Thursday, April 17, 2008

Non-complementary relationships are a bad thing

In contrast to the loving and supporting wife I described Samson's mother as, Samson himself didn't fair so well in love.

His first bride he chose from among the Philistines, a people group that was oppressing the Israelites at the time. She betrayed him shortly after their marriage, prompting him to go on a murdering spree. Her father, figuring Samson was too angry with her to forgive her, gave her away to "the friend who had attended [Samson] at his wedding" (Judges 14:20). This prompted Samson to go on an arson spree. Which prompted the Philistines, angry at Samson, to burn his wife and her father. Which prompted another murderous outrage from Samson. Sheesh.

After dallying with prostitutes, Samson meets the infamous Delilah. Delilah — working as an agent of the Philistine rulers — tries repeatedly to get Samson to reveal to her the secret of his great strength. And he repeatedly makes a fool of her by feeding her false answers to that question. But the Scriptures record that Delilah keeps pressing. I think Judges 16:15-16 pretty much sums up their whole relationship:

Then she said to him, "How can you say, 'I love you,' when you won't confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven't told me the secret of your great strength." With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death.

Given the relationship his own parents had, how in the world did Samson manage to go so wrong when choosing partners?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Complementary relationships are no bad thing

I found this bit from Judges 13:21-23 humorous today. The parents of the yet-unborn Samson are just realizing that lately they've been conversing with an angel of God.

When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord. "We are doomed to die!" he said to his wife. "We have seen God!" But his wife answered, "If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this."

The Pilato translation into modern language:

The next time the angel of the Lord came to visit Manoah and his wife, Manoah recognized him as angelic and began to freak out. "Omigosh! It's all over for us -- we've seen God!" But his wife maintained her ability to be rational and calmly replied, "Chill out, Sweetheart. If God was going to zap us, he wouldn't have wasted so much time and energy on us."

Thank you, God, for spouses who can normalize our occasional bouts of irrationality.