she married someone afterwards, or perhaps she was a widow when she and Samson began their relationship.  Which leads back to my thoughts on our common assumptions, that Samson's relationship with Delilah was bad to begin with.  The text of Judges doesn't to me seem to say that, Evil enters the relationship when The Philistines bribed Delilah.

The notion that all Sex outside marriage is a Sin isn't Biblical.  The Law of Moses only addresses adultery, virginity, and prostitution (what Fornication meant in 1611).  Nothing at all says it'd be wrong for a Man and a Widow to have an extra martial relationship.

Micah's never called an Ephraimite, they're just living in Ephraim when Judges 17 happens.  They could be from Judah originally.

Basically, the whole narrative of Samson subverts expectations in a way.  He's kind of a failed Messianic Archetype.  The reader judges his foolishness in those relationships with Philistine women.  But then we learn an Israelite woman can be a traitor too.  In fact Delilah didn't have also being threatened as Samson's Philistine Wife did to make her more sympathetic, she was just paid the money.

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