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THE 

STORY OF SAMSON 



Wii 



ITS PLACE IN THE RELIGIOUS 
DEVELOPMENT OF MANKIND 



CARUS 



Wl ril MAW II.LIS fR A riONS 



CHICAGO :: LONDON 

THE OPEN COURT PUBLISHING luaiPANV 

1917 



■msmmi£.. 



K&2H3iPff 




Walsh 
Philosophy 
Collection 



PRESENTED to the 

LIBRARIES oftht 

UNIVERSITY o/TORONTO 





THE PHOENICIAN SAMSON. 



THE 

STORY OF SAMSON 

AND 

ITS PLACE IN THE RELIGIOUS 
DEVELOPMENT OF MANKIND 



BY 

PAUL CARUS 



WITH MANY ILLUSTRATIONS 



CHICAGO 

THE OPEN COURT PUBLISHING COMPANY 

LONDON AGENTS: 
Kboan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co Ltp. 

1907 



Copyright by 

The Open Court Publishing Co. 

1907. 



I 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

THE PROBLEM OF THE SAMSON STORY. 

Introduction I 

Roskoff and Steinthal 4 

The Problem of Originality 6 

The Romance of Alexander 7 

The Localization of Myths I2 

Hebrew Literature and Its Redactors 14 

The Sun in Hebrew Literature 16 

The Date of the Samson Epic 18 

THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND, 

The Paganism of Dan 20 

Shamash . and Samson 24 

Dagon of the Philistines 24 

Yahveh Stronger than Dagon 26 

Fish Deities 29 

Dagon, a God of Agriculture 31 

The Symbol of the Fish 34 

Beelzebul and Beelzebub 36 

THE HOME OF THE SAMSON LEGEND. 

Beth Shemesh 38 

The Valley. . . 38 

Mahaneh-Dan 42 

Tibneh and Ascalon 43 

Etam and Lehi 45 

Gaza 45 

SAMSON'S BIRTH. 

The Biblical Account 52 

The Holy Men of the Semites 55 

The Kid Offering 59 



IV THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

PAGE 

Theophanies 60 

The Meaning of Nazir 66 

Gentile Nazirism 67 

The Etymology of "Nazarene." 69 

The Nomad Life of Israel 72 

SAMSON'S LIFE. THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT. 

Samson's Marriage and What Followed 74 

Samson Carries Off the Gates of Gaza 81 

vSamson and Delilah 82 

SAMSON'S ADVENTURES. 

The Twelve Labors 89 

The Lion and the Bee 90 

The Foxes with Firebrands 92 

Semele and Dido 93 

Samson in Hiding 95 

The Jaw-Bone of an Ass. 96 

The Gates of Gaza 107 

The Web of Delilah 108 

Samson's Seven Braids 109 

The One-Eyed One no 

Samson's Death 112 

SOLAR MYTHS. 

Mythical Traits of the Samson Story 113 

The Numbers Seven, Thirty, and Twelve 114 

The Lion and the Dragon 117 

Hercules and Heracles 1 19 

Izdubar the Helper 120 

The Twelve Tablets of the Izdubar Epic 123 

Izdubar and Immortality 128 

Samson and Heracles 130 

DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE SUN. 

Samson a Prototype of Christ 133 

The Phoenician Melkarth 136 

The Dying God 137 

Osiris 148 

Samson's Tomb 151 

Why the Resurrection of Samson Was Suppressed 152 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. V 

PAGE 

The Redaction of the Samson Story 154 

Conclusion 155 

APPENDIX. 

Mythopceic Erudition. By George W. Shaw 161 

How History Is Transfigured by Myth. A Reply by the Author. 164 

jhemesh and Samson. By George W. Shaw 173 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 

PAGE 

The Phoenician Samson, Frontispiece.'^ 

The Brook Sorek i 

Vine-Covered Tree 9 

Alexander Fighting with Beast-Headed Men 10 

Alexander and the Monsters 10 

Fantastic Representations of the Adventures of Alexander the 

Great 11 

Ruin Near Baal-Bek 20 

The Holy Oak of Tel El Kadi : The Ancient Site of Dan 22 

The Grotto of Pan at the Source of the Jordan 23 

Assyrian Fish-Priest 29 

A Fish Sacrament 29 

A Fish Deity 30 

Babylonian Fish- Deities. 31 

A Babylonian Fish God 33 

Christ as a Fish on the Rood 35 

Christian Symbols on a Cornelian Seal 35 

Symbols on a Lamp Found in the Catacombs 35 

Gaza as Seen from the Valley 38 

Beth Hanina in the Valley 39 

Upper Wadi Es-Sarar 40 

Shrine of the Well Shamat 41 

Site of Ancient Zorah 42 

Ruins of Tibneh : Site of Timnath. 44 

Gaza 46 

In the Outskirts of Gaza 47 

Hebron 48 

View of Hebron from Adam's Oak 49 

Site of the Gates of Gaza 50 

* After a photograph by Arthur E. Henderson, published in the Records 
of the Past. This colossal statue of Melkarth was found in Cyprus and is now 
in the Museum at Constantinople. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. Vll 

PAGE 

Site of Beth Shemesh 52 

The Annunciation of Samson's Birth. By Rubens 54 

The Burning Bush. By Schnorr von Karolsfeld 61 

The Still Small Voice.' 63 

The Valley of Nazareth 70 

Samson's Drudgery 74 

Samson and the Lion. By Raphael 75 

Samson's Marriage Feast. By Rembrandt 'JJ 

Samson Slaying the Philistines. By Schnorr von Karolsfeld. . 80 

Samson Carries Off the Gates of Gaza 81 

Samson and Delilah. By Dore 83 

Delilah's Treachery. By Schnorr von Karolsfeld 84 

''Made Fast with Shackles." By Max Klein 86 

Samson's Death. By Dore 87 

Izdubar and the Lion 89 

Lion and Bee : Mithraic Plaque 91 

Dido on the Pyre. By Ferd. Keller 94 

Perseus with Medusa's Head 97 

Bel Merodach Fighting Tiamat with Sickle Sword. 98 

Bel Merodach Fighting Tiamat with Thunderbolts 98 

Silvanus with Sickle 99 

Kronos with a Sickle-Sword 99 

Water Flowing from the Jaw-Bone. By Guido Reni 100 

Donkey-Headed God on the Cross : ''S pott crucifix." 103 

Seth. 104 

Seth and Anubis 104 

Dionysus on the Ass 105 

Christ's Entry Into Jerusalem 106 

The Gates of Heaven Opened to Shamash 107 

The Babylonian Prototype of the Pillars of Heracles 107 

Sun-God with Seven-Rayed Halo 109 

wSamson's Death. By Schnorr von Karolsfeld iii 

Izdubar Struggling with the Ox 113 

The Twelve Labors of Heracles 115 

Melkarth of the Phoenicians 116 

Death Taking Away Semele with the Thunderbolt of Zeus 116 

Heracles Entering the Dragon 116 

Lion-Killing Hero of Khorsabad 117 

Siegfried and the Dragon ] 118 

Izdubar Conquering the Lion 121 

Izdubar Strangling a Lion 122 



Vlll THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

PAGE 

The Adventures of Izdiibar , 124-125 

Izdubar and Eabani 127 

Sitnapishtim, the Babylonian Noah 128 

Izdubar and Arad-Ea 129 

The Farnese Heracles 131 

Egyptian Emblem of the Sun 133 

The Ascent of Heracles to Olympus 134 

Descent of Dionysus to Hades 135 

Siegfried's Death. By Hermann Hendrich 139 

Christ's Entry Into Jerusalem. By Dore 145 

Samson's Death ' 147 

Easter Morning. By Era Angelico 156 




45 16 



THE PROBLEM OF THE SAMSON STORY. 

INTRODUCTION. 

SOME time ago, in connection with Mr. Evans's study 
of the mythical Napoleon, I made some editorial com- 
ments on myth in history, and alluded incidentally to the 
Biblical legend of Samson as a solar hero. I deemed this 
theory thoroughly established and was quite astonished 
to be called to account by Mr. George W. Shaw, one of our 
readers and contributors, and a good Hebrew scholar to 
boot, well versed in Bible lore.^ I must further admit that 
Mr. Shaw is not isolated in his opinion, for not only Bib- 
lical encyclopaedias, both German and English, but also 
the best secular works, ^ such as the Encyclopaedia Brifan- 
nica, repudiate the idea that the story of Samson should 
be a myth. These circumstances made me reconsider my 
opinion, but after all, I do not feel compelled to make any 
radical change in my views. Having collected the evi- 
dence, I find that the case is very instructive because it 
throws much light on the religious development of the 
Bible. 



^ An article of his entitled "The Period of the Exodus" appeared in The 
Monist for April, 1906. 

" One quotation shall suffice : "Der Versuch Samson als den phonizischen 
Herakles, den Sonnengott, zu erklaren, scheitert an konkreten Einzelheiten 
und den lokalen und nationalen Motiven der Sage." Brockhaus, Konversa- 
tions-Lexikon, Vol. XIV, p. 991. 



2 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

Mr. Shaw's challenge is the immediate cause of the 
present treatise, and I am grateful to him for his protest. 
I have devoted considerable time to a reconsideration of 
the problem, but to re-read the story as told in the Bible, 
to compare doubtful passages w^ith the original Hebrew, 
to peruse critically and with care what has been written on 
the subject by my predecessors in this field (especially 
Roskoff and Steinthal), to make a resume of the old argu- 
ments, to add some new ones which I discovered by the 
way, and finally to condense and rearrange the entire sub- 
ject in the present essay, has been a genuine pleasure to 
me. I only wish that the perusal of it all will be as inter- 
esting and instructive to my readers as the writing of it 
was to me. 

The main part of this investigation of the Samson story 
first appeared in The Monist for January, 1907, but the 
original essay in its present shape in bookform has been 
amplified not only by quoting the Biblical text in its best 
and most up-to-date translation, but also by some additional 
material, among which there may be much that would 
seem redundant and superfluous to Old Testament special- 
ists and theologians. But let those who criticize me for 
introducing information concerning the development of 
Hebrew religion and literature, theophanies, or elementary 
topics of Greek and Roman mythology, bear in mind that 
all these matters are by no means generally known, and 
this little book is meant for the public at large and is ad- 
dressed to the specialist only in those passages which con- 
tain new arguments, as for instance my comparison of De- 
lilah's web to the folklore gossamer stories, and the inter- 
pretation of the last song of Samson where he speaks of 
himself as one-eyed. 

I will say at once that Mr. Shaw's position contains 
a truth which I do not mean to question, and which I had 
insisted upon from the start. An account which is decked 



THE PROBLEM OF THE SAMSON STORY. 3 

with mythological arguments should not for that reason 
be regarded as absolutely unhistorical, for it is quite 
natural that myth enters into the fabric of history, as I 
have pointed out in my introduction to Mr. H. R. Evans's 
book on the Napoleon myth.^ Yet, if, on the other hand, 
a myth has crystallized in a definite form and localized 
in well-known places, we must not jump to the conclusion 
that its historicity is well established. It is true, as Mr. 
Shaw remarks, that "thinkers are becoming more anxious 
to find history in myth,'' but one reason why our critics 
are returning to a conservative consideration of traditions 
after a period of hyper-criticism, is given in the counter- 
statement, also alluded to by Mr. Shaw, that they ''detect 
myths in history." It is so natural for man to associate 
things of the same type that the deeds of a hero are told 
and retold with reminiscences of the mythology of his ideal, 
his tutelary patron saint, or god, and thus the two stories, 
fact and fancy, history and myth, are imperceptibly fused 
until the hero is deified and the historical tale changed into 
a myth. 

The story of Samson is of special interest and perhaps 
more instructive than any other legend or fairy tale in the 
Old Testament; but that it is legend and not history must 
after all be conceded by all exegetists and higher critics, 
both liberal and orthodox. It seems to me out of the ques- 
tion that there is any one who would believe the story liter- 
ally, or lay much stress on the Biblical account as inspired 
by the Holy Ghost. If there be any one left who is naive 
enough to take the old orthodox standpoint with respect 
to the Samson story I should, indeed, like to know how he 
can make his conception of God agree with the lack of 
dignity and decency displayed in these primitive traditions. 

Samson is neither more nor less than Heracles was to 
the Greeks, or Siegfried to the Germans, Melkarth to the 

' The Napoleon Myth. Chicago : The Open Court Publishing Co., 1905. 



4 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

Phoenicians, Izdubar to the Babylonians, etc., but that he 
should have been in office as a judge or magistrate of Israel 
is nowhere apparent in the original story. Samson of 
course is a Hebrew as much as Siegfried is a German and 
Heracles a Greek. He is the national hero of the tribe of 
Dan and the legendary features of the story are too pal- 
pable to make it probable that there are many theologians 
now living who, after a reconsideration of the facts, would 
still defend its historical character. 

Nevertheless, I will grant that (in accord with the 
principle previously enunciated) there is more history in 
myth than has formerly been assumed, and I am perfectly 
willing to say that a man by the name of Samson (i. e.. 
Sun-like) may have lived; that he may have been born 
after the fashion described in the book of Judges (chapter 
xiii) ; that he may frequently, on account of various love 
affairs, have become entangled in brawls with the Phil- 
istines ; that these events were praised among his country- 
men as deeds of valor, and that his adventures finally 
landed him in prison. It is a little hard to believe that he 
found honey in the carcass of a lion, and that he died by 
breaking down two columns of a pagan house, incidentally 
killing thereby more than a thousand people; but even if 
miracles be granted, I fail to see how these concessions 
can change the character of Samson as the hero of a solar 
myth. 

ROSKOFF AND STEINTHAL. 

The first to devote a special investigation to the legend 
of Samson was- Dr. Gustav Roskoff, professor of Prot- 
estant theology at the University of Vienna, who in i860 
published an essay on the Samson legend, its origin, form 
and significance compared with the Heracles myth,^ and 

^ Die Simsonssage nach Hirer Entstehung, Form und Bedeutung, und der 
Heracles Mythus. Leipsic : i860. 



I 



THE PROBLEM OF THE SAMSON STORY. 5 

I have found him still quoted as an authority upholding 
the historical character of the Hebrew hero. He does so 
indeed, but not without serious limitations. Conservative 
writers who rely on him usually overlook the fact that 
Roskoff treats almost every single incident of the narra- 
tive as legendary and merely claims that there are ''factic 
moments"^ in the story. Whenever he discusses details 
he alludes to them as ''impossibilities and incredibilities" 
which ''in legends" are a matter of course, excusing them 
with such words as (page 67) "The saga does not care 
for the credibility of the represented events or related 
items." He accepts Samson's nazirdom, his heroism, and 
his death as "factic elements," but that is all, so far as 
I can see; for he says, "The legend (Sage) elevates the 
hero at the cost of details and historical by-work, and the 
higher he rises the more neglected are the latter" (page 
y6). Roskoff argues "Legend is a child of the heart (Ge- 
miitJi) and knows no reflection" (page 71); he suggests 
that the narrator and his hearers were not critical, and 
thus the legend finds no difficulty in the strange ignorance 
of Delilah who ought to have known that Samson was a 
Nazir and ought to have been familiar with the mysterious 
quality of his hair (page 71). Roskoff goes so far as to 
concede that the "sidereal relation permeates the entire 
Samson saga" (p. no), but he claims that this pagan 
feature of it "has been overcome by the idea of Yahveh." 
Roskoff's concessions grant the whole case and so the be- 
lievers in the historicity of Samson can hardly claim his 
authority for a denial of the mythical character of the 
story. The Yahveh idea is to him the saving element 
which renders the story religious and makes the historicity 
of some of its moments probable; and yet even this is of a 
doubtful value, for Roskoff admits that "the spirit of Yah- 
veh comes over Samson and gives him strength to accom- 

^ The original reads : faktische Momente, page 39. 



6 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

plish his deeds not otherwise than Homeric heroes are as- 
sisted by the gods" (page 45). Such is the view of a 
professor of theology who interlards his expositions now 
and then with pious contemplations! 

Prof. H. Steinthal, of the University of Berlin, criti- 
cizes Roskoff severely for his theological bias. He blames 
him especially for calling Samson ''the hero of prayer" 
(p. 70) who prayed to Yahveh and whom Yahveh helped; 
but Professor Steinthal is unfair in not allowing his prede- 
cessor the right to apply the story in his own way. Do 
not the Greeks of classical antiquity and modern admirers 
of Greek culture see in Heracles the ideal man, and so 
why should not Roskoff, a believer in Biblical traditions, 
idealize the hero of the Jews in a way to suit his personal 
preferences? Though Steinthal is perhaps more at home 
in the field of comparative folklore, being one of the found- 
ers of this branch of learning, his own essay on Samson 
scarcely contains much more as to the facts and perhaps 
not fewer points for criticism than Roskoff's little book. 

THE PROBLEM OF ORIGINALITY. 

It is interesting to see how every specialist is anxious 
to preserve the originality of the national hero of that 
civilization with which his sympathies are most closely 
associated. Wilamowitz Mollendorf, a Greek scholar, (in 
his Euripides' Heracles) protests most indignantly against 
the idea that Heracles should be considered a Semitic im- 
portation. To him Heracles is a Greek hero, and he would 
not allow the Greek story to be a mere adaptation of an 
Oriental myth to the Greek genius. And yet, the similar- 
ity of the Greek Heracles to the Oriental Izdubar is ob- 
vious at first sight. 

The difficulty of such controversies lies in the fact that 
our viewpoint is a matter of purely subjective attitude. 
The similarity of the national and the solar heroes in all 



I 



THE PROBLEM OF THE SAMSON STORY. 



European and Asiatic countries is undeniable and yet we 
can not know whether every nation had its own national 
myth which has been influenced by foreign importations, 
or whether all of them are derived from one common pre- 
historic source. Certain it is that a mutual exchange of 
thought is not uncommon, and further that every nation 
worked out the figure of its own national hero. However, 
the fusion of ideas in the formation of heroic types is 
too perplexing to allow the making of definite statements. 
In all these stories, the sun-god, the god of thunder-storms, 
and the national hero are fused together into one personal- 
ity which is enriched with the features of any divinity that 
appeals to the popular imagination, while the humanizing 
of the myth implies as a matter of course the incorporation 
of actual reminiscences from real life, i. e., historical ele- 
ments. Accordingly all myths contain details of a personal 
and local character and so a discussion concerning the his- 
toricity and originality of the Heracles, Samson, Izdubar, 
Siegfried, and other legends becomes irrelevant. Every 
one of them has become a national hero, representing the 
type of his home. Thus the personal equation of the sev- 
eral scholars naturally plays an important part, and two 
men holding exactly the same views, might set forth ap- 
parently contradictory theories. So Roskoff maintains 
the historicity of Samson and the religious character of 
the story, and yet he concedes its legendary character and 
kinship to solar legends, not otherwise than Steinthal. On 
the other hand, not even Steinthal would be prepared to 
deny that some boisterous Danite by the name of Samson 
may have existed, and that some of hfs brawls with the 
Philistines may be a reminiscence of actual occurrences. 

THE ROMANCE OF ALEXANDER. 

The poet's art consists in rendering vague notions defi- 
nite, and a good narrator will vividly depict all the details 



8 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

of his story. Accordingly it is but natural that a myth by 
being told and retold will be more and more localized, and 
its hero (originally a god representing the sun, the moon, 
or the sky, the thunder, or some other agent of natural 
phenomena) will gradually become a man, extraordinary 
through his great virtues and exploits, but perfectly hu- 
man in his sentiments. 

This is not all; the myth changes to saga or legend 
by crystallizing around some historical figure or by being 
localized in a definite place. The god is conceived as an 
ideal man, and if an extraordinary man appears who some- 
how reminds his admirers of the god himself, the stories 
of the god are told of him and his real life is soon hidden 
under the exuberance of the mythical tales. On a farm 
in the prairie woods of Illinois there stood a dead oak 
completely covered and almost hidden by the rich foliage 
of vines, and it impressed me as an allegory of the luxur- 
ious growth of a myth surrounding some historical nu- 
cleus. He who considers the trunk and investigates the 
bark, says it is an oak, while he who bases his inquiry 
upon the nature of the leaves declares that it is a vine. 
Who is right ? 

The Romance of Alexander is a mediaeval epic which 
echoes the impression made by the great conqueror on the 
people of Asia. It incorporates many adventures of the 
Babylonian Izdubar epic and so the origin and history of 
this strange literary document is very instructive and 
shows how easily history and myth are fused into ro- 
mance.^ 

The romance of Alexander tells us about his adven- 
tures in many strange countries, and of his struggles 
with wondrous monsters of all descriptions, reminding us 
of the incidents of the legends of Heracles, Odysseus. 

* Noldeke, Beitrdge sur Geschichtc des Alexander-Romans, Vienna, 1890; 
and Meissner, Alexander und Gilgamesch, Leipsic, 1894. 



THE PROBLEM OF THE SAMSON STORY. 



li 



9 



JEneas and other solar heroes, and the interest in these 
fantastical narrations continues down into the middle ages. 
We reproduce here some of the illustrations of a manu- 
script written and illumined in the thirteenth century, in 




VINE-COVERED TREE. 



which the history of Alexander of Macedon has been ab- 
solutely obliterated by mythological reminiscences incorpo- 
rated into this romance. 

Might not one literary critic rightly say that the Ro- 



10 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



mance of Alexander is the Izdubar myth told of Alexander, 
and that it is originally a solar myth, while another would 
deny this proposition and claim that the hero of the ro- 
mance is historical though the account is overlaid with 
mythical ornamentation? What would be the difference 
between these contradictory theories beyond mere words? 




ALEXANDER FIGHTING WITH BEAST-HEADED MEN. 



4928 




ALEXANDER AND THE MONSTERS. 



Hugo Winckler (Geschichte Israels, Vol. II, p. 17) 
characterizes the Alexander legend as follows: 

"The historians whom Alexander the Great took with 
him, instead of giving an historical description of his deeds, 



THE PROBLEM OF THE SAMSON STORY. 



II 




FANTASTIC REPRESENTATIONS OF THE ADVENTURES OF ALEXANDER 

THE GREAT. 4930 



12 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

thought their task lay rather in proving that he was the 
expected redeemer of the old civilization of whom Oriental 
legend had sketched an enduring picture, and who was to 
come from the Orient just as the Germans expected the 
resurrected Barbarossa to restore the glory of their ancient 
empire. Now at last we are certain that all the Alexander 
traditions associated with the names of Callisthenes, Clei- 
tarch, Onesicritus, etc., even with that which appears in 
Curtius, are purely legendary. Their development into 
'Romances' of Alexander which go under the name of a 
Callisthenes (Pseudo-Callisthenes), and the lately acces- 
sible knowledge of at least some Babylonian myths, has 
shown how those tales are a repetition of ancient Oriental 
legends of which Alexander was later to become the hero 
solely in order that he might be represented as the ex- 
pected king who was to usher in a better age. 

"In the same way it has come to light that the stories 
of a certain Ctesias about Semiramis have made use of the 
same material, and that in general all legends of the clas- 
sical period up to Roman times, which entered about the 
most remote antiquity may be traced to the same source." 

THE LOCALIZATION OF MYTHS. 

The Romance of Alexander is not an exception but a 
typical instance of the historization and localization of a 
myth. The Nibelung Saga is thoroughly localized on the 
banks of the Rhine and the Danube, and is connected with 
actual figures of history such as Attila. The Heracles 
myth definitely points out the places where Heracles was 
born and where he accomplished his mighty deeds. The 
royal families that traced their descent from him were still 
flourishing in historical times, and the "Pillars of Hera- 
cles" are standing to this day. The same is true of all myths 
and legends, of the Osiris myth in Egypt not less than the 
anecdotes told of Luther, Frederick the Great, Napoleon 



THE PROBLEM OF THE SAMSON STORY. 1 3 

and other modern heroes. Even the fables related of the 
devil, are localized without any equivocation; the stones 
he threw, the bridges he built, the walls he piled up are 
still pointed out, and if the testimony of these actual traces 
of his activity as corpora delicti are accepted as evidence, 
we can not deny the historicity of the stories. 

The historicity of Samson is accepted on no other 
ground. Dr. Gustav Baur, for instance, sums up his argu- 
ment in Riehm's Handworterbuch des Biblischen Alter- 
titms, — a standard work of German theology, as follows: 

"Against the thorough mythization of this Biblical 
tale speak the definite localities to which Samson's birth, 
deeds and destinies are attached, and which in any attempt 
at a mythological solution will remain an insoluble residue, 
pointing decidedly to a definite historical tradition." 

The Encyclopaedia Biblica, the most scholarly and crit- 
ical theological work of reference in the English language, 
gives a similar verdict: 

"Though the name means 'solar,' neither name nor 
story lends any solid support to Steinthal's idea that the 
hero is nothing but a solar myth. (Wellhausen, whilst 
he rejects Steinthal's myth theory, also denies Samson's 
historical character.) He is a member of an undoubtedly 
historical family of those Danites who had their standing 
camp near Zorah, not far from the Philistine border, be- 
fore they moved north and seized Laish. The family of 
Manoah has a hereditary sepulchre at Zorah, where Sam- 
son was said to lie, and their name continued to be asso- 
ciated with Zorah even after the exile, when it appears 
that the Manahethites of Zorah were reckoned as Caleb- 
ites. The name had remained though the race changed 
(i. Chron. ii. 52-54.)." 

We grant the argument, but we grant it as well for 
Homer's epics. The geographical background of the Od- 
yssey is historical and among the adventurers of the Ho- 



14 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

meric age there may have been a man who bore the name 
Odysseus. At any rate, there were plenty of adventurers 
hke him, yet we do not see how the concession refutes the 
truth that the Odyssey reflects the myth of the sun's migra- 
tion. It is a myth changed into saga, or if you prefer, a 
saga based upon a mythical motive. 

With the same argument we can easily prove the his- 
toricity of Munchhausen's adventures, for the family of 
Miinchhausen still prospers in Germany, and the stories 
contain many allusions to definite historical and geograph- 
ical conditions. 

If we speak of history we ought to mean history pure 
and simple, unadulterated by mythical elements; and if 
we ask whether or not the Samson story is historical, ta- 
king the word seriously I do not see how any one — scholar 

or not scholar — can answer in the affirmative. 

:jj ^ jji 

Before we begin to deal with the problem of the Sam- 
son story itself, we deem it advisable to review in brief 
outlines the literary traditions and religious tenets of the 
age. 

HEBREW LITERATURE AND ITS REDACTORS. 

A few words will suffice for a general orientation con- 
cerning the successive strata of Jewish literature. We 
must assume that the historical books of the Hebrews have 
been derived from two original sources (or classes of 
sources) of which the one belonged to the kingdom of 
Judah, or southern Palestine; the other to Ephraim, or 
central Palestine. 

A new epoch in the history of Hebrew literature be- 
gins in the year of the great reform, 621 B. C, when the 
law book was discovered in the temple.^ The theory that 
this law book is Deuteronomy has been commonly accepted, 

*2 Kings xxi-xxii. 



THE PROBLEM OF THE SAMSON STORY. 1 5 

at least by all the leading higher critics of Old Testament 
literature. At the same time it is held that this law book 
(or Deuteronomy) can not be much older than the year 
of its discovery in the temple. King Josiah and his re- 
formers did away with the paganism of the temple of 
Jerusalem, and we know that the Deuteronomic institutions 
are never alluded to in the previous history of Israel, but 
that on the contrary in the historical books worship in the 
high places, and even the use of idols, ephods, teraphim, 
itc, are frequently referred to as part of the established 
religion. So we conclude that it was a plot of the reform- 
ers to introduce their monotheism into the temple service 
at Jerusalem, to do away with the worship in high places 
which had been the ancient form of the religion of Israel. 
For the sake of giving authority to their innovation they 
dated the book backward and claimed for it the authority 
of Moses. This reform movement had been prepared by 
the prophets in their indignation against the improper 
features of the traditional religious practices. It took a 
firm hold on the Jerusalem priesthood who from that day 
remained faithfully addicted to monotheism, and the au- 
thors of this priestly school are commonly called Deuteron- 
omists. 

The kingdom of Judea did not exist long after the great 
reform. King Josiah fell in the battle of Megiddo (609 
B. C.) against the Egyptian king Necho. Soon afterwards 
in the battle of Gargamish (605 B. C.) Judea lost its in- 
dependence, and all families of importance, the nobility, 
and all the educated men down to the artisans and espe- 
cially the smiths, were led into captivity by the victorious 
Babylonians. 

The Babylonian captivity, however, was not the end 
of the Jewish monotheism. On the contrary it was its true 
beginning and proved a refining furnace for the Jewish re- 
ligion. When the Babylonian empire fell into the hands of 



l6 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

the Persians, Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to Pales- 
tine, and helped them to rebuild their temple at Jerusalem. 

The great representative leader of the exiled Jews at 
Babylon was Ezekiel, who together with his followers, 
men like Ezra and Nehemiah, cultivated the ancient na- 
tional traditions, but subjected them to a rigorous criti- 
cism in a severely monotheistic, yea a zealotical and nar- 
row, puritan spirit. 

The period after the restoration of the temple no longer 
shows any traces of originality, for the literary work of 
the post-exilic ages consists mainly in editing and redact- 
ing the old books, which are now adapted to this latest 
phase of a narrow national, but rigorously monotheistic, 
God-conception. 

Our Old Testament scholars accordingly distinguish 
first in the strata of the historical books of the Old Testa- 
ment, the two sources of Judaic and Ephraimitic authors 
(the former abbreviated j, the latter e) which in all prob- 
ability date back to the ninth century, and may occasionally 
contain even older documents. They were collected and 
compiled by authors of the Deuteronomistic schools (com- 
monly abbreviated d) and the work of the Deuteronomist 
was finally revised by a post-Exilic redactor.^ 

The story of Samson appears to be exclusively Judaic. 
At any rate it contains no Ephraimitic elements, and there 
are only a few added glosses of the Deuteronomist and the 
post-Exilic redactor. 

THE SUN IN HEBREW LITERATURE. 

A Hebrew psalmist, praising the glory of Yahveh, says 
(xix. 4-6) : 

'Later additions to j and e are designated by f and E^ or if they are 
redactors' glosses RJ and R^. A fusion of Judaic and Ephraimitic writers is 
indicated by the combination of both letters je. a redaction of the two sources 
is marked RJ^. The writings of the Priestly Code are sometimes also marked 
P. C. All these abbreviations are current in modern theological literature and 
universally understood. 



THE PROBLEM OF THE SAMSON STORY. \J 

"He has prepared a tent for the sun, 
And thence he comes forth, as, from the bridal cham- 
ber, the bridegroom, 
I And rejoices, Hke a hero, to run his course. 
From one end of heaven he sets out. 
And to the other holds his winding way. 
And nothing from his fervor can be hid."^ 
This passage is supposed to be of comparatively late 
date and yet it is a torso, — a mere fragment which, how- 
ever, proves that the myth of the sun-god as a lover, a 
hero and a man of fiery temperament, had not yet been 
forgotten among the authors of the Hebrew canon. The 
redactor has preserved this torso on account of Yahveh's 
patronage of the sun-hero, but he has omitted the rest on 
account of its pagan ingredients. 

The passage begins abruptly and closes abruptly. If 
the preceding lines (i-4a) belong to it, there must be a 
gap in the middle of verse 4. Wellhausen says that "a 
clause seems to have fallen out which mentioned the anti- 
podean world, the waters of the ocean where the sun 
spends the night." The verses 7-14 treat another subject, 
the praise of the law, not even by way of contrast, and so 
Wellhausen believes that the psalm has been formed out 
of two fragments which had no original connection with 
each other. 

It would have been strange indeed if the people of Israel 
in the period of paganism had not possessed a solar myth ; 
and if they had one, it is probable that in the age of mono- 
theism it would have received a similar treatment to that 
of the ancient Semitic cosmology which has been rational- 
ized into the simple creation story of the first chapter of 
Genesis. 

