Unpacking the Lion’s Share…

Strength (Tarot card) - Wikipedia

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‘It is the strongest of all powers,

the force of all forces.

It overcomes every subtle thing,

and penetrates every solid substance.’

Emerald Tablet

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The glosses in the biblical text make it clear

that this tale has been ‘recommissioned’ for use in the canon.

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It is also clear from the related marriage customs which set-up the riddle

that the Philistines were a matriarchal community.

A bride-price is demanded rather than a dowry offered.

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Most weird of all, perhaps, is the riddling episode itself.

It is the only example of an overt riddling sequence in the Old Dispensation.

And it is ‘all wrong’…

The riddle question reads like an answer.

And the answer, which is only half an answer, anyway, reads like a question!

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Ox’s not lions are traditionally renowned for strength.

Lions are more usually associated with ferocity.

Perhaps by attempting to answer the riddles

as they stand some light may be shed.

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What is stronger than a lion?

The midday sun.

What is sweeter than honey?

The look of love.

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As this is ostensibly a marriage tale which goes wrong

we might begin to see why what has been done to the tale has been done.

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Samson has long been regarded as a type of ‘sun-god’…

Perhaps his wife, who is not even graced with a name,

was originally a ‘moon-goddess’.

‘Out of the eater, something to eat’

could certainly describe the waning-waxing moon.

Both visually and practically by dent of the growth cycles of plants

being linked to the waxing phase of the moon.

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If the thirty wedding guests are the ‘days of a month’,

it means that the story originated in a culture

with a calendar similar to that of the Egyptians.

A three-hundred and sixty-day year with five intercalary days or ‘divinities;.

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The bride-price as sacred and profane dress is also interesting,

and, again, is ultimately only half-met.

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The great sun-hero storming off in anger at the close

is perhaps less a show of strength and more one of petulance.

Which may, or may not, be deemed fitting.

3 thoughts on “Unpacking the Lion’s Share…

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