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Monday, October 30, 2017

M³ Riddle Me This

            Okay, so, Samson has a wife, and he’s still brimming with machismo. What’s a guy to do? Slay a lion! No, really, that’s what he does. He takes the jawbone of an ass and beats the lion to death with it. I mean, sure, why not? That’s one way to impress people, right?

            Some time later, he happens on the lion’s carcass and finds that some bees have started a hive in the lion’s rotten, skeletal remains. Samson, being Samson, thinks it’s a good idea to go up and grab some honey.
            Now, again we have to look back on Israelite law. This is after Moses, this is after Leviticus and all of the laws governing what is and is not kosher. I promise you, 100% guarantee you, that honey out of a lion’s rotten corpse is not on the list of kosher food. Now maybe it’s okay. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Honey’s kosher, so, why not? Well, except Samson gave the honey to his parents, but he didn’t tell them where he got it from. Why? Because they would have completely freaked out. I’m not Jewish and I have a gut-wrenching reaction to the idea of “taking the honey out of the carcass of the lion” (Judges 14:9).
However, this does not bother Samson in the slightest. In fact, he decides to make a riddle out of the whole thing: “Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweet.” First, that’s just a horrible riddle. It’s not something that can be logically deduced. Only he has the answer.
I said it back in grad school, I’ll say it now, “He thinks he’s witty” (The Producers). Samson is convinced of his own cleverness, and even wagers that other people can’t guess the answer. The winner gets 30 linen sheets and undergarments. That’s a pretty valuable wager, I mean, just price linen sheets at Bed, Bath & Beyond and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
But because only Samson knows the answer, the Philistines he’s betting with can’t guess the answer. So, of course, they cheat. They threaten his wife and her father. If she doesn’t get the answer out of Samson and give it to them, “It’s curtains. Lacy, gently wafting curtains” (Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog) made of linen, most likely.
Predictably, she doesn’t want to die, so she complies. Samson spills the beans after she lays on a massive guilt trip; we’re talking full waterworks, here. The Philistines provide the answer, Samson’s ticked because they got the answer from her, but he makes good on the bet . . . sort of.
Instead of forking over the cash and buying the linens like most reasonable people, Samson goes out and kills 30 people, taking the linens off their corpses! Talk about a sore loser.
Now we’re getting a glimpse of Samson’s true character. He’s definitely full of himself, and doesn’t seem to care about others. It doesn’t matter to him that the Philistines threatened his wife and her father. He’s ticked because he lost the bet, and to rectify matters, he slaughters people and takes from them. So, for those who are counting, Samson has married a non-Israelite, partaken of food that’s not kosher, murdered people, and stolen from them. That’s a couple of big laws and two actual Commandments that he’s broken.
But stay tuned, there’s gonna be more.

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