The story of Samson in the Old Testament so reminded 

^-Translated by Wellhausen in the Polychrome Edition. Dodd, Mead & 
Co., New York. 



l8 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

the church father Eusebius of the Greek myth of Heracles 
that, assuming as a matter of course the originaHty of the 
revealed Scriptures, he explained Heracles as a pagan 
imitation of Samson. So much was Eusebius still a pagan 
himself that he thought nothing of the streak of paganism 
that pervaded the Samson story. Yet he may be right 
after all in his general theory that the Greeks are indebted 
to the Semites (not exactly the Jews) for some essential 
features of the Heracles myth; for even Preller, long be- 
for the discovery of the twelve Izdubar tablets, declared 
that "som« of the twelve labors of Heracles are quite ob- 
viously of Oriental origin.'' 

THE DATE OF THE SAMSON EPIC. 

The Samson account is closely interwoven with refer- 
ences to the Philistines, and this gives us a clue to the date 
at which the story must have received the final form in 
which it lay before the post-Exilic priestly redactor. This 
was about iioo B. C., and we must assume that it took 
place shortly after the arrival of these foreign intruders. 
The reason that we can not date the completion of the 
Samson epic much later, is based on the fact that the 
preserved passages contain no allusion whatever to any 
one of the kings ; and we must bear in mind that the reigns 
of Saul, David, and Solomon constitute the most glorious 
epoch in the history of Israel, which the author certainly 
would not have left unmentioned if it had been within his 
knowledge. Though the story of Samson as we have it is 
the copy of an ancient document it must be understood 
that it is a fragment only, for, as will be shown further 
on, the most salient heretical features have been removed 
in the final redaction. 

That the story speaks of Israel's oppression by the 
Philistines and represents Samson as a saviour of his tribe, 



I 



THE PROBLEM OF THE SAMSON STORY. I9 



is natural, for every myth is adapted to local conditions 
when changing into a saga. 
|H| In its primitive form the Samson legend is still more 
^^%icient as indicated by the story of his marriage. Against 
the custom prevalent in the time of Hammurabi, the bride 
remains in the house of her own parents according to the 
rule of the ancient, and indeed prehistoric, matriarchal 
institution which was absolutely changed as early as in the 
time of the patriarchs. This item proves that the nucleus 
of the story is older than the people of Israel. 

Hs ^ Jfl 

The Samson story has remained a favorite with Bible 
readers, and so its several incidents have been illustrated 
by the greatest masters of Christian painting, all of them 
reflecting the spirit in which the various episodes of the 
tale were commonly interpreted. 




THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND. 



THE PAGANISM OF DAN. 



WE have good reason to believe that in the days pre- 
ceding the prophetic movement, the people of Is- 
rael were pagans as much as the Phoenicians and their 
other neighbors. As to the tribe of Dan, we have the un- 
equivocal scriptural evidence in chapters xvii-xviii of the 
Book of Judges which describes the migration of the tribe 
from the extreme southwest of Palestine to the extreme 
north, w^here they founded the city of Dan, the most north- 
ern place of Israel. We are told that when they passed 
through Ephraim they discovered a Levite who was a 
countryman of theirs, a native of southern Palestine, serv- 
ing as a priest to Micah, the Ephraimite, and they forced 
the Levite to steal the Yahveh idol of his master and to 
accompany the tribe further north to the country of Beth- 
rehob. The indignation of the redactor vents itself in a 
gloss on the anarchy of those days, which has been incor- 
porated into the text (xvii. 6), but the original narrator 
tells the story without finding fault with the paganism 
involved in it. Professor Moore's opinion is summed up 
in this paragraph:^ 

'This story is, without question, very old. It relates 

^ Polychrome Edition Book of Judges, p. 88. 




THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND. 21 

the origin of the image in the famous sanctuary of Dan 
without any trace of reHgious antipathy, and speaks of the 
]phod with as Httle prejudice as the original author of 
'Judges, Chapter viii, 27 fif., speaks of that set up by 
Gideon at Ophrah. The writer evidently enjoys telling of 
the stroke by which the Danites got possession of it, and 
of the owner's discomfiture. The picture which he gives 
of the social and religious state of the times is of the 
highest value." 

Having destroyed the city of Laish and built up a city 
of their own, called Dan, they put up in it Micah's idol, 
made of eleven hundred shekels of silver and ''it continued 
there as long as the house of God at Shiloh." The pagan- 
ism of Dan, in fact also of Ephraim, is here presupposed, 
and we must assume that conditions were not different in 
southern Palestine among the Danites in the time when the 
tale of Samson was composed. 

In the Book of Joshua (xix. 47) Laish is called Leshem 
and it is perhaps the same city which is enumerated in the 
Hst of Thotmes III as "Liusa." 

We abstain here from entering into a discussion of the 
story of Dan's conquest of Laish and will only say that 
Laish^ means "lion" ; and if Dan is an appellative of Sha- 
mash, the destruction of Laish may contain a reminiscence 
of the sun-god's victory over the lion.^ 

It is commonly conceded that the purpose of the tale 
in its present form is to explain how it happens that there 
is a city of Dan in the farthest north and a tribe of Dan in 

^ Hugo Winckler {Gesch. Israels, II, pp. 64-65) translates the name Laish 
by "does not exist," and Leshem by "no name." He suggests at the same 
time an identification of Laish with Luz (mentioned in Gen. xxviii. 19; xxxv. 
6; xlviii. 3; Joch. xvi. 2; xviii. 13; and Judges i. 22-26), an old name of Bethel, 
for which he finds the analogous term in the Arabic laud, meaning "asylum," 
and if he is right, it would explain why both cities, Dan and Bethel, contain- 
ing the two main sanctuaries of ancient Israel, are called Luz, for Luz would 
not be a name but an appellative to denote a city the temple of which was 
an acknowledged place of refuge. 



22 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



the extreme south of Palestine. For all we know the same- 
ness of these names may be an accidental coincidence. 

A reminiscence of the tribe of Dan is still preserved in 
the modern Tel el Kadi, for Kadi which means ''judge" 
is nothing but the Arabic translation of the Hebrew Dan. 

Tel el Kadi is a mere hill of ruins which no longer be- 
trays that it is the site of an ancient city. Close by is one 




THE HOLY OAK OF TEL EL KADI : THE ANCIENT SITE OF DAN. ^^^^ 

of the sources of the Jordan, and there in the valley stands 
a gnarled old oak which is still considered sacred by the 
natives. 

Another source of the Jordan, only forty minutes dis- 
tant from Tel el Kadi, comes from Banijas where it bub- 
bles up in front of a picturesque grotto which during the 
Hellenistic age was dedicated to Pan. 



THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND. 



23 



The religion of the Danites differed considerably from 
the Baal cult of Canaan and the Dagon worship of the 
Philistines, but it would be a mistake to attribute to them 




THE GROTTO OF PAN AT THE SOURCE OF THE JORDAN. 



the pure monotheism of later days, for w^e have seen that 
in those ancient days they had no objection to the worship 
of a silver idol of Yahveh. 



24 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



SHAMASH AND SAMSON. 

The name Shamshon^ whose Babylonian form is Sha- 
mashanu is derived irom shamash,^ ''sun/' and means ''sun- 
Hke" or "solar," just as the Hebrew form Dagon^ the 
name of the Philistine deity is regarded by the rabbis as 
a derivative from dag,"^ ''fish," meaning anything that be- 
longs to the nature of a fish. 

The Hebrew form for Samson, i. e. Shimshon,^ is later, 
for the Greek version of the Septuagint, which is older 
than the vowels of our Hebrew text, reads Sampson.^ 

We can not doubt that Shamash, the sun, or Shamshon, 
the sun-god, was in pagan times the patron god of the tribe 
of Dan. 

The name Dan means "judge," and Shamash, the sun- 
god, has always been revered as the patron of justice, the 
title "Judge" being one of his most common epithets. 
Hence the terms "Dan" and "Samson" may be regarded 
as equivalent. The worship of Shamash in Dan is proved 
by the name of the pre-Israelitic town Beth Shemesh, 
which is very ancient and is mentioned even as early as 
in the Tel Amarna tablets. 

The Babylonian Samson is called Izdubar,*^ and the 
word An-iz-dii-har is explained in Roscher's lexicon (H 
776) as "Divine Judge of Earthly Things," which proves 
a decided kinship to the hero of Dan. 

DAGON OF THE PHILISTINES. 

Dagon is repeatedly mentioned in the Old Testament 
as the chief god of the Philistines, who in the days of 

^ The name Izduhar is in its cuneiform writing not phonetic, and so the 
pronunciation is still doubtful. It is explained in a fragment, copied by.G 
Pinches, as Gilgamesh. 



THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND. 25 

Samson were masters of the territory where tented the 
tribes of Judah and Dan. The PhiHstines were not Semites 
but Aryans, and appear to have been kin to the Greeks. 
They had come by the way of the sea and were different 
from the Semites in habits as well as language, hence the 
deep gulf that lay between the two races. The Semites 
were nomads and traders, and their inherited mode of 
making a living was by barter; the Philistines, however, 
were tillers of the ground. While the Phoenicians de- 
veloped into a seafaring nation, the Israelites began to 
turn to agriculture only in SamueFs time, and so we may 
assume that in the days of the Judges the Philistines 
looked down upon them as an inferior race. On the other 
hand the Hebrews had a deep-seated contempt for the 
Philistines because they did not practice circumcision and 
were therefore thought to be unclean; but we can easily 
understand that the better educated men among the Is- 
raelites profited by intercourse with their agricultural 
neighbors, and so we find that David's connection with 
them became of great importance in his career. In fact 
his superiority among the Israelites may be due to a great 
extent to his acquaintance with Philistine civilization. Not 
only did he live among the Philistines as an exile from 
home, but even when he had become king, he appears to 
have relied at least for some time upon his Philistine body 
guard, the Cherethites and Pelethites. The former name 
for plausible reasons has been connected with the island 
of Crete, and the Septuagint, indeed, translates Chere- 
thites as Cretans. 

While there can be no doubt that Dagon is the chief 
god of the Philistines, we must not assume that he is their 
national god; for we know that the worship of Dagon is 
older than the Philistine immigration. Several Canaan- 
itish names such as Beth Dagon prove its prevalence 
among the Canaanites also in districts which were never 



26 THE STORY OF SAMSON. ' 

subject to Philistine rule. The Philistines, like all immi 
grants in ancient times, used to worship the gods of theii 
new home in order to gain their favor and propitiate their 
possible wrath against intruders. 

Dagon was worshiped also among the Eastern Semites 
in Babylon, as we know by several names of Babylonian 
kings such as Ishmi-Dagan and Idin-Dagan, while the 
name Dagan-takala mentioned in the Tel Amarna letters 
proves its occurrence among the western Semites as well 
long before the Philistine invasion. 

The name Dagon might as well be a derivative from 
dag, ''fish," as Samson is from shamash, "sun.'' While 
Samson means sunlike, or sunny, Dagon may mean fishy 
or fishlike, and since ancient times the god Dagon has 
for this reason been regarded by the rabbis as a fish deity. 
But we shall see that this interpretation is untenable. 

YAHVEH STRONGER THAN DAGON. 

By some unfortunate accident (see i Sam. iv) the ark of 
Yahveh, the god of Israel, had fallen into the hands of the 
Philistines, but through a strange occurrence which in 
those days was regarded as a miracle and a manifestation 
of the power of Yahveh, the Philistines deemed it wise to 
restore the ark to the Israelites. The event is recorded in 
I Sam. V. I fif. 

"And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought 
it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod. 

"When the Philistines took the ark of God, they 
brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. 

"And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, 
behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before 
the ark of the Lord. And they took Dagon, and set him in 
his place again. 

"And when they arose early on the morrow morning, 
behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground 



THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND. 2^ 

fefore the ark of the Lord; and the head of Dagon and 
>th the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold ; 
ily the stump of Dagon was left to him. 

^Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that 
^ome into Dagon's house, tread on the threshold of Dagon 
Ashdod unto this day. 

"But the hand of the Lord was heavy upon them of 
.shdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with 
bierods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof." 

The Philistines sent the ark to Gath, and thence to 
Ikron, and finally decided to return it to the Israelites, 
LS we read in i Sam. vi, 1-15: 

''And the ark of the Lord was in the coantry of the 
^hilistines seven months. 

"And the Philistines called for the priests and the di- 
viners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the Lord? 
tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place. 

"And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of 
Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him a 
trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall be 
known to you why his hand is not removed from you. 

"Then said they. What shall be the trespass offering 
which we shall return to him? They answered. Five 
golden emerods, and five golden mice, according to the 
number of the lords of the Philistines : for one plague was 
on you all, and on your lords. 

"Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, 
and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall 
give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will 
lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and 
from off your land. 

"Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the 
Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he 
had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let 
the people go, and they departed ? 



2^ THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

"Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milcli 
kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine 
to the cart, and bring their calves home from them : 

"And take the ark of the Lord and lay it upon the cart ; 
and put the jewels of gold, which ye return him for tres- 
pass offering, in a coffer by the side thereof; and send it 
away that it may go. 

"And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast 
to Bethshemesh, then he hath done us this great evil : but 
if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that smote 
us; it was a chance that happened to us. 

"And the men did so; and took two milch kine, and 
tied them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home: 

"And they laid the ark of the Lord upon the cart, and 
the coffer with the mice of gold and the images of their 
emerods. 

"And the kine took the straight way to the way of 
Bethshemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they 
went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the 
left ; and the lords of the PhiHstines went after them unto 
the border of Bethshemesh. 

"And they of Bethshemesh were reaping their wheat 
harvest in the valley: and they lifted up their eyes, and 
saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it. 

"And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Beth- 
shemite, and stood there, where there was a great stone: 
and they clave the wood of the cart, and offered the kine 
a burnt offering unto the Lord. 

"And the Levites took down the ark of the Lord, and 
the coffer that was with it, wherein the jewels of gold were, 
and put them on the great stone: and the men of Beth- 
shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices 
the same day unto the Lord." 

In this way the ark was restored to Israel and the 



THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND. 



29 



kine happened to deliver it in Samson's village, Beth She- 
mesh. 

I We note in this strange story that in the reading of i 
lam. V. 4, the italicized words ''the stump of" are added 
y way of interpretation ; but Hebrew scholars who believe 
[lat Dagon is a fish deity, interpret the words to mean that 
only the fishy (i. e., Dagon) part of the image was left. 

FISH DEITIES. 

We know that fish deities existed among the Phoeni- 
cians. Lucian tells us that he had seen with his own eyes 




t^^s-^^ ^ 


l^fV 


^^~) • 


//I 1 V^2/ ^"i^ 


fe,^M^ 


^-'' 


P^^ 


'i® 


1* 



4027 ASSYRIAN FISH-PRIEST. 



A FISH SACRAMENT. 



a goddess named Derketo, shaped in the form of a mer- 
maid, and so it appeared quite probable that Dagon was 
the male counterpart of Derketo. 

The Babylonians, too, had fish deities and priests 
dressed in fish skins. It is probable (if we are allowed 
to judge from the monuments) that they celebrated a 
sacrament in which a sacrificial fish was eaten. The fish 
was sacred to the god Ea, the third member of the great 
trinity Anu, Bel and Ea, the three rulers over heaven, 
earth and water. 

Berosos, a Babylonian priest who wrote in Greek, tells 



30 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



US of a deity in the shape of a merman, who bore the 
name of Oannes and was worshiped as the founder of all 
civilization. The passage is preserved by Eusebius 
{Chron. armen., p. 9 ed. Mai, Syncellus, p. 28) and reads 
thus : . 

"In the first year (of the world) there appeared, rising 




A FISH DEITY. 



4208a 



Up from the Persian Gulf, a being endowed with reason 
whose name was Oannes. The body of this monster was 
that of a fish, but below the fish's head was a second head 
which was that of a man, together with the feet of a man 
which issued- from his tail, and with the voice of a man ; 
an image of him is preserved to this day. This being passed 



THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND. 



31 



the day among men, but without taking any food, teaching 
them letters, sciences, and the first principles of every art, 
how to found cities, to construct temples, to measure and 
assign limits to land, how to sow and reap ; in short every- 
thing that can soften manners and constitute civilization, 
so that from that time forward no one has invented any- 
thing new. Then at sunset this monster Cannes descended 
again into the sea and spent the night among the waves, 
for he was amphibious. Afterwards there appeared sev- 
eral other similar creatures. . . .Cannes wrote a book on 




':^>'i^fe:^.j.d>;^^^<'.A,;^^;'^5;i=^>;^<~ :::z,-/^>u .^..' '-->;;; -.^^k^ 



BABYLONIAN FISH DEITIES. 



421; 



the origin of things and the rules of civilization, which 
he delivered to mankind." 

This Cannes is also called Cdakon, and so he was 
naturally identified with the Philistine Dagon, and all the 
fish deities found on Babylonian monuments were in con- 
sequence (though preposterously) labelled Babylonian Da- 
gons. 



DAGON, A GOD OF AGRICULTURE. 

The theory that Dagon is a fish deity and that he is 
to be identified with a male Derketo as well as with the 
Babylonian Cannes, depends ultimately upon the etymol- 



32 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

ogy of the name and its derivation from the word dag, 
''fish." However, in spite of its popular acceptance which 
is based upon an ancient tradition of rabbinical authority, 
it is upset by one fact of an unequivocal nature that mili- 
tates against it. 

Professor Sayce^ calls attention to a seal of crystal of 
the seventh century B. C, preserved in the Ashmolean 
Museum at Oxford, England, which in Phoenician char- 
acters bears the inscription ''Baal Dagon," and in addition 
exhibits the symbols of an ear of wheat, a winged solar 
disk, a gazelle, and several stars, but no figure of a fish. 
This is unquestionable evidence that Dagon was not a fish- 
deity but the Philistine god of agriculture, whose main 
symbol was an ear of wheat, and accordingly the name 
should not be derived from dag, fish, but, as Philo Byblius 
informs us, from the Canaanitish word dagan, wheat. 

Bearing in mind that the original text of the Hebrew 
scriptures was written without vowels, it is not impossible 
that we should read Dagan instead of Dagon, 

The legend to which Philo Byblius refers is ancient 
and the mooted passage reads as follows : 

"Heaven [Anu] succeeding to the kingdom of his fa- 
ther, contracted marriage with his sister, the Earth, and 
had by her four sons, Ilus (the Hebrew El, or Elohirn) 
who is called Kronos, and Betylus (the Hebrew Bethel), 
and Dagon, which signifies wheat, and Atlas." And that 
this same Dagon, the wheat god, is truly the patron of 
agriculture is further corroborated by the statement made 
by the same Philo Byblius that he is the inventor of the 
plow and the first manufacturer of bread, wherefore he 
is called by his devotees "Zeus Arotrios" ; that is, "Jupiter 
the plowman."^ 

Professor Sayce discusses the question of the nature 

^ Higher Criticism, p. 327. 

^ Cf. Eusebius, Prcep. Evang., i. 6. 



THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND. 



33 



of Dagon at full length in his Higher Criticism, and on 
account of its interest we here quote the passage in full. 

Ile says : 
"Dagon is popularly supposed to have had the form 
f a fish, the origin of the belief being a derivation of 
the name from the Hebrew word dag "a fish." But there 
nothing in the Scriptural narrative which lends coun- 
tenance to such an idea. On the contrary the hands of 
Dagon are referred to (i Sam. v. 4) and the loss of his 




A BABYLONIAN FISH GOD. **'^" 

Wrongly identified with Dagon. 

head and hands is stated to have left him a mere useless 
torso. 

'The decipherment of the cuneiform texts has informed 
us who really was the Fish-god sometimes depicted upon 
Babylonian and Assyrian seals. He was Ea, the god of 
wisdom and of the deep, with whom Dagon had not the 
smallest connection. Dagon, in fact, was a divinity of Su- 
merian origin, who is associated in the inscriptions with 
Anu, the god of the sky. That his worship was carried 



34 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

westward from Babylonia we know from the fact that 
Sargon 'inscribed the laws' of Harran 'according to the 
wish of the gods Anu and Dagon/ It would appear, 
therefore, that Dagon was one of the numerous deities 
whose names and worship were introduced into Canaan 
during the long period of Babylonian influence and su- 
premacy. Thus a native etymology was found for the 
name, as the fragments of Sanchuniathon preserved by 
Philo Byblius expressly inform us, in the Canaanitish word 
dagan, 'corn/ Dagon became a god of corn, an agricul- 
tural deity who watched over the growth and ripening of 
the crops. 

"This will explain the curious trespass-offering that 
was made by the Philistines to the God of Israel. 'Five 
golden mice .... that mar the land' were among the offer- 
ings sent by them along with the ark. Yahveh of Israel 
was looked upon as essentially 'the Lord of hosts,' 'a man 
of war,' and as such he was the antagonist of the agri- 
cultural god of the Philistine cities. He had proved his 
superior power by overthrowing the image of their god, 
just as in external nature the corn which was under that 
god's protection was destroyed by the mice. It was ac- 
cordingly natural to conclude that the mice were the in- 
struments and symbols of the God of Israel, and that the 
surest way of appeasing his wrath was to present him 
with them in a costly form." 

THE SYMBOL OF THE FISH. 

While we accept Professor Sayce's opinion as to the 
agricultural character of Dagon, we do not deny that the 
Babylonians, Syrians, and Phoenicians worshiped fish- 
tailed deities. On the contrary we are convinced of the 
paramount significance of the fish as a religious symbol, 
and it may not be amiss to call attention to the fact in our 
discussion of the Samson legend. A study of the fish as 



THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND. 



35 



a religious symbol will help us to understand the origin 
of Christianity, and its intimate connection with the pagan- 
ism of the Gentile religions. 

The old Latin proverb Si duo faciunt idem non est idem, 
., 'Tf two do the same, it is not the same," is true in 
the field of religion more than in other domains. Reverence 
for sacred statues in our own religion is deemed devotion, 
in other religions, idolatry. Our own deifications are gods, 
those of the others, devils. Our own symbols are profound, 





CHRIST AS A FISH ON THE ROOD. 
From a fresco in the Catacombs. 



2578 





CHRISTIAN SYMBOLS ON A COR- 
3207 NELIAN SEAL. 



SYMBOLS ON A LAMP FOUND IN 
THE CATACOMBS. 3209 



those of a strange faith, ridiculous if not disgusting. The 
religious significance of the fish is a queer instance. 

How tenacious traditions are, appears from the fact 
that the fish is a sacred Christian symbol, for Christ him- 
self is frequently represented as a fish or a dolphin in the 
catacombs. These pictures were made after the prece- 
dence of Greek art in which the fish, and especially the 
dolphin, was sacred to Dionysus, the liberator, the god 
of wine, of divine enthusiasm, and resurrection. 

The immediate reason why the fish became sacred to 



36 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

Christians is the strange coincidence that the Greek word 
Ichthys, which means ''fish" consists of five letters which 
form the acrostic "Jesus Christ, God's Son, the Saviour."* 
But we may be assured that this is a mere afterthought 
which made the symbol of a fish acceptable to Christians, 
for the fish was deemed sacred without it and before this 
explanation had been invented. 

BEELZEBUL AND BEELZEBUB. 

A similar strange injustice is done to the god of the 
Phoenicians, who is called Baalzebul,^ "the lord of the 
high house," a name also applicable to Yahveh, the god 
of Israel, for Solomon speaks of "the high house" he has 
built for God (i Kings viii. 13). The high house is the 
temple and the temple symbolizes the heavens. Thus the 
lord of the high house is God of Heaven. Yet Baalzebul 
(or Beelzebul) has positively been changed into a name of 
the devil in the New Testament. But such is the fate of 
gods. The Seth of the Hyksos, corresponding to Yahveh 
of the Israelites, became the Satan of the Egyptians. 

Baalzebub (or Beelzebub) which has been substituted 
for Beelzebul is commonly translated "fly god," and the 
assumption has been made that Baalzebub had been wor- 
shiped under the symbol of a fly, but we find not the slight- 
est trace of fly worship among the Phoenicians. Pausanias, 
however, (VIII, 26, 7) tells us that Zeus was called the 
remover of flies^ because according to a local legend he 
had driven away a dangerous swarm of flies from Olym- 
pia; and Clement of Alexandria mentions the cult of "Zeus 
the fly-killer" in Elis (Protrept. II, 38). 

Obviously we are here confronted with an adventure 

* 1X9X2 = Irjaovs XpiffTOS Qeov Ttos Swri?/). 

^The English translation reads Beehehuh (cp. Matt. x. 25; xii. 24 and 
27; Mark iii. 22; Luke xi. 15-18 f.) but the version Beelzebul is better estab- 
lished in the original Greek. 

' Zci's dTTo/Auios. 



THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND. 37 

of Zeus, who (as St. Patrick drove out the snakes from 
Ireland) rescued the people of Greece from a plague of 
insects, and we cannot doubt that the Greek legend com- 
memorates the annual recurrence of the disappearance of 
the flies in autumn. Such a story might have easily been 
told of Heracles, Izdubar and also of Samson. It belongs to 
the same class of mythological tales and there is as little 
reason to regard Baal as a god of flies, as there would be 
to look upon St. Patrick as the saint of snakes. 




4513 



THE HOME OF THE SAMSON LEGEND. 

BETH SHEMESH. 

DEFENDERS of the historicity of the Samson legend 
make much of the definite locaHties in which the story 
has received its final setting. In fact the local coloring is 
made the main argument to disprove the mythical character 
of our hero. Accordingly it will be indispensable to devote 
a few pages to the geography of the Samson story. We 
shall see that the places of Samson's birth, his marriage, 
and especially his death have been positively determined, 
though other places, such as Lehi Ramath, remain quite 
uncertain. 

We do not believe that the localization of the adven- 
tures of Samson gives any support to the historicity, but 
on the contrary are inclined to think that the selection 
of his home furnishes an unequivocal hint of Samson's 
solar character, for Beth Shemesh, the ''house (i. e., the 
temple) of Shamash,'' was a sacred site of sun worship. 
If, therefore, a solar legend became crystalized in saga 
form it would naturally be localized in and around such 
a city as Beth Shemesh. 

THE VALLEY. 

A few miles east of Jerusalem we reach a valley (or 
wadi as valleys are called in the Orient) which affords 



I 



THE HOME OF THE SAMSON LEGEND. 



39 



e easiest descent to the Mediterranean, and this is the 
place where the Samson story has been locahzed, — the 
ancient habitation of the tribe of Dan. It is called after 
the villages situated therein, first Wadi Beth Hanina, 
then Wadi Ishma'in, and finally Wadi Es-Sarar. The 



■ -^ - ■ 




BETH HANINA IN THE VALLEY. 



4941 



landscape is mostly romantic^, and not without the peculiar 
beauty of wild scenery. 

Near the Philistine plain in the upper part of the Wadi 
Es-Sarar on its left or southern bluff, the present village 



40 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



Ain-Shems (which means "spring of the sun'') is built 
upon the site of the ancient Beth Shemesh, presumably 
a center of solar worship in the prehistoric days of pagan- 
ism. Here the ark of the covenant stood for a long time 
after it had been peacefully returned by the Philistines. 
On the opposite bluff about two and one half miles north- 
north-east is the place of the ancient Zorah ; and opposite 




UPPER WADI ES-SARAR. 



4511 



Zorah, within its immediate vicinity, only about one and 
one-half miles northeast is the place Eshtaol. 

Zorah, the home of Samson, is commonly translated 
"the place of hornets," because the name Zor'ah,^ is spelled 
out with the same consonants as Zir'ah,^ "hornet." Both 



THE HOME OF THE SAMSON LEGEND. 4I 

ords are derived from the same root Zara'f ''to lay low, 
to castigate/' 
l^k The meaning of the name Eshtaol^ is doubtful, but 
^Hebrew scholars assume that it contains the root Sha'al,^ 
which may mean ''to demand," "to ask for," or "to be 
hollow," and is connected in the former sense with the 
name ShauP (i. e., Saul), and in the latter sense with 
Sheol,^ "the pit," i. e., the habitat of the dead. 




SHRINE OF THE WELI SHAMAT. 451 5 

In the Wadi Es-Sarar, near the site of the ancient Zo- 
rah, is a Moslem holy place on a hill. which rises 357 meters 
over the level of the Mediterranean, where a little shrine 
is sacred to the weli^ Shamat, possibly a corruption of the 
word Shamash or Shamshon. It is built in the usual style 
of these whitened sepulchres with a little cupola and its 
incumbent, the sheik of the weli Shamat, claims that it is 
the tomb of the Hebrew Samson, but undoubtedly all he 
knows of Samson he has learned from the Christians that 
have visited the place. 

syDV ^'^'^*?;i?^: ^'^^^ *'^^^*^^ ^brxiz) 

* The word weli means "saint." 



42 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



MAHANEH-DAN. 



Mahaneh-Dan means the camp of the tribe of Dan, 
which (according to Judges xviii. 12) was situated west 
of Kirjath-Jearim, (i. e., "the city of the woods" probably 
the present village El-Krya el- Enab) and it was called 




SITE OF ANCIENT ZORAH. 



4509 



SO because it was the place from which the Danites started 
from Zorah and Eshtaol for their northern home. But 
when the Danites still lived in southern Palestine, we are 
told that it was the place where the spirit of Yahveh began 
to stir in Samson, and this Mahaneh-Dan is said to be 



THE HOME OF THE SAMSON LEGEND. 43 

situated between Zorah and Eshtaol (Judges xiii. 25) the 
site of the burial place of Samson's family (Judges xvi. 
31). The two geographical specifications (Judges xiii. 25 
and xviii. 12) are contradictory, and it is not impossible 
that we should read Manahath Dan instead of Mehaneh 
Dan, which would connect the place with the name of 
Samson's father. Manahath was one of the sons of Sho- 
bal, the Horite (see Gen. xxxvi. 23 and i Chron. i. 40) but 
the name is also mentioned as a place (see i Chron. viii. 6) 
which must have been the home of the Manahethites (the 
Manoah Clan) and, being situated in the domain of Dan, 
may very well have also been called Manahath-Dan.^ 

Samson's father was called Manoah, ^^ which may either 
be derived from Noah,^^ meaning ''rest," wath the prefix 
ma; or from manah,^^ ''to present a gift." It is also a town 
near Zorah, and the Encyclopaedia Biblica says : "Manoah 
is obviously the legendary eponym of the Manahathites 
of Judah or Dan." The name of the Manahathites is de- 
rived from the same root as Manoah, and so Manoah may 
very well be regarded as having originally been the pa- 
triarch from whom the tribe was supposed to have derived 
its name. 

TIBNEH AND ASCALON. 

Walking down the valley westward for about an hour 
from Beth Shemesh, we find the place Tibneh, the ancient 
Timnath, where Samson met with his first love adventure, 
and where he married the daughter of a Timnathite. As- 
calon, the Philistine city where Samson slew thirty Phil- 
istines, is about twenty-five miles further down on the 
coast of the Mediterranean. 

Ascalon^^ belonged to the territory assigned to the lot 

'See Enc. Biblica, s. v., "Manahethites" and "Mahaneh Dan." 
"The Biblical Ashkelon (pp^kfN). 



44 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



of Judah, but its conquest (Judges i. i8) was only tempo- 
rary, for in the enumeration of the cities of Judah (Joshua 
XV. 25) it is not mentioned, and this indirect statement is 
corroborated by a comparison with further testimony im- 
plied in other passages (cf. Judges xiv. 19; i Sam. vi. 17; 




RUINS AT TIBNEH: SITE OF TIMNATH. 



2 Sam. i. 20; Jer. xxv, 20; xlvii, 7). Ascalon survived the 
curses of the prophets Amos (i. 8), Zephaniah (ii. 4) and 
Zechariah (ix. 5) who preached against it, and it reached 
the zenith of prosperity at the time of Jesus. Herod the 



THE HOME OF THE SAMSON LEGEND. 45 

rreat embellished it with magnificent buildings, because 
was his birthplace, and he selected it as a residence for 
iis sister Salome. 

The surrounding country was famous for its culture of 
•ape wine and onions, which were known in Italy as 
Ascaloniae, a name still preserved in the French word 
echalottes. 

