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The Structure and Meaning of the Samson Narratives (Jud. 13–16)

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Chapter Summary

The Samson narrative is unique in the Book of Judges. The narrative does not fall naturally into the general framework of the book. In contrast to its other narratives, Samson does not appear as a response to Israel's cry to God, and he does not deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines. The most enigmatic aspects of the narrative are his enormous strength and his weakness for women. As a Nazarite, Samson is prohibited from cutting his hair. But later in the story it emerges that his strength is dependent on his hair, by examining the structural elements of the narrative, both its meaning and the peculiarities of Samson's character are brought to light. This chapter discusses the structure of the following four episodes: Samson's marriage with the Timnahite woman, The Timnahite wife episode, Samson's visit to the prostitute from Gaza, and Samson and Delilah.

Keywords: Book of Judges; Delilah; Israel; Nazarite; Philistines; Samson narrative; Timnahite woman



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