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Monday, December 11, 2017

M³ Samson's Downfall

            So this is Samson’s last chapter. He will not have a sequel. There will be no final redemption for him. Yep, I said it. Instead we have the illusion of redemption. Post-haircut, Samson is shackled and working at the mill. But the Philistines were not thinking because they didn’t keep cutting his hair. For reasons passing understanding, this man that they had taken such great pains and expense to capture was not closely monitored.

Friday, December 8, 2017

F³ Let's Make a Deal

            Behind me, the party of dwarves looked nervous, but I was cool as the rink at Rockefeller Center. I nodded to Pyreus, who pulled on the door with four of the dwarves. The rock wall swung open slowly, the mechanism allowed it to swing open, but it was still a few tons of solid rock to move, reminding me of the door from Tron. The first one, not the second one.
            When open, I started through, but Pyreus put a hand on arm. “Hmm, are you sure, Friend Sam?”
            “I’m sure, Friend Pyreus. Close it up after I go in.”
            The dwarf didn’t look sure behind his beard, but he nodded and gave a kind of musical grunt.
            When through, the wall slid closed with barely any noise. Keeping the secret entrance silent into the dragon’s lair was a prudent move. I had no interest in being prudent, though.
            “Redscale! It’s Sam Faraday!”
            Flame erupted into the cavernous lair, providing light enough to make my way around the passage until it opened up.
            “It is curious,” the dragon boomed, “to welcome someone to my lair instead of eat them. It is a good thing I do not bear a grudge for the last meeting.” Giant eyes narrowed to malice-filled slits.
            “Hey, you arranged the last meeting. And this one! So, what can I do for you? It’s the raids, isn’t it?”
            He snorted smoke, which curled into impossible shapes, kind of like the Caterpillar’s hookah from Alice in Wonderland.

            “All right. Let’s make a deal.”

Monday, December 4, 2017

M³ Little Covenant, Big Covenant

            Samson is sans hair. This is a clear violation of his covenant, and we have confirmation that he no longer has strength. It was unobtrusively slipped into verse 20 that “the Lord had left [Samson].” This reinforces that the strength was a gift directly tied to the covenant regarding Samson’s hair. No other force governs it. Certainly, Samson was never beholden to following other commandments.
This is interesting as it shows a departure from the Abrahamic Covenant. That one, as we’ve already gone over, stipulates that Israel needs to follow God’s path, which is actually a very broad range of commands, but the payoff is that the Lord is with them always.
Samson’s covenant is a micro-scale version of this with only one requirement, don’t get a haircut, and you’ll be strong. If you get head lice, you have to live with it. No hair = no strength. This is a highly specific covenant, but what is interesting is that Samson, in holding to this covenant, does not hold to the Abrahamic Covenant at all. He’s breaking commandments left and right with murder and theft, he’s had a Philistine wife, been with a prostitute, and Delilah.
Could it be that the adherence to the lesser covenant gave him power to get what he wanted, so he saw no reason to follow the larger covenant? Samson doesn’t appear to have any regard for anyone but himself. He even caused suffering to his fellow Israelites, but it didn’t appear to bother him that they were angry with him.
So after all the people who have been hurt by him, has he done any good? Has he been a hero? If so, to whom? Yes, he will kill thousands of Philistines in the end (sorry, spoilers), but does that change anything for his people? Was he a good example for them to emulate?
(Answers: No, no, no one, no change, not a good role model)

Friday, December 1, 2017

F³ The Power to Cloud Minds

            The doorbell rang, and I frowned, getting up.
             It’s not Nikki because she just left. It might be Ivan’s goons.
            I looked through the peephole to see Brian holding two red cups.
            I opened the door and smiled.
            “Lemonades, Mr. Allen? It’s a hot day.”
            “It is.” I took the cups. “Cassie, lemonade.”
            Brian wore shorts and a video game tee shirt, what most kids would be wearing on a summer day. Tommy, though was not normal. He stood off to the side of the front step, halfway behind the bushes in front the house. He had a dark blanket wrapped around his shoulder, safety pinned together at his throat. A red, knit scarf covered his mouth and nose, and he wore a broad brimmed dark hat. Likely all three belonged to Tommy's mom Andrea.
            Cassie took one of the cups from my hand. “Hi, Brian.”
            “H-hi, Cassie.”
            "What's with Tommy?" she asked.
            "There is no Tommy!" Tommy proclaimed. "For I," he flourished the makeshift cloak for effect, wrapping it around him, "am The Shadow!"
            I couldn't stop my chuckle. Cassie looked questioningly at all three of us. “Anyone want to clue me in?”
            "My fault," Brian admitted.
            "How so?"
            "I dug up the old Shadow serials on the internet."
            "Who knows what bad stuff—" Tommy began.
            "Evil," Brian and I corrected.
            "Lurks in the hearts of men. The Shadow knows!" Tommy finished.
            I chuckled. "Any evil nearby, Tom—I mean, Shadow?"
            "The Shadow knows!" And with that he swooped his cape and ran off, ducking behind hedges and trees to stay hidden.