During the crusades Ascalon was repeatedly captured 
and lost by the Christians, but finally fell permanently into 
the hands of the Mohammedans who allowed it to fall into 
decay. In 1832 Ibrahim Pasha tried to rebuild it but his 
efforts proved vain and to-day its site is marked merely 
by a heap of ruins. 

ETAM AND LEHI. 

The cliff Etam has been identified with a very narrow 
gorge in the Wadi Ishma'in. Though the cleft is very im- 
posing and seems to fit all the requisites of the story, we 
ought to bear in mind that a town in Judaea was actually 
called Etam, which is situated southeast of Bethlehem and 
northeast of Tekoa. The cleft in the neighborhood of this 
town is not as grand as the cleft in the valley of Ishma'in, 
but it is probable that the writer of the Samson story had 
the latter in mind and not the former. 

The site of the Philistine city Lehi is not known, and 
all attempts to identify it have proved failures. With it 
the height of Lehi, the mortar of Lehi, and Enhaqqore, 
the spring of the crier, i. e., the partridge or the ass. have 
remained unidentified, but we must assume that they were 
definite localities well known to the original author of the 
story. 

GAZA. 

The great center of all intellectual and commercial 
life of southern Palestine in Samson's days, was the city 



46 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



of Gaza, which seems to have been like a Httle Paris for its 
vicinity. We must conclude from the Samson story that 
the splendor and the temptations of the city proved a great 



I 




attraction to the villagers and mountaineers of the sur- 
rounding country. Even to-day we find debris of magnifi- 




THE HOME OF THE SAMSON LEGEND. 



47 



mt marble edifices which teU of its ancient grandeur. 
Professor Ebers describes it as follows: 

'The present city, whose ancient name as now pro- 
"nbunced by the inhabitants sounds approximately like 
Rahsseh, is either extremely muddy or very dusty accord- 
ing to the season of the year. The more insignificant the 
modern buildings are, the more noticeable is the great 




IN THE OUTSKIRTS OF GAZA. 



4512 



number of marble ruins on all sides. There is not a gar- 
den nor a courtyard where some such relics have not been 
discovered, while almost every threshold and alrnost every 
lintel consists of a fragment of an old pillar. In the 
narrow streets the passer-by must often step over a mud 
puddle on a marble cylinder lying directly across a door- 



48 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



way. If he proceeds farther he will probably come through 
a stable to a tiny courtyard on one side of which is the 




kitchen, and farther on through a passage-way he will 
reach the large inner court paved with marble around 



THE HOME OF THE SAMSON LEGEND. 



49 



which open a series of rooms, separated from the court 
by arcades. Right here may be found many an ancient 
pillar with capitals of every description: Corinthian, Ro- 
man, as appear in the public buildings of Herod, and By- 




VIEW OF HEBRON FROM ABRAHAM'S OAK. 



4SIO 



zantine, can be seen. They stood originally in some old 
temple, and then perhaps in a church, and later were dug 
out of the ruins and used in building the house. Moreover 
some polished marble slabs walled in between red Roman 



50 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 




1 






THE HOME OF THE SAMSON LEGEND. 5 I 



icks give the walls a mottled appearance. It is as if we 
had before us the caricature of a palace of Damascus. 
I^B ''It is a well-known fact that the Samson story makes 
its hero appear also in this city of the ancient Philistines. 
He is said to have taken 'the door of the gate of the city 
and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, 
and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to 
the top of an hill that is before Hebron' (Judges xvi. 3). 
The Jebel el-Muntar at the southeast of the city is pointed 
out to-day as this hill. The location of the old city gate 
as well as the temple of Dagon where Samson met his 
death, are also shown to travelers." 

Local tradition of Gaza naturally selects the nearest 
hill toward the east as the point to which Samson carried 
the gates. This interpretation of the legend, however, flatly 
contradicts the Bible story which makes Samson carry the 
gates about forty miles up into the high lands of Judah 
to the old city of Hebron so well known in Hebrew tradi- 
tion as one of the oldest cities of Palestine where Abraham 
tented, where he bought a burying place and where up 
to this dav a weatherbeaten tree still bears the name of 
Abraham's oak. 

While Gaza, Ascalon, Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron are 
usually referred to as Philistine cities, we must not think 
that they were of Philistine foundation. They were only 
colonized by these strangers that came by sea from distant 
Mediterranean islands; for the Tel Amarna letters men- 
tion the same cities long before the Philistine immigration. 




4514 



SAMSON'S BIRTH. 

THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT. 

THE birth of Samson (Judges xiii) is typical of many 
heroes of the Old Testament, and it finds a realistic 
interpretation if we consider the religious traditions of the 
Semitic Orient to-day. It reads as follows in Prof. G. F. 
Moore's translation : 

Samson's Birth. 

The Israelites again offended Yhvh, and He 

gave them into the power of the Philistines for forty 

years.^ 

Now there was a certain man of Zorah, of the clan of 

the Danites, named Manoah, whose wife was barren and 

had no child. And the Messenger of Jhvh appeared to 

the woman, and said to her: "Thou art barren and hast 

borne no child; but thou shalt conceive and bear a son. 

Now, therefore, beware, and do not drink wine or other 

intoxicating drink, and do not eat anything unclean. For 

thou art with child, and wilt bear a son; and no razor 

shall touch his head, for from the womb the boy shall be 

* The indented passage has been added by a Deuteronomist (D), who 
here vents his indignation at the pagan spirit of some features of the story 
without otherwise interfering with the text. 



SAMSON S BIRTH. 53 

(religious votary ; he will make a beginning of delivering 
rael from the Philistines.^ 
The woman came and told her husband: "A man of 
3d came to me, and his appearance was like that of the 
Messenger of God, very venerable ; but I did not ask him 
whence he came, nor did he tell me his name. And he said 
to me: Thou art with child, and wilt bear a son; now, 
therefore, do not drink wine nor intoxicating drink, and 
do not eat anything unclean, for from the womb to the 
day of his death the boy shall be a religious votary.' " 

Then Manoah besought Jhvh, and said : "I pray thee, 
O Lord, let the man of God whom Thou didst send come 
again to us and teach us what we shall do to the boy that 
is to be born." 

And God hearkened to the prayer of Manoah, and the 
Messenger of God came again to the woman as she was 
tarrying in the field. Manoah her husband was not with 
her. And the woman ran at once, and told her husband, 
saying to him: 'The man who came to me the other day 
has appeared to me." 

So Manoah rose, and followed his wife; and when he 
came to the man, Manoah said to him : "Art thou the man 
who spoke to the woman?" 

He answered: "I am." 

Then Manoah said: "Now, when that which thou dost 
foretell comes true, what shall be the rule for the boy and 
his mode of life?" 

And the Messenger of Jhvh replied to Manoah : "Let 
the woman avoid all that I bade her ; she must not eat any 
product of the vine, and let her not drink wine or other 
intoxicating drink, nor eat anything unclean; every thing 
that I commanded her she must observe." 

^The italicized passage is a comment added by a later scribe or redactor 
of Ephraimitic scriptures. He recognizes Samson's divine mission, but bear- 
ing in mind that he accomplished nothing speaks of it as "a beginning of 
delivering Israel from the Philistines." 



54 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



And Manoah said to the Messenger of Jhvh : ''Let us 
press thee to stay, and let us prepare thee a kid." 

But the Messenger of Jhvh answered Manoah: 
'Though thou press me, I will not eat of thy food; but if 
thou wilt make a burnt-offering, thou must offer it to ?|] 
Jhvh/' 




THE ANNUNCIATION OF SAMSON'S BIRTH. 
By Rubens. 



4973 



And Manoah said to the Messenger of Jhvh : ''What 
is thy name? that if thy prediction come true we may 
honor thee." 

The Messenger of Jhvh answered him: "Why dost 
thou inquire my name, seeing it is ineffable?" 

So Manoah took a kid [and the cereal offering]' and 
offered it as a burnt-offering on the rock to Jhvh, the 

^The two bracketed passages are post-Exilic glosses. 



SAMSON S BIRTH. 55 

Wonder Worker. When the flame ascended heavenward 
from the altar, the Messenger of Jhvh ascended in the 
flame of the aUar, while Manoah and his wife were looking 
on; and they fell on their faces to the earth. 

And the Messenger of Jhvh appeared no more to 
Manoah and his wife. Then Manoah knew that it was 
the Messenger of Jhvh. And Manoah said to his wife: 
"Wq shall certainly die, for we have seen a god.'' But 
his wife said to him: ''If Jhvh had meant to kill us. He 
would not have received at our hands a burnt-offering, 
and would not have shown us all these things, and would 
not have announced to us such a thing." 

And the woman bore a son, and named him Samson; 
and the boy grew up, and Jhvh blessed him. And the 
spirit of Jhvh began to stir him [at Mahaneh-Dan, be- 
tween Zorah and Eshtaol]. 

the holy men of the SEMITES. 

Prof. Samuel Ives Curtiss, who made a special study 
of the subject, discovered that the ancient Semitic rites 
mentioned in the Old Testament, are still practiced among 
the common people of Syria. He came to the conclusion 
that the ancient religion of the proto-Semites even to-day 
is the religion of the common people in Hither Asia; and 
so it happens that many stories in the Old Testament find 
an explanation in customs that are still prevalent. This 
is evinced by the atonement blood-sacrifices performed for 
the purpose of effectiveness of prayer ; and in spite of the 
monotheistic doctrines of the three religions, now officially 
established in the Orient, the Weli or patron saint of a 
local shrine is still the main refuge of the natives. Sacri- 
fices are still offered on the heights as well as before the 
entrance to the house or tent, and the door posts and lintels 
are still besmeared with the blood of the victim for the 
sake of sanctifying the place and protecting it against 



56 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

evil influences/ The main thing of interest is the part 
which holy men, representatives of the deity, or of the 
Weli, have been playing ever since and are playing still 
all over Syria with the exception perhaps of the parts in- 
habited by Protestants; for Protestantism is the only re- 
ligion that by its sobriety cuts off the ancient practices 
and superstitions. 

Professor Curtiss has devoted a special chapter to the 
holy men of Syria. They, as well as the religious sheiks, 
are supposed to be possessed of mysterious powers and all 
of them practice exorcism. Says Professor Curtiss: 

"The 'holy men' and the religious sheiks cast out evil 
spirits, which resemble closely those about whom we read 
in the time of our Lord. They exorcise evil spirits from 
those who are ill. They think such persons are possessed 
by the jinn, who seem to be the same as the demons in the 
time of Christ. 

"There are certain saints that have almost the powers 
of physicians assigned to them. Some of them would seem 
to be specialists. They perform cures for rheumatism, 
for bad eyes, and other ailments. One shrine, near Solo- 
mon's hot-air baths, about four hours from Karyaten, in 
the Syrian desert, is good for barren women. 

"As barrenness is considered almost the greatest dis- 
grace that can befall an Oriental woman, and girls are 
not reckoned in the enumeration of a family, a barren 
woman often seeks a son from a local saint or weli; thus 
the story of Hannah is not unfrequently repeated. 

"One of the most conspicuous cases was related to me 
by Rev. E. A. Hanauer, of Jerusalem, who was an eye- 
witness of part of the incident. There was a Syrian 
woman who was barren, and who, in the bitterness of her 
soul, went to Neby Daud,^ on the traditional site of Mount 

*For further details of Professor Curtiss's work see "The Religion of 
Proto-Semitism" in The Open Court, Vol. XVIII, pp. 421 ff. 
^i. e., Prophet David. 



SAMSON S BIRTH. 57 

ion, and vowed that if the saint would give her a son 
le would give him a fat sheep. In due time a boy was 
>rn. The father and mother, on their way to the shrine, 
"topped to rest at a house where the missionary heard the 
story from the lips of the glad mother. 

"Sometimes a man vows that if the saint will grant 
him a son he will pay for his weight in silver coins. The 
teacher of a Greek school in Safita was present at the 
payment of such a vow. When the silver placed in the 
balances nearly tipped the scale, the father threw in two 
or three gold pieces. 

"Sometimes a woman, in her ardent desire for a son, 
will vow that if the saint will grant her request she will 
sacrifice a sheep each year. Such was the vow of a woman 
at the cave where Abraham is reputed to have been born 
at Berza near Damascus. At the last report she had al- 
ready sacrificed three sheep. 

"There can be no question that barren women, as the 
result of such vows, sometimes receive the power to bear 
children. Perhaps this is an indication of the domination 
of the mind over the body; or, as a native physician sug- 
gests, the very exertion consequent on visiting a shrine 
may bring the body into a normal condition." 

The holy men are not priests nor have they anything 
to do with the dervishes of the Moslems, or the monks of 
the Christians. They are a type of their own and may 
be anything but holy or moral in the present acceptance 
of the words, for they correspond to the Sodomites^ of the 
Old Testament, whom the religious reformers in the time 
of Josiah removed from the temple of Jerusalem"^ in the 
year 621 B. C. 

The submissiveness of the common people to the "holy 
men" is almost incredible, for we learn that uneducated 

'The words "holy" and "sodomite" (in Hebrew Kadesh) are derived 
from the same root kadash, which means "to separate, to set apart." 
'2 Kings xxiii. 7. 



58 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

women of the country do not shrink from their embrace. 
Says Curtiss: 

"So far as they are not imposters, they are men whom 
we would call insane, known among the Syrians as mejnun, 
possessed by a jinn, or spirit. They often go in filthy gar- 
ments, or without clothing. Since they are regarded as 
intoxicated by deity, the most dignified men, and of the 
highest standing among the Moslems, submit to utter in- 
decent language at their bidding without rebuke, and ig- 
norant Moslem women do not shrink from their approach, 
because in their superstitious belief they attribute to them, 
as men possessed by God, a divine authority which they 
dare not resist. 

"In a certain family in Nebk the wife, a perfectly re- 
spectable woman, apparently with the consent of her hus- 
band, considers it wrong to refuse a 'holy man.' Her 
name is well known in the community where she lives." 
Mr. Frazer in The Golden Bough (page 147) says: 
"Women are taught to believe that the highest bliss 
for themselves and their families is to be obtained by 
yielding themselves to the embraces of these beings in 
whom the divine nature mysteriously coexists with the 
form and appetite of true humanity.'' 

Professor Curtiss adds the following description: 
"Their appearance, and the expressions regarding 
them, afford some illustrations of the popular estimate 
of ancient seers, or prophets, in the time of Hosea : The 
prophet is a fool, the man that hath the spirit is mad';^ 
and in the time of Jeremiah, the man who made himself 
a prophet was considered as good as a madman.^ We 
are reminded, too, of one of the signs by which Saul was 
considered a prophet, when he stripped off his clothes, and 
lay down naked all that day and all that night, so that 

® Hos. ix. 7. Cf. George Adam Smith, The Book of the Tzvehe Prophets, 
New York, 1896, p. 28 n. 
* Gen. xxix. 26. 



SAMSON S BIRTH. 59 

the people in view of these demonstrations, with which 
they were so famihar, said, 'Is Saul also among the 
prophets?' "^*^ 



THE KID OFFERING. 



I 

'^M The story of Samson's conception is very realistically 

^Bold, and its occurrence, perhaps not in one case only but 

^Ki many instances of the same kind, is quite plausible if 

^^onsidered in the light of ancient Semitic customs which 

are so inveterate that they are preserved even to-day. 

Manoah, far from having any misgivings about the report 

of his wife, is greatly pleased when she meets the stranger 

again, provides for the demanded ritual sacrifice, and the 

child that is to be born is promised to lead the life of a 

Nazir from the moment of his birth. 

The sacrifice of the kid is not wathout significance, as 
will appear from a comment by Paul Haupt written in ex- 
planation of the references to kids in that collection of 
Hebrew love ditties which are incorporated in the Bible 
under the title 'The Song of Solomon." Professor Haupt 
says : 

"The phrase, 'Feed thy kids,' in the answer of the lover 
has a special meaning. A kid was the customary present 
given to a female friend (Arab, gadiqe) who was visited 
by a man from time to time. When Judah saw his daugh- 
ter-in-law, Tamar, who had covered her face and wrapped 
herself, he said to her, I wall send thee a kid; and when 
Samson visited his Philistine 'friend' at Timnath he brought 
her a kid. Such a gift was probably expected at every 
visit of the husband. The 'bride' remained at her father's 
house, and the 'husband' visited her there. According to 
Ammianus Marcellinus (xiv. 4) marriage among the Sar- 
acens was a temporary contract for which the wife received 
a price. In Persia these temporary alliances are still rec- 

" I Sam xix. 21-24. 



6o THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

ognized as legal. In the Book of Tobit (ii. 12) we read 
that after Tobit had been stricken with blindness, his wife, 
Anna, w^ent to a factory where women wxre employed as 
weavers, and when the owners gave her one day a kid in 
addition to her wages, she fell out with her husband who 
would not believe her story and insisted on the kid being 
returned to the owners of the factory, as he felt ashamed 
of his wife. We know also that a young he-goat was the 
offering of the Greek hetaerae to the goddess of love Aphro- 
dite." In the Samson story we are told that ''Samson 
went to visit his wife, taking with him a kid." 

Steinthal regards the story of Samson's birth as of 
later origin, which may or may not be so, yet there is no 
reason for any discrimination for it is quite in keeping 
with the stories of Samson's deeds. One thing, however, 
must have been typical in the ancient traditions of solar 
heroes, namely, that their birth was not an ordinary oc- 
currence but an event of supernatural interference. Solar 
heroes are supposed to be the children of a god and their 
birth is always miraculous. 

THEOPHANIES. 

The birth story of Samson is considered as one of the 
best told theophanies of the Old Testament, and it may 
be worth w^hile to repeat here for the benefit of readers 
not versed in recent results of theology, a few well-known 
facts concerning the development of the Jewish God idea. 
In those Biblical passages which belong to the older period, 
God (or rather Yahveh) is humanized to such an extent 
that he (as for instance in the creation story) takes a 
walk in the garden for his recreation and speaks with 
Adam and Eve. God was believed to appear in fire and 
it was supposed to be dangerous or even fatal to see God 
or to hear his voice.^ 

* Theophanies are recorded in Gen. xvii, i; xxxv. 6; Ex. iii. 6; xix. 21; 
xxxiii. 20 flF. ; Judges vi. 22 ; xiii, 22, etc. 



SAMSON S BIRTH 



6i 



i 



The most important theophany is related in the third 
hapter of Exodus where Yahveh appears to Moses in the 
ush which "burned with fire and the bush was not con- 
sumed." Here God reveals to Moses his name Yahveh^ 
which was regarded with so much awe that later genera- 
tions ceased to pronounce it and in reading the scriptures 



^wwf — - 




THE BURNING BUSH. 
By Schnorr von Karolsfeld. 



6048 



substituted for it the word adonaj^ i. e., "my Lord.''* But 
God could not call himself "my Lord," and so the rabbis 
introduced in this special passage (Ex. iii. 14) another 



2 ^r\r{ 



IN. 



* Since the name "Yahveh" was always read "adonaj," the three vowels 
of addonaj (shortness of vowel as e, then o, and finally the broad a) were 
written under the ineffable tetragram, which produced the form HVn^ result- 



62 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

substitution for the holy name, viz., eheyeh ("^v^v ), which 
means "I am,'' or rather, "I shall be."^ 

Yahveh must be an old Semitic deity as the word 
appears in ancient Babylonian names such as Ya've-ilu 
mentioned by Delitzsch.^ Among the Israelites its use was 
originally limited to the southern tribes, especially Judah, 
Benjamin and Dan, and so Yahveh is naturally the God of 
Samson. In northern Israel God was called Elohim and 
also Zebaoth, i. e., ''[Lord of] the starry Hosts," but when 
the different Hebrew tribes of whom presumably only the 
southern ones had been in Egypt, coalesced into a nation 
called Israel, the three names were identified to mean one 
and the same God, the God of Israel, and Jeremiah uses 
all three at once calling God ''Yahveh Elohim Zebaoth." 

Yahveh was the God of Jethro, the priest of Midan, 
a Kenite, who lived near Mount Horeb, and there Yahveh 
revealed himself to Moses, Jethro's son-in-law. 

Yahveh said unto Moses (Ex. vi. 2-3) : 

"I am YHVH, and I appeared unto Abraham, unto 
Isaac, and unto Jacob as £/ Shaddaj, but by my name 
JHVH was I not known to them." 

El Shaddaj^ as well as Elohim, is a plural form de- 
rived from shad,^ "strong," and is commonly translated 
"God Almighty." The same word slightly modified as 
shedim^ (singular shed^^) denotes pagan deities and is 
translated in the Septuagint by "demons."^^ 

ing among people unacquainted with Hebrew traditions in the monstrous 
combination of the word "Jehovah." This queer word formation is of com- 
paratively recent origin, for it does not occur anywhere before the Reforma- 
tion and was invented in the sixteenth century by Protestant Bible trans- 
lators who knew enough Hebrew to read the letters as they were written, 
but not enough to understand the meaning, origin and history of the word. 

^ The first part of verse 14 is obviously a gloss which has been inserted 
into the text. Cf. Arnold's "The Divine Name in Exodus HI, 14," in the 
Journal of Biblical Literature, XXIV, Pt. 2. 

^ Babel and Bible, p. 150 ff. Chicago : The Open Court Publishing Co. 



Samson's birth. 63 

The summit of Mount Sinai or Horeb was regarded 
s the place where Yahveh resided and so EHjah visits 
Mount Horeb where he finds Yahveh in the still small 
voice. In Isaiah's remarkable vision (Is. vi. iff.) Yahveh 
appears between seraphim (winged serpent-spirits), while 

IEzekiel sees him surrounded by winged cherubim ; the sole 
of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot, they had the 
hands of a man under their wings, and each had four 
faces, the faces of a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle (Ez. 
1. 5-10), and the color of Yahveh himself was as of amber 
above, and below as of fire. 




THE STILL SMALL VOICE. **"*^ 

Most naive is the description of Moses, Aaron, Nadab 
and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel meeting God 
on Mount Sinai (Ex. xxiv. 10), where we read that ''they 
saw the God of Israel and there was under his feet as it 
were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the 
body of heaven in his clearness." 

In a similar way Yahveh converses with Moses and 
members of his family, one striking instance being re- 
corded in Num. xii. i ff., where God appears visibly in the 
shape of a pillar of cloud. 



64 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

Again in Exodus xxxiii, ii we read that "the Lord 
spake to Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his 
friend." In contradiction to these theophanies Yahveh says 
to Moses (Ex. xxxiii. 20) : ''Thou canst not see my face, 
for there shall no one see me and live." However, to show 
Moses an extraordinary favor, Yahveh will allow him 
to catch a glimpse of his glory from behind: 

"And the Lord said. Behold, there is a place by me, 
and thou shalt stand upon a rock : and it shall come to pass, 
while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of 
the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by : 
and I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back 
parts : but my face shall not be seen." 

Less comical but not less pagan and assuredly more 
barbarous is another theophany related in Exodus v. 24-26, 
in which Yahveh's wrath toward Zipporah, the wife of 
Moses, is calmed only after the circumcision of their son 
Gerson. The crudeness of the God-conception preserved 
in this strange passage marks these verses as a relic of the 
savage age which has presumably been retained by the re- 
dactor only because the incident narrated might silence the 
objection that a mother would naturally have against the 
rite of circumcision; and the Jews of the Babylonian cap- 
tivity regarded this ceremony as an essential and indis- 
pensable part of their religion, for it was the sign of their 
covenant with God. 

The passage reads: 

"And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the 
Lord [yhvh] met him [i. e., Moses], and sought to kill 
him. 

"Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the fore- 
skin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said. Surely a 
bloody husband art thou to me. 

"So he [jhvh] let him [Moses] go: then she said, 
A bloodly husband thou art, because of the circumcision." 



^m In the later period of Jewish monotheism, the invisi- 
^Klity of God became more and more a part of the Jewish 
^Baith, and so theophanies in *'any manner of simiHtude'' 
^were denied by the Deuteronomist (Deut. iv. 15). Still 
^^od was believed to have appeared to Abraham and Jacob 
and to have spoken to them (Ex. vi. 3)/^ 

It has been suggested that many of the old theophanies 
have been modified by post-Exilic redactors into appear- 
ances of angels. The idea that God should appear in human 
form became offensive, and so the words "messenger of 
Yahveh" were substituted for "Yahveh." This view is 
supported by the fact that in Gen. xvi. 7, 9, 11, it is stated 
that "the angel of Yahveh" appeared to Hagar and spoke 
to her; yet in the same story (verse 13) we read that it 
was "Yahveh" himself who spoke to her. In the same 
way "the angel of Yahveh'' appears to Gideon (Judges 
vi. 22) but he calls him "Yahveh Elohim.'' 

These inconsistencies may simply be a result of the 
redactor's carelessness in his alterations. At any rate the 
angel or messenger of Yahveh is frequently identified with 
Yahveh.^^ 

One peculiar confusion which can only be due to the 
insufficient alterations of a late redactor occurs in the 
story of Abraham's theophany at Mamre, Gen. xviii, where 
we read of three men who are addressed sometimes in the 
singular and sometimes in the plural. One of the three 
is identified with Yahveh, while the other two are described 
(in xix) as two angels, yet these in turn too are addressed 
and also speak in the singular and indeed they speak and 
act as Yahveh himself (xix. 21). 

In consideration of the probability that "the messenger 

" Cp. Gen. xvii. i ; xxxv. 9. 

"See such narratives as Gen. xxii. iiff. ; xviii. 2; xv. 3 flf. ; Num. xxii. 
32-35, especially 35 to be compared with xxiv. 13; Judges xi. 1-5; vi, 11-24; 
compare especially verses 11 and 20 ff. Differences between Yahveh and his 
angel are made in Gen. xxiv. 7, 40 (compare verses 27 and 48) ; Num. xxii. 
31; Judges xiii. 8; 2 Samuel xxiv. 15, 17. 



66 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

of Yahveh" is a later interpolation for Yahveh himself, 
we may very well assume that according to the ancient 
Samson legend, Yahveh himself appeared to Manoah's 
wife, and indeed, we may even venture the assumption 
that according to the oldest form of the legend, Samson 
was regarded as the son of Yahveh. It is a matter of 
course that this idea could no longer be countenanced by 
the Deuteronomists from their rigorous monotheistic 
standpoint, and so we may regard the birth story of Sam- 
son as we have it now, to be an edition ad usum delphini. 

THE MEANING OF "NAZIR." 

The children of Israel were invaders of Palestine. The 
Canaanites and Philistines who had possession of the land 
lived in cities and must have looked with fear and disdain 
upon these gypsylike marauders who came in such num- 
bers as to endanger the safety of the country. On the other 
hand, the Israelites at the time of the invasion looked upon 
civilization as pagan and unnatural.^ They lived in tents 
and scorned houses. They made their fires by friction, 
not by flint and steel. They worshiped on altars of un- 
hewn stones not yet touched by the chisel of man, under 
trees and at wells, and cherished a contempt for gods 
fashioned by human hands. They had a primitive kind 
of bread baked without leaven, and they abstained from 
fermented drinks, not because they were intoxicating, as 
a later interpretation has it, but because the natural 
product was spoiled by the artificial interference of human 
culture which was considered an alienation from God, the 
divinity of nature. 

The priestly redactors explain the word nazir as being 
derived from the root nazar,'^ the niphal form of which 
means "to separate," and the Nazir^ was assumed to be 

^ For explanation of this most important point see the author's article 
"Yahveh and Manitou," The Monist, IX, p. 382. 

2 1T2 s-j-'y* (The pronunciation of • is dz.) 



tf 



Samson's birth. 67 

oly because separated from profane society for the pur- 
ose of leading a life of devotion. 

Samson is regarded as a typical Nazir. In fact, being 
historically the first one who is called by that name, he is 
regarded as the prototype and ideal of Nazirism. 

\Miatever the etymology of the word may be, the orig- 
inal meaning is certainly not "separateness" in the sense 
of ''holiness," but a natural state, a condition in which 
the artificial factor of human culture has not yet inter- 
fered with man's primitive habits of life. 

In the jubilee year, for instance, when agriculture is 
suspended, the vine which is left unpruned is called nasir, 
and the jubilee year as such is celebrated in recollection 
of Israel's primitive condition when it was still walking 
with Yahveh in the desert. 

As the nazir grape is the fruit of those vines which 
have not been pruned but are allowed their natural growth, 
we will scarcely be mistaken when we regard the Nazir 
as a man whose life develops untrammeled by civilization. 
No razor is sufifered to touch his head and the exuberant 
mass of his hair is typical of the whole man. 

GENTILE NAZIRISM. 

If the Samson legend regards the hair as the sign 
of Samson's vitality, it is quite in keeping with the folk- 
lore of other nations, especially the Syrians, and we can 
have no doubt that this notion dates back to the most prim- 
itive age in which the rays of the sun were regarded as 
the hair of the sun-god. The sun-god loses his strength 
when he is shorn of his hair in winter, and a faithful dev- 
otee voluntarily suiTers the same fate so as to partake 
also of his final triumph and resurrection. 

The custom of regarding the hair as sacred to a god, 
preeminently so to the sun-god, is not limited to Palestine 
but may be traced throughout Syria and extended even 



68 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

to Greece. Lucian tells us in his most interesting essay 
on ''The Syrian Goddess" that the people in Hierapolis 
of Syria are addicted to a custom which is otherwise also 
known to have obtained in Troizene of Argolis in Greece. 

Lucian says (last chapter of De Dea Syr.) : 'There 
is a law of the Troizenians according to which no youth 
nor virgin is allowed to marry until they have sacrificed 
their hair to Hippolytus, and a similar custom prevails 
in Hierapolis. There people let the hair of children grow 
from childhood and regard it as something sacred which 
should not be touched by shears. When they reach pu- 
berty a lock is cut off in the temple and the same together 
with the first beard is suspended in the sanctuary in a 
little silver, sometimes golden, vase upon which the name 
of the donor is engraved.'' 

Lucian being a native of Samosata, which is situated 
near Hierapolis, says he himself had undergone the cere- 
mony of hair-cutting and had a lock of his hair ofifered in 
the temple, where, as he wTites, it might still be seen at 
the date on which he composed his essay. 

Customs of letting the hair grow and of cutting it as 
a sacrificial offering to the deity, are found all over the 
world and date back to prehistoric times. Vows to that 
effect are mentioned in the New Testament. Paul had 
''shorn his head in Cenchrea for he had a vow" (Acts 
xviii. i8), and the same incident is mentioned of four 
men in another passage in Acts (xxi. 23). 

There can be no doubt that the underlying thought of 
this practice is also intimately connected with the priestly 
observance of shaving the head. This is notably true of 
the ancient Egyptian priesthood and of Buddhist monks; 
yet there is nowhere in the sacred books of either religion 
any plausible reason to account for the custom. In India 
the custom of shaving the hair from a religious motive 
is unquestionably older than Buddha himself, for we are 



i Samson's birth. 69 

Did that when Prince Gautama retired from the world, 
e cut off his hair, and the legend has it that the tuft of 
air was carried up by the devas to the sky where it formed 
le constellation of the "Hairknot," called in our astron- 
omy ''the hair of Berenice." Here the practice of cutting 
one's hair in token of renouncing the world is presupposed 
as generally prevalent in India and an explanation is not 
deemed necessary. 

In a similar way as baptism is now commonly per- 
formed by a mere sprinkling, and an actual emersion 
under the water is not generally deemed necessary, because 
in symbolic acts the mere indication is sufficient if per- 
formed in the right spirit and by the proper authorities, 
so in the Christian world the shaving of the hair has been 
reduced to a small spot called the tonsure, — which practice 
is observed even to-day in the Roman and Greek Catholic 
Churches, constituting a last reminiscence of this most 
ancient sacrifice of the hair. 

THE ETYMOLOGY OF "NAZARENE." 

