The latest attempt at anchoring the Bible in “history” has come with the discovery of a small seal in Israel that purportedly provides “evidence” of the existence of the biblical hero Samson, renowned for his strength and heroism. The Jewish Hercules, Samson went on an unstoppable rampage, slaughtering the Philistines, but was done in by a woman, Delilah, who cut off his hair, the source of his strength.
The image a feline figure fighting with a man with long hair dates to the 11th century
Have they sealed the deal on Samson?
A team of Israeli archaeologists have discovered an ancient artifact which some believe may lend credence to the existence of the Biblical figure Samson.
Excavation directors Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz and Dr. Zvi Lederman of Tel Aviv University found a small, circular seal just outside Jerusalem in the Beit Shemesh tell in the Judaean Hills which supports Samson’s powerful story.
The seal depicts a feline figure attacking a human, who sports what appears to be long hair.
The piece was excavated in a layer of earth which dates to the 11th century, when the Jews were ruled by Judges, including Samson.
Samson, as the Bible has it, maintained superhuman strength given to him by God in his long tresses. He discovered this power after killing a lion with his bare hands.
This motif of a superhero killing a lion with his bare hands can be found in the story of the Greek god Hercules or Herakles, who is depicted in mosaics in this very posture – does the artifact below prove that Hercules existed?
This Israeli seal does not show that Samson was a real person anymore than ancient artifacts showing the heroic figures of Hercules or Horus, etc., prove they were “real people.” There are thousands of such artifacts all over the world – actually, there are millions of images of various Indian divine figures, in practically every Hindu household, some dating back many centuries – were all those Indian gods and goddesses real people too?
As we shall see, the reality is that it is appropriate this seal was found at Beit Shemesh, which means “House of the Sun.”
Samson as sun god
In my forthcoming book, Did Moses Exist? I examine closely the story of Moses and the Exodus, showing that various of its elements patently comprise ancient mythical motifs, many of which revolve largely around astral mythology/astrotheology and solar mythology. As part of this analysis, I examine also the origins of the Jewish tribal god Yahweh, as well as his relationship to other gods of the area such as El and Baal, along with their connection to the sun, via the Semitic sun god Shamash.
In this Shamash section, I briefly discuss Samson, whose story is well known to most Westerners. Samson is the great warrior, powerful and invincible, until a woman, Delilah, cuts his hair. It has been recognized for centuries that Samson is a sun god or solar hero and that Delilah is the moon goddess absorbing his solar rays. Much more could be said about this myth – I could probably write a monograph on it alone – but here is what I am including in my DME book:
As an example of how a sun god has been turned into an Israelite hero we can cite the story of Samson, written שמשון Shimshown, the first three letters and root of which are שמש or shemesh/shamash, the Semitic word for “sun” and name for the sun god. Indeed, Samson’s name means “like the sun,” and his story possesses a number of solar and soli-lunar elements, such as the tearing down of the two pillars of the temple, a solar motif likewise found in the myth of Hercules or Herakles, as is the tale of a lion killed by the hero’s bare hands. Another soli-lunar motif is the loss of strength when the sun god or solar hero’s “hair” is cut by the moon goddess, symbolizing the moon absorbing (and reflecting) the sun’s rays.
In reality, there is no reason to believe that Samson was a “historical” figure but every reason to aver that he is a typical solar hero or sun god, the Jewish version of Hercules, reworked to revolve around the “chosen people.”
Have archaeologists found evidence of the Israelite hero Samson? (Freethought Examiner edition)