. . .

            "What's done is done. Besides, that was too much power. It would go to my head, then I'd be in real trouble. Brains over brawn. You know that."
            Brian nodded.
            Tommy approached, giving his best Shadow laugh. "Mom wants you to take the trash out." Tommy said behind his scarf.
            "How do you know?" Tommy replied.
            "The Shadow knows!"
            "Uh huh."
            "She said so."
            "You're old enough to take it out. Why didn't she ask you?"
            "I have the power to cloud mom's mind."
            I snorted into a laugh. "He's got you there."
            "Come on, Shadow. Let's go take out the trash." Brian turned.
            "Villains beware!" Tommy flourished again.

Monday, November 27, 2017

M³ Wow Samson Is so Stupid

            We knew from the riddle that Samson thought he was smarter than he actually was. It’s not until this moment, however, that we realize the depth of Samson’s stupidity. Not once, not twice, but count ‘em, three times does Delilah ask for Samson’s secret. She’s not even subtle about it, with a casual “Please tell me what makes your strength so great, and how you could be bound, so that one could subdue you” (Judg. 16:6).
            She’s not using any subtlety whatsoever, and we can only guess as to why. Personally, I envision it as Samson is too stupid to understand it in other terms, so she has to be direct. The thing is, he lies to her the first three times. And each time she asks him the question, he miraculously wakes up in those conditions. It’s a complete coincidence! /sarcasm.
            And she persists until Finally, after she had nagged him with her words day after day, and pestered him,” he gives in. Why? Because he’s an idiot. It would be one thing to have her ask it once and him lie about it, but after the first incident where he ends up bound by bowstrings, you’d think he’d do the mental arithmetic to figure out Delilah was working for the bad guys.
            Anyone possessing even a modicum of intelligence would have stopped and said, “she might be up to something. Maybe I should leave.”
            Instead we have Samson falling for the same trick time and again. And, chances are, that the circumstances under which she’s asking the question are the same each time. See, the pattern goes like this: She asks the secret, he tells a lie, she follows-up and binds him, she yells that the Philistines are upon him (which they were since they hid), and Samson kills them.
            Now, the first two times it doesn’t say he was asleep, but it would be pretty weird for him to simply allow her to tie him up while he’s awake. The third time gives us the instance that is most likely. He was asleep when it happened.
            But how did he get sleepy? Well, chances are that because he loved her, they engaged in some intimate activity that left him sleepy afterwards. He was probably so drowsy that it was pretty easy to get him to talk, too. And while Delilah is not a prostitute, she has no qualms about using Samson’s love for her against him, and she probably used sex as a weapon as well. Samson loved her, but she never returns that love in word or deed. But there’s really no reason for her to do so. The story clearly states that Samson fell in love with her, and given Samson’s penchant for breaking covenants and taking what he wants, she could very well have just been another object that he desired.
            The only other thing we know about Delilah is that she disappeared. After turning over Samson, she is out of the story, persona non-grata, Lady Not-appearing-in-this-story. It’s not surprising, but it is noteworthy, especially since a movie version of the story had Delilah fall in love with him and stick around when Samson brought the house down, but that’s next week.
            Oh, and Samson has now broken his Covenant with God, which is a drop in the bucket compared to everything else he’s done.

Friday, November 24, 2017

F³ Priorities

            “Just so. Are you sure we can’t leave this wee room and get a pint? Talking’s thirsty work.” Michaleen licked his lips.
            “I’m here with people, as you know. I don’t even know where the nearest bar is.”

            “Don’t know where the nearest!—you don’t have your priorities in order.”