The word and title Nazir (for it has become an appel- 
lation of a certain class of Hebrew saints) is of unusual 
interest to us on account of its confusion with the name 
of the sect to which Jesus belonged who is usually called 
''Jesus the Nazarene" or "Nazarite." Commonly there 
is a distinction made between the words Nazarene and 
Nazarite by referring one to the sect of the Nazarenes 
and the other to the village of Nazareth. This explana- 
tion is quite ancient in Christian church history, but not 
pre-Christian,* and is based on the invention of a village of 
Nazareth, unknown in the geography of Palestine, not 
only before and at the time of Jesus, but for centuries 
after him. However, as soon as the village En NaSara 
had been identified, for no other reason than a similarity 

* The words 'Nal^aptjvSg and 'Na^opaloc are used interchangeably in the Gospels 




SAMSON S BIRTH. J\ 

sound, with Nazareth, the translation of ''the Nazarite" 

''he of Nazareth" became firmly established in the tra- 
ditions of Christian theology, and this, too, in spite of the 
fact that the disciples of Jesus are called Nazarenes, and 
Paul "a ring-leader of the Nazarenes," though none of 
them was born in Nazareth. Moreover we must bear in 
mind that according to Mark ii. i, Capernaum and not 
Nazareth was the home of Jesus. 

The title on the cross of Christ in the Gospel according 
to John reads : 

''l7](Jov^ 6 Na^GopaioS 6 /SaffiXsvs tc^v lovdaiGovJ^ 

This can not mean "Jesus of Nazareth" but must mean 
"Jesus the Nazarene," for Nazareth, or rather the village 
En NaBara did not belong to the jurisdiction of Pontius 
Pilate; on the other hand, if it meant an inhabitant of a 
town the definite article would scarcely have been appli- 
cable. 

Whether the sect of the Nazarenes is a reorganization 
of the ancient Nazirs, or another movement of separatists, 
need not here be considered. They may have been (as 
Prof. W. B. Smith of Tulane University suggests)^ Sal- 
vationists, and it is not improbable that "Nazarene" meant 
Saviour arid was used as a title. 

Though the sibilants in Nazir and En NaBara (i. e., 
Nazareth) and also in Nazarene are dififerent, a fusion 
of the meaning into one conception is by no means ex- 
cluded, because in the Greek transliteration both sounds, 
ts and dz, were changed into the Greek ^ (0- 

Matthew (ii. 23) connects the name Nazarene with 
the verb na^ar^ which means "to sprout," saying that 
Jesus shall be called a "Nazarene" because the prophet 
speaks of him as neUr,^ i. e., " a sprout" out of the roots 
of Jesse (Is. xi. i). 

' Cf. W. B. Smith, 'The Meaning of the Epithet Nazarene," in The 
Monist, XV, p. 25. See also the author's pamphlet, The Age of Christ, p. 8. 



y2 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

The word Nazorean (or Nazarene) should, according 
to Professor Smith, be derived from the Aramaic word 
natrona,^ corresponding to the Hebrew nalar-ya which 
means "guardian" or "protector," and the use of the ar- 
ticle, "Jesus the Nazarene," indicates that it is a title just 
as much as "Jesus the Saviour." Whether or not the 
title ha nalarya, "the guardian" was identified in the time 
of Christ with the ancient Hebrew ha nazir is for our 
present purpose a matter of no concern. If it seems im- 
probable on account of the difference of the sibilants, the 
one being ts or the German a, the other the English dz, it 
remains true that the two notions were soon, perhaps at 
the beginning of the Christian era and only among Gentile 
Christians, fused into one, and still later when the term 
Nazarene was no longer understood in its Greek trans- 
literation, we meet with the assumption of the village of 
Nazareth which had never existed before. 

THE NOMAD LIFE OF ISRAEL. 

The invasion of Palestine by the Israelites is paralleled 
in other parts of Asia Minor, especially in Babylon. We 
know that the fertile plains of the two rivers were fre- 
quently inundated with Semitic tribes who by their num- 
bers soon crowded out the native population. The found- 
ers of civilization in this part of the world, the Sumerians 
and Akkadians, appear to have succumbed in this way to 
immigrants who may first have appeared in their territory 
in little hordes, but grew soon so numerous as to supersede 
the aboriginal inhabitants, who as a separate nation had 
long disappeared from the face of the earth when our 
first historical records begin. Their language had been 
supplanted by Semitic dialects, and continued only in lit- 
erature as a language of the learned that was kept up not 

*The Aramaic tj ordinarily changes in the Hebrew to \J and the letter 
having the pronunciation of the German ^, being the sharp ts, is here trans- 
cribed by a German ^. 



■ 



SAMSON S BIRTH. 73 

unlike Latin in the middle ages. The desert, and espe- 
cially Arabia, was a breeding-place of nations. The nom- 
ads of the desert multiplied too freely for the scant re- 
sources of livelihood, and so they invaded the more fertile 
neighboring territories in large numbers again and again, 
which resulted in several consecutive conquests. 

We must assume that the Israelites lived for a long 
time after the fashion of gypsies in Palestine, and the 
friction between them and both Canaanites and Philis- 
tines was but natural. Sometimes peace was established 
between the contending parties, and then these wandering 
nomads carried on a trade in sheep and goats and perhaps 
other goods among the more civilized old settlers of the 
country. But we can not doubt that frequently they were 
wronged and taken advantage of even by the established 
authorities, and must have had as many grudges against 
them as the modern gypsies may have against the white 
man's police. At the same time we know that just as the 
gypsy regards the world as his own which he has to take 
by theft or robbery, so the Semitic invaders regarded the 
country as a donation of their God Yahveh. 

The nomad life of their ancestors was never fully for- 
gotten in Israel, and the Rechabites, a tribe that kept up 
the old style of desert life, are praised by Jeremiah (xxxv) 
as especially acceptable to Yahveh,^ and those pious Jews 
who in later days wished to live the ideal life of their an- 
cestors, took a vow not to have their hair shorn, and called 
themselves Nazirs. 

^ For further details see the author's article "Yahveh and Manitou", The 
Monist, IX, p. 131. 




SAMSON'S LIFE. 

THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT. 

THE story of Samson is recorded in the Book of Judges 
(xiv-xvi) and it is translated by Professor Moore in 
the Polychrome Bible as follows : 



Samson's Marriage and what Followed. 

Samson went down to Timnath, and saw there a woman 
of the Philistines. When he went home he told his father 
and mother: ''I have seen at Timnath a woman of the 
Philistines; now, therefore, get her for me to be my wife/' 
But his father [and his mother]^ remonstrated with him: 
''Is there not a woman among the daughters of thy kins- 
men, or in all m}- people, that thou must go and take a 
wife among those uncircumcised Philistines?" 

But Samson answered his father: ''Get this woman 
for me; she pleases me." 

His father and mother did not know that this stirring 
was from Jhvh, because He was seeking a grievance 
against the Philistines. [At that time the Philistines ruled 

* The bracketed words are post-Exilic additions, according to Professor 
Moore. 



SAMSON S LIFE. 



^er Israel.] So Samson went down, [with his father 
mother,*] to Timnath; and when [they] came to the 




SAMSON AND THE LION. 



6016 



By Raphael. 



vineyards of Timnath, a fierce young Hon came roaring 
toward him. And the spirit of Jhvh came mightily upon 

* The story of the kilHng of the lion implies that Samson went down alone 
to his bride, which indicates that his father did not accompany him on the way. 



76 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

him, and he tore the Hon asunder as a man tears a kid; 
he had nothing whatever in his hands. [But he did not 
tell his father and mother what he had done.] Then he 
went down, and talked to the woman, and she was pleasing 
to Samson. When he returned, after a time, [to marry 
her,] he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion, and 
found a swarm of bees in the body of the lion, and honey. 
And he scraped. out the honey into his hands, and went 
on, eating as he went, and came to his father and mother, 
and gave some to them, and they ate; but he did not tell 
them that he had scraped the honey from the body of the 
lion. And [his father] went down to the woman; and 
Samson gave a feast there, for so bridegrooms used to do. 
And [when they saw him, they] took thirty comrades, and 
they were with him.^ 

And Samson said to them: ''I will propound to you a 
riddle; if ye can tell me what it is, during the seven days 
that the feast lasts, [and find it out,] I will give you thirty 
fine robes and thirty festival dresses. And if ye cannot 
tell me, then ye shall give me thirty fine robes and thirty 
festival dresses.'' 

They answered : "Propound your riddle, let us hear it V 

He said: 

"Out of the eater came something to eat, 
And out of the strong came something sweet." 

And they were not able to guess the riddle [for six 
days;] so [on the seventh day] they said to Samson's 
wife : "Cozen thy husband, and make him tell us the riddle, 
or we will burn thee and thy family. Didst thou invite 
us hither to impoverish us?" 

^The only possible understanding of the present text is, that when the 
Philistines saw how formidable Samson was (or according to Ixx, because 
they were afraid of him), they appointed thirty special guards to see that he 
did no mischief. In the original story, on the contrary, Samson chose thirty 
young Philistines as his companions to take the place which in an ordinary 
marriage would have been filled by his own kinsmen and friends. — G. F. Moore, 



SAMSON S LIFE. 



77 



So Samson's wife hung on him with tears, and said: 
Thou only hatest me, and dost not love me at all. Thou 




hast given a riddle to my countrymen, and hast not ex- 
plained it to me.'' 



78 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

He answered : "Lo, I have not told even my father and 
mother, and shall I tell thee?" 

But she hung on him weeping the seven days that they 
kept the feast ; and on the seventh day he told her, because 
she so beset him; and she told the riddle to her country- 
men. 

On the seventh day, before he entered the bridal cham- 
ber, the men of the town said to him: ''What is sweeter 
than honey? and what is stronger than a lion?'' 

He replied : 

''If with my heifer ye did not plough, 
Ye had not found out my riddle, I trow." 

Then the Spirit of Ihvh came mightily upon him and 
he zvent down to Ashkelon, and killed thirty of them, and 
took their spoil, and gave the festival dresses to those who 
had found out the riddle.'^ 

And he was very angry, and went away to his home. 
But Samson's bride was given to the comrade who had 
been his bridal companion. 

After a time, at the season of wheat harvest, Samson 
went to visit his wife, taking with him a kid. But when 
he was about to go into the inner apartment to his wife 
her father said to him : "I thought that thou must certainly 
hate her, so I gave her to thy friend ; but her younger sister 
is more beautiful than she; take her instead." 

Then Samson said to them: "In this case I shall not 
be to blame if I do the Philistines an injury." 

So Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and 
took torches, and turned the foxes tail to tail, and fastened 
a torch between every pair of tails, and set fire to the 
torches, and turned the foxes loose among the Philistines' 

*The italicized passage is considered by Professor Moore a later addi- 
tion. It interrupts the context and could easily be omitted. Professor Moore 
says: "Ashkelon is two days journey from Timnath, on the sea-coast. It has 
been conjectured, with much plausibility, that this raid is the afterthought of 
an editor to whom it seemed unbecoming that Samson should run away with- 
out paying a wager. It has no consequences in the following story." 



Samson's life. 79 

standing grain, and burned both the shock and the stand- 
ing grain, [and the vineyards and ohve trees]. 

When the PhiHstines inquired: "Who has done this?" 
they were told: ''Samson, the Timnathite's son-in-law; be- 
cause the Timnathite took Samson's wife, and gave her 
to Samson's friend." 

Then the Philistines went up and burned her and her 
father's family. 

And Samson said to them : "Since ye act thus, I swear 
I will be avenged on you ; and after that, I will leave ofif." 

So he smote them, hip and thigh, with great slaughter ; 
and went down, and stayed in the cleft of the Cliff Etam. 

Then the Philistines came up, and encamped in Judah, 
and made a raid upon Lehi. And when the people of 
Judah asked them: "Why have ye come up against us?" 
they said: "We have come to make Samson prisoner, to 
do to him as he has done to us." 

So three thousand men of Judah went down to the cleft 
of Cliff Etam, and said to Samson: "Dost thou not know 
that the Philistines rule over us? What is this that thou 
hast done to us?" 

He replied: "As they did to me I have done to them." 

Then they told him : "We have come down to make thee 
prisoner, and deliver thee to the Philistines;" and Samson 
said: "Swear to me that ye yourselves will not fall upon 
me." 

They said : "No ; but we will bind thee, and deliver thee 
to them; we will not put thee to death." 

So they bound him with two new ropes, and brought 
him up from the Cliff. 

Now when he reached Lehi the Philistines came to 
meet him with loud shouts, and the spirit of Jhvh came 
mightily upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms 
became like flax that has caught fire; his bonds melted 
from off his hands. And he found the fresh jaw-bone 



8o 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



of an ass, and reached out, and picked it up, and killed 
with it a thousand men. Then Samson said: 
"With the jaw-bone of an ass 
I assailed my assailants ; 
With the jaw-bone of an ass 
Have I slain a thousand men." 

After he had said this, he threw away the jaw-bone 
which he had in his hand ; thus the place came to be called 




SAMSON SLAYING THE PHILISTINES. 
By Schnorr von Karolsfeld. 



4996 



Ramath-lehi. And he was very thirsty, and called to 
Jhvh : ''Thou hast given thy servant this great victory, 
and shall I now die of thirst, and fall into the hands of the 
uncircumcised?" 

Then God cleft The Mortar which is in Lehi, and water 
flowed from it; and he drank, and his spirits revived. 



SAMSON S LIFE. 



8i 



I 



(Hence the spring, which is in Lehi to this day, got the 
name En-hakkore.) 

Samson judged Israel in the days of the Phihs- 
tines for twenty years.^ 

Samson Carries off the Gates of Gaza. 

Thence Samson went down to Gaza, and saw there a 
harlot, and went in to her. When the Gazeans were told 




SAMSON CARRIES OFF THE GATES OF GAZA. 



that Samson was come thither, [they went about, and lay 
in wait for him all night at the gate of the city, and] they 
kept still all night, saying: "Let us wait till the morning 
light, and then kill him." 

But Samson lay till midnight ; and then at midnight he 
rose, and laid hold of the doors of the city gate and the 

^ The indented passage is a Deuteronomic gloss. 



82 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

two gate-posts, and pulled them up, bar and all, and put 
them on his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of 
the hill which is in front of Hebron. 

Samson and Delilah. 

After this, Samson fell in love with a woman in the 
Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 

And the princes of the Philistines came to her, and 
said: ''Cozen him, and find out what makes his strength 
so great, and how we can cope with him, and bind him, 
to overpower him ; and we, on our part, will each give thee 
eleven hundred shekels of silver." 

So Delilah asked Samson : "Tell me, I pray thee, what 
makes thy strength so great, and how couldst thou be 
bound to overpower thee?'' 

Samson answered: 'If men should bind me with seven 
new bowstrings which have not been dried, my strength 
would leave me, and I should be like any other man.'' 

Then the princes of the Philistines brought her seven 
new bowstrings which had not been dried, and she bound 
him with them. She had the men waiting in concealment 
in the inner apartment. Then she said to him : "The Phil- 
istines are upon thee, Samson !" But he snapped the bow- 
strings as a strand of tbw snaps at the breath of fire; so 
the secret of his strength was not discovered. 

Thereupon Delilah said to Samson: "Lo, thou hast 
cheated me, and told me falsehoods; now tell me where- 
with thou canst be bound." 

He answered: 'Tf men should bind me fast with new 
ropes wherewith no work has been done, my strength 
would leave me, and I should be like any other man." 

So Delilah took new ropes, and bound him with them ; 
and said to him : "The Philistines are upon thee, Samson !" 
(Now the men were lying in wait in the inner apartment.) 
But he snapped the ropes ofT from his arms like thread. 



SAMSON S LIFE. 



83 



^■heated me, and told me falsehoods; tell me wherewith 
thou canst be bound." 




SAMSON AND DELILAH. 
By Dore. 



4972 



And he said to her : "If thou shouldst weave the seven 
braids of my hair into the web, and beat it up with the pin, 



84 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



my strength would leave me, and I should be like any other 
man." 

So while he was asleep Delilah took the seven braids 
of his hair, and wove them into the web, and beat it up with 
the pin. Then she said to him : ''The Philistines are upon 
thee, Samson !" And he started from his sleep, and pulled 
up the loom with the web. 




DELILAH S TREACHERY. 
By Schnorr von Karolsfeld. 



Then she said to him: ''How canst thou say: 'I love 
thee,' when thou dost not confide in me? Three times now 
thou hast cheated me, and hast not told me what makes 
thy strength so great." 

And as she beset him every day with her importunities, 
and pressed him hard, he grew tired to death of it, and 



I 



Samson's life. 85 



told her his whole secret; and said to her: "A razor has 
never come near my head, for from my birth I have been 
. a religious votary; if my head vv^ere shaved, my strength 

Ivould depart from me, and I should become v^eak, and 
ike the rest of men." 
When Delilah saw^ that he had told her his whole se- 
:ret, she sent a message, and summoned the princes of the 
Philistines, saying: "Come, this once; for he has told me 
his whole secret." So the princes of the Philistines came 
to her, bringing the money with them. 

And she put Samson to sleep in her lap, and called 
a man who shaved off the seven braids of his hair; and 
he began to be brought under, and his strength departed 
from him. Then she said : "The Philistines are upon thee, 
Samson!" and he awoke from his sleep, and said to him- 
self: "I shall get off as I have done time and time again, 
and shake myself free;" for he did not know that Jhvpi 
had departed from him. 

Then the Philistines seized him and bored out his eyes, 
and took him down to Gaza, and made him fast with 
shackles, and he was set to turning the mill in the prison. 
But his hair began to grow again after it had been shaved 
off. 

The princes of the Philistines came together at Gaza 
to offer a sacrifice to their god Dagon, and to hold festiv- 
ities ; for they said : "Our god has given our enemy, Sam- 
son, into our power." 

And when the people saw him they set up a shout in 
honor of their god ; for they said : "Our god has given into 
our power our enemy, who devastated our fields, and slew 
many of us." And when they were in high spirits, they 
commanded: "Call Samson, that he may make sport for 
us." So they called Samson from the prison, and he made 
sport before them. 

And they placed him between the columns. Then Sam- 



86 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 




MADE FAST WITH SHACKLES. 

By Max Klein. 



I 



SAMSON S LIFE. 



87 



son said to the attendant who led him by the hand: 'Tlace 
me where I can feel the columns by which the house is 
supported, that I may lean against them/' 




SAMSON S DEATH 

By Dore. 



4971 



Now the house was full of the men and women; and 
all the princes of the Philistines were there; [while on the 



88 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

roof were about three thousand men and women,] who 
were looking on while Samson made sport. 

Then Samson prayed to Jhvh : ''O Lord Jhvh, re- 
member me, I beseech Thee, and give me strength onlv 
this once, O God, that I may avenge myself on the Phil- 
istines for one of my two eyes." 

Then Samson grasped the two middle columns by 
which the house was supported, and leaned his weight 
upon them, one with his right hand and the other with his 
left. And Samson said: 'Tet me die with the, Philistines." 

Then he bowed with all his might, and the house fell 
on the princes and on all the people that were in it ; so that 
those whom he killed at his death were more than those 
whom he had killed during his life. His brothers and all 
his father's family came down and took him up, and went 
up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol, in the 
tomb of his father Manoah. [He had judged Israel twenty 
years.] 



SAMSON'S ADVENTURES. 

THE TWELVE LABORS. 




1273 



CCORDING to Dr. Gustav Roskoff (he. cit., pp. 22- 
30) the twelve labors of Samson are as follows: 

1. He kills a lion with his hands. It is characteristic 
►f Samson as well as of Izdubar, the Babylonian solar 
lero, and also of Heracles, that the lion is slain without 
the use of any weapon. 

2. At his marriage at Timnath he proposes a riddle, 
md incidentally slays thirty Philistines at Ascalon. 

3. He catches three hundred foxes and chases them 
ith firebrands through the fields of the Philistines. 

4. The Philistines burn his wife and his father-in-law's 
^hole family which induces him to make great slaughter 

imong them, whereupon he flees into the mountains of 
fudah and hides in the cleft of the Cliff Etam. 

5. Samson is bound by the men of Judah and delivered 
to the Philistines who take him to Lehi, but "the ropes on 

lis arms became like flax that has caught fire." 

6. Samson picks up the jawbone of an ass and kills 
multitudes of his enemies. 

7. Being overcome with thirst he prays for water and 
a spring breaks forth from the ass's jawbone. 



QO THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

8. When visiting a woman at Gaza, he escapes the 
ambush of the Phihstines by rising at midnight and carry- 
ing with him the two doors of the city gate, which he 
plants upon the hill which is in front of Hebron. 

9. Now he became entangled with Delilah. The treach- 
erous woman bound him with seven new bowstrings, but 
when the Philistines came upon him ''he snapped the bow- 
strings as a strand of tow snaps at the breath of fire." 

10. Thereupon Delilah bound him with seven new 
ropes, but he "snapped the ropes off from his arms like 
thread." 

11. Delilah weaves the seven braids of his hair into 
the web of her loom, but he pulled up the loom with the 
web and escaped the third time. 

12. Finally Samson betrays the secret of his strength, 
and Delilah had the seven braids of his hair shaved; he 
was taken prisoner and blinded. But when his hair had 
grown again his strength returned and enabled him to 
break down the two pillars of the Dagon temple by which 
deed he buried himself with multitudes of his enemies 
under the ruins of the edifice. 

We do not lay much stress upon this division of Sam- 
son's career into twelve adventures which would make 
their number agree with the twelve labors of Heracles 
and the twelve months of the year, but it is remarkable 
enough that this proposition is made by Roskoff who is 
so conservative as to be the main authority for the histo- 
ricity of the Samson story. 

THE LION AND THE BEE. 

Some features of Samson's adventures are noteworthy. 
The lion symbolizes the heat of the sun and is but another 
symbol of the sun-god himself, but the mollification of the 
solar heat is attributed to the sun-god, and so he is cele- 
brated as the slayer of the lion. 



SAMSON S ADVENTURES. 



91 



^Hiion has proved a puzzle to all who still believe in literal 
inspiration. Bees will never make their habitation in dead 
animals and the form of the riddle indicates that the text 
has been greatly corrupted. The riddle is not a question 
but a statement — a positive proposition. It reads: 

"Out of the eater comes something to eat ; 
And out of the sour^ one comes something sweet." 



And the answer is stated in the form of a question, 



thus 





MITHRAIC PLAOUE.- 



"What is sweeter than honey, and 
What is more sour^ than a lion ?" 

It can only be regarded as a solution by doing violence 
to the meaning. The connection between the bee and the 
lion must have been known to the audience to whom the 
riddle was proposed, and so the very impossibility of the 
fact as a real event of life must have added to the interest 
of the solution. 

There is an ancient Mithraic plaque representing a 
lion with a bee in his mouth and the simple explanation 
of it may be nothing more nor less than that the bees pro- 

' "Sour" or "strong." 

^ The obverse of the medal shows Mithra between Castor and Pollux ; 
above his head the raven and other Mithraic symbols. Underneath, the altar 
with the sacramental bread, the cup of the eucharist, the fish, the dove, etc. 
The reverse shows in the center a lion with a bee in his mouth. He is sur- 
rounded by seven stars with illegible inscriptions. 



92 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

duce honey in the lion, i. e., the month when the sun stands 
in the sign of Leo. Thus it would be quite plausible for 
an ancient riddle to propound the paradox, ''When or 
where can honey be found in a lion?'' And the answer, 
alluding to the deed of the sun-god, would be: "In the 
month of the slain lion." Accordingly the strange thing 
comes to pass that 

"Out of the eater comes something to eat ; 
And out of the sour one comes something sweet." 

That the original meaning of the riddle has been ob- 
literated in the Samson story is but natural when we con- 
sider the redactor's tendency to cut out mythological ref- 
erences. 



THE FOXES WITH FIREBRANDS. 

The story of the three hundred foxes appears in its 
true light when we consider it as a parallel to the Roman 
custom of chasing foxes with firebrands through the circus 
on the festival of Ceres, an ancient patrician ceremony 
which, however, was so popular that it had been customary 
for the plebeians to take part in it as guests. On the main 
day (according to Preller, April 19) small gifts were 
thrown among the crowds, usually eatables, among which 
nuts are specially mentioned. There were no horse races, 
but red foxes with firebrands tied to their tails were chased 
through the arena. It is understood that they signified 
the cereal disease of robigo, for the word means "red fox," 
as well as the red blight of wheat. 

Ovid (Festi IV, 679 f.) tells the story of a peasant of 
Carseoli which is intended to explain the origin of the 
custom. A rustic couple had a son of about twelve years 
who caught a fox that had frequently stolen hens. The 
boy wrapped him in straw and hay and set fire to it. The 



SAMSON S ADVENTURES. 93 

[fox managed to escape and retreated into the wheat fields-, 
igniting the whole harvest. Thereupon a law was passed 
that every captured fox should be killed and the foxes were 
punished in the Cerealia as above mentioned.^ 

We cannot doubt that this coincidence between Sam- 
son's foxes with fire-brands and their Roman counterparts 
is not accidental, but both are distant echoes of a most 
primitive notion which in other parts of the world has 
been lost. 

SEMELE AND DIDO. 

It is not uncommon in ancient mythology for brides of 
solar heroes to be burned in fire ; so Semele, illustrated p. 
1 1 6, dies in the awful presence of Zeus. And if Samson's 
wife is burned together with her father's family, it is quite 
in keeping with the general character of our myth how- 
ever improbable it might be in a historical story. 

We have repeatedly mentioned ^neas as one of the 
solar heroes, and will say that evidence of his character 
is found not only in the fact that he is the son of Venus, 
nor in his migration over the whole world, nor alone in 
his descent into Orcus, the realm of the dead, but also in 
that particular incident of having a bride who dies in the 
fire as a holocaust When ^neas comes to Carthage he 
falls in love with Dido, but at a divine command he leaves 
her, which causes her in her despair to commit suicide, 
and burn herself on the pyre as a victim of her love. 

Virgil's version of the death of Dido is a comparatively 
late modification of an older legend, alluded to by the his- 
torian Timseus and by Justinus,^ according to which Dido 

' For detailed references and further information of kindred practices 
especially the worship of Robigo in the grove of Robigo, also the Boeotian 
story of the dog Kephalos and the Tetimessian fox, and the Roman custom 
of sacrificing young dogs of red color at the time of the dog-star on the road 
to Nomentum, see L. Preller's Romische Mythologie, 3rd edition by H. Jor- 
dan, Berlin, 1883, Vol. II, pp. 43 ff. 

^Fragm. Hist. Gr., ed. Mueller, I, 197; and Justinus XVIII, 6. Compare 
W. R. Smith's Religion of the Semites, (London, 1901), p. 374. 



94 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 




DIDO ON THE PYRE. 
By Ferd. Keller. 






SAMSON S ADVENTURES. 95 



acrifices herself for her husband Sicharbas. Prof. G. 
Hoffmann (in his Phoenicische Inschriften,^. 2,2 1.) points 
out that she is the goddess Tanith, the consort of Baal, 
and the word Sicharbas is the Phoenician Sichar baal. The 
word Sichar corresponds to the Hebrew dzecher^ which 
means "commemoration." 

There is a whole class of legends on solar brides of 
which the story of Semiramis it typical. Like all these 
fantastic traditions, it is a myth that has been localized 
and by being transferred to an historical person changed 
into saga. The original form of the myth is still preserved 
in the tales of the death of Astarte at Aphaca and the 
suicide of Aphrodite, who after the death of Adonis threw 
herself dow^n from the Leucadian promontory.^ 

SAMSON IN HIDING. 

Steinthal calls attention to the fact that Apollo after 
having slain the dragon seeks refuge in flight, and Indra 
does the same after he has slain the monster Vritra. He 
also maintains that El, the highest Semitic God, must hide, 
and in the Samson legend we read that the hero in spite 
of his great victory over the Philistines flies and hides in 
the cleft at Etam (Chap. xv. 8). Steinthal regards this 
motif as a common trait of solar legends and explains 
it as due to the observation that after a storm which ap- 
pears to be like a struggle between two powers of nature, 
a calm sets in, and this calm is interpreted to mean that 
the hero after his victory, retires and hides in some cleft 
or cave. 

Steinthal's explanation does not appeal to us. Like 
some other theories of his it is far-fetched, and even if 
he were right, we think that in the Samson legend his 

' Ptol. Nov. Hist., VII, p. 198. Cf. W. R. Smith's Religion of the Scm- 
ii^s, p. 375. 



96 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

hiding is not, as Steinthal claims, without sufficient motive. 
The PhiHstines were the masters of the country, and it 
was but the duty of the authorities to search for the bold 
murderer who, without sufficient provocation, had slain 
thirty men at Ascalon and still continued by indiscriminate 
slaughter to make the highways unsafe. The fact, how- 
ever, remains that Samson hides — an event which is not 
uncommon in the career of solar heroes. 

We must assume that when the Samson story reached 
its final form, the solar character of the hero had alreadv 
been lost sight of, and so we can not expect that the details 
of Samson's adventures should be parallel to definite phe- 
nomena in the sun's course. But if we seek for an explana- 
tion of Samson's hiding, we would suggest that the sun 
hides behind the clouds, and the event takes place after an 
unusual heat, which means that the sun-god has emptied 
his quiver of arrows against his enemies. We note further 
that the hidden sun-god is supposed to be vanquished by 
his pursuers, but he bursts out on them with unexpected 
ferocity in a thunderstorm, and it is peculiar that in this 
special instance the sun-god is identified with the god of 
thunderstorms, a peculiarity which is most assuredly veri- 
fied in the Samson legend, for when Samson is taken 
prisoner by the Philistines, he picks up the jaw-bone of 
an ass and slays a thousand of his foes. 

THE JAW-BONE OF AN ASS. 

The story of the jaw-bone of the ass has been localized, 
and it appears that a certain rock formation has been 
called Ramath-Lehi, i. e., ''The Hill of the Jaw-Bone." 
The Hebrew narrator changes it to Ramah Lehi which 
means "he threw away the jaw-bone," saying that here 
Samson dropped his weapon. 

It is noteworthy that the name "ass's jaw-bone" in 



SAMSON S ADVENTURES. 



97 



Greek (i. e., Onugnathos^) is given to a promontory at 
the southern end of Laconia as Strabo informs us, (VIII, 
5 J i> P- 353)5 and we may assume that here, too, the name 
refers to the deed of some ancient hero now forgotten. 
Jaw-bones, and especially the jaw-bones of asses (for 



ie\ 




PERSEUS WITH MEDUSA'S HEAD. 



horses were not yet domesticated) were used in the paleo- 
lithic ages as weapons, and their form seems to have been 
retained for a while in the age of bronze, before the inven- 
tion of the sword; for it is not improbable that the so- 
called "sickle-sword" of the ancient dragon-killers Bel 

* ovovypados. 



98 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



Merodach and Perseus is but the primitive jaw-bone 
weapon made of bronze. 

In the ancient bas-reHefs Bel Merodach makes his on- 
slaught on Tiamat with thunderbolts, while a falchion 
(from the Latin fair i. e. sickle) dangles down on his back. 




BEL MERODACH FIGHTING TIAMAT WITH SICKLE SWORD. 




BEL MERODACH FIGHTING TIAMAT WITH THUNDERBOLTS. 



In Table IV of the Creation story this falchion or sickle 
sword is expressly mentioned in lines 35 ff. where the 
armament of the god is described. The passage in ques- 
tion reads as follows:* 

* Compare the author's article "The Fairy Tale Element in the Bible," 
The Monist, XI, 405, 500. 



SAMSON S ADVENTURES. 



99 



'He made ready a bow, 
Prepared it for a weapon, 
He armed himself with a falchion, 
Attaching it [to his belt] ; 
He took the god-weapon,^ 
His right hand seizing it. 
Bow and quiver, 
He hung at his side. 
He caused a lightning-flash 
To precede him, 
Whose interior he filled 
With shooting flames." 





KRONOS WITH A SICKLE-SWORD. SILVANUS WITH SICKLE. 



When speaking of sickle-swords we must consider that 
the ancient sickle was shaped exactly like a jaw-bone as 
may be seen for instance in the ancient representations of 
Silvanus whose common symbols are a sickle and a cypress 
branch. Later on both sickles and sickle-swords are re- 
placed by instruments bearing the shape of a modern 
sickle. 

