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Who Cut Samson’s Hair? The Interpretation of Judges 16:19a Reconsidered

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Chapter Summary

Who cut Samson's hair? Delilah or some man? Judges 16, the final chapter of the Samson cycle which narrates how Samson could be overpowered by the Philistines through Delilah, allows both interpretations. This does not mean, however, that both are equally plausible. This chapter shows that the second interpretation is more fitting in the supposed circumstances. In both instances Delilah is responsible in full, in the first instance very directly, in the second instance indirectly through an intermediary. The Hebrew text of Judges 16:19 allows the interpretation 'she cut' and 'she had him cut'. In a euphemistic way it is narrated in Judges 16:19a that Delilah, after lovemaking and sexual intercourse with Samson, let him fall asleep lying upon or over her. In that position she summoned a man who had been instructed before by her, to come and cut Samson's hair.

Keywords: Delilah; Hebrew text; Judges 16:19a; Philistines; Samson's hair



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