Monday, November 20, 2017

M³ Delilah Unleashed

            Having had his fill of murder, Samson takes off “to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute and went in to her” (Judg. 16:1) to drown his sorrows after murdering Philistines. I choose to believe that murder made him depressed, because if it excited him to the point he needed female companionship, this is one disturbed individual (well, more disturbed than we’ve already gone over).
            Now, to be clear, this prostitute is not Delilah. He meets Delilah afterwards. In fact, it makes a point of saying “After this he fell in love with a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah” (Judg. 16:4). The prostitute was in Gaza, he went to Hebron after that, then into the valley of Sorek. Nowhere does it mention that Delilah is a prostitute. The story goes out of its way to introduce her as a woman with a name.
            Furthermore, the lord of Philistines offer to “each give [Delilah] eleven hundred pieces of silver” to discover the secret of Samson’s strength (Judg. 16:5). The nobility do not treat prostitutes this way. If she was a common prostitute, they would have threatened to kill her if she didn’t cooperate, as was done to Samson’s wife. Clearly, then, Delilah is something different.
            The amount of money they’re offering her is staggering, which is both a show of their desperation, confidence in her ability to get the information, and a clue that Delilah must have a certain status among the lords.
            Sadly, the only other information we have about her is how she manipulates Samson, which is next. Oh, and btw, we can add adultery to Samson’s list of broken commandments.

Friday, November 17, 2017

F³ A Vicious Retort

            I nodded slowly, looking over the notes one more time, wondering as to how stupid I was going to be. “My Lady,” I said softly.
            Pretty damn stupid, apparently.
            “You asked for my discretion, and you have it. I cannot help you, though, if you do not share all you know.”
            “I have told you all that you need to know.”
            “Respectfully, my Lady, you have not.”
            A fist seized my shirt, and the man, whose name I still didn’t know, hauled me to my feet. “You will not decide that, peasant!”
            I nodded. “Then I cannot help you. I bid both of you a good day.” I adjusted my hat.
            The man released my shirt, growling, “Coward,” under his breath.
            “Dickless,” I growled back, gratified at the utterly blank, confused expression on his face.

Monday, November 13, 2017

M³ Revenge Is A Dish Best Served by Whoopin' Ass

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served by Whoopin’ Ass

            Samson’s Revenge by fox doesn’t go unnoticed by the Philistines. So they kill him!
            No, sorry (it might have been better that way).
            Instead they burn his wife (ex? It’s kind of unclear given Samson’s reaction) and her father.
            Samson takes this as a slight against him, promising “will I be avenged of you” which is about as B movie villain as you get.
            Oh, right, he’s supposed to be the hero. Sorry, my bad.
            So he started slaughtering them. And the Philistines went up against Judah, slaughtering them. At which point the tribe of Judah wants a time out. The logic of all of this is that the Philistines don’t believe they can take down Samson, so they’ll just continue hurting other people to get to him, and it works as Judah “will bind [Samson] fast, and deliver [him] into [Philistine] hand[s].”
            When the Philistines got him, though, he broke through his bindings picked up a trusty jawbone, and “slew a thousand men.”
            Samson is good at killing people. We already knew that, but he’s definitely kicked it up a few notches since losing his wager. He’s graduate to outright murder, and has even brought more misery to his own people by provoking the Philistines into an attack. Yes, he is killing Philistines, but it’s not really deterring them much. There’s no talk of any kind of withdrawal or lessening of the occupation of Israel. If anything, the Philistines are more intent on making the lives of the Israelites miserable as punishment for Samson’s actions.
            It should also be noted that Samson is just killing Philistines, and not necessarily Philistine soldiers. We’re not told it’s a Philistine army, and the place where Samson sets about killing is not remarked in any way except by the name Samson gives it: Ramath-Lehi or “Jawbone Hill.” Was this a Philistine outpost? Was it a rest stop in the wilderness? We don’t know, but it became a mass graveyard thanks to Samson.

Friday, November 10, 2017

F³ A Short Message

            “And of course,” Geoffrey resumed, “you remember my companion, Sir Sam! Without his keen aid, all would have been lost!”
            I went down on one knee, which protested after the long ride, but I hid the wince behind my bowed head.
            “Rise, Sir Sam,” King Gregory said.
            I pushed up, but it was a real effort convincing sore muscles it was worth it.
            “You have been gone for many weeks. We began to worry when we heard no word of your journeys.”
            Huh. Should we have sent messages back? Can we send messages back? It’d be like Pony Express, wouldn’t it? I wonder if they have regular couriers between kingdoms or something. I could use that to send word back to Henry’s kingdom. ‘Dear King and Queen, your son was an asshat and got himself killed. Bygones, Sam.’