' Presumably lightning. 



lOO 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



Kronos, the most ancient among the gods, is also rep- 
resented with a sickle-sword in his hand, and in the more 




WATER FLOWING FROM THE JAW-BONE. 
By Guido Reni. 



archaic statues this sickle-sword, too, bears a strong re- 
semblance to the ass's jaw-bone. If these data can be 



SAMSON S ADVENTURES. lOI 



I lied upon, we may fairly well assume that among some 
the primitive folks, the sun-god's weapon was an ass's 
w-bone which accordingly would have to be identified 
with the thunderbolt. 

Our explanation is further verified by one significant 
detail of the story which associates the jaw-bone closely 
with gushing waters. If the jaw-bone is the thunderbolt, 
we must expect that after its use there will be rain, and 
Guido Reni with his fine artistic sentiment still feels this 
interpretation when in his picture of Samson quenching 
his thirst from the drink that came from the jaw-bone he 
represents the water as rushing down from above, the hero 
holding the jaw-bone high above his head. 

The Biblical story tells us of a fervid prayer of Samson 
which, being poetical in its wording, may be a quotation 
from an older version. But we may well assume that ac- 
cording to the ancient interpretation it must be regarded 
not in our modern sense of an orison but as a magic spell. 

When the legend was localized, a spring in the hollow 
place of the Rock of the Jaw-bone was pointed out as the 
water which had come forth in answer to the prayer of 
the exhausted hero. 

Diodorus Siculus (IV, 22) tells us that when Heracles 
wandered from Pelorias to Eryx, the nymphs on the road 
made the warm springs Himerea and Egestsea gush forth 
for his refreshment. 

Before we proceed we will mention that Samson's 
shout of triumph concerning his successful slaughter con- 
tains a pun which renders the original almost untrans- 
latable. The word khamor means both "ass" and "heap," 
and he exclaims at the height of his triumph: 



I02 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

"With the jaw-bone of the khamor (ass) 
A khamor (heap), two khamor s (heaps) 
With the jaw-bone of the khamor (ass) 
I slew a thousand men." 

It is interesting to see how translators have tried to 
reproduce the pun. A German scholar, E. Meier, trans- 
lates as follows: 

"Mit dem Backen des Packeseh 
Ein Pack, zwei Pack, 
Mit dem Backen des Pac^esels 
Erschlug ich tausend Mann." 

Professor G. F. Moore in the translation in the Poly- 
chrome Bible, translates the same passage very ingeni- 
ously as follows : 

"With the jaw-bone of an ass 
I a.y.failed my a.?^ailants,^ 
With the jaw-bone of an ass 
Have I slain a thousand men." 

The well is called en haqqore,^ the ''spring of the crier,'' 
which latter means ''partridge" and is also an epithet of 
the ass. His formidable braying is considered prophetic 
in folklore traditions, and this belief is extended to the 
neighing of the horse, an animal which supplants the ass 
though it does not appear in the history of the Orient until 
later. We remember that according to Herodotus, Darius 
was* created king on account of the neighing of his horse. 
In Bible folklore, Balaam's she-ass was endowed with 
the gift of prophecy and there are scattered traditions 
still extant which prove that Yahveh as well as the war 
god Seth of the Semitic invaders in lower Egypt was ass- 
headed. 

" The first and second lines would be more literal as follows : 
"With the jaw-bone of an ass 
Fm ma.yjing them in ma^^es." 
^^^1'(^D The word is also transliterated hakkore; but the k-sound is 
sharp and is commonly transcribed q. 



SAMSON S ADVENTURES. 



103 



A remarkable scrawl on the walls of the ancient Cae- 
sarian palace on Mount Palatine has been discovered which 
represents an ass-headed deity on the cross, commonly as- 




DONKEY-HEADED GOD ON THE CROSS. 
Commonly called "Spottcrucifix." 



sumed to be drawn in ridicule of the slave Alexamenos 
whose inscription it bears ; hence the name ''S pott crucifix" 
from the German spotten, ''to scoff." However, in con- 



I04 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



nection with leaden tablets containing incantations and 
curses which show similar pictures of ass-headed deities, 
it has become probable that the ''Spottcrucifix" was seri- 
ously meant and represents the faith of the pagan-Chris- 
tian sect of Sethites. Tacitus (Hist. V, 4) informs us 
that the Jews worshiped the ass, and Epiphanius quotes 
the genealogy of Mary in which the God of the Jews is 
spoken of as ass-headed, not in derision, but as a matter 
of fact. 

Prof. W. Robertson Smith makes the following com- 
ments on the ass as a sacrificial animal among the Sem- 
ites i*^ 



HJ 





449 



SETH. 



SETH AND ANUBIS. 



"The wild ass was eaten by the Arabs, and must have 
been eaten with a religious intention, since its flesh was for- 
bidden to his converts by Simeon the Stylite. Conversely, 
among the Harranians the ass was forbidden food, like the 
swine and the dog ; but there is no evidence that, like these 
animals, it was sacrificed or eaten in exceptional mysteries. 
Yet when we find one section of Semites forbidden to eat 
the ass, while another section eats it in a way which to 
Christians appears idolatrous, the presumption that the 
animal was anciently sacred becomes very strong. An 
actual ass-sacrifice appears in Egypt in the worship of 
Typhon (Set or Sutech), who was the chief god of the 

' The Religion of the Semites, (1901), p. 468. 



SAMSON S ADVENTURES. 



105 



Semites in Egypt, though Egyptologists doubt whether 
le was originally a Semitic god. The ass was a Typhonic 
inimal and in certain religious ceremonies the people of 
'optus sacrificed asses by casting them down a precipice, 
hile those of Lycopolis, in two of their annual feasts, 
stamped the figure of a bound ass on their sacrificial 
:akes (Plut., Is. et Os. § 30).'' 

"The old clan-name Hamor ("he-ass") among the 
lanaanites in Shechem, seems to confirm the view that the 




DIONYSUS ON THE ASS. 
Antique terra cotta of Attica. 



2709 



ass was sacred with some of the Semites; and the fables 
of ass- worship among the Jews (on which compare Bo- 
chart, Hierozoicon, I. ii. 18) probably took their rise, like 
so many other false statements of a similar kind in a con- 
fusion between the Jews and their heathen neighbors." 

The ass was sacred to Dionysus who is represented 
in many antique pictures and bas reliefs as coming to man- 
kind surrounded by his merry followers riding on a donkey. 



io6 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



The same trait is also, and not without special emphasis, 
told of Christ's triumphal entrance into Jerusalem. 

In the Christian church of Southern France in medi- 
aeval times the ass was treated with particular regard and 
a special mass was celebrated in his honor. Instead of 




CHRIST S ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM. ^^^^ 

saying Amen the congregation brayed the responses, and 

at the end a hymn was sung which begins with the words : 

"Orientis partibus 

Adventavit Asinus."^ 

^For details see the author's article on "Anubis, Seth, and Christ, the 
Significance of the Spottcrucifix," The Open Court, XV, 65 ff. 



SAMSON S ADVENTURES. 



107 



t There are many ancient scrawls extant in which a 
onkey-headed deity is represented. The ass or the crier 
^as (according to Plutarch) sacred to Seth on account 
- of the reddish color which is common in the Oriental 
species. 

THE GATES OF GAZA. 

It is an ancient Babylonian notion that the sun-god 
enters the inhabited world in the morning through two 



^ 






J 




J J' 4 


£ 




; ; » -f 



THE GATES OF HEAVEN OPENED TO SHAMASH. 



2025 




THE BABYLONIAN PROTOTYPE OF THE PILLARS OF HERACLES. ''^^ 



pillars which accordingly are erected in every Semitic 
temple. Even in the temple at Jerusalem the two brazen 
pillars were never missing, although their meaning had 
in later times been entirely lost sight of. To Phoenician 
sailors it was quite natural that the two rocks at the strait 



I08 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

of Gibraltar should be considered as the two pillars of 
Melkarth through which the sun was supposed to pass 
on his descent into the underworld. It is again Diodorus 
who tells us (IV, 3) that Heracles put up the two moun- 
tains at the end of the Mediterranean which have, accord- 
ingly, been called after him the 'Tillars of Hercules," 
down to Tarik's time,^ and should the question arise, How- 
is it possible that the two pillars in the east are found 
also in the west, or that the pillars in the west should 
also be found in the east, the answer suggests itself that in 
the night the sun-god had carried them from one place 
to the other. In this way Samson's peculiarly unpractical 
joke finds a natural explanation, if regarded as a mythical 
event. 

THE WEB OF DELILAH. 

The accounts that Samson was bound and that he freed 
himself as if by the heat of fire are easily explained as in- 
cidents of a solar myth. Nature is ice-bound in winter, 
but with the awakening of spring the fetters melt away. 
The bmding is repeated, for during the fall months the 
inroads of winter become more and more serious. The 
hero frees himself three times before he is permanently 
fettered. 

When Delilah tried to bind her lover, Samson said to 
her : 'Tf thou shouldst weave the seven braids of my hair 
into the web and beat it up with the pin my strength 
would leave me." And she applied this method, but Sam- 
son "pulled up the loom with the web" — and we may add 
that Delilah's web was torn and flew all over the fields. 
If we remember that Delilah (like Samson) is a mythical 
figure and that the threads of her loom are to be woven 
into the rays of the sun, we shall at once find the proper 
explanation of the web which can be nothing else than the 

^ The present name Gebr al Tarik, or Gibraltar, means "Rock of Tarik." 



SAMSON S ADVENTURES. 



109 



gossamer of autumn. Gossamer is also called Mary's yarn, 
and though the original meaning of the word is lost, we 
still know, that it has something to do with the web of some 
pagan goddess, or fairy. When the gossamer flies over 
the field we know that winter is near. It is the last snare 
that the sun-god has broken and torn to tatters. The 
enchantress will now shear his locks and then his strength 
will be gone. 

SAMSON'S SEVEN BRAIDS. 

Nothing can be more suggestive of Samson's solar 
character than the loss of his strength. The hair of the 





SUN-GOD WITH SEVEN-RAYED HALO. 
Mithraic Monument and Etruscan Wall- Painting. 

sun-god is commonly interpreted to be the rays of light 
that surround the sun, and Apollo is called by Homer (II, 
XX, 39) ''he of unshorn hair," which translated into 
Hebrew would mean the Nazir. Samson's hair is put up 
in seven braids in the style of the sun-god who in one of 
the Mithraic monuments (reproduced by Cumont, Textes 
et Monuments, p. 202) is represented with seven rays, 
characterizing the mysterious power of the seven planet- 
ary gods. The loss of Samson's strength is due to the 



no THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

fact that he is deprived of his hair. The name of the 
traitress DeHlah is symbohcal and means ''the weakening 
or debihtating one." Finally Samson is blinded, (the sun 
loses his light), and when he dies he stands between the 
two pillars of sunset, at Gaza, the most western city in 
Danite geography. 

THE ONE-EYED ONE. 

We know that the German god Wodan had one eye 
only, because there is only one sun in the heavens, and we 
are told in Teutonic mythology that Wodan had pawned 
his other eye to Mimer, the god of water. The second 
eye of Wodan is the reflection of the sun in the ocean. 
In consideration of the fact that the sun is the one-eyed 
god, it is noteworthy that the dying Samson exclaims: 
"I will avenge myself on the Philistines for one of my 
two eyes." The authorized version ignores this feature 
and translates "for my tw^o eyes," and the current inter- 
pretation of 'Hebrew scholars (as stated by Professor 
Moore in the Polychrome Bible) is the idea that *'the de- 
struction of all these Philistines could be but a partial 
retaliation" which, if this interpretation were admissible, 
would only add to the unsatisfactory character of the con- 
clusion of the Samson story. We believe that the original 
story knew a reason why Samson was one-eyed and the 
last prayer of Samson, which is a piece of poetry, must be 
regarded as a quotation from an ancient epic representing 
a more primitive tradition. Samson's prayer reads as 
follows : 



"Adonai Yahveh 


mn^ ^rns 


Remember me 


>^.^ 'm 


And strengthen me. 


n: ^;m 


Yea ! once more now ; 


T^n crsn T]K 


Elohim 1 


^^m^ 



SAMSON S ADVENTURES. 



Ill 



And I wreak vengeance "Dp^ '^^l?^^'l 

For one of my two eyes ^'^.V. T.*^'^ rn>$ 

On the Philistines." JCT'f??^ 

'he poetical fervor of this passage, especially the 
^me, Zakreni na ve hazqeni na, so rare in Hebrew lit- 
jrature, has been most happily imitated by E. Meyer, 
'hose version runs thus: 




SAMSON S DEATH. 
By Schnorr von Karolsfeld. 



5049 



"O merke mich doch, 
Und Starke mich doch 
Nur diesmal noch, 
O du mein Gott ! 
Damit ich nehme 
Auf einmal Rache 
Fiir meine zwei Augen 
An den PhiHstern !" 



112 ^ THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

It is, however, barely permissible for Meyer to trans- 
late the word rinj< which means "one," by auf einmal in the 
sense of "all at once" whereby he avoids the difficulty of 
a literal rendering, implying that Samson takes revenge 
"for one of his two eyes." 

SAMSON'S DEATH. 

The death of Heracles and also of Melkarth is repre- 
sented as a suicide which is regarded as a self-sacrifice, 
and the same is true of Samson. He goes to death volun- 
tarily, breaking down the temple of Dagon with the in- 
tention of slaying with him a great number of the oppres- 
sors of his people. He knew that the edifice was filled with 
the lords of the Philistines, and it is expressly stated that 
on the roof alone there were three thousand men and 
women. The tacit implication is that the Philistines were 
weakened to such an extent that although the Israelites 
had not been freed, the Gentile authorities could no longer 
suppress them as mightily as before, and so it was fulfilled 
that Samson should "begin to deliver Israel out of the 
hand of the Philistines." 




4212 



SOLAR MYTHS. 

MYTHICAL TRAITS OF THE SAMSON STORY. 

ONE reason which suggests the idea that in the Sam- 
son myth we are confronted with a reHc of some 
ancient pagan tradition, is found in the obvious and un- 
deniable discrepancy of the general character and tone 
of the story with the puritan spirit of later Judaism that 
otherwise prevails in the Old Testament. 

The story of Samson is neither refined nor moral, so 
that even orthodox people will have to confess that it is 
out of harmony with the general tenor of Biblical tradi- 
tions. It is full of boisterous fun, and a critical reader 
feels that the Deuteronomic redactor of the Bible was 
obviously too sober and too serious to appreciate its humor. 
But the story appears to have been too popular among the 
Israelites to be overlooked or suppressed by the priestly 
censors who had to admit it to the canon, and they may 
have suffered it mainly on account of the religious back- 
ground which, though tinged with old superstitions, ex- 
hibits confidence in the power of Yahveh. 

Some adventures (the story of the foxes and the re- 
peated slaughter of Philistines) indicate that the tale origi- 
nated among herdsmen who were hostile to the farmers 
of the country and also full of spite against the established 



114 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

authorities. The style, though vigorous and poetical, is 
at times positively vulgar, and the puns (Ramath Lehi, 
haqqore, and khamor) are poor. 

While the hero's character is objectionable for more 
than one reason and can scarcely be considered religious, 
assuredly not moral, the role of Yahveh in the story indi- 
cates that according to the people among whom the tale 
was current he was not a great and dignified God, and 
still less the creator and ruler of the world; but a kind 
of demon, or occult power or spell that, not unlike the 
genii of Aladdin, obeyed certain magic tricks. Yahveh 
comes over Samson in fits just as an attack of frenzy 
seizes Heracles, or as a blind fury takes possession of the 
Northern berserker; and in this condition the hero be- 
comes miraculously irresistible. When Samson's locks 
are shorn, Yahveh no longer comes over him, just as the 
genii cease to appear when a wrong lamp is substituted 
for the magic lamp. The external and magical cause of 
Yahveh's appearance is so out of place in a book which 
has been edited by the priests of a purified monotheism, 
that it is impossible to judge the story from any other 
point of view except that it is saturated with pagan tra- 
ditions. 

THE NUMBERS SEVEN, THIRTY, AND TWELVE. 

The ancient Hebrews were not of a mathematical turn 
of mind, and so the significance of numbers, so well under- 
stood in Babylon, was little heeded in Palestine. The 
more noteworthy is the preservation of such figures as 
thirty, the number of days in a month, and seven the 
number of days in a week, which occur repeatedly in 
our narrative. There are thirty comrades given to Sam- 
son at his wedding, the wager of the riddle is for thirty 
fine dresses, and he kills thirty Philistines at Ascalon. 




SOLAR MYTHS. 



115 



urther Delilah has Samson bound with seven bow- 
strings, and he wears seven braids of hair. 

That Samson's adventures can be classed in a group 
of twelve, as Roskoff has done, is noteworthy but may 




THE TWELVE LABORS OF HERACLES, 



148 



be accidental, and so this point is too uncertain to be used 
as an argument. 

The number twelve is of a general significance in the 
Orient and occurs in many similar connections. There 



ii6 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



are twelve tribes of the children of Israel, and the number 
in the enumerations is constant although the names are 
not always the same. The tribe of Dan is sometimes re- 
placed by another name. There are twelve prophets and 
twelve disciples of Christ. The zodiac is divided into 
twelve signs, and the day is measured by twelve double- 
hours. The sacredness of the number twelve is due, partly 
to its arithmetical advantages, viz., its divisibility by two, 





DEATH TAKING AWAY SEMELE 

WITH THE THUNDERBOLT 

OF ZEUS. 

Etruscan glass. 




MELKARTH OF THE 
PHOENICIANS. 



HERACLES ENTERING THE 
DRAGON o 



three and four, and undoubtedly also to the fact that twelve 
is the number of months in the year. For this reason the 
recurrent events of the year have naturally been conceived 
as twelve adventures of the solar hero. But the farther 
a story travels the more do the people lose sight of its orig- 
inal significance, and so the deeds of Heracles reflect no 
longer the sun's w^ork in the successive months of the 



SOLAR MYTHS. 



117 



year. The myth has changed into a loosely interconnected 
series of incidents and deeds of valor ; and the same is true 
of Samson. Local coloring (perhaps real events of actual 
men) overgrows the original myth and modifies it until it 
loses its mythological character and becomes saga or leg- 
end. 

THE LION AND THE DRAGON. 

Among the twelve labors of Heracles we have one, 
consisting in the killing of a lion, which is common to all 




LION-KILLING HERO OF KHORSABAD. 



1366 



solar heroes of the Semites; and it is certainly not acci- 
dental that the Tyrian Melkarth and the Babylonian Izdu- 
bar are represented as tearing a lion in two and killing 
him without a weapon, merely with their hands, just as 
Samson does in the BibHcal story. In Greece the lion's 
skin is the typical dress of Heracles. 

Northern solar heroes fight a monster or a dragon, the 
symbol of swamps and fogs. This is instanced in the Beo- 
wulf legend, in the Siegfried Story, and in the fight of 
Thor with the serpent Jormungander. But in the Samson 



ii8 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



Story the fight with a dragon is missing, which may be 
regarded as an evidence of its ancient date. It is an indi- 
cation that the BibHcal tale is purely Semitic and unin- 
fluenced by Aryan thought. 

The Greek Heracles may originally have been an 
Aryan solar hero, a Siegfried, whose character was modi- 
fied by the importation of Semitic features ; or he may have 




SIEGFRIED AND THE DRAGON. 



been the Semitic solar hero who became thoroughly Hel- 
lenized in Greece. Every one of these solar heroes has be- 
come a typical exponent of the nation to which he belongs, 
and so Samson remains a genuine Hebrew figure, yet he 
typifies the archaic and prehistoric age, not the more civi- 
lized period of later Judaism with its purer faith and 
higher morality. 

As Heracles is (or has become) a typical Greek hero, 



SOLAR MYTHS. II9 

SO the story of Samson has been thoroughly locaHzed 
among the IsraeHtes, and we may assmiie that it was ab- 
original, but if not, it must have been imported at a very 
early date. It must have been told centuries before Ham- 
murabi and thus it is quite natural that the connection of 
the legend with Babylonian myths was completely for- 
gotten. 

It is characteristic that while Heracles, the hero of a 
cosmopolitan nation, is regarded as the saviour of man- 
kind who travels all over the inhabited earth, Samson is 
the saviour only of the tribe of Dan, and all his deeds are 
accomplished within the small radius of the tribe's polit- 
ical horizon. He is born in Zorah and he dies in Gaza. 

HERCULES AND HERACLES. 

It may not be out of place to mention that the Italian 
Hercules has, under the influence of a similarity of sound, 
been erroneously identified with Heracles, and this mis- 
taken identification has been so firmly established that in 
all English-speaking countries even to-day, Heracles is 
scarcely known under any other name than that of Her- 
cules. Yet the Italian Hercules has little in common with 
the Greek Heracles, for the former is a boundary deity, the 
name being connected with the root HARK, still found 
in the Greek herkos (epnos) "fence.'' The rural character 
of this Italian Hercules bore a faint resemblance to the 
rude jocularity of the Greek Heracles, a feature which is 
also quite conspicuous in Samson as well as other solar 
heroes. Since the Romans had scarcely any written folk- 
lore traditions the more definite and therefore stronger 
Greek mythology which had been grafted upon the ancient 
Italian religion, almost obliterated its primitive Italian 
traditions, and so Hercules lost his original characteris- 
tics except in the rural districts, and was changed into the 
Greek Heracles. 



I20 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

IZDUBAR THE HELPER. 

We do not know whether Samson has ever been re- 
vered as a demigod among the Israehtes, as a protector 
against enemies and evils of all kind. We can only say 
that it is probable, for all traces of it except the narrative 
as told in the Book of Judges, are lost. 

Izdubar (like the Greek Heracles) is considered as a 
helper in trouble. One of the fragments (catalogued No. 
1 37 1 by Smith and published by Haupt in his Nimrod- 
epos, fascicle II, page 93) contains a prayer to Izdubar 
in the capacity of a god who figures as assistant to the 
sun-god. His name was invoked as an exorcism in a 
dangerous disease. We read in this fragment how the 
patient asks for the assistance of a priest to heal his ail- 
ments, who thereupon addresses Izdubar the great judge 
''to whose hand the sun-god has entrusted the sceptre and 
the decision." After a short hymn in honor of ilu-Izdu- 
bar which exists only in part, and a few comforting words 
to cheer the patient, the priest addresses Izdubar as fol- 
lows:^ 

*'0 Izdubar, powerful king, judge of the earth spirits, 
Thou lofty one, great governor of mankind. 
Thou who lookest down upon the quarters of the 

world. 
Thou dispenser of the earth, and master of all things 

earthly. 
Thou judge who discernest like unto a god. 
Thou steppest forth upon the earth and proceedest to 

judgment. 
Thy jurisdiction is never upset : thy command is never 



Thou summonest, thou decidest, thou judgest, thou 
discriminatest. 

* Roscher's Lex. d. gr. u. r. Myth., H, p. 775. 



SOLAR MYTHS. 



121 



The sun-god has entrusted sceptre and decision to 

thy hand, 
Kings, princes and governors bow down before thee. 
Thou watchest upon their commands, and thou de- 

cidest their decisions, 
I am N. N., the son of N. N., whose god is N. N., and 

whose goddess is N. N., 
Disease has seized me and I must do penance, 
I bow before thee that thou mayest decide my case, 




IZDUBAR CONQUERING THE LION. 



158 



Proceed to judgment 

Remove the disease [from my] body. 
Conquer the evil 

The evil that in my body [ravages] . . . ." 
Hereupon the priest addresses the patient saying: 
"On this day the god has taken compassion on thee. 

He has strengthened thee and will give a pure uhuntu{ ?) 

[into thy mouth]." 

The last words appear to refer to a kind of sacrament 



122 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



which the patient takes for the sake of purification and 
recovery. 

This fragment proves that Izdubar, the hero, not unhke 
Heracles has been deified in the course of a further evolu- 
tion of this ideal and has become a judge and an assistant 
of the great protector of justice, the sun-god Shamash. 




IZDUBAR STRANGLING A LION. 



4208b 



We can in this connection only indicate that the simi- 
larity of Heracles to Izdubar is commonly conceded not 
only in general, but also in some important details. 

Izdubar is frequently identified with Nimrod, and we 
can not doubt that the Biblical Nimrod contains some fea- 
tures of the Izdubar story. Either one is a "great hunter 



SOLAR MYTHS. I23 

before the Lord," and the beginning of Izdubar's kingdom, 
as that of Nimrod, is "Babel and Erech and Akkad, and 
Calneh, in the land of Shinar."^ It is possible that Nimrod 
is an appellative of Izdubar. The name has been explained 
as "Bright Light."' 

The name Izdubar recalls the nature of Mithras, who 
in the later development of Mazdaism plays approximately 
the part of Christ in Christianity. Mithras means "Splen- 
dor," and many mythological features of Mithraistic tradi- 
tions indicate that he also is a personification of the sun 
and a deification of all the blessings which have found in 
the sun an appropriate symbolization. 

The Izdubar epic as well as the Heracles myth treat 
the question of immortality, and though it seems that Izdu- 
bar (at least so far as the twelve tablets go) does not suc- 
ceed in attaining his aim, we still see that the problem of 
immortality is the pivot of the whole poem. The Heracles 
myth is somewhat further developed for the hero sur- 
mounts all difficulties, and, though he must die, he attains 
Olympus and is there received into the circle of the celestial 
gods. ' 

THE TWELVE TABLETS OF THE IZDUBAR EPIC. 

Most Assyriologists agree that the sun's passage 
through the twelve signs of the zodiac has furnished the 
original meaning for the stories told in the twelve tablets 
of the Izdubar epic. 

In an ancient Assyrian document translated by Pro- 
fessor Sayce and published in the Records of the Past, 
(first series. Vol. I, p. i66), the Assyrian names of the 
months are enumerated together with their Akkadian 
equivalents, which, translated into English, read as fol- 
lows: (i) the sacrifice of righteousness (March) ; (2) the 

^Gen. X. 10. 

'Roscher's Lex. d. gr. u. r. Myth., II, p. yy2>- 



124 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 







THE ADVENTURES OF IZDUBAR. 
From ancient monuments. 



SOLAR MYTHS. 



125 



•opitious bull (April) ; (3) of brick, and the twins (May) ; 
(4) seizer of seed (June) ; (5) fire that makes fire (July) ; 
(6) the errand of I star (August) ; (7) the holy altar 
(September); (8) the bull-like founder^ (October); (9) 
the very clouded (November); (10) the father of light 
(December); (11) abundance of rain (January); (12) 




THE ADVENTURES OF IZDUBAR. 
From ancient monuments. 



sowing of seed (February) ; and (13) the dark, [month] 
of sowing, the latter being the intercalary month that was 
added every sixth year. 

Among the cuneiform inscriptions of the first and sec- 
ond centuries B. C, we possess an astronomical tablet 

* This translation is queried by Professor Sayce. 



126 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

which contains the Babylonian Zodiac in the following 
abbreviations :^ 



1. HJ {ku{sarikku)) 


= aries. 


2. yy {t€{mennu)) 


=r taurus. 


3- Hf- + {^aSu) 


= gemini. 


4. 1H< {pulukku) 


= cancer. 


5. T? (^ru) 


= leo. 


6. m- (serU) 


= virgo. 


7. ^{ {zibanitu) 


=s libra. 


8. »♦ {^ {agrabu) 


= Scorpio. 


9. :?= 0^«) 


= arcitenens. 


10. 14? (<?^^«) 


= caper. 


11. ^^ (su) 


= amphora [aquarius]. 


12. Z' {2//5) 


= pisces. 



In the first tablet of the Izdubar epic the hero begins 
his career as a king, and kings are usually likened to 
''bell wethers." They are called the rams of the people^ 
(Is. xiv. 9 and Zach. x. 3) and so it is assumed that they 
correspond to Aries. 

Another explanation of Aries is mentioned by Epping 
and Strassmaier^ which is worth quoting. The name of 
the first month, corresponding to the first sign of the zo- 
diac, is spoken of in ancient inscriptions as "the sacrifice of 
righteousness," which would denote Aries to be a sacri- 
ficial offering and might indicate that just as the Jews cele- 
brated the first of Nisan by an atonement for the entire 
people, so the Babylonians offered on their New Year's 
feast a ram in expiation of the sins of the nation. 

In the second tablet Eabani appears, who is represented 
as a bull walking upright, corresponding to Taurus. The 
third tablet relates the friendship of Izdubar and Eabani, 

' Epping and Strassmaier. Zeitschrift fur Assyriologie, Vol. V, Fascicle 
4, October 1890, page 351. 

3 C^"l^n2 i. e., "the ready ones," "the butters." 
* Astronomisches aus Babylon. 



SOLAR MYTHS. 



127 



4io are forthwith united Hke twins, and would thus be 
appropriate for the Gemini. We recognize further in the 
sixth month the sign of Virgo which corresponds to the 
sixth tablet relating the hero's adventures with the god- 
dess Istar. The scorpion-man mentioned in the ninth tab- 
let may correspond to Sagittarius of the ninth month. 

The eleventh month corresponding to ^^gwanw^ is called 
Gu in the abbreviated table of zodiacal names, and since 
we read in a stray passage that "Mercury (or Jupiter) 
lingers in the constellation of Gula,'' we must assume that 
one of the zodiacal signs in which alone the planets can 
move, must have been dedicated to this goddess of the 




IZDUBAR AND EABANI. 



4247 



nether world who also presided over the abyss called tehom 
or Tiamat, the deep, or the waters below. So it seems but 
a matter of course to identify the eleventh month repre- 
senting the eleventh sign of the zodiac with Gula which 
again is to be identified with our Aquarius, who holds the 
corresponding place in all other zodiacs, either as a man 
pouring out water, or simply an amphora. The adventure 
of the eleventh tablet contains the deluge story, whose 
hero is the Babylonian Noah, Sitnapishtim, or as Berosos 
calls him, Xisuthros. 

Sitnapishtim, the great sage whom Izdubar consults 



128 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

in regard to the water of life and the miraculous plant of 
promise, relates the wrath of the gods and the story of the 
deluge which represents so many analogies to the Biblical 
account, and then directs the hero to the land of no return 
where he would find what he seeks. The Izdubar epic 
here reaches the climax of its interest, for the hero's 
journey to the underworld aiTords a good opportunity to 
set forth the Babylonian view of life after death. 

On account of the fragmentary condition of the twelve 
tablets, it will be difficult to say more on the subject, but 
the few references which we possess are sufficient indi- 
cations of a connection between the Izdubar epic and the 
adventures of the sun during the twelve months of the 




SITNAPISHTIM, THE BABYLONIAN NOAH. ^^"^ 

year and his migration through the twelve signs of the 
zodiac. 

IZDUBAR AND IMMORTALITY. 

The end of Samson is the main point in which a com- 
parison of the Hebrew hero with Heracles and Izdubar 
breaks down, for it is characteristic of pagan solar myths 
that the sun-god goes down to Sheol, or whatever may be 
the name of the world of the dead, and returns thence to the 
world of the living. Not only Heracles descends to Hades, 
but also other heroes of the same type, Odysseus, Orpheus, 
^neas, etc., and the same is stated of Izdubar. The ac- 
quisition of immortality is the aim of both the Greek and 



SOLAR MYTHS. 



129 



le Babylonian heroes. In his anxiety to find his dead 
friend Eabani, Izdubar goes in search for the land of no 
[eturn, and arrives at the coast, but the Queen of the Sea 
iforms him that none but Shamash, the god of the sun, 
las ever crossed the ocean. However, Izdubar is persistent 
id is finally permitted to venture on the sea in company 
ith the ferry-man, Arad-Ea, the Babylonian Charon.^ 
'hey reach the Isles of the Blest and while remaining in 
the ferry Izdubar speaks with his friend, who gives him in- 
formation concerning the fate of the dead. Eabani thinks 
that the hero could not endure the description, but he com- 




IZDUBAR AND ARAD-EA. 



