Samson, the Israelites’ superhuman warrior. A man blessed with god-given strengths to avenge god’s chosen people and smite the evildoers from the land. Sounds like fiction. However, some Tel Aviv University researchers recently uncovered a seal at the archaeological site of Beth Shemesh dig measuring half an inch in diameter, which depicts a human figure next to a lion. The dig is located in the area where Samson was said to have been born, raised and carried out his feats, according to The Book of Judges.
One has to hand it to the researchers for attempting to historically prove (outside of the Bible) the legend of a murderous psychopath, whose power came from an even more murderous, psychopathic god no less. The Abrahamic tradition is quite rich with desperate attempts to lend historical credence to their outrageous fictional claims.
“If we are right and what we see on the seal is a representation of a man meeting a lion, it shows that the Samson legend already existed around the area of Beth Shemesh during that time period. We can date it quite precisely,” said Professor Shlomo Bunimovitz of TAU’s Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations. Prof. Bunimovitz co-directs the Beth Shemesh dig along with Dr. Zvi Lederman.
Among Samson’s notable feats are, variously: tearing a Lion apart and drinking honey from its remains; slaying an entire army with a donkey’s jawbone; lighting 300 foxes on fire so that they could burn the Philistines’ crops; killing 30 Philistines and giving their clothes to his groomsmen; tearing a city gate off its hinges and waltzing around with it (no big deal); then killing many more by bringing a temple down upon himself and his captors. All for God’s eternal glory.
Religion is fun. Sometimes.