SAMSON: Sig "brilliant sunlight", or "one like the
sun": a young Hebrew "sun-god" to rival the Canaanite sun-god of Bethshemesh
(sig "house of the sun").
Similarities between Samson and Hercules, the strong man of
Greek legend: (1) Both strangled a lion. (2) The spring quenching Samson's
thirst corresponds to the refreshing baths provided by Sicilian nymphs for
Hercules. (3) Samson's carrying away the gates of Gaza suggests the pillars of
Hercules. (4) Each met his death through the machinations of a woman. The
obvious explanation is that Samson is the origin of the Hercules myth, rather
than conversely. There is support for this in the fact that the story of
Samson's foxes and firebrands also finds a clear echo in a Roman
Of course Samson's name has reference to the angel whose name
had never been divulged. He was named after the appearance of the angel: "his
countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible" (Jdg
THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD BEGAN TO STIR HIM: Fulfilling
STIR: The word means "trouble, disturb". Philistine
domination became a sore concern in his mind.
MAHANEH DAN: "The camp of Dan", named from a
(chronologically) earlier incident in Jdg 18:11,12.
"Over the low hills beyond [Zorah and Eshtaol] is Timnah where
he [Samson] found his first love and killed the young lion. Beyond is the
Philistine plain... the Philistine cities are but a day's march away, by easy
roads. And so from these country ways to yonder plains and the highways of the
great world -- from the pure home and the mother who talked with angels, to the
heathen cities, their harlots and their prisons -- we see at one sweep of the
eye the course in which this uncurbed strength, at first tumbling, and sporting
with laughter like one of its native brooks, like them also ran to the flats and
the mud, and, being darkened and befouled, was used by men to turn their mills"