4213 



forts him with the thought that those who receive proper 
funeral rites will be well taken care of. Suffering from 
leprosy Izdubar seeks the water of life and the plant of 
life. He is healed from leprosy through the assistance of 
Sitnapishtim, and he finds the plant which he calls "as an 
old man he is changed into a youth/' but by some mishap 
he loses it again. 

When Heracles started out in search for the immortal- 
ity-giving apples of the Hesperides, he encountered also 
the difiiculty of crossing the ocean, and he succeeded only 
because the sun-god allowed him to use his bark. 

* The Greeks owe their ideas concerning the other world mainly to the 
Egyptians, and so the names "Charon" and "Elysium" are Egyptian. The 
former simply means "ferry-man" and the latter is the Egyptian Aalu, the 
Fields of the Blest, — also spelled Aaru. 



130 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

Izdubar after death becomes a god, and Heracles too 
is welcomed in Olympus, but Samson's career ends with 
his life. 

SAMSON AND HERACLES. 

It is customary even among critical minds to speak 
with admiration of the literary beauty and grandeur of 
the Samson story. Steinthal among others has devoted 
a number of pages to its praise, and I will not deny that 
especially the oldest and most original passages are ani- 
mated by a truly poetic spirit, but judging the work in its 
present form I can only regret the censorship of its Deu- 
teronomic editor, for I believe that the passages which he 
has cut out as mythological, have been the most valuable, 
the most interesting, and also the most religious part of the 
legend. They are now lost beyond hope of recovery, and 
so the hero of a primitive faith that was animated by a be- 
lief in immortality, has become a mere country lout and 
a tough, who conscious of his physical strength is always 
ready for a brawl, and we feel the delight of the narrator 
as well as his audience when Samson finds a pretext to 
kill indiscriminately some thirty or a thousand Philistines. 
Even considered from the standpoint of Israelitic patriot- 
ism he has done nothing to lift his nation to a higher plane 
or a nobler conception of life. 

How much higher ranges the Greek Heracles, who in 
spite of the primitive crudeness of the original myth, has 
been idealized by Greek poets and philosophers into a pat- 
tern of highminded virtue! 

As early as the seventh century before Christ the poet 
Peisander wrote an apotheosis of Heracles, called the 
Heracley, and later Greek authors, such men as Xenophon 
and Prodicus,^ regarded him as an incarnation of divine 
perfection. It was said of Heracles that he came to the 

* Xen., Mem. H, i ; Plato, Symp., p. i77 B. 



SOLAR MYTHS. I3I 

parting of the ways of life and he chose the difficult and 
iteep, the way of virtue in preference to the broad and easy 




THE FARNESE HERACLES. 139 

iroad to vice. And since Heracles had become the ideal of 
^Greek youth, it became customary to look upon the details 



132 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

of the old myth as mere perversions of a deeper religious 
truth, supposed to be the original. Epictetus who calls 
Heracles a saviour, and the son of Zeus, says: "Do you 
believe the fables of Homer?" 

Heracles is called repeller of evil {aXe^ixaKo?), leader 
in the fray {npofAaxos), the brightly victorious {xaXXi- 
viHos), the celestial ( oXvjuTtws) , destroyer of flies, vermin, 
and grasshoppers {jAviapyo?, inonrovoz, KopvoTtioDv) , He, 
the solar hero, is identified with Apollo, the sun-god, in the 
names prophet ( /idvns ) , and leader of the Muses ( pLovaa- 
yirrjz ) . 

Seneca speaks of Heracles as the ideal of the good 
man who lives exclusively for the welfare of mankind. 
Contrasting him to Alexander the Great, the conqueror 
of Asia, he says {De Benef., I, 14) : 

"Heracles never gained victories for himself. He wan- 
dered through the circles of the earth, not as a conqueror, 
but as a protector. What, indeed, should the enemy of the 
wicked, the defensor of the good, the peace-bringer, con- 
quer for himself either on land or sea !" 

Epictetus praises Heracles frequently and declares that 
the evils which he combated served to elicit his virtues, 
and were intended to try him (I, 6). Zeus, who is identi- 
fied with God, is called his father and Heracles is said to 
be his son (HI, 26). Heracles, when obliged to leave 
his children, knew them to be in the care of God. Epic- 
tetus says (HI, 24) : 

"He knew that no man is an orphan, but that there is 
a father always and constantly for all of them. He had 
not only heard the words that Zeus was the father of men, 
for he regarded him as his father and called him such; 
and looking up to him he did what Zeus did. Therefore 
he could live happily everywhere.'' 




DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE SUN. 

SAMSON A PROTOTYPE OF CHRIST. 

NOTHING is more natural than that man should find 
comfort in the daily reappearance of the sun as 
symbolizing- a constant resurrection of life from death, 
and the same circle of a change from life to death and 
from death back again to life is repeated in the seasons 
of the year. As the vegetation on earth blooms in summer 
and withers in winter, only to be revived by the invigor- 
ating sun of spring, so man hopes for his resurrection 
from the grave, and a continued life after death. 

The most impressive feature of all the solar myths is 
the death and resurrection of the sun-god, and it seems 
probable that this episode of the story had its ultimate 
origin not in the south, but in the north where the sun 
actually disappears and is born again. The phenomenon 
of the winter solstice has lead to the celebration of the 
Yule Tide as the nativity of the new sun, a feast which 
was celebrated among the Persians in honor of Mithras, 
the virgin-born mediator between Ahura Mazda (i. e., 
Lord Omniscient) and mankind; and the festival of the 
nativity of Mithras was again changed in Christian times 
into Christmas, because, as says St. Chrysostom (Horn. 
31), "On this day [the birthday of Mithras], also the 
birthday of Christ was lately fixed at Rome in order that 



134 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



whilst the heathen were busied with their profane cere- 
monies, the Christians might perform their holy rites un- 
disturbed." Even in the days of Pope Leo the Great, in 
the fifth century, it was not yet forgotten that the winter 
solstice was the birth festival of the sun, for the Pope says 
that there are ''some to whom this day of our celebration 
is worthy of honor not so much on account of the birth 
of Christ as for the sake of the renewal of the sun." 

The Samson story breaks off very abruptly and leaves 
a very unsatisfactory ending in its present form, the only 




THE ASCENT OF HERACLES TO OLYMPUS. 

Ancient vase picture. 



166 



comfort being that in his death the hero kills an incredible 
number of Philistines. If this had been all, the Biblical 
tale would simply be the record of a dearly bought victory 
of the Philistines. 

However, we must take into consideration, — and the 
significance of this point should not be underrated, — that 
Christians look upon Samson as one of the prototypes of 
Christ. Yet, strange to say, the point which alone could 
have made Samson a prototype of Christ is missing in the 
Samson story. 



DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE SUN. 



135 



Prototype means a first or imperfect and only tentative 
type. All solar heroes are prototypes of Christ, and when 
the fulfilment of the times focused all pre-Christian re- 
ligions into one, everything worthy and good in the proto- 
types of Christ was transferred upon Jesus whom the 
Church accepted as the fulfilment. In this perspective the 
Samson story seems to regain its original pagan signifi- 
cance as symbolizing man's hope for immortality. 

The saviours and heroes of Greek and Roman mythol- 



I 







? 

-^v 



DESCENT OF DIONYSUS TO HADES. 



1924 



ogy ( Heracles, Dionysus, Orpheus, ^neas etc. ) , had gone 
down into the domain of Hades and returned to the land 
of the living; so it was a predetermined doctrine that Jesus 
before he could be recognized as the Christ, had to descend 
to hell and rise again from the tomb. 

The original narrative of the Samson story must have 
ended in the glorious return of the hero to life, but the 
Biblical account knows nothing of it. 



k 



136 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



THE PHOENICIAN MELKARTH. 

We have reliable information that the Phoenicians cele- 
brated Melkarth's death and resurrection on two distinct 
days of their festive calendar. The commemoration of the 
god's self-sacrifice on the pyre was still celebrated in the 
days of Dio Chrysostom in an annual feast at which the 
god's effigy was burned on a gorgeous pyre; and Pro- 
fessor W. Robertson Smith quoting this statement from 
O. Miiller adds that it "must have its origin in an older 
rite, in which the victim was not a mere effigy but a the- 
anthropic sacrifice, i. e., an actual man or sacred animal, 
whose life according to an antique conception was an em- 
bodiment of the divine human life." The story of Sar- 
danapalus and kindred legends are merely survivals of the 
Melkarth myth as has been pointed out by O. Miiller in 
his article "Sandon und Sardanapal."^ 

The festival of the resurrection of Melkarth was cele- 
brated annually in the month of Peritius which falls at 
the, end of February and the beginning of March, at the 
time when the quail returns to Palestine, coming in im- 
mense crowds in a single night ;^ and according to Eu- 
doxus^ a quail sacrifice was made to commemorate the 
resurrection of the god. 

Every myth of deep religious significance has the tend- 
ency to change into saga or legend, and will even influence 
history. Myths are frequently humanized by being as- 
cribed to a national hero, or to some prominent historical 
person. But it also happens that some pious man is in- 
fluenced by the ideas of his religion and actualizes in his 
life the lesson which his faith has installed into his heart. 
This is seen in the following incident recorded in Hero- 
dotus VII, 167. There the Greek historian tells of the 

^Rhein. Mus., Ser. I, Vol. III. 'Jos. Ant. VIII, 5- 3- 

' Quoted by Athen, IX, 47. 



DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE SUN. 1 37 

^arthaginians fighting with the Greeks in Sicily in a battle 
which lasted the whole day from morning until night ; and 
that Hamilcar, anxious to gain a decisive victory, offered 
holocausts on a great pyre, but when he saw that his 
people were routed, leapt into the fire himself and sacri- 
ficed his life for the good of his people. Thus he was 
burned to death and disappeared, and Herodotus adds: 
"In this way Hamilcar may have disappeared as is stated 
bv the Carthaginians, or it may have been different as say 
the Syracusans, but this much is sure that the Carthagin- 
ians offer him sacrifices, and have erected monuments in 
his honor in all their colonies, though the greatest of them 
is in the city of Carthage." 

Some scholars think that Herodotus here confuses the 
Carthaginian hero with his god and transfers the myth 
from Baal Melkarth upon Hamilcar; but whether or not 
the incident is to be accepted as historical, it proves the 
power of myth and the influence of religious conceptions 
upon the actual life of the people. 

THE DYING GOD. 

There are a number of incidental features in the Sam- 
son legend that are occasionally met with in kindred tales 
of saviours, dying gods, sacrificial divinities and solar he- 
roes. They have not been mentioned before, because they 
are difficult to classify and so we group them here to- 
gether as a collection of stray observations having one 
common point of issue, the fate of the saviour-god who 
lives and dies for mankind. 

The people of a primitive age formed their idea of a 
saviour-god according to their religious convictions, tra- 
ditions, expectations and especially their superstitions, all 
of which had become incorporated in the performance of 
their annual festivals. When the time came that they ex- 
pected a Messiah or a Saviour, they naturally measured 



138 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

those figures of stories or perhaps also of natural life, with 
the notions they thus attributed to the ideal formed of him : 
and as soon as some hero, historical or legendary, became 
a candidate for the honor of being recognized as a god- 
man his admirers naturally ascribed to him all those fea- 
tures which were deemed the indispensable characteristics 
of the god. 

As an instance of this general rule we find in the canon- 
ical scriptures of the Buddhists thirty-two main, and eighty 
minor characteristic marks^ ascribed to the Buddha, and 
there it is stated that Gautama Siddhartha possessed them 
all, incredible though it may have been. In the same way 
there are thirty-two "Prognostics" indicating the birth of 
the Buddha. We quote in this connection only a few to 
characterize the whole class :^ 

*'An immeasurable light spread through ten thousand 
w^orlds ; the blind recovered their sight, as if from desire to 
see this his glory ; the deaf received their hearing ; the dumb 
talked ; the hunchbacked became straight of body ; the lame 
recovered the power to walk ; all those in bonds w^ere freed 
from their bonds and chains; the fires went out in all the 
hells." 

The argument is simply this: that without any doubt 
Gautama Siddhartha was the Buddha, therefore all the 
characteristics and prognostics of a Buddha apply to him. 

The general law, modified only in its details, holds 
good in Christianity. The Gospel waiters deem it their 
duty to prove that Jesus was the Christ, and so even where 
they do not manufacture the facts of the life of Jesus, their 
reports are made under the influence of their interpretation 
of the Christ idea. It is taken for granted by the early 
Christians that the death of Jesus w^as a vicarious atone- 
ment. We read that he was king, that he played the part 

^ Enumerated in the Dharma Samgraha. 

introduction to the Jataka, I, 47. 21. Translated by Warren in his 
Buddhism in Translations, p. 44. 



I 



DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE SUN. 1 39 




SIEGFRIED S DEATH. 
After a painting by Herman Hendrich. 

The artist bears in mind the mythical significance of the Sieg- 
fried saga in representing the death of the solar hero as taking 
place at the moment of an eclipse of the sun, while we see the 
transient victory of the power of evil in the sinister and treach- 
erous figure of Hagen. 



746 



140 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

of a mock king shortly before his death, that his devotees 
must eat his flesh and drink his blood, otherwise they can 
not partake of the blessings of his sacrifice. 

We do not say that the life of Jesus, especially his pas- 
sion and crucifixion were unhistorical ; on the contrary we 
believe firmly that the nucleus of the Gospel stories is based 
upon fact, but we insist that the Gospel writers had in mind 
a typical, albeit vague, idea of the traditional conception of 
the god-man, and they interpreted the facts with a tend- 
ency w^hich consciously or unconsciously dominated their 
minds, that they had to prove that Jesus w^as the Christ 
and that both his personality and his destiny fulfilled all 
the conditions of the current expectations. Thereby they 
incorporated inadvertently and sometimes purposely all 
those features which in their time were deemed indispen- 
sable characteristics of the Saviour. 

We notice that Heracles is made a servant and he is 
bound by his destiny to accomplish the twelve labors for 
the weal of mankind. The underlying idea is that the 
sun drudges as a slave in the ministry of our needs ; and so 
Samson too is degraded into a slave and set to turning 
a mill. It is expressly stated also of Christ (Phil. ii. 7) 
that he ''took upon him the form of a servant.'' 

The explanation of the unhappy fate of the dying god 
receives dififerent versions in different stories, but it is 
natural that he is always represented as the innocent vic- 
tim of treachery . Judas is made responsible for the cruci- 
fixion of Jesus, and Samson succumbs to the wiles of the 
treacherous Delilah. The legendary character of the story 
appears also in the fact that any ordinary mortal would 
have been on his guard against the falsehoods of his par- 
amour, but in myths and legends the destiny of a man is 
determined by other conditions, and so he is represented 
as incredibly stupid and absolutely blind to the snares laid 
for him. On the other hand, Delilah as well as the Phil- 



DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE SUN. I4I 

istines ought to have had other methods to find out Sam- 
son's secret. 

Berosus tells us of Babylonian customs that "during 
the five days of the festival called the Sacaea, a prisoner 
condemned to death was dressed in the king's robes, seated 
on the king's throne, allowed to eat, drink, and order what- 
ever he chose, and even permitted to sleep with the king's 
concubines. But at the end of five days he was stripped 
of his royal insignia, scourged and hanged or crucified."^ 
This feast was celebrated to represent dramatically the 
fate of the dying god in the same spirit and a similar 
fashion as was the custom among the Aztecs of Central 
America and the Khonds of Bengal. 

This Babylonian rite is apparently, as Mr. Frazer sug- 
gests,^ a further evolution of a more ancient custom that 
is still practiced among the savage tribes of Africa, accord- 
ing to which the king, who is believed to be an incarnation 
of the deity, usually the god of life, or of the sun, or 
heaven, is sacrificed in his best years and before his phys- 
ical power can give out. Mr. Frazer says: 

"We must not forget that the king is slain in his char- 
acter of a god, his death, and resurrection, as the only 
means of perpetuating the divine life unimpaired, being 
deemed necessary for the salvation of his people and the 
world." 

With the advance of civilization the old custom was 
modified. Mr. Frazer says: 

"When the time drew near for the king to be put to 
death, he abdicated for a few days, during which a tem- 
porary king reigned and suffered in his stead. At first 
the temporary king may have been an innocent person, 
possibly a member of the king's own family; but with the 
growth of civilization, the sacrifice of an innocent person 

^ See J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, Vol. H, pp. 24 ff. 
'Ibid., n, 240 ff. 



142 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

would be revolting to the public sentiment, and accord- 
ingly a condemned criminal would be invested with the 
brief and fatal sovereignty/' 

Finally even the vicarious sacrifice of a substitute king 
was abolished, and either replaced by an animal victim or 
merely acted on the stage in a dramatic performance. 

Though the victim is a god, or rather the representa- 
tion or incarnation of the deity, he is to be abandoned to 
the most dreadful fate of death, and so we meet with a 
statement that in the last moment he is forsaken by his 
god. As Christ cries out ''Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani/' so 
we learn that Yahveh forsook Samson and his strength 
was gone. 

A special endeavor is made to have the sacrifice volun- 
tary, and this is done among the Aztecs by intoxicating 
the victim with drinks and with honors and slaying him 
before he has a chance to give an ill-omened sign of regret. 
At the same time the people must have come into posses- 
sion of the person of the victim in a legal way. Accord- 
ingly it is insisted on that he has to be purchased with 
money and the price must be paid before the sacrifice is 
performed. This feature is evident in the ritual of the 
Khonds and is not absent either in the Christ story where 
Judas receives the thirty pieces of silver, nor in the Sam- 
son story in which a sum of money is paid to Delilah. 

The idea that no atonement of sin is possible without 
the shedding of blood is common to all pre-Christian re- 
ligions (with the sole exception of Buddhism), and even 
Christianity still clings to it, as we read in Hebrews ix. 22. 
"without shedding of blood is no remission.'' 

The old Mexicans slew their god and ate him, which is 
a symbolical act indicating that we live on the deity, be 
it the god of vegetation or any other life-spending source 
of nature. Originally the harvest god is thought present 
in the very cerials, and in partaking of food we partake 



DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE SUN. I43 

►f the god himself. From this standpoint it was deemed 
essential that the devotees should eat the flesh and drink 
[he blood^ of the god and we cannot doubt that in the age 
if savagery, this ritual was literally performed, horrible 
though it must appear to modern mankind that condemns 
cannibalism as the most detestable abomination. In place 
ff the human representative of the god we find in the cere- 
monies of a less savage age a substitute of some kind, 
either a sacrificial animal or a sacrificial bread ofifering, 
which latter was freqently kneaded in th-e shape of the 
god incarnation. A ceremony in which the figure of a god 
made of dough is killed and then sacramentally eaten is 
still performed in Tibet, and we can not doubt that the 
original conception of the Lord's Supper is an echo of this 
ancient rite of eating the god, which w^as deemed an es- 
sential part of the feast held in his honor. 

The same idea is very emphatically expressed in John 
^'i- S3"S7' "Then Jesus said imto them, Verily, verily, T 
say unto you. Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, 
and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth 
my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and 
I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat 
indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my 
flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 
As the living Father hath sent me, atid I live by the Fa- 
ther : so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.'' 

The great progress of Christianity consisted in the 
practical abolition of all blood-sacrifices as well as the 
actual partaking of the flesh and blood of the victim. The 
idea of the significance of blood and the shedding of blood 
was too firmly rooted in the minds of the large masses of 
mankind simply to be set aside as was done in India by 
the Buddha. Acknowledging the force of the ancient re- 

** Even the Old Testament speaks of "the blood of the grapes." See Gen. 
xliv, II. 



144 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

ligions, Christianity overcame them by pointing out that 
the atonement was now accompHshed for all time through 
the death of Christ, and the sacrament of partaking of the 
very flesh and blood of the god was sufficiently performed 
by the substitution of sanctified bread and wine. This 
satisfied all the pagan claims without continuing the bar- 
barous ceremony. 

If the original Samson story contained anything of this 
kind it would have been so offensive to the redactor that 
he would not have tolerated it, and so its absence is natu- 
rally explained. 

How tenacious traditions are! The old ritual of a 
human sacrifice has been abandoned but the festival is still 
continued to the present day in the form of the carnival 
which not without a good historical reason precedes in the 
annals of the Christian calendar the celebration of the 
passion of Christ. The king of the carnival was originally 
the victim that was to undergo the torture of a sacrificial 
death, but shortly before his doom he enjoyed the honors 
of a mock-kingdom. We read of Christ that they ''put 
on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown 
of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right 
hand; and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked 
him, saying. Hail, King of the Jews !'* 

It can scarcely, be accidental that the Philistines are 
said to have had Samson produced at their festival, "that 
he might make them sport." 

We cannot doubt that the king of the Sacsean festival 
w^as conducted through the city in festive procession, and 
we are inclined to think that this feature of the ceremony 
formed one of the most popular and impressive parts of 
the feast. Even this has been preserved in both the story 
of Christ and latter-day customs, such as carnival proces- 
sions. The Gospel stories dwell with special emphasis 
on the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, and some 



DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE SUN. 



H5 




146 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

of our Christian artists have indeed represented the scene 
as a theatrical pageant which is specially notable in Dore's 
well-known painting. 

Our carnivals have originated from dramatic represen- 
tations and are a secular treatment of the same religious 
ceremony, which in the Church developed as the so-called 
mystery-play, originally a dramatic performance of the 
Easter story. 

In the age of Constantine Christianity became the state 
religion of the Roman empire. This event, to be sure, 
Christianized the broad masses of the people but it intro- 
duced at the same time a number of pagan features and 
pagan beliefs into the life of the Church. It must have 
been in this age that the Church continued the practice of 
making the Easter ritual a dramatic performance after the 
precedence of the Attis and Tammuz festivals, the former 
of which, as we learn from Firmicus, was celebrated on 
the first day of spring while his resuscitation to life was 
placed two days later. 

How much the Christian ceremonies preserve of the 
ancient pagan traditions appears also from the significance 
that light plays in the Easter ritual. In the Greek Church 
the priest announces the beginning of the feast with the 
words : "The celestial fire has come down from the clouds ; 
the holy candle is lit." 

There is an additional point worth mentioning. The 
word sakhaq,^ which in English versions is commonly 
translated "to make sport," includes the meaning of sing- 
ing, dancing, and playing on musical instruments, in the 
same way that the word ''play" is also used in both 
senses.*^ Accordingly Luther translates the term by spie- 
len, and the traditional interpretation as represented in 

' For further particulars see Gesenius's Hebrew Dicitionary, German ed., 
Vol. H, p. 615. 



DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE SUN. 



147 



>me Biblical pictures makes Samson play on a stringed 

istrument which proves that our popular conception of 
um is unconsciously associated with Apollo, the solar god, 

^ho is at the same time a master of the lute. 

These notes on comparative saviour-lore throw a light 
[Iso on the construction of the Gospel story of Christ in 

^hich we find so many echoes of ancient pagan saviours. 




SAMSON S DEATH. *"*" 

Here as well as in the illustration of the same scene on page iii 
the harp is in evidence. 

Samson, the solar hero and as such a prototype of 
Christ, was betrayed and sold for money; he drudged as 
a slave, and shortly before his death made sport before the 
Philistines. These incidents are minor points, but their 
introduction into the Samson legend can scarcely be re- 
garded as accidental, when we bear in mind the signifi- 
cance which these same features possess in kindred stories 



148 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

where their connection with the underlying idea of the 
fate of the dying saviour-god has not yet been lost. 

OSIRIS. 

The same keynote of the dying god who rises to new 
life resounds through the Egyptian story of Osiris, which 
is a hoary echo of the primitive African faith. We here 
present a brief synopsis of it in the terse language of Pro- 
fessor Budge, who in his preface to The Gods of the Egyp- 
tians (xiv-xvi) characterizes the belief in Osiris thus: 

"The cult of Osiris, the dead man deified, and the ear- 
liest forms of his w^orship, were, no doubt, wholly of 
African origin; these are certainly the oldest elements in 
the religion of the Dynastic Period, and the most persist- 
ent, for Osiris maintained his position of the god and judge 
of the dead from the Predynastic to the Ptolemaic Period. 
The followers of Horus who brought a solar religion with 
them into Egypt from the East, never succeeded in dis- 
lodging Osiris from his exalted position, and his cult sur- 
vived undiminished notwithstanding the powerful influ- 
ence which the priests of Ra, and the worshipers of Amen, 
and the votaries of Aten respectively exercised throughout 
the country. The heaven of Osiris was believed to exist 
in a place where the fields were fertile and well stocked 
with cattle, and where meat and drink were abundant ; the 
abodes of the blessed were thought to be constructed after 
the model of the comfortable Egyptian homesteads in 
which they had lived during life, and the ordinary Egyp- 
tian hoped to live in one of these with his wives and pa- 
rents. On the other hand, the followers of Ra, the sun- 
god, believed in a heaven of a more spiritual character, 
and their great hope was to occupy a seat in the boat of 
the god, and, arrayed in light, to travel whithersoever he 
went. They wished to become bright and shining spirits, 
and to live upon the celestial meat and drink upon which 



DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE SUN. I49 



It lived; as he was so they hoped to be in every respect. 
he materiahstic heaven of Osiris appealed to the masses 
of Egypt, and the heaven where Ra lived to the priest of 
Ra and other solar gods, and to royal and aristocratic 
families, and to the members of the foreign section of the 
community who were of Eastern origin. 

'The various waves of religious thought and feeling, 
which swept over Egypt during the five thousand years of 
her history which are known to us, did not seriously dis- 
turb the cult of Osiris, for it held out to the people hopes 
of resurrection and immortality of a character which no 
other form of religion could give. Secure in these hopes 
the people regarded the various changes and developments 
of religious ideas in their country with equanimity and 
modifications in the public worship of the gods, provided 
that the religious fasts and processions w^ere not inter- 
rupted, moved them but little. Kings and priests from 
time to time made attempts to absorb the cult of Osiris 
into religious systems of a solar character, but they failed, 
and Osiris, the man-god, always triumphed, and at the 
last, when his cult disappeared before the religion of the 
Man Christ, the Egyptians who embraced Christianity 
found that the moral system of the old cult and that of 
the new religion were similar, and the promises of resur- 
rection and immortality in each so much alike, that they 
transferred their allegiance from Osiris to Jesus of Naza- 
reth without difficulty. Moreover, Isis and the child Horus 
were straightway identified with Mary the Virgin and her 
Son, and in the apocryphal literature of the first centuries 
which followed the evangelization of Egypt, several of the 
legends about Isis and her sorrowful wanderings were 
made to center round the Mother of Christ. Certain of 
the attributes of the sister goddesses of Isis were also 
ascribed to her, and, like the Goddess Neith of Sais, she 
was declared to possess perpetual virginity. Certain of 



150 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

the Egyptian Christian Fathers gave to the Virgin the 
title 'Theotokos," or ''Mother of God," forgetting, ap- 
parently, that it was an exact translation of neter mut, a 
very old and common title of Isis." 

To us and at any rate to the average Christian since the 
beginning of the middle ages, the belief in Osiris is pagan, 
and many of its details may seem absurd, but to the ancient 
Egyptian the story was full of significance. It is difficult 
to say how far the average Egyptian believed in the de- 
tails of the myth, but we know that the significance of it 
was fully appreciated on the banks of the Nile, and served 
as a source of unspeakable comfort to millions of people. 

The same is true of other myths. The lamentation 
for Tammuz, which the prophet^ so bitterly denounces, was 
in its time no less deeply felt nor less devoutly celebrated 
in Syria than a Good Friday celebration now-a-days in 
Christian Italy may stir the hearts of good Christians. 

The stories of Heracles, Jason, Adonis, and also of 
the demi-gods of India, as well as the interior of Asia, 
and even of the savages of Africa and the Oceanic Islands, 
all come from the same source, which is the religious want 
of a saviour, of a God-man, who though real man, is 
divine, an incarnation of the deity, and comes to rescue 
us from evil, sin and death. The meaning of the story is 
the same throughout, and the religious spirit that begets 
it is higher or lower according to the nature of the people. 

That the pagans are frequently possessed of the same 
religious devotion and attain to the greatest heights of 
moral ideals, can be seen by a study of the several religions 
of the earth. How kin the ancient Babylonians were to the 
Jews in their religious conception, and especially in their 
idea of sin and atonement, is shown in their penitential 
hymns so similar even in details to the Hebrew psalms of 
the Old Testament. 

^ Ezekiel viii. 14. 



DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE SUN. I5I 



SAMSON'S TOMB. 

Every province of Egypt had a sepulchre of Osiris, 
and the legend explained this by telling how his body had 
been cut into several pieces which were buried in these 
different places. Perhaps originally the priests of every 
sepulchre claimed for their fane that the entire body of 
Osiris rested there; for we know that some of the Greek 
gods, too, possessed tombs, and it is not impossible that 
the same god possessed several tombs. We will not be 
mistaken if we look upon these tombs as cenotaphs, or 
empty sepulchres, not unlike Christian crypts, erected for 
the sole purpose of impressing the people with the reality 
of the god that had died and come to life again. 

It is pretty certain that the names beginning with Beth, 
i. e., ''house," indicate the presence of a temple. Beth- 
Lehem is the city where stood the house of Laham (i. e., 
a temple of the god Laham) and in the same way Beth 
Shemesh must have been the site of the temple of the sun- 
god, Shamash. It was situated right between Zorah and 
Eshtaol and we are told that there, too, (i. e., between 
Zorah and Eshtaol) was the tomb of the Manoah tribe 
where Samson lay buried. This sepulchre may have been 
near the temple of Shamash or may even have been con- 
nected with it, and the probability is that it was just as 
empty as were all the cenotaphs of Egyptian and other 
Gentile gods. 

In the Recognitions of Clement (X, 23) it is stated 
that the tomb of Zeus is shown among the Cretans, and we 
read further (ibid. 24) : 

''But also the sepulchres of Jupiter's sons, who are 
regarded among the Gentiles as gods, are openly pointed 
out, one in one place, and another in another: that of 
Mercury at Hermopolis; that of the Cyprian Venus at 
Cyprus; that of Mars in Thrace; that of Bacchus at 



152 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

Thebes, where he is said to have been torn in pieces ; that 
of Hercules at Tyre, where he was burnt with fire ; that of 
^sculapius in Epidaurus." 

WHY THE RESURRECTION OF SAMSON WAS SUPPRESSED. 

Though the Samson legend must have been the ancient 
Hebrew myth of the adventures of the sun-god, all those 
extraordinary miracles which savor of pagan divinities 
have been reduced to deeds of human valor and among 
other things the most characteristic event of a mytholog- 
ical nature, Samson's resurrection, has been removed. I 
am convinced that in the original Samson epic the return 
of the hero from Sheol played a prominent part, for all 
pagan sun worshipers gloried in their god, because, al- 
though at nightfall he descends into hell, he comes out 
again the next morning unscathed. All sun-hero myths 
preach immortality on the argument that the sun loses 
his power in winter and is resuscitated to life in the spring. 

The theme of the original Samson legend can only have 
been the same great legend which at all times and among 
all nations engrossed the attention of religious thinkers. 
It is an answer to the question "Is death the end of all?'' 
The legend of the descent of the sun into Orcus and his 
triumphant return to life is the good tidings that proclaims 
the eternity of life, and the remarkable stories of the ad- 
ventures of the sun, be it in the different countries over 
which he passed or in the several mansions in the sky, form 
an inexhaustible storehouse for all kinds of wondrous ro- 
mance. 

