Next up is Samson. An angel appears to his mother and tells her that she will become pregnant with a son who will save their people. (This sounds kind of familiar – isn’t there a similar story in Luke?) Her son will be a Nazirite. (Quick refresher – Nazarites were described in Numbers 6. The men of this ‘super-holy’ order are not allowed to consume alcohol; cut their hair; or come into any contact with a dead body.)
There are so many great ‘family values’ in this story! In chapter 14, young Samson first angers his parents by taking a Philistine wife (intolerance). But it’s actually God manipulating him to do this in order to stir up trouble with the neighbors. (Do we have free will? or is god just an evil puppet-master?) At his wedding party, Samson tells a riddle. When none of the guests can solve it, they tell the bride to get the answer for them or they’ll burn the house down (blackmail). So she wheedles the answer out of him by nagging and crying – blame the woman! (misogyny), and relays it to the guests. When Samson finds out she betrayed him, he runs off and kills 30 innocent men in a fit of rage inspired by god (violence). While he’s gone, his fed-up in-laws give the bride away to the best man (she’s just property, after all) (misogyny again).
The fun continues. Samson goes back to get his wife, only to find her gone and have the in-laws pull the old ‘bait and switch’ by trying to foist her younger sister off on him (misogyny). He has another fit, punishing the Philistines for his in-laws’ behavior (injustice) by tying lit torches to the tails of foxes (cruelty), and letting them loose, spreading fire and causing the fields to burn. The Philistines, angry about their fields, burn Samson’s bride and her father to death (murder). Samson retaliates with more murder. Next the Philistines attack the whole tribe of Judah in retribution (injustice). Now Samson’s own tribe is angry with him, but Samson retorts “I only did to them what they did to me” (are we in kindergarten?). The men of Judah prepare to surrender Samson to the Philistines to stop the feuding. But Samson, inspired by the spirit of the lord again, breaks out of his ropes and kills another thousand innocent men (violence and injustice).
Now watch the sanitized apologist ‘family values’ version of Samson.