The Books of My Numberless Dreams

Samson and Delilah

Posted on: February 16, 2007

He had lately taken to reading the Bible. He was not a deeply religious man, just about average for those parts. That is to say he went to church about one Sunday in every month, paid his dues, and the other days conducted himself in a normal, civilized way.

He was particularly attached to the story of Samson. He had read it over many times, turning it over in his mind, meditating on it; thinking over the causes and issues of his life, and what must have gone on under the surface between himself and Delilah. Things that the Bible never mentioned at all. Things other than, and more complex, and in a way more disturbing than what was discovered in the bald account.

And this was not to be wondered at, seeing that the big carving he was engaged on just then, and had been working on for the past several months, was a life-size statue of Samson. He was carving it out of a solid block of mahogany. He worked in a kind of loft above the blacksmith’s shop. Evenings he worked, after the shop was closed, and even at nights, sometimes.

They had knocked off for lunch now, and Glen and the lad George had gone a walk down by the river, and he was left alone in the shop.

After he had eaten his lunch, he wiped his sleeve across his lips, sat down on a bench over by the window and opened the Bible.

He thought now that the biggest thing in the story was not Samson’s betrayal by Delilah, not the fact itself, but what must have secretly lain underneath and had gone before, that the Bible never gave any clue of at all.

A woman, he thought, betrayed a man not for silver, but for love.

Was Delilah in love with one of her own people, one of the Philistines? Obviously she was attracted to Samson in the first place on account of his great strength, his virility. But he had not lost that. He was a man in the full prime of his manly inheritance of strength and vigour when she betrayed him and brought him to his great humiliation at the hands of his enemies, and to his death.

So he pondered these matters, and shook his head over them, and at last laid the Bible aside.

From “Black Lightning” by Roger Mais 


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