This same subject constitutes the most typical feature 
of all the most important and most popular myths of man- 
kind. In fact we may consider it as the most characteristic 
type of pagan religion which is still reflected in fairy tales 
(such as the story of Psyche) and all kindred traditions. 
Everywhere we meet with a hero who is somehow the in- 



DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE SUN. 1 53 

irnation of the deity or a god that has temporarily as- 
imed human form to appear on earth as a helper and 
.viour. We learn of his troubles and dangers, of the 
lemies who encompass him and gain an apparent vic- 
tory over his cause, but finally he overcomes all evil and 
breaks through the doors of death gaining new life and 
new strength in his glorious resurrection. Nor is this 
characteristic feature of pagan myths limited to the sun- 
god. It appears also in the sprouting and withering vege- 
tation, which temporarily succumbs to the intrigues of 
winter but reappears victoriously every spring in the field. 
It is a remarkable fact which has frequently been 
pointed out, that while Babylonians, Syrians, Phoenicians 
and Egyptians believed in immortality, the Old Testament 
contains no allusions to it. On the contrary, it denounces 
as an abomination the rites of Tammuz, the god who dies 
and rises to life again, and condemns to death all wizards 
and witches who after the fashion of mediums (as in- 
stanced in the story of the witch of Endor) used to summon 
and consult the spirits of the dead. The truth is that the 
priestly redactors were animated with a zeal for a pure 
monotheism and a contempt for all pagan institutions. 
They were convinced that Yahveh had revealed himself 
to Moses as the one and only true God, and so they looked 
upon all traces of polytheistic customs in their traditions 
as backsliding into the ways of idolatry. It is natural 
therefore that they would not countenance in their Scrip- 
tures such features or doctrines as would indicate that 
their fathers had sanctioned the fables of the Gentiles, and 
they would necessarily omit the resurrection story of Sam- 
son which reminded them so much of the resurrection of 
Tammuz. 

The immortality idea could not be suppressed for any 
length of time and so it asserted itself again in the apoc- 
ryphal books which constitute the most important link be- 



154 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

tween Judaism and Christianity. They contain the seeds 
from which Christianity developed and also explain how 
later Judaism adopted a belief in the immortality of the 
soul, which, however, has been purified of the pagan ele- 
ments attached to the Babylonian view, so closely con- 
nected with the mythology of I star and Tammuz and the 
superstitious practices of spirit conjurors. 

THE REDACTION OF THE SAMSON STORY. 

The treatment of the Samson legend fairly characterizes 
the general work of a late redactor. It is firmly established 
that the leading minds among the Jews in the Babylonian 
exile were zealous monotheists. They hated mythology, 
polytheism, and the worship of idols in any form. They 
spurned the paganism of the surrounding nations as well 
as in their own tradition. And so in collecting their sacred 
literature, they edited the several scriptures in a rational- 
izing spirit. Far from being credulous, as freethinkers 
usually represent them, we insist that they were the ration- 
alists, the freetiiinkers, and iconoclasts of their age. And 
so they either cut out the mythological element as pagan 
superstition or humanized its supernatural features, or 
explained pagan institutions as apostacy.^ 

It is characteristic of the Bible that with very few ex- 
ceptions fables and folklore in their original form are ab- 
sent, and the cosmological stories have been simplified into 
a dry report of a six days' work of creation, yet some 
traces of the originally mythological character of the an- 
cient Hebrew legend have been preserved in the Old Testa- 
ment, in spite of the attempt at their obliteration.^ 

^ Such passages as Judges ii. 13, or iii. 7; iv. i; viii. 38, etc. are of Deu- 
teronomic origin and, it seems to me, indicate omissions from the sources 
which the priestly redactor still had at his command. The original sources 
from which he drew his account were not yet purely monotheistic and must 
have related how the Israelites worshiped not only n**** but also Baal and 
Astarte. Our redactor ascribed all the misfortunes that befell Israel to the 
worship of other gods, and he selected with preference the heroes of Yahveh 
worship for national commendation. 

^ See the author's articles "The Fairy-Tale Element in the Bible," The 



DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE SUN. 155 



^Hian the pagan ideas incorporated in the Tammuz ritual, 
^Brhich consists in the bewaihng of the dying god, and 
^Biortly afterward in the celebration of his resurrection, 
a kind of Babylonian Good Friday with its subsequent 
Easter festival. The absence in the Old Testament of any 
allusion to a belief in the immortality of the soul finds its 
easiest explanation in the theory that all references to it 
have been carefully removed, and so it is in keeping with 
the general tendency of the redactor's work that the Sam- 
son story should have been cut short where it became too 
similar to the myths of pagan deities such as Tammuz, 
Adonis, and Marduk, who descended into the realm of the 
dead, broke open the gates of hell, and returned victor- 
iously to the land of the living. Thus the Samson story 
by being rationalized became a torso. It has been deprived 
of its original meaning and has simply been reduced to the 
story of a rollicking bravo, whose sole merit consists in 
having done great injury to the Philistines. 

CONCLUSION. 

From all that has been said of the Samson story we 
must grant that it resembles not only the pagan solar 
myths and the fate of the dying gods, but also the life of 
Christ in whom in the course of the religious development 
of mankind all these weird and mysterious notions have 
found their final expression. But the main event without 
which the story of the Crucified would be a trag'edy — the 
resurrection — is missing in the Samson story. 

While the Samson story as we have it is a torso, and 
can as such be regarded as satisfactory neither from a 
religious nor literary standpoint, it is nevertheless a most 
valuable relic in the history of the evolution of religious 

Monist, XI, p. 405 ; and "The Babylonian and Hebrew Views of Man's Fate 
After Death," The Open Court, XV, p. 346. 



156 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



ideas. The story as it stands has no doubt been mutilated 
and has suffered from the hands of monotheistic zealots, 
who in their well-intended anxiety to cut out the pagan 




EASTER MORNING. 

By Fra Angelico. 



element have removed its most characteristic features, yet 
there is enough left to give an approximate idea of what 
the ideal of a divine incarnation had become in the phase 



DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE SUN. 1 57 



^ftarrator and hearer were warmed while thinking of the 
^Brresistible Samson. We enjoy the very sound of the He- 
^Drew original, most poetic in those fragments which must 
be deemed most ancient, and so we will naturally look with 
reverence upon this interesting religious document for we 
know that the hero who is represented by Heracles, Izdu- 
bar, Odysseus, Siegfried, Mithra and others, is a prelimi- 
nary and tentative formation of that great ideal which 
found its final completion in the Christian idea of the God- 
man, Christ, the judge who at his second advent is to sit in 
judgment over the quick and the dead, the King of the 
world to come when there shall be no misery, no want nor 
worry, and no death. 

There is one point only to be added for the purpose 
of anticipating a misconstruction of the significance of our 
results. The similarity of the Christ story to pagan leg- 
ends does not lower Christianity to the level of paganism ; 
but, on the contrary, it raises paganism to the dignity of 
genuine religion. Pagan myths, in spite of their crudities, 
are born of the same yearning, the same devotion, the 
same hopes. We do not say that paganism and Christian- 
ity are on the same level, for they are marked by decided 
differences. Paganism belongs to the period of nature 
worship while Christianity characterizes the age in which 
an appreciation of the soul establishes a contrast between 
nature and spirit. As a result of these differences the 
Christian version of the God-man discards all those fea- 
tures which are all too human and all too natural, and 
savor strongly of materialism, translating the story into 
that conception of spirituality which pervades the entire 
religious atmosphere of the age. 

Our treatment of the Samson story conveys a lesson 
of no mean importance, and one that is gradually being 
recognized among leading theologians, namely that com- 



158 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

parative religion and higher criticism will considerably 
modify our religious faith. 

Some pious people in their well-intentioned anxiety 
for the holiest ideals of mankind denounce research as 
ungodly and shun it as if it were sinful and a work of the 
evil one. They foresee the coming change and feel a lack 
of strength to adapt themselves to it. Yet the change 
is unavoidable. It would be better for them had they 
less belief in the letter and -more faith in the spirit. If the 
results of scientific investigation are wrong we need not 
worry, for they will soon be refuted; but if they be the 
truth, no power, can prevail against them. And if they 
are true, they can not be evil, for the truth is of God — 
perhaps not of the God of a sectarian interpretation of 
religion, but the God of truth, the God of honesty, the God 
of veracity, the God of science. 

Science is not a human invention. Science is a reve- 
lation of God and in the field of religion, science is destined 
to accomplish the work of a great reformation. Science 
will mature our religious longings and purify our faith. 
Comparative religion will broaden us, and criticism is the 
refining furnace which will enable us to separate the gold 
from the dross. 

It is more than probable that we shall have to lose some 
of our dearest fancies. They will go because they were 
mere fancies, not truths ; but let us not forget that religion 
is not based upon historical facts nor on traditions rooted 
in the past. Religion is based upon eternal truths. Re- 
ligion exists, it has existed, and will exist as long as the 
human heart will beat. Religion exists to-day because the 
human heart is possessed of certain religious needs. We 
want to understand ourselves and find our bearings in 
the journey through life. We w^ant to know the meaning 
of existence, our duties, our aim and purpose, our relation 
to the rest of the world, guidance in temptation and com- 



DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE SUN. 1 59 

[fort in vicissitudes. Life is fleeting and a proper com- 
prehension of its significance will be possible only if we 
iew it from the standpoint of the eternal which consti- 
tutes the permanent background of its phenomena, the 
enduring and everlasting in the world of restless change. 

Paganism has been superseded by Christianity ; and yet 

Christianity is simply the historical outcome of pre-Chris- 

^tian paganism, chastened by Jewish monotheism and fo- 

:used in a new sympathetic form. The old problems are 

•epeated and the answer is made in the selfsame spirit. 

An early form of Christianity was asceticism based 
Fupon a dualistic conception of the soul. Asceticism has 
been rejected by protestantism which since the time of the 
^Reformation has been the faith of the most progressive 
nations. It is more than probable that the interpretation 
of protestantism will also have to be modified, but religion 
will surely remain. 

With better and more exact knowledge we shall need a 
new interpretation of our faith, but the new interpretation 
will be as much the result of historical development as the 
present is the outcome of the past. The religion of the fu- 
ture will be in spirit the same as the religion of the past. 
Indeed, if we take mankind as a whole we can say that the 
religion of the future will be this selfsame religion of the 
past with such corrections or alterations as the present 
will have to add thereto. 

Religion is an inalienable part of man's nature. It may 
be changed but it will never disappear, and the changes 
that take place at present, being due to a clearer compre- 
hension of truth, should cause no fear, for the truth can 
not be wrong; whatever the truth may be, let the truth 
prevail. 

We close with a quotation from the apocryphal book 
of Esdras (i Esdras iv. 38), a passage which would have 
deserved a place in the canon. It reads : 



l60 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

"As for the truth, it endureth, and is always strong; 
it liveth and conquereth for evermore. With her there 
is no accepting of persons or rewards; but she docth the 
things that are just, and refraineth from all unjust and 
wicked things; and all men do well like of her works. 
Neither in her judgment is any unrighteousness; and she 
is the strength, kingdom, power, and majesty of all ages. 
Blessed be the God of Truth!" 



APPENDIX. 

7"E present here to our readers the controversy which, as stated 
in the introductory pages of this volume, was the occasion of 
le present investigation of the Samson story. It appeared partly 
The Open Court, partly in The Monist, and consists of two com- 
lunications by Mr. George W. Shaw, of Geneseo, Illinois, and one 
editorial reply by the author of this book. 

MYTHOPCEIC ERUDITION. 

BY GEO. W. SHAW. 

There is a tendency in some minds to resolve history into 
myth. Those who indulge it are not half educated visionaries, but 
generally serious thinkers and sometimes profoundly learned. In 
the crucibles of their analysis strange compounds appear. Homer 
ceases to exist, and is replaced by a cycle of rhapsodists. The Tro- 
jan war becomes a solar myth. William Tell did not fight at Mor- 
garten. Stout old Judge Samson was not a Jewish Shophet, but 
the sun — his hair, the sunbeams. 

"All is illusion : naught is truth." 

A small etymological peg will suspend one theory.* Some myth 
of a former age or remote race may furnish an analogy confirmatory 
of another. Having by their methods resolved the facts of history 
into myths, these savants are at one confronted with the question 
how such myths originated. Having no direct evidence of facts 
which probably never occurred, but are confidently assumed, they 
are left to conjecture their causes. Imaginations vary, and each 
inquirer is free to elaborate his own hypothesis. 

"Raw Americans and fanatical women" may participate in such 

* yit&f;^ connects with t?^^\ Was not Samson strong like Hercules ? Was 

not Hercules identical with the Phoenician Baal? Ergo, Samson was a solar 
man, i. e., the sun. Saltatory logic indeed ! but who can prevent men from 
arguing thus if they choose? 



l62 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

controversies, but do not begin them. They originate in the minds 
of scholars and professors. 

The most amusing display of futile erudition witnessed by the 
nineteenth century was the attempt to class the Trojan war among 
solar myths. It had for its champion no less a scholar than Max 
Miiller, Nor was the idea relinquished even after Schliemann had 
brought out the valuables of Priam's Treasury, and shown the five 
scathed walls of his citadel. 

Wolff's theory of the authorship of Homer was supported by 
an amount of learning rarely surpassed. There is a reason for these 
follies of the wise. Those who commit them apply impracticable 
rules of evidence at first and end in a maze of conjectures. For ex- 
ample let the rule be adopted (as it sometimes is), that no fact is 
to be accepted unless attested by an observer. Facts of recent oc- 
currence can often be thus shown, and such proof is of the highest 
order. After the lapse of a generation such evidence is unattain- 
able, but the written statements of an observer may remain. A few 
generations more, and these have disappeared, but quotations from 
them may remain. A time comes at last when a fact can neither be 
shown by a contemporary author, nor from one who has ever seen 
a quotation from a contemporary. Let the fact be then considered as 
unattested and unworthy of serving as a basis of any conclusion. It 
still appears, however, that men have believed in that fact. Why 
did they believe? The natural conclusion that they believed in the 
fact because it was a fact being rejected, and a more satisfactory ex- 
planation demanded, any conjectural explanation may be preserved. 
The methods adopted are parallel with those of the Greek authors 
who sought to account for the stories of gods and heroes. There 
was the historical theory of Euemerus: the gods were men and 
women. The allegorical method was favored by Plato and the Neo- 
Platonists: the gods were human qualities personified. 

There was also the elemental theory of Heraclides: the gods 
were elements or heavenly bodies. 

Our modern mythopoeic academicians incline at present to the 
latter theory. The solar myth is a favorite recourse. Great men 
have to encounter enmities and opposition. Comparison of such a 
man with the sun struggling with thick clouds, now bursting forth 
in brightness and anon setting in gloom presents an allegory too 
obvious to be ignored. The metaphor hardens into a theory ; the 
theory into asserted fact. A similar process resulting in the pro- 
duction of another supposed myth gives the professor of the *'sci- 



APPENDIX. 163 

ence" of comparative mythology an opportunity of discoursing on 
the general prevalence of such myths. Some day Washington at 
V^alley Forge may furnish fine material for a sun myth. It is an 
old remark that unreasonable skepticism leads to absurd credulity. 

I do not object to wholesome reserve and strict scrutiny of his- 
torical evidence. I only emphasize the necessity of investigation un- 
fettered by artificial canons, and ready to avail itself of any source 
of truth without disdain of hearsay or tradition. Who has not seen 
courts of law so restrained by rules of evidence as to be unable to 
ascertain material facts practically known by all present? A long 
credited and not impossible occurrence is not to be regarded as myth- 
ical or doubtful because we do not know the evidence on which it 
has been believed. There may have been abundant evidence now 
inaccessible. 

There are myths partly probable and partly improbable; others 
which consist wholly of the supernatural and improbable. 

The former may have a substratum of fact; but the difficulty 
of separating the real from the imaginary should compel us to re- 
linquish conjecture and insist on evidence. The latter may embody 
important truths deeply disguised. We are not to despair even of 
these, but to look for light in every direction. The myth of Belus 
as it appears in Diodorus, is an illustration. 

Belus was a son of Zeus and Lybia. He led a colony from 
Egypt. He was the first king of Babylon, and entertained Zeus 
there. His name was that by which the Babylonians called Zeus. 
He was buried in Babylon, and the Persians destroyed his tomb 
which the Chaldeans exhorted Alexander to rebuild. 

Can any myth be more inconsistent and absurd? And yet it 
contains much latent truth. 

Hammurabi, the first powerful king of Babylon, built a great 
temple to Bel. The temples of the old Chaldean gods were regarded 
as their tombs. (See Hilprecht, Babylonia, p. 459 fif.) The temple 
had been wholly or partially destroyed by the Persians, and the 
Babylonians were anxious for its restoration. 

Perhaps much more lies concealed in this myth, and may some 
day come to light. 

Myths are shattered fragments of history illumined by the 
moonlight of fancy ; but we praise not those ancient or modern, eru- 
dite or illiterate, who reduce history to ruins, though gleams of sun- 
shine may disclose the former outline. 

From The Open Court, XVIII (Nov. 1904), p. 687. 



164 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

HOW HISTORY IS TRANSFIGURED BY MYTH. 

REPLY BY THE AUTHOR. 

Mr. George W. Shaw's article "Mythopoeic Erudition" char- 
acterizes the tendency of modern criticism to resolve legendary 
traditions and poems into myth, as a mental disease of scholarly 
minds, as ''follies of the wise," and I take pleasure in publishing it 
because it is thoroughly opposed to my own views, for I, too, be- 
long to the class of people censured by Mr. Shaw for believing that 
Homer did not exist and is to be "replaced by a cycle of rhapsodists ; 
the Trojan war is a solar myth ; William Tell did not fight at Mor- 
garten; stout old Judge Samson was not a Jewish Shophet, but the 
sun, — his hair, the sunbeams." My motive in publishing Mr. Shaw's 
communication is not merely for the sake of the principle aiidiatnr 
et altera pars, but mainly because it contains a germ of truth which 
is not always, but frequently, overlooked by scholars of critical ten- 
dencies. 

When Mr. Shaw characterizes the trend of modern analysis of 
history by the device, "All is illusion : naught is truth," he is mis- 
taken, at least so far as the leading scholars in the domain .of higher 
criticism are concerned. Traditions, be they ever so mythological, if 
they are genuine are much more conservative than they may appear 
at first sight. Though the Trojan war may be a tangle of legends 
reflecting the solar myth, the Homeric narrative is after all based on 
actual occurrences. Though William Tell never existed in vSwitzer- 
land, there must have existed many William Tells, not only in 
Switzerland but all over the world. Though the Biblical account 
of Samson's deeds, like the twelve labors of Heracles, is the echo 
of an ancient solar epic which glorifies the deeds of Shamash in his 
migrations through the twelve signs of the zodiac, there may have 
been a Hebrew hero whose deeds reminded the Israelites of Sha- 
mash, and so his adventures were told with modifications which 
naturally made the solar legends cluster about his personality. 

A critical investigation into history teaches us that the actual 
facts are more saturated with mythology than we are aware. 

Some time ago we republished in The Open Court"^ an ingenious 

satire of M. Peres, who proposed the proof that Napoleon the Great 

did not exist but was simply a solar myth, and M. Peres's style is a 

clever imitation of the arguments employed by the higher critics 

* "M. Peres's Proof of the Non-Existence of Napoleon," July, 1903. It 
has been incorporated in full in H. R. Evans's little book The Napoleon Myth, 
Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Co., 1905. 



APPENDIX. 165 

under whose able Investigation many historical figures are seen to 
be centers for mythical accretions. 

Although the ancient traditions of Rome, of Greece, and also 
of Israel, are filled with legend, it is remarkable how much of actual 
fact is recorded in them. 

Biblical traditions have in one sense been fully verified by the 
Babylonian excavations. They show that occurrences such as are 
recorded in them actually took place, but the statements in the sev- 
eral books of the Old Testament are not simply narratives of the 
facts but stories of events as they appeared to the children of Israel 
at the time when they were written. They are onesided and are 
not historical in a strict sense of the word; they are historical only 
in so far as they are echoes of actual events, the narrative being 
modified by beliefs of their authors. 

The same is true of Troy and Homer. The word Homer means 
"arranger" or "compiler," and any one who is familiar with the 
Homeric epics, knows that the several songs are not written by the 
same hand. They are two great compilations and we must assume 
that the ancient rhapsodists selected with preference themes more 
or less closely related to the Siege of Troy and the adventures of 
Odysseus. They may have composed other songs which are now 
lost, but when at the time of Pisistratus the Homeric rhapsodies 
were redacted into two great epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, the 
most obvious discrepancies were removed while all those materials 
that did not fall in with the general plan were doomed to oblivion. 
Now it is strange that the excavations of Schliemann seem to verify 
the Homeric stories, for Schliemann discovered ancient ornaments 
and weapons such as are described in Homer, and believers in the 
letter of Homer rejoiced at the fact and declared triumphantly that, 
after all, Homer must be believed in ; but, unfortunately for these 
enthusiasts, Schliemann's excavations prove too much, for he ex- 
cavated not only one city of Troy, but several cities which are built 
one upon the top of the other, proving that the siege of Troy and the 
conquest and burning of the city, had not taken place once but several 
times ; and so we see that history must have repeated itself, and the 
mythology that overlies the tradition of one tale may have suited 
all others of the same kind. If a myth embodies a general truth, 
the myth will find verification in history whenever events of the same 
kind happen, not once but repeatedly, for the myth stands for the 
type and the type is realized in every concrete instance. 

Events repeat themselves, and these very repetitions are mostly 



l66 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

incorporated in myths. As wild animals use the same trick in catch- 
ing their prey, and these victims try the same methods of dodging 
their enemies, so men, being endowed with a definite psychological 
organism, will naturally act in a typical way. Under similar con- 
ditions their sentiments, their words, their actions will be similar. 
We read, for instance, in the reports of the Revolutionary War that 
Nathan Hale exclaimed when led to execution: "What a pity that 
I have only one life to sacrifice for my country!" With a similar 
enthusiasm Katte, a companion of Prince Frederick of Prussia (later 
on called ''the Great") cried at the moment of execution which he 
suffered for the sake of his royal friend, "And if I had a thousand 
lives I would gladly give them up for you!" The same sentiment 
ensouled the Japanese hero Masashige, when he declared at the 
moment of death, "I pray that I may be born seven times to die 
for my imperial house" ; and he found a follower in Commander 
Hirose whose last poem written shortly before he died a hero's 
death, begins with the line, 

"Yea, seven lives for my loved land." 

These coincidences are natural and can easily be multiplied. 
We read, for instance, in an article by Gen. M. M. Trumbull on 
"The Value of Doubt in the Study of History" (The Open Court, 
1888, I, 716) : 

"Some time ago there was a noted Indian chief in the Western 
country, by the name of Spotted Tail — he is now, fortunately, in 
the happy hunting grounds — who was engaged in controversy with 
the United States Government, about his reservation, or rations, or 
something; and the Secretary of the Interior sent word to him to 
come to Washington, and present his complaint in person. To this 
invitation the noble son of the forest replied, that if he needed 
something of the Secretary he would go to him ; if the Secretary 
wished anything of him, let him come to him. Caesar tells us in his 
Commentaries, that on a certain occasion he sent to Ariovistus, 
King of the Germans, and requested an interview with him. Ario- 
vistus returned this answer, "Si quid ipsi a Csesare opus esset, sese 
ad eum venturum fuisse ; si quid ille se velit, ilium ad se venire 
oportere," which is the very same answer that Spotted Tail sent to 
the Secretary of the Interior. A newspaper critic in New York 
thereupon accused Spotted Tail of plagiarizing from the speech of 
Ariovistus." 

While typical instances occur independently in the same way, 



APPENDIX. 167 

we know also that if an example is once set others will imitate it, 
and so it will be repeated, as was the case with commander Hirose, 
who followed Masashige. A striking instance of how a religious 
idea as incorporated in a myth will influence the action of real men 
is referred to on page 137 in the present book of The Story of Sam- 
so)i, in the case of Hamilcar who sacrifices his life as a holocaust 
because his god Baal had done the same, and even if a hero does 
not imitate his tutelary gods the people will attribute to him deeds 
of his god. 

A little psychological insight into the constitution of the human 
mind will best explain the situation. Every occurrence which we 
experience is at once co-related to and associated with former ex- 
periences and both are so fused that an unsophisticated person can 
not easily separate the facts from the opinions which we hold as to 
their nature. Thus myth creeps into history and miracles are com- 
mon events to those who believe in the miraculous. 

When Napoleon rose into power his heroic dash and his quick 
success dazzled the minds of his countrymen, and he was naturally 
compared now to Alexander the Great, now to Caesar, or even to 
the gods. The fate of former conquerors became, as it were, a 
prophecy for his career. He himself was induced to imitate his 
predecessors, and his admirers did not hesitate to see him in the 
light of a mythical hero. Thus it was but an inevitable result that 
many incidents were attributed to him simply because they belong 
to the same type of heroes, mythical as well as historical, with whom 
he had been classified. 

Troy was situated in the north-western corner of Asia Minor 
in a place favorable in the old times for the development of a large 
city. It offered excellent opportunities for the exchange of goods 
that came from both the East and the West, — from the interior of 
Asia and from Europe. The coast was hospitable for such ships as 
were built in those days, but the advantages were counterbalanced 
by the disadvantages which exposed the city to hostile attacks, and 
so the place became unsafe on account of its wealth, proving an at- 
traction to pirates. Homer tells us the history of the capture of Troy 
not as it really happened, but as it lived in the memory of the Greek 
nation between the ninth and fifth centuries B. C. It seems a hope- 
less task to extract from the Iliad the historical facts that underlie 
the story which in spite of its historical background is a tangle of 
myth and legend. There can be no doubt about it that Helen is a 
humanized form of Selene, the moon ; but for all that, some mortal 



1 68 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

woman named Helen may have been the cause of a war between 
Greece and Troy! Odysseus is the sun in his migration, who en- 
counters innumerable adventures and descends into the underworld, 
whence he returns unscathed to the domain of the living; yet there 
may have lived an adventurous chief of Ithaca, named Odysseus, 
who roamed all over the world and came home after an absence of 
twenty years, an unknown beggar. 

It is not uncommon that the same divinity becomes differen- 
tiated in the course of time in the different roles which he assumes 
and the different ways in which he is represented. Thus the same 
festival of the dying and resurrected god translated into Christian 
life becomes in church ritual an Easter mass ; in church customs, 
the mystery play ; and in popular life, the carnival with its rollicking 
spirit. Their common origin is scarcely recognizable when we see 
these three differentiated forms which they have assumed in the 
course of time. Shamash has become the god of justice and also 
the roaming adventurer. We here reproduce the two best known 
mommients in which Shamash is worthily represented by Babylonian 
artists. Though Izdubar as well as Heracles, Samson, and kindred 
figures are different in character from the dignified god of justice, 
we know, after all, that both conceptions, the sun-god as judge 
and the sun-god as a wandering hero have been differentiated from 
one and the same divinity. 

As to Tell, we have to state that no family of that name can be 
traced in Switzerland at or before the time of the Swiss struggle 
for independence, and the story of Tell's famous shot at the apple 
on the head of his child is mentioned for the first time in a chronicle 
written in 1470, i. e., about two centuries after the alleged occur- 
rence."^' But while there is no foundation in Swiss history for the 
tale of Tell, we are familiar with similar stories among the Norse, 
the Danes, and the Saxons.f We can scarcely doubt that the legend 
is a last reminiscence of human sacrifices which, with the progress 
of civilization, were gradually abolished, and one form in which the 
abolition of human sacrifices was effected consisted in a ritual ac- 

* In the so-called Weisse Buck of the Archives of Obwalden, 1470 ; and in 
the Chronik of Melchior Russ, 1482. There is further a Tell-ballad, and 
finally in Tschudi's Chronicoii Helveticum, from which latter the story was 
utilized by Schiller in his famous drama. 

t Saxo Grammaticus tells the Tell story of "Toko," the Edda of "Egil,"' 
and an old English ballad of "William of Cloudeslay." It would lead me too 
far to exhaust the subject, but a traveler's report even of distant Arabia gives 
us information of a custom in whicli a person is offered as a sacrifice, until 
a skilled marksman liberates the victim after the fashion of Tell's shot. 



APPENDIX. 



169 




SHAMASH^ THE SUN-GOD^ ENTHRONED IN HIS HOLY OF HOLIES. ^^^ 



170 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



cording to which the victim was consecrated to death but was given 
a chance of escape through the heroism or skill of a voluntary sa- 
viour. 




HAMMURABI BEFORE SHAM ASH, THE GOD OF LAW, 



While we positively know that Tell is not an ancient Swiss 
name we may boldly say that the stories of Tell did not, but might 
as well have happened as not, for history repeats itself and wherever 



APPENDIX. 171 

there is oppression, there we meet with characters such as Tell, who 
^oppose a tyrant's violence. 

Although the personality of Tell is an invention, Te)l is not 
pure fancy, for in the character of the hero the spirit of independence 
which animated the Swiss found an appropriate and true personi- 
fication ; but the myth-making instinct of man is very strong and 
sometimes invents legends where there is not the slightest reason 
for their existence. As an instance of this I will relate the following 
story which if not reliable in all its details is at least ben trovato. 

A New England farmer of colonial days once found in a quarry 
situated on his land a peculiarly beautiful stone 6i pyramidal shape, 
and following an artistic instinct put it up at the crossroad in front 
of his gate. But he soon regretted it when he was inconvenienced 
the whole day by people who stopped at the house and asked in 
whose honor the monument had been erected. The first enquirers 
were treated politely and with a laugh. But when every wagon 
that passed by stopped and he had to answer the same question 
over and over again he became enraged and at last went out to 
the crossroads and wrote in large letters on the stone the answer 
to every enquiry, "Nothing particular lies under this stone." He 
hoped this would stop all further annoyance but he had only poured 
oil on the fire, for the local newspaper published a short item in one 
of its issues that Mr. N N, whose farm was situated at the cross- 
roads, had appropriately set up a monument to the famous old 
chieftain Nothing Particular. Upon further inquiry the same paper 
was found to contain more information concerning this valiant 
chief. Among other interesting details it explained that the hero's 
Indian name was not known, but he was called Nothing Particular 
by the settlers because of an interesting incident. It seems that 
he passed a farm one day and found the maid carrying milk in a 
covered pail. Being hungry and thirsty he asked what she carried 
there, and she answered, "Nothing particular." Having refreshed 
himself on the milk he habitually asked at the farms for "nothing 
particular" and so was soon known by this peculiar name. 

Our farmer was now more overwhelmed with questions than 
ever. Whole parties came from distant counties to see the tomb 
of Nothing Particular, and the innocent originator of this Indian 
legend was now so embittered that he broke the stone and threw^ 
it back into the quarry from which it had been taken. The condem- 
nation of the population was general, and the incident closed with an 



172 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

article that appeared in the local Gazette under the caption "An Act 
of Vandalism." 

The incident was closed for our farmer but not for history, for 
a century afterward a poetical student and a collector of folklore 
legends when looking over the old files of newspapers, happened to 
come across the little article written in condemnation of the van- 
dalism of our farmer. He went to the spot, found the stone, made 
a report to a little circle of his friends, founded a folklore society, 
collected money for the restoration of ancient monuments, and had 
the stone replaced at the crossroads where it had been a hundred 
years before. There the monument still stands, at least so I am told. 

While legends may be woven of the flimsiest stuff we must be- 
ware lest we condemn the story of an extraordinary event simply 
because it seems to reflect mythical incidents. Life is cast in definite 
molds determined by the eternal laws of the universe as well as the 
psychic constitution of mankind. We will select a most striking 
instance from contemporary history. Mr. Moncure D. Conway in 
discussing the situation in France with reference to the Dreyfus trial, 
is struck with its many features which might indicate a symbolical 
meaning, and so he writes not without an irony which will un- 
doubtedly be appreciated by Mr. Shaw :* 

"Were the Dreyfus story translated from a newly-found papyrus 
I might at this moment be writing an essay to prove it a sun-and- 
storm myth. The Mithraic three-footed Sun (Drei-fusf), obscured 
by the Eastern Haze (Ester-hazy), and held in prison by the Ahri- 
manic 'two-footed serpent of lies' (Du Paty = deux pattes), on the 
Devil's Island, [situated in the distant west], is liberated at cock- 
crow (Galli-fete) on the eve of the autumnal equinox. What could 
be clearer? Of course I should merely smile at any scholars credu- 
lous enough to suppose that anything so impossible as the Dreyfus 
case could actually occur." 

