“a staggering story of strength… And seduction… of the mightiest mortal who ever lived!” so claimed a poster touting Cecil B. DeMille’s masterpiece theater, “Samson and Delilah.” “A story as timeless and tumultuous as the violent age it spreads before you,” claimed another poster, quoting from Judges 16, “And the lords of the Philistines said unto Delilah, “entice him . . .”

And for the last two thousand years, at least, according to two first century Jewish historians, Josephus and Philo, that’s how the story of Delilah, found in the book of Judges, chapter 16, has been read. The mighty Samson, unconquerable champion and judge of Israel, who could slay thousands of Philistines with his bare hands, was finally brought down, in an unexpected twist to the tale, by the devious and lascivious Delilah.

The moral of the story, evidently, would be to never trust sensuous foreign women. Or perhaps, simply never trust a woman at all! But is that really where the writer of the story is taking us? Is that even a true understanding of the story’s events in the first place?

Judges 16

I Power Struggles in the Patriarchal System

II Sexual Seduction, or Personal Power?

III Spiritual Perception (Or, perhaps, the lack thereof)

Each video is designed to offer background scholarship on the topic, including setting, culture, original language, and archaeology, as well as a theological study.

The “Broken, Searching, Trusted, Powerful” series is a companion to the book, available on Amazon, and published by Wipf and Stock.

From Cecil B DeMille’s “Samson and Delilah” | •By Paramount Pictures – [1], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=86112316

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