Saturday, November 03, 2007
Was Samson muscular?
This may seem like a strange question to ask, but I came across an internet article, part of which criticized Bible illustrators for depicting Samson as "a man with great muscles". A quote from the article follows...
"In the world, every comic book hero is always trying to do supernatural things with his super powers. Every hero in movies and books are always showing off their super powers. That is why even the children’s bible illustrators draw Samson as a man with great muscles. Delilah and the Philistines continually asked him where his strength lay. They could not figure it out! That means he must have looked quite ordinary, otherwise they would not have asked".
On the surface of it, it seems like a reasonable assumption to make, but the author is missing an important point; We need to remember that the acts of strength displayed by Samson were far above anything that had ever been seen before. These were feats of strength that were beyond imagination!
If Arnold Schwarzenegger fought and killed 1,000 Philistine soldiers, armed only with the jawbone of an ass, or pushed over an enormous Temple housing over 1,000 people with his bare hands, we would be in awe of his strength! We wouldn't say "He was able to do that because of his great physique!" The point is, the size of Samson's muscles, whether large or small, were no indication of his actual strength. People were amazed by his feats of 'supernatural' strength! Strength that was beyond man!
I personally think that Samson would have been well built. His hands for instance would have needed to be fairly large just to grip those huge heavy gates of the city of Gaza that he carried up the hill, and the balance needed for such a feat would have required fairly large feet too.
The fact is, Bible artists love to draw Samson the way they do! and those of us who were brought up on a diet of DC & Marvel comics take any opportunity to draw musclebound heros! I would need a lot more to go on than the quote above before I would consider drawing Samson with the physique of Woody Allen!
Incidentally, If you happen to be a movie producer about to make a 'Samson' movie, you could do a lot worse than casting French rugby player Sébastien Chabal (below) in the title role!
Sébastien Chabal with his baby daughter. photo © Daily Mail 2007