Mankind will always interpret the facts of life in the light of 
their convictions and beliefs. Wherever a great personality rises 
into prominence stories will be told of him which may have happened 
to characters of the same type of bygone ages. This is the reason 
why the same anecdotes are told of Caesar, of Charlemagne, of Fred- 
erick the Great, and of- Grant, and they will be told of great generals 
of the ages to come. 

* See Mr. Conway's article "The Idol and the Ideal of the French Re- 
public," The Open Court, 1900, Vol. XIV, pp. 13-14. 

t The tripod of Pythia in Delphi is sacred to Apollo. 



APPENDIX. 173 

In our religious literature we find the same mixture of fact 
and fancy. There is more historical truth in the history of Buddha, 
of Jesus, and of Muhammed than may appear at first sight, judging 
from the miraculous adornments of all religious tradition. As ivy 
quickly covers an old tree, the mythological accretions almost con- 
ceal the real facts of the lives of religious leaders. We can be sure 
that Jesus, Gautama Siddhartha, and Mohammed were real persons, 
but the people who look upon them in faith co-relate the acts related 
of them with their highest religious ideals of the Christ, the Buddha, 
and of the Prophet. The Christian Gospels are not simply narra- 
tives of the life of Jesus but they are the story of Jesus as the Christ, 
embodying ancient traditions not only of the Jewish notion of a 
Messiah but many other kindred hopes ; they echo the expectations 
of the people who were prepared for the coming of a Saviour. The 
Christ ideal existed before Jesus. The Jewish Messiah conception 
had been modified and deepened by the Persian doctrine of Mithra, 
the virgin-born viceroy of God's kingdom on earth, the Babylonian 
Marduk, the Conqueror of Death and mediator between God the 
Father, and men, and also the world-resigning Buddha of India. 
When Jesus was accepted by His disciples as the Messiah, the Christ, 
all the most important notions and honors of previous kindred fig- 
ures in the domain of both history and mythology were transferred 
upon and attributed to the great Galilean. 

The picture of Jesus in the New Testament is not strictly his- 
torical, but it contains historical facts. It is the story of Jesus, the 
Nazarene, as interpreted by those who believed that he was the 
Christ. 

p. c. 

From The Open Court, XVIII (Nov., 1904,) p. 690, with additions. 



SHEMESH AND SAMSON. 

BY GEO. W. SHAW. 

History may be, and often is, accompanied by myths. The ob- 
ject of the historian who aims at truth is to free facts from their 
mythical associates. This process is analytic. 

Myths are seldom unassociated with history. To determine 
how much of a story, mainly mythical, is true, is a process of a more 
synthetic character. It produces new truth which lay hidden in rub- 
bish of error, and even finds value in the rubbish. 



174 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

The first process is destructive, and, unless conducted with the 
utmost care, may lead to negation of facts. The second process is 
constructive, but unless wisely carried on leads to the formation 
of rash theories. Both these methods are applied to ancient history. 
The first and easiest has had its day of prevalence: The second and 
higher should succeed it. If 1 rightly apprehend the drift of archaeo- 
logical thought, thinkers are becoming more anxious to find history 
in myths, than to detect myths in history. 

In the kind notice of my article on mythopoeic erudition which 
the Editor has inserted, I think I see more evidence of the first 
method of thought than of the second. 

I am far from denying the important part which myths play in 
Trojan or Hebrew history. The godlike heroes of the Iliad, if 
shown in historical costume, would not excite our wonder. They are 
scarcely more exaggerated, however, than Godfrey and his knights 
in the immortal poem of Tasso : and I can see no more reason to 
doubt the Siege of Troy than that of Jerusalem ; or that the world's 
unrivaled poet gave a correct outline of facts occurring on the shores 
of the Hellespont. 

I will not, however, enter here into a vindication of the per- 
sonality of Homer or the unity of his poems, or of the truth of the 
tradition of Tell. I believe scholars are returning to their allegiance 
to both Homer and Tell. 

But I will discuss for a moment the view of the Editor as to 
"Judge Samson," for the double reason that I believe it to be the 
prevalent opinion of scholars, and am confident that it is erroneous. 
That view is thus expressed : 

"Though the Bible account of Samson's deeds, like the twelve 
labors of Hercules, is the echo of an ancient solar epic which glori- 
fies the deeds of Shamash, in his migrations through the twelve 
signs of the zodiac, there may have been a Hebrew hero, whose deeds 
reminded the Israelites of Shamash, and so his adventures were told 
with such modifications which naturally made the solar legends 
cluster about his personality." 

I contend that there not only may have been, but actually was, 
a magistrate of that name, and that neither his name, nor character, 
nor deeds, had any connection with the Babylonian Shamash, or any 
tendency to remind any one of him. Samson's appearance in the list 
of Shophets is prima facie evidence of his existence as a man. The 
verb shamash, "to serve," only occurs once in the Bible. In Dan. 
vii. 10 it is met with in the Pihel or intensive form, denoting vig- 



APPENDIX. 175 

orous or persistent service. The segholate* noun shemesh derived 
from this form denotes a powerful and unwearied servant, and its 
derivative shinishon would naturally mean powerful. This meaning 
is especially attested by Josephus. That great master of both He- 
brew and Greek translated the word by taxv/ods, a word connected 
with iVxw, and old form of ex*^, and denoting a vigor that holds — is 
enduring. The adjective probably refers to the vigor of a stout 
serving man. It is analogous to the English "burley"='*boorlike." 

Gesenius failed to perceive the logical sequence of ideas, and 
pronounced the translation of Josephus ''ohne sprachlichen Arihalt." 
This flippant remark of a learned professor has been too successful 
in introducing error into Hebrew lexicons, where Samson appears 
as a solar man. 

Relying on the much higher authority of Josephus, I say that 
he was not a solar man at all but simply a strong man. 

Other Hebrews of that time received their names, or rather 
titles, from their qualities or actions — Gideon was the slasher, the 
sabrienr — Deborah the queen bee — Barak lightning — Jephthah the 
deliverer — Samson the strong. 

Turn we now to the Chaldean god Samas ; or as he is named in 
the Bible, Shemesh. He was once a newer and inferior deity. He 
was the son (perhaps the daughter) of the moon-god Sin — a con- 
firmation of Bachofen's contention that the worship of the moon is 
older than that of the sun. He was a servant. In an old Accadian 
hymn translated by Lenormant, he is styled the servant of Anu and 
Bel, The word "servant" applied to the god came to designate the 
sun itself. Shemesh grew in importance. Great temples were built 
to him at Larsa and Sippara. The former was seven hundred years 
old in the time of Hammurabi, and was renewed by that king. The 
representation of him found there by Rassam shows a venerable 
sovereign with a long beard and a solar disk before him, in front of 
which stand several worshipers. He became the god of legislation 
and jurisprudence. In Hammurabi's time judges sat In his temple, 
and their decrees were recorded. Hammurabi himself is represented 
as receiving from him the stone tablet on which is inscribed the great 
code. 

Shemesh is styled In some Inscriptions the "Judge of Heaven 
and Earth," the "Ruler of the World," the "Greatest of the Gods." 

He mingles the attributes of two Greek deities who, though 
generally clearly distinguished, were sometimes confounded — Helios 
and Apollo. Like Helios his name was identical with that of the 



176 THE STORY OF SAMSON. 

sun. Like him he opened the door of the shining heavens, and tra- 
versed the upper and lower worlds. 

But he resembles Apollo more. Apollo, like him, was a servant, 
but became a god of legislation, and gave the sanction of his oracle 
to the laws of Lycurgus. Apollo rose in the Hellenic mind to a po- 
sition almost equal to that of Zeus himself. Shemesh lacked the 
celestial beavity and grace of the god of literature, of music, and of 
song, but appears in the more imposing attitude of the judge of all 
mankind, rewarding virtue and punishing vice. 

Apollo was not without that function, but it was not so prom- 
inent as in the case of Shemesh. 

What is there in the character or acts of Samson to call to mind 
the great and venerable god of truth and justice? He was a shophet 
or regulator, and his duties embraced those of a judicial character 
with other duties. In this he did not differ from the other shophets, 
nor is there any indication that he excelled any other person of his 
class in any department of his duty. His prominent characteristic 
was his prodigious strength. As Shere Afghan encountered and 
slew bare-handed a royal Bengal tiger, so he could rend a lion. As 
Wallace stalked through bands of English soldiery, striking down 
a man at every blow, so he could pierce a hostile array of Philistines ; 
but he shows no sign of superior intelligence. His main trait was 
an irresistible penchant for the daughters of the Philistines. He was 
simply a stout, sensual man, with some humor and shrewdness, but 
of small mental calibre. 

To a worshiper of Shemesh it would have seemed gross impiety 
to compare such a man with the great god of truth and justice. A 
Jew admiring a hero would not have compared him to a heathen 
divinity. 

It has been suggested that near the scene of Samson's career 
was Beth Shemesh, a name denoting the site of a sanctuary of the 
god. However that may have been, the worship of Shemesh had 
ceased there in the time of the Judges, for we find the Bethshemites 
receiving the ark with joy and sacrifices on its return from captiv- 
ity, (i Sam. vi. 13.) 

That mythical elements and exaggeration occur in the story of 
Samson is not denied. 

It contains a striking instance of the superstition, wide spread 
among primitive men, that your enemy acquires a fatal influence over 
you by obtaining some of your hair. Samson's power of resistance 
vanishes when he is shorn. 



b 



APPENDIX. 177 

The mythical and exaggerated portions of the narrative, how- 
ever, bear no impress of solarism nor of Shemesh, who had ceased 
to be a mere sun-god and become, Hke Apollo, a distinct person, 
many centuries before the period of the Judges. 

We have in Samson an historical man — a valiant though unwise 
and unsuccessful champion of his people. 

From The Monist, Jan., 1907. 



I 



INDEX. 



Abraham's Oak, 49, 51 5 theophany 

at Mamre, 65. 
Adonis, 95, i55- 
yEneas, 93. 
Ahura Mazda, 133. 
Ain-Shems, 40. 
Akkadians, 72. 
Alexamenos, 103. 

Alexander, 167; Romance of, 8-12. 
Aphrodite, Suicide of, 95. 
Apollo, 95; "he of unshorn hair," 

109. 
Arabia, breeding-place of nations, 72,. 
Arad-Ea, 129, 
Ariovistus, 166. 
Aryans, 25. 
Ascalon, 43 ff. 
Asceticism, 159. 
Ass, Christ riding an, 106; Jaw-bone 

of an, 96, Mass in honor of, 106; 

sacred to Dionysus, 105; sacrifice 

in Egypt, 104; worshipped by the 

Jews, 104, 105. 
Ass-headed, Yahveh spoken of as, 

102, 104. 
Astarte, Death of, 95. 
Atonement, 142. 

Baal Melkarth, 137. 

Babylonian captivity, 15. 

Balaam's ass, 102. 

Baptism by sprinkling, 69. 

Barbarossa, 12. 

Baur, Dr. Gustav, 13. 

Bee, and lion, 90; in mouth of lion, 

91 ; in the body of the lion, y6. 
Beelzebub and Beelzebul, 36. 



Bel Merodach, 98. 

Belus, 163. 

Berosos, 29, 141. 

Beth Hanina, 39. 

Beth Shemesh, place of sun worship, 
38; pre-Israelitic, 24. 

Biblical traditions verified but one- 
sided, 165. 

Blood, Shedding of, 142. 

Buddha, Characteristic marks of the, 
138. 

Caesar, 166, 167. 

Carnivals, 146. 

Cenotaphs, 151. 

Charon, 129. 

Cherethites probably Cretans, 25. 

Christ, a servant, 140; forsaken by 
God, 142; Mithras analogous to, 
123 ; riding an ass, 106 ; Samson a 
prototype of, 134, 147. 

Christianity, Paganism superseded by, 

159. 
Chrysostom, St., 133. 
Circumcision, 64. 
Constantine, 146. 
Conway, Moncure D, 172. 
Cretans, Cherethites probably, 25. 
Curtiss, Samuel Ives, 55, 56. 
Cyrus, 16. 

Dagan. See Dagon. 

Dagon, 24; a god of agriculture, 31; 
and Odakon, 31; Babylonian, 26; 
Canaanitish, 24-25 ; derived from 
dagan, "wheat," 32-34; not derived 
from dag, "fish," 26; Yahveh is 
stronger than, 26-29. 



i8o 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



Dan, means "judge," 24; Paganism 
of, 20 ff.; Site of (Illus.), 22. 

Darius, 102. 

Date of Samson epic, 18. 

Daud, Neby, 56. 

Delilah, 82 ff., 140; Meaning of, no; 
Web of, 2, 84, 108. 

Delitzsch, 62. 

Deluge, 127. 

Deuteronomy, 14. 

Devotion of pagans, 150. 

Dido, Death of, 93 ff. 

Dio Chrysostom, 136. 

Diodorus, 108. 

Dionysus, 35. 

Dore, Gustave, 145, 146. 

Dragon and the lion, 117. 

Dreyfus, 172. 

Dying god, 137. 

Eabani, 126, 129. 

Easter ritual, 146. 

Eating the god, 142 ff. 

Ebers, Georg, 47. 

El Shaddaj, 62. 

Elijah, 63. 

Elohim, 62. 

Elysium, 129 n. 

Encyclopaedia Bihlica, 13, 43. 

En Nagara, Village of, 69, 71. 

Endor, Witch of, 153. 

Enhaqqore, 45, 81 ; Meaning of, 102. 

Epictetus, 132. 

Epping and Strassmaier, 126. 

Es-Sarar, 39. 

Eshtaol, 40, 41, 88. 

Etam, The cliff, 45, 79. 

Eusebius, 18, 30. 

Evans, H. R., i, 3, 45, 164 n. 

Ezekiel, 16, 6^. 

Ezra, 16. 

Falchion or sickle-sword, 98. 

Firmicus, 146. 

Fish deities, 29; Ichthys, 2)^', Sacra- 
ment, 29; Symbol of the, 34. 

Foxes, Roman custom of chasing, 92 ; 
Three hundred, 78. 

Frazer, J. G. 58, 141. 

Frederick the Great, 12. 



Gaza, 45 ff. ; Gates of, 81 f., 107. 
Gibraltar, Name of, 108. 
Gilgamesh, 240. 
God of truth, 158. 
Gospel writers, 138. 
Gossamer, 2, 109. 
Grape, Nazir, 67. 
Gypsies, Israelites like, yz- 

Hair, Cutting the, 68; sacred to the 
sun-god, 67. 

Hairknot constellation, 69. 

Hale, Nathan, 166. 

Hamilcar, 137, 167. 

Hammurabi, 19, 119; before Sha- 
mash, (Illus.), 170. 

Hamor. See khamor. 

Hanina, 39. 

Haupt, Paul, 59, 120. 

Hebrew literature, 14 ff. 

Hebron, 48-49; 51, 82. 

Hendrich, Herman, 139. 

Heracles, a servant, 140; and Her- 
cules, 119'; and Samson, 119, 130; 
and the lion, 117; crossing the 
ocean, 129; Oriental origin of, 18; 
Pillars of, 108; the ideal, 132. 

Hercules and Heracles, 119. 

Herod, 44. 

Herodotus, 102, 136, 137. 

Hesperides, Apples of, 129. 

Hiding, Samson in, 95. 

Hierapolis, 68. 

Higher Criticism, 158. 

Hilprecht, 163. 

Hirose, 166, 167. 

Historicity, Local coloring main arg- 
ument of, 38. 

History in myth, 3, 4. 

Hoffman, G., 95. 

Holy men, 55 ff. 

Homer, 109, 165, 167. 

Honey, 76; found in a lion, When is, 
92. 

Hosea, 58. 

Ibrahim Pasha, 45. 
Ichthys, "fish," 36. 

Immortality, and Izdubar, 128; of 
sun-hero, 152. 



INDEX. 



l8l 



Indra, 95. 

Ishma'in, 39, 45. 

Israel, Nomad life of, 72 f. 

Izdubar, 24, 122, 123 ; and immortal- 
ity, 128 ; epic, 123 ff . ; the helper, 
120. 

Jaw-bone of an ass, 79-80, 96. 

Jebel el-Muntar, 51. 

Jehovah, Origin of the word, 61 f. 

Jeremiah, 62. 

Jesus of Nazareth, 149; entry into 

Jerusalem, 144 ff. 
Jhvh. See Yahveh. 
Jordan, Sources of the, 22. 
Josiah, King, 15. 
Judas, 140. 

Katte, 166. 

Khamor, Pun on, loi. 

Kid offering, 54, 78; Significance of, 

59 f. 
Kronos with a sickle-sword, 99, 100. 

Lehi, 45, 80; Raid of Philistines 

upon, 79. 
Leo the Great, 134. 
Leshem, Laish called, 21. 
Lion and bee, 90; and the dragon, 

117; Samson and the, 75. 
Liusa, 21. 
Local coloring, 117; main argument 

of the historicity, 38. 
Localization of myths, 8, 12, 
Lord's supper, 143. 
Lucian, 68. 
Luther, 12. 

Mahaneh-Dan, 42 f. 

Manaoh, 52, 53; Derivation of, 43; 

Wife of, 66. 
Marduk, 155. 
Masashige, 166, 167. 
Mass in honor of ass, 106. 
Meier, E., 102. 

Melkarth, Resurrection of, 136. 
"Messenger of Yahveh" substituted 

for Yahveh, 65. 
Messenger of Jhvh, 52-55. 
Micah, the Ephraimite, 20. 



Mithras, 123, 133. 

Mixture of fact and fancy, 173. 

MoUendorf, Wilamowitz, 6. 

Moore, G. F., 20, 52, 74, 102, no. 

Monist, The, i n., 2. 

Moses sees the back parts of Yahveh, 
64 ; Yahveh appears to, 61 ; Yahveh 
converses with, 63 f. ; Yahveh 
sought to kill, 64. 

Miiller, O., 136, 162. 

Miinchhausen, 14. 

Myth in history, 3, 8; localized, 8, 12. 

Mythopceic Erudition, 161 ff., 164. 

Napoleon, i, 12, 164, 167. 
Nazarene, Etymology of the word, 

69, 71 ; Paul a ring-leader of, 71 ; 

perhaps Nazirs, 71. 
Nazareth, 69-71. 
Nazir, Apollo as, 109; Grape, 67; 

Meaning of, 66; Samson a typical, 

67. 
Nazirism, Gentile, 67. 
Nazorean. See Nazarene. 
Nehemiah, 16. 
Nibelung Saga, 12. 
Nimrod, 122, 123. 
Nothing Particular, 171. 

Oannes, 30 f. 

Odakon and Dagon, 31. 

Odysseus, 14, 168. 

One-eyed, Sun-god is, no. 

Oriental origin of Heracles, 18. 

Osiris, 12, 148-150. 

Ovid, 92. 

Pagan tradition, Samson story relic 

of, 113. 
Pagans, Devotion of, 150. 
Paganism, dignified, 157; of Dan, 

20 ff. ; superseded by Christianity, 

159. 
Patrick, St., Z7- 
Paul, "a ring-leader of the Naza- 

renes," 71 ; Vow of, 68. 
Peisander, 130. 
Penitential psalms, 150. 
Peres, Satire of, 164. 
Perseus, 97, 98. 



l82 



THE STORY OF SAMSON. 



Personal equation of scholars, 7. 

Philistines, 18, 24, 25. 

Philo Byblius, 32, 34. 

Pillars, of Hercules, 108; The two 

brazen, 107. 
Plutarch, 107. 
Polychrome Bible, 17 n., 20 n., 74, 

102, no. 
Preller, L., 18, 92, 93 n. 
Prodicus, 130. 
Psalms, Penitential, 150. 
Psyche, 15^. 

Ra, the sun-god, 148 f. 

Ramath-lehi, 80, 96. 

Raphael, 75. 

Rechabites, 73. 

Redactor of the Samson legend, 154. 

Religion, Comparative, 158; will re- 
main, 159. 

Reni, Guido, 100, loi. 

Riddle of Samson, 76; Solution of, 
91. 

Riehm, E. C. A., 13. 

Roman custom of chasing foxes, 92. 

Roskoff, Gustav, 4, 5, 7, 89, 90, 115. 

Rubens, P. P., 54. 

Sacaean festival, 141, 144. 

Samosata, 68. 

Samson, a servant, 140; a Nazir, 67; 
and Heracles, 119, 130; and lion, 
75; Birth of, 52; Death of, 112; 
in hiding, 95; Last prayer of, no; 
Life of (the Biblical account), 
74 ff. ; Marriage of, 74 ; playing the 
lute, 147 ; prayer for water, loi ; 
presumably son of Yahveh, 66; 
prototype of Christ, 134, 147, Res- 
urrection of, suppressed, 152; Rid- 
dle of, 76; Seven Braids of, 109; 
story, a torso, 155; story, relic of 
pagan tradition, 113; The name, 
24; Tomb of, 151; Twelve labors 
of, 89; typifies the archaic not the 
later purer faith, 118; visits his 
wife, 78. 

Sardanapalus, 136. 

Saul among the prophets, 59. 

Sayce, A. H., 32-34. 



Schliemann, 165. 

Schnorr von Karolsfeld, 61, 80, 84, 

III. 
Science not a human invention, 158. 
Semiramis, 95. 
Seneca, 132. 
Servants, Heracles, Samson, and 

Christ as, 140. 
Seven, 114; bow-strings, 115; braids, 

83, 84, 108, 115; -rayed halo of 

sun-god, 109. 
Shamash, Hammurabi before, ( lUus.) 

170; the sun-god, (Illus.), 169. 
Shamat, Weli, 41. 
Shaving the head, 68. 
Shaw, George, W., i, 2, 161 ff., 164. 
Shimshon, 24. 

Sicharbas, i. e., Sichar haal, 95. 
Sickle-sword, 97, 98. 
Siculus, Diodorus, loi. 
Siegfried, and the dragon, 118; Death 

of, 139. 
Simeon the Stylite, 104. 
Sinai, Mount, Yahveh's residence, 63. 
Sitnapishtim, 127, 129. 
Smith, W. B., 71, 72. 
Smith, W. Robertson, 104, 120, 136 
Snakes of St. Patrick, 2)7- 
Sodomite, 57. 
Solution of riddle, 91. 
Spottcrucifix, 103. 
Spotted Tail plagiarizing from Ario- 

vistus, 166. 
Steinthal, H., 6, 7, 13, 60, 95, 130 
Strabo, 97. 

Strassmaier, Epping and, 126. 
Sumerians, 72. 
Sun, in the psalms, 17; one-eyed, no; 

Resurrection of the, 133; worship, 

Beth Shemesh place of, 38. 

Tacitus, 104. 

Tammuz, 153, 154, 155. 

Tel Amarna tablets, 24. 

Tel el Kadi, 22. 

Tell, William, 164, 168, 170, 171. 

Theophanies, 60 ff. 

Theotokos, 150. 

Thirty, 114. 

Tiamat, 98. 



INDEX. 



183 



Tibneh, 43. 
Timnath, 75. 
Tonsure, 69. 

Traditions, tenacious, 144. 
Trojan war, 164. 
Troy, 167. 

Trumbull, M. M., 166. 
Twelve, 114, 115 ff.; labors of Sam- 
son, 89. 
Typhon, 104. 

Vine-covered tree, 8, 9. 
Vritra, The monster, 95. 

Washington, 163. 
Web of Delilah, 84, 108. 
Wellhausen, J., 13, 17. 
Winckler, Hugo, 10. 
Wizards and Witches, 153. 
Wolff, 162. 



Yahveh, ass-headed, 102, 104; comes 
over Samson, 114; converses with 
Moses, 63; Country as a donation 
of, ^2) '. Ezekiel's description of, 63 ; 
His residence Mount Sinai, 63; 
Messengers of, 52-55 ; "Messen- 
ger" substituted for, 65 ; Moses 
sees the back parts of, 64; Samson 
presumably son of, 66 ; sought to 
kill Moses, 64; is stronger than 
Dagan, 26-29. 

Yule Tide, 133. 

Zebaoth, 62. 

Zechariah, 44. 

Zephaniah, 44. 

Zipporah, 64. 

Zodiac, Babylonian, 126 ff. 

Zorah, 40, 52. 



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published by The Open Court Publishing Company, making a stately volume of 255 
pages. 



THE OPEN COURT PUBLISHING CO^ 1522 Wabash Ave.. Chicago 



^'llc story of Samson ^"<^^t^ ^'^^^ ■" i\^^ ^f^- 
^ lous Development of Mankind. 

By Paul Carus. 80 illustrations. Pp. 183. Comprehensive index. 

Boards, $1.00 net. (4s.6d.net.) 

Dr. Carus contends that Samson's prototype is to be found in those traditions of all prim- 
itive historical peoples which relate to a solar deity. He believes that genuine tradition, no 
matter how mythological, is more conservative than is at first apparent. Though the bibli- 
cal account of Samson's deeds, like the twelve labors of Heracles, is the echo of an ancient 
solar epic which glorifies the deeds of Shamash in his migration through the twelve signs of 
the zodiac, there may have been a Hebrew hero whose deeds reminded the Israelites of Sha- 
mash, and so his adventures were told with modifications which naturally made the solar 
legends cluster about his personality. 

References are fully given, authorities quoted and comparisons are carefully drawn be- 
tween Samson on the one hand, and Heracles, Shamash, Melkarth and Siegfried on the 
other. The appendix contains a controversy between Mr. Geo. W. Shaw and the author in 
which is discussed at some length the relation between myth and history. 

^t^in^fi^ nrhOllOllt ^^ Exposition of the Main Character- 

*^ istic Features of the Chinese World- 

Conception. By Paul Carus. Being a continuation of the author's essay, 
Chinese Philosophy. Illustrated. Index. Pp.195. Sl.OO net. (4s. 6d.) 

This book contains much that is of very great interest in the development of Chinese 
culture. Beginning in the first chapter with a study of the earliest modes of thought-com- 
munication among primitive people of different parts of the world, and tracing the growth of 
the present system of Chinese caligraphy. In "Chinese Occultism" some interesting Oriental 
mystical ideas are explained as well as the popular methods of divination by means of tri- 
grams and the geomancer's compass. In a special chapter the zodiacs of different nations 
are compared with reference to the Chinese zodiac and also to a possible common Babylon- 
ian origin. This chapter contains many rare and valuable illustrations representing almost 
all known zodiacs from those of Egypt to the natives of the Western hemisphere. The in- 
fluence of Confucius is discussed, and a hurried recapitulation of the most important points 
in Chinese history is given together with a review of the long novel which stands in the place 
of a national epic. Chinese characteristics and social conditions have their place in this 
volume as well as the part played in China by Christian missions, and the introduction of 
Western commercialism. The author's object is to furnish the necessary material for a psy- 
chological appreciation of the Chinese by sketching the main characteristic features of the 
ideas which dominate Chinese thought and inspire Chinese morality, hoping thereby to con- 
tribute a little toward the realization of peace and good will upon earth. 

Chinese Life and Customs ^/zi^fr- 

by Chinese artists. Pp. 114. 75c. net. (3s. 6d. net.) 

This book is little more than a compilation of Chinese illustrations accompanied with only 
as much text as will suffice to explain them, and what further material has been added is 
merely in the way of quotations from Chinese literature. The intention is to make the 
Chinese people characterize themselves by word and picture. Child rhymes, love lyrics and 
songs of revelry are introduced in translation from Chinese poetry which is recognized as 
classical. The illustrations which form the great body of the book are from the most authen- 
tic Chinese source of information concerning modern life in China unaffected by the aggres- 
sive Occidental foreigners. The book is divided into chapters on "Annual Festivals," 
"Industries and Foreign Relations, " "Confucianism and Ancestor Worship," "Taoism and 
Buddhism," "Childhood and Education," "Betrothal and Marriage," "Social Customs and 
Travels, ' ' ' 'Sickness and Death. ' ' 

THE OPEN COURT PUBLISHING CO.. 1522 Wabash Ave.. Chicago 



Our Children 

Hints from Practical Experience for 
Parents and Teachers. By Paul Carus 
Pp, 207, $1.00 net. {4-s,6d, net) 

In the little book Our Children, Paul Carus offers a unique contribution to peda- 
gogical literature. Without any theoretical pretensions it is a strong defense for 
the rights of the child, dealing with the responsibihties of parenthood, and with 
the first inculcation of fundamental ethics in the child mind and the true principles 
of correction and guidance. Each detail is forcefully illustrated by informal 
incidents from the author's experience with his own children, and his suggestions 
will prove of the greatest possible value to young mothers and kindergartners. 
Hints as to the first acquaintance with all branches of knowledge are touched 
upon — mathematics, natural sciences, foreign languages, etc. — and practical 
wisdom in regard to the treatment of money, hygiene and similar problems. 



PRESS NOTICES 

"Brigrhtly written, broad-minded, instructive, this book deserves serious perusal and praise." 

—CHICAGO RECORD-HERALD. 

" 'Our Children' has a value which it is difficult to exaggerate. The strong- common sense of 
the book as a whole can better be judged from an extract than from any praise of it, however 
particularized. 

"It is difficult to conceive of anything coming up in relation of parent or teacher to a child 
which does not find discussion or suggestion in this compact and helpful little book. It will be 
an aid to parents and teachers everywhere— an education for them no less than for the child." 

—THE CHICAGO DAILY NEWS. 

"From my own personal point of view I can only welcome this volume in our pedagogical 
literature and express the hope that it may become a household book in the library of every 
parent and teacher." M. P. E. GROSZMANN, Pd. D., 

Director Groszmann School for Nervous Children 

"Mr. Carus writes in a most practical manner upon his subject, setting before the reader the 
various problems common to all parents in dealing with their offspring. This book is admirable 
throughout in the author's treatment of his subjects, as the book is built from the experiences 
of parents and teachers and, therefore, cannot fail to be practicable." 

-THE BOSTON HERALD. 

"For the training of children I know of no book in which there is so much value in a small 
compass as in this." —THE TYLER PUBLISHING CO. 

"Little things are recommended that will appeal to the child's understanding and add to his 
interest in his work." —CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER. 

"Its author has given to the world a careful, loving, thoughtful set of rules which may be used 
with profit in the bringing up of the young." 

—THE MANTLE, TILE AND GRATE MONTHLY. 

"We feel certain that any parent who thoughtfully reads and studies this book will be richly 
paid; and if the readers be parents with growing children they will keep the book by them for 
frequent consultation; not for iron rules but for sympathetic suggestion." 

—THE COMMERCIAl* NEWS (Danville. 111.) 

"At once the reader knows that he is in touch with a mind that is accustomed to sincere and 
deep thinking. The whole book is a plea for a serious notion of parenthood. The author touches 
one topic after another with a fine sense of feeling for the 'warm spot' in it. 

"The use of money, square dealing, worldly prudence, sympathy with animals, treatment of a 
naughty child, self criticism, and punishment, are some of the more important themes of the 
book." —THE SUBURBAN. 



The Open Court Publishing- Co, , 1322 Wabash Ave, , Chicago 



BOOKS BY PAUL CARUS 



THE DAWN OF A NEW RELIGIOUS ERA AND 
OTHER ESSAYS 

Revised and enlarged edition. Cloth, $1.00. 

BUDDHISM AND ITS CHRISTIAN CRITICS 

Cloth, $1.25; paper, 60c. 

GODWARD 

A record of religious progress. (Poems.) Cloth, 50c. 

THE HISTORY OF THE DEVIL AND THE IDEA OF 
EVIL 

From the earliest times to the present day. Illustrated. 
Cloth, $6.00. 

THE RELIGION OF SCIENCE 

Cloth, 50c ; paper, 30c. 

WHENCE AND WHITHER 

An inquiry into the nature of the soul, its origin and its 
destiny.' Cloth, 75c; paper, 35c. 

THE STORY OF SAMSON 

And its place in the religious development of mankind. 
' Illustrated. Boards, $1.00. 

GOD 

An inquiry into the nature of Man's Highest Ideal and a 
solution of the problem from the standpoint of science. 
Boards, $1.00; paper, 50c. 

THE BRIDE OF CHRIST 

A study in Christian legend lore. Illustrated. Cloth, 75c. 



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