5-2-4 Samson And Solomon
Solomon was evidently fascinated by Samson. His writings contain many
allusions to him. Thus he speaks of how he found " more bitter than
death the woman, whose heart is snares, and her hands as bands ("
fetters" , RSV): whoso pleaseth God shall escape her; but the sinner
shall be taken by her" (Ecc. 7:26). His constant warnings about the
danger of the Gentile (AV " strange" ) woman are all commands
to learn from the example of Samson. All these passages allude to Samson
(e.g. 5:20; 6:26-28; 7:21-27). Often the Proverbs allude to characters
in Israel's history. The references to a wise son rejoicing his father
and mother (Prov. 23:25) and saddening them by his folly shout for application
to Samson. The warnings about not looking at a strange woman
recall how Samson saw the Philistine girl in Timnath and the
prostitute in Gaza (14:1; 16:1). The wicked woman lying in wait to kill
the simple man (Prov. 23:25-27) is a clear enough reference to Delilah
and her henchmen lying in wait in the bedroom. And yet, for all this reflection
upon Samson, Solomon went and did par excellence according to
Samson's well-studied folly. And we can do the same, in principle. There
is this vast distance between knowledge and belief.
There is an undoubted connection between the record of Solomon catching
the foxes and using them to destroy vineyards (15:4,5)
and Song 2:15, where Solomon suggests that he and his girl go and catch
the foxes that destroy the vineyards. He seems to have had Samson in mind.
And yet both he and his Gentile girlfriend owned vineyards (Song 1:6;
8:11,12), and both were concerned that the fruit would not be damaged
(Song 2:13,15; 6:11; 7:12). However, the implication from Solomon's maybe
careless allusion was that in fact he was in the position of the Philistines,
worrying about the effect of Samson's foxes.
There is further comment on Samson and Solomon in Samson
Not only do circumstances repeat between the lives of God's children,
but also within our lives. We may pass through a very similar experience
more than once. The human chances of this ever happening again were remote.
But the similarity and repetition may be so that we learn the lesson we
failed to learn; or it could even be a punishment for not learning the
lessons we should have learned. Again, Samson's life demonstrates this.
The lion roared against him as the Philistines did (14:5 s.w. 15:14);
and not least in the uncanny similarities between the way his first wife
enticed him and wrung his secrets from him, and the way 40 years later
another worthless woman did the same to him (14:15-17 = 16:5,15,16). He
just didn't see the similarities, or if he did, he didn't learn any lessons.
Admittedly, it's far easier for us, presented with the records as they
are, spanning 40 